I’m going to paint a 10

There’s a post over at Boing Boing that’s turned into a bit of a roll call of clips on Sesame Street that scared today’s grown-ups back when they were little kids in the ’70s and ’80s.

This reminded me of the Sesame Street clip that scared me: the Painting Man, aka the Mad Painter and the Number Painter.

He went around New York City painting numbers from 2 to 11 on things or – hilariously – people. What scared me was his beard, his staring eyes and that he never spoke, except in voice over. Mum had to come and turn the TV off whenever the Painting Man was on.

So sought him out on YouTube and faced my childhood nemesis. Watching the clips, I realised he was the actor who played the faux Guffman in “Waiting For Guffman“, and that the clips often featured Stockard Channing as a lady who gets numbers painted on or about her.

And then there’s my favourite part – the Robert Dennis’ jazzy tack-hammer piano music that accompanies each clip. (My favourite version is on number 4)

The Painting Man no longer scared me (which is just as well, cos my mum is currently on holiday on a tropical island and not available to make the bad man go away).

Watching the Painting Man clips now makes me yearn for New York City and hangin’ out on a street corner with some Puerto Rican guy called Ricky (or whatever ever it is that people do in New York – I should go there and find out).

Bonus! While I was searching through YouTube, I found a clip from 1973 of Stevie Wonder riotously singing “Superstition” on Sesame Street, and James Earl Jones counting to 10 – an acting tour de force.

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