Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Dr. Nobel Price


Written by Michael Wermuth.


Performed by…
Brian Meehl (1979-1984)
Kevin Clash (1984-1988)

First appearance…
Sesame Street Season 11 (1979)

Most recent appearance…
Sesame Street Season 19 (1988)

Best known role…
Inventor of the already invented

Dr. Nobel Price is a scientist who spends many years inventing things on his far-off island laboratory. When he’s ready to unveil his latest invention, Sesame Street News sends the likes of Kermit the Frog and Warren Wolf to report on his latest invention. After entering the room and tripping, Dr. Price will reveal the name of his invention, which is hidden behind a blue blanket, and describes his creation. His inventions always end up being something that has already been invented, only the names he gives them are different. His foot snuggles were just a pair of socks, his talky stick was a microphone, and his tinker table was a piano. Many segments end with Dr. Nobel Price reacting with a frustrated emotion.

Dr. Nobel Price was also often seen in street scenes through the 1980s. In one episode, he “discovers” a new creature, which he dubs the Shagaphant, but it ends up being a Snuffleupagus (though at the time the adults didn’t believe in Snuffleupaguses). In another, Dr. Price believes he has discovered the law of gravity after dropping his teddy bear many times. In another, he tried to invent a rain-making machine during a water shortage. When it finally rains, Dr. Price thinks it’s because the machine is finally working –and then he sets out to invent a rain-stopping machine.

One of the few times Dr. Nobel Price invented something both original and useful occurred in episode 2255, when he invented something that can dry towels, scratch a dog’s ear, hold flowers, play music, and provide a place to sit.

The fact that Dr. Nobel Price’s inventions usually turn out to be common inventions gives the show an opportunity to explain how they work to the kids at home, who may or may not be as likely to know what the inventions are and how they work.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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