How to Show Your Mammoth

For fourteen years, Snuffleupagus was the urban legend of Sesame Street — Big Bird’s even bigger friend only ever interacted with him, and their attempts to convince the adults of the Street always ended in humorous failure. But then the writers realized that Snuffleupagus needed to be seen.

The thing that changed their minds was national coverage of child sexual abuse claims:

The fear was that if we represented adults not believing what kids said, they might not be motivated to tell the truth. That caused us to rethink the storyline: Is something we’ve been doing for 14 years—that seemed innocent enough—now something that’s become harmful?

And so, thirty years ago this week, for the first time, the adults of Sesame Street came face-to-face with the mammoth presence of Aloysius Snuffleupagus.


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