2003   DECEMBER 15   #349

A Little Girl (Marilyn Sokol) - I Want a Monster to Be My Friend

Just an innocent, misunderstood little song about not being afraid of monsters? Or something else entirely? You be the judge!

In 1975, this little ditty first appeared on "Sesame Street." The song was written by Robert Pierce (credited as "art director" on several Sesame Street albums) and Sam Pottle (a songwriter responsible for many of Sesame Street's catchiest tunes), and performed by a little girl Muppet (voice by Marilyn Sokol).

Nine years later, it was quietly banned from the show when somebody noticed that the lyrics to the bridge could be taken two different ways, depending on what kind of monster you're talking about.

During those nine years, it aired several times, and was released on two LPs and a 45. And apparently NOBODY ever pondered the ramifications of "A Little Girl" (as it was credited on the records) singing those lyrics. Until . . . well, I'll let the New York Times of April 9, 1984 tell the story:

The monster song on the children's television program "Sesame Street" is about to lose four lines because of a mother who feared they would encourage child molestation.

Marty Deming, a mother of two, objected to the lines. She said Edward L. Palmer, vice president of the Children's Television Workshop, told her "Sesame Street" will stop using the lines, even though the producers felt the song "has nothing to do with encouraging children to let real adult persons make improper advances on them."

The song reappeared, with rewritten lyrics and a less bump-and-grind arrangement, on the Elmo-Palooza television special a few years ago. Sung by En Vogue.

The original version has been effectively quashed. It's conspicuously absent from the CD reissues of the two albums ("Sesame Street Monsters!" and "Born To Add") and the fluffy En Vogue rewrite is the only one you'll find if you do a search for the lyrics on the net. Thank heaven for the 365 Days Project!

Marilyn Sokol has kept quite busy since her days at Sesame Street:

- Narkspud

TT-2:12 / 2.5MB / 160kbps 44.1khz
from "The Sesame Street Monsters!" Sesame Street Records (1975)

Oddio Overplay writes:
Yay! I love today's song! Marilyn Sokol really belted it out and I felt powerful when I sang it. I performed it for TV cameras when I was a little girl. My dad was a sailor in the US Navy in the Med during the Iran Hostage Crisis in the late 1970s. The news networks came to Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia and recorded Christmas messages from the families back at home for the sailors at sea. In my fancy velvet dress, I sang "I Want a Monster to Be My Friend" with all my heart for my beloved daddy and his shipmates, our friends. The networks used that bit on the nightly news and Mama let us all stay up late to see it.