1970 Ernie – Rubber Duckie

1970 Ernie – Rubber Duckie 

While still in high school, Jim Henson began working for a local television show, The Junior Morning Show. Puppets were commonplace on television in the fifties and Jim created puppets for the show. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and took a course in puppetry. While in college, he developed Sam And Friends, a five-minute puppet show that ran from 1954 to 1961. One puppet on that show was a now-familiar-looking frog. He began making commercials using his puppets, the most successful of which were some coffee commercials.

Jim moved to New York City in 1963 and recruited Frank Oz and established Muppets, Inc. He developed Rolf, the piano-playing dog, who appeared regularly on the Jimmy Dean television show.

Sesame Street began in 1969, with Jim performing as Kermit and Ernie and Frank performing as Cookie Monster and Bert (and many, many more Muppets as well as Miss Piggy, who never appeared on Sesame Street). The show involved numerous extremely talented people, including writer Jeff Moss and music composer Joe Raposo.

A popular sketch with Ernie had him singing Rubber Duckie in the bathtub. Jeff and Joe wrote the song, and it was first used on the show in February 1970. The song was successful enough that they released the song as a single. It surprised everybody when the record began getting airplay on the radio and the single quickly hit the charts, peaking at #16 in September.

Rock station WKDA-FM in Nashville had a daily event where they played two new songs and listeners could vote for the song they wanted to keep hearing. The winner would return the next day to face a new challenger. Somebody put Rubber Duckie on as a joke, and the song easily began a winning streak that was finally stopped by Lola by the Kinks.

Would that we could have vanquished Baby Shark that easily!

Rubber Duckie was Ernie’s only visit to the charts.

Several people have recorded Rubber Duckie, but no doubt the most unusual performance was also on Sesame Street: Little Richard brought along a rubber duckie and a piano and a tub and other props and reproduced the entire sketch.


I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

The introductory book is only 99 cents, and you can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: