"you can't judge a hero by his size, he's just a Teeny Little Super Guy..."

Teeny Little Super Guy is by far the most incredibly cool superhero ever. He was incarnated on Sesame Street, and instead of the usual puffy muscled, over-pumped jock style superhero, TLSG was a sketchy cartoon drawing of a dumpy oldish guy with a big nose...on the side of a clear drinking cup.

In fact, the whole world that TLSG lived in consisted of enormous real-life objects, and was inhabited by other cup-people. Instead of the usual superpower of flight or running really, really fast, TLSG's method of transportation was to simply sink into the counter (seeing as he did all of his super-hero deeds around the kitchen) and pop up somewhere else.

TLSG was my favorite bit on Sesame Street. He's no longer around, I don't think, which is a shame...he was the most impressive little superhero ever. Even if he was smaller than a salt shaker.

Teeny Little Super Guy was a cartoon drawn on the side of an inverted clear plastic cup. By using a combination of standard frame-by-frame cartooning and stop-motion animation (a la The Nightmare Before Christmas), they made a magical little series of shorts that were shown by the Children's Television Workshop on their Sesame Street series. The little super guy himself was a classic example of minimal cartooning, in almost a Schulz-esque manner. His getup was constant, a yellow long-sleeved shirt, green pork-pie cap, and red pants. His voice was gruff, but full of humor. He reminded me of my great-uncle who would let me play with his broken electronics.

Some of the greatest scenes were where he would talk to other people while walking around his neighborhood (a normal kitchen). He would leave his home (a lazy susan) and walk from shelf to shelf of various cupboards and counter-tops. Other characters were never recurring, but they were all on a different type of kitchen container (blue cup, red cup, glass bottle, thermos, etc.) The memories of these segments are horribly cloudy, but I do remember him riding an eggbeater as well.

My main contribution to this node however, is concrete: the THEME SONG. Every segment was introduced with it, and closed with it as well. The entire song was about twenty seconds long, so it is amazing that they managed to have any sort of structure at all. Nonetheless, the composers put together a ditty that was packed with charm, humor, and nearly ragtime piano. Luckily, I have a head for catchy jingles, and here is the entire song (from memory):

First Part

Singers: Teeny Little Super Guy
Pops right up before your eye
He's no bigger than your thumb
TLSG: Snap your fingers, here I come

Middle Part (Notably different melody, not unlike a bridge)

Singers: Don't look in the sky, don't look in the sea,
He's inside of you and me...

End Part (Return to original melody, after a little piano flourish)

Singers: You can't tell a hero by his size,
Singers and TLSG (together): He's just a teeny little super guy.
TLSG (over piano closing): Oh yeah.

It should also be noted that one of the major reasons I felt bonded to these cartoons was that in one of the episodes I saw when I was at the tender age of four, they mentioned the state and city that I lived in (Bismarck, North Dakota). It was so validating to hear the hear this come out of some famous cartoon characters voice, it was as if he knew that I was watching, and appreciated it.

I later saw the episode again, and finally understood the context of them mentioning my city. TLSG's young friend was trying to quit going to school, and the conversation between him and his friend went something like the following

TLSG: You can't stop going to school, you've got so much more to learn!
Young Friend: Like what?
TLSG: Like... What's the capital of North Dakota?
Young Friend: Bismarck. (walks away indignantly)
TLSG: (to nobody in particular) I always thought it was Pierre.

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