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TWO GUYS, A BILLBOARD, AND A TRAIN

June 3, 2015

Some of you know from my Facebook profile that I follow Emilio Delgado, who played the very likeable Luis on SESAME STREET for many years. He’s a very gracious gentleman who loves to share his memories with anyone who asks. A few weeks back, I sent Emilio a message, asking him about the famous clip of him and Bob McGrath assembling a billboard of a train tunnel at high speed (on YouTube, it’s called BOB, LUIS, AND THE TRAIN). I was curious about how long it took to do, was there improvisation, and were those big pieces heavy.

I had forgotten about this message, and I thought maybe Emilio was too busy to answer his messages, or maybe he forgot. Yesterday, there was a nice surprise in my Inbox. That nice guy answered my email, and gave me the story!

According to Emilio, this segment took an entire morning to tape. Emilio said that in those days, they would work on one episode in the morning, and one in the afternoon, then piece it all together in post-production. Despite the length of time they needed to do this bit, Emilio enjoyed doing it. Jon Stone directed Emilio and Bob, but he merely provided guidelines about the piece. The over-the-top expressions, the interactions, the moving around, that was all improvised. The actual billboard pieces weren’t heavy at all. They mimed it to nake them look that way.

Emilio did acknowledge the fear this bit caused many of us. I wrote back and confessed how much I hated the duck noises in the music. Obviously, I have since become cool with it, since becoming a Spike Jones fan myself. The best part of all of this was Emilio sharing this on his Facebook wall, and crediting me with stirring his memory. I feel honored that he would make this gesture for someone he just met a few months back.

So there’s the inside scoop on a clip that sent many running for cover. My thanks to Emilio Delgado for sharing this memory, and just for being as classy in life as he was on TV.

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