The Mad Painter, A Silent Comic Graffiti Artist on ‘Sesame Street’ Who Painted Numbers In Unusual Locations

One of the most memorable live characters from the early days of Sesame Street is arguably the “Mad Painter”, a silent artist whose mission in life was to paint the numbers 2 – 11 wherever he found space for them, even if that space was temporary. Unfortunately, the Mad Painter’s primary vocation was very much to the regular amusement and/or consternation of a pretty girl played by Stockard Channing and a mustachioed man played by actor Jerome Raphel. The role of the Mad Painter was played by a very comical Paul Benedict, who later went on to play his most popular role of Harry Bentley, the mild-mannered neighbor on The Jeffersons.

The painter’s thoughts were heard in voice-over. Sometimes after he painted his number, something would either smudge it or wash it away, and sometimes he painted his number without anything bad happening to it and/or he wouldn’t get in trouble. Occasionally, the numerical graffiti artist would suffer the consequences of his peculiar obsession, and elude irate citizenry in a comic chase. Still, he continued his campaign, gaining notoriety in newspapers.


Numbers 2-11 of the “Mad Painter”

via The Kids Should See This

Written by Lori Dorn

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