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”