A fuzzy episode of the Smithsonian Channel series This Object in History takes a look at the lovable muppet Elmo, who started out as a bit player amongst a wide range of other Sesame Street characters. It was only when Baltimore puppeteer Kevin Clash joined the show in 1984 that Elmo became an iconic worldwide star.
Elmo began as an ‘Anything Muppet’–an extra, if you will, until Kevin Clash refashioned his character into the one we know–and kids love–today. Throughout the ’80s his star continued to shine, eventually becoming an international icon and best-selling Christmas toy. Forty years later, he’s still going strong.