Hit or Miss

What the hell happened to the Letter People? What happened to Mr. C Cotton Candy and Mr. H Horrible Hair? All through kindergarten and first grade, my classes used those inflatable letter people to learn the alphabet.

Well, the current copyright holders / publishers felt the need to introduce a “new generation” of politically correct letter people. Thus, Mr. C becomes Colossal Cap and Mr. H becomes Happy Hair. Now, I’m a huge supporter of multiculturalism and the like, but did Mr. X Mix-Up really have to become Mr. X Different? It doesn’t even have a freaking X in the word! (check out ALL the changes)

Do yourself a favor and visit the ORIGINAL Letter People.

21 responses so far (Respond)

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Ah, the Letter People! The original ’74 series was produced by my former employer, the public television station KETC here in St. Louis. We actually aired the show for almost two decades. In 1996, as we prepared to move into our new broadcast/administration facility, I must have sorted through eight or nine boxes of archived “fan letters” to the consonants and vowels, plus a ton o’ headshots of…well, letters. The series certainly is fondly remembered. I recall traveling to several conferences (unrelated to PTV) while I was on staff and when people found out I worked with KETC, they more often than not blurted out “Letter People!”.

TheBrad | 8 Dec 2000
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Oy, I was so disappointed when I moved from St. Louis to Chicago when I was seven and found out they didn’t have the Letter People here. That show was some of the trippiest stuff on TV! Seriously, you had Mr. V’s haunted museum, Ms. U going down a chimney and ending up underground, Letter People lining up and running into each other to sound out a word, and the Runaway Words had to be signs of residual drug use on the Letter People’s part. (“SIGNS?!?!” *clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp* “Signs.” *sounds of cowboy whooping and stampeding something or other as the word runs off*)

I remember putting the red letter stickers on the cards for each Letter Person in kindergarten, and keeping the cards so I could spell out words with them. Ah, the simpler times.

Jason | 10 Dec 2000
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Okay, there’s a couple things to be said about the new Letter People. Like Mr. R’s gay pride hair, and how Mr. D is dressed kinda like Boy George circa 1983. The changes aren’t all bad.

Jason | 12 Dec 2000
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I think the changes suck. We borrowed the records from the kindergarten teacher when I was little. We had most of the songs memorized and even now we sometimes burst into song. I got the original records recently from a company, and Mss “I” and Miss “O” have changed!!! I liked them the old way “Itching” and “Obsinate.” Can anyone tell me how I can get ahold of the very first recordings? PLEASE!!!!!!!

Toni B. | 18 May 2001
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I dug the Letter People something fierce. Especially the bit where Mr. R got shot off into space with the whacked-out computer (echoes of ‘2001’, anyone?) to rescue the Letter Girls.

As for the Runaway Words (does anyone remember the Word Machine?) the way it worked was this. Someone said a word, like, well, ‘word’.

‘blah blah blah blah word.’ ‘WORD?’ ‘Word.’ *runaway word comes on screen, rocks back and forth* ‘Hi-ho Silver! Away! Yahoo! Whoopee! Whoo!’ *word takes off like a bat out of hell*.

I was also immensely fond of Chopper, who taught me about syllables (and the Silly Bull). o/~ His name has just been spoken – spoken! – so there must needs words be broken – la-la! – too late, too late to explain in full, watch out – watch out! – for the Silly Bull o/~

Kit | 31 May 2001
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On 05-18-2001, Toni B. wrote:
>>
I’ve got the songs on a CD and would be happy to sell copies to whomever wants them.

Joe | 13 Aug 2001
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That is, the ORIGINAL songs, not anything from the new, PC edition of the Letter People.

Joe | 13 Aug 2001
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i really loved the letter people and now have taken a job teaching at a preschool and would love to buy a copy of the cd from you if you are willing.. i just bid on one on ebay and didn’t get it… b/c i ran an errand and someone bid on it while i was gone! dangit!
email me a price! thanks!

robyn | 13 Aug 2001
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i really loved the letter people and now have taken a job teaching at a preschool and would love to buy a copy of the cd from you if you are willing.. i just bid on one on ebay and didn’t get it… b/c i ran an errand and someone bid on it while i was gone! dangit!
email me a price! thanks!

robyn | 13 Aug 2001
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I think the ‘New Letter People’ are ridicilus. I liked the concept of the vowels being represented by girls and the cons. by boys. Who cares if there are 13 of each.. Why change something that is good. (I know everyone loved Mr. Donut and Mr. Funny Feet….)

Amy | 8 Sep 2001
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Yeah, I agree. The new “PC” Letter People suck. They look like they were drawn by the cartoonists for South Park. The original Letter People forever!!!! 🙂

Kristina A. Larson | 11 Sep 2001
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YAY for St. Louis and the Letter People!! Now that I have my own child, I’m dying to use the same curriculum for home-schooling him. However, I do NOT like the changes they’ve made and my search continues for the original materials. I too have noticed the obviously ‘gay’ slant to the characters. 🙁 I did and still do think that the separation of the sexes vs consonants/vowels was sheer genius!

And TheBrad, you mean that my letter to Mr B never made it to him??? Oh my aching heart! 😉

Laurie | 22 Feb 2002
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Hey, does anyone know the name of the book that has the original letter people in it? There’s a great circular illustration of all the letter people characters either in the back or somewhere in the book. I remember this book when I was in kindergarten! Any pointers are appreciated. Thanks!

Dan | 1 Sep 2002
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Does anyone know where I can find the stories/songs of the old letter people?

Chelsea | 6 Oct 2002
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Can anyone tell me where I can buy anything re: the original letter people? I would especially love to have videos of their programs that were on PBS. Thanks!

Martie | 4 May 2003
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If you are looking for ORIGINAL letter people resources, you can have some GREAT luck at the yahoo groups for the original letter people. They have most of the pictures as gifs you can download and the song lyrics and even a video or two you can watch online.

Mindy Koch | 19 May 2003
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I too like the old letter people alot more than the new ones. I’m even drawing manga versions of my favorite letter people. It should be noted that there are two variations of the old Miss I and Miss O. The first is the classic “Itching itch” and “Obstinate”. The second and lesser known is the “Incredible inventor” for Miss I and the “Optimstic optimist” for Miss O. These changes were probably made after the show. I don’t know why they changed Miss I but they most likely felt that having an optimistic Miss O was a better image for kids than a stubborn Miss O.

David | 11 Jun 2003
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Oh my I don’t even know what I would have done w/ out the letter people when I was a boy. I loved the series when mr R had to go to save the girls from the emporess ming. And the silly bull episode episode tee hee hee !! His name has just been spoken so a word must have to be broken watch out, watch out for the silly bull. Then the bull breaks the word and then he laughs, it’s really an infectious laugh. !!!!!!!

Kendall | 12 Aug 2003
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Here’s the URL to my site about the original Letter People, in case anyone has not seen it:

http://www.geocities.com/letterfolks/

SFZapgun | 24 Aug 2003
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Man, the Letter People…as a kid growing up on the Metro-East side of St. Louis in the 1970s, how could I NOT love them? I would love to watch the shows again, hear the music, etc. They really need to get these out on vide/DVD…the things that really stick out in my mind are that Mr. H reminds me of David Lee Roth, and I was scared of Mr. M–I honestly thought his Munching Mouth was going to eat me whole.

Winona | 23 Sep 2003
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i remember the letter people from when i was i n grade k i loved them i remember we got to watch the letter people on tv and it was awsome ive asked lots of people if they have herd of he letter people but its real rare to find anyone who can relate to me and the letter people lol but i will remember them forever i am now 23 and i was in grade k in 1985 thant nearly 20 years ago the letter people rule so come and be part of the family words are made of letter people abcd follow me lol by the way my favorite letter person always what mr.m and the new letter people cant hold a candel to the old school love always ,wh15per aka meph15to

scottie boy | 25 Sep 2003