The Secret Origin Of Cookie Monster – The Wheel Stealer

Before his Sesame Street debut in 1969, everyone’s favourite furry blue eating machine, Cookie Monster, had several incarnations. The first of these was as the Wheel Stealer.

Jim Henson made numerous adverts for food products in the late 50s and early 60s, but it was the request from General Foods Canada to make a test commercial for their snack products Wheels, Crowns and Flutes that inspired him to come up with a way for his characters to eat convincingly on camera.

The idea was that the wheel, flute and crown shaped snacks were so delicious that they would attract the attention of voracious monsters any time they were served. And so the original design for the Wheel Stealer sowed the seeds for what became the googly eyed, much loved force of nature that is Cookie Monster.

Three old muppets in a 1966 cereal TV advert
The Wheel Stealer, the Flute Catcher and the Crown Grabber, 1966.
Jim Henson's original sketch for the Wheel Stealer
Jim Henson’s original sketch for the Wheel Stealer and the Flute Catcher, 1966.

more in Jim Henson’s Red Book


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