Licensing.biz headed into London last month to chat with Sesame Street's pre-school monsters Elmo, Grover and Abby Cadabby.
We thought we'd ask them about the toy trade's big issues, the Olympics, celebrities and more. Here's the full interview, plus a YouTube audio excerpt...
Why are you here in London today?
Elmo: Oh we're here because of the Olympics. Yeah Elmo has been watching but we got to go to a game last night.
Grover: We got to see the women's football finals. I keep wanting to call it soccer.
Abby Cadabby: I do too I want to call it soccer.
E: I do too because we're from America.
G you know what, we should be able to call it football because... we won! [all three cheer]
So what is your favourite Olympic sport then?
E: Elmo thinks equestrian because Elmo likes horses.
G: I do too. I like the dressage. The horses dance - I think they should get the medals.
A: I like synchronised swimming – I don’t think bathing suits are that expensive to compete, especially when you’re practicing.
Why aren’t you in the Olympics? What sport would you do?
A: Synchronised swimming, for sure. I love it.
E: Elmo thinks Equestrian.
What do you think of London?
E: Oh Elmo loves London. Elmo’s been here a lot. Elmo loves it. It’s different compared to home, but in a good way. What’s in the States is wonderful but what here’s wonderful here too. Elmo loves Covent Garden.
A: I get a little confused when crossing the street. So I have to look left, right, left, right, cos I’m not too sure which sure the cars are on.
G: Why don’t you just fly over the street? You do have wings.
A: No but see my wings right now, my mummy put a spell on them, because I get excited when I watch sports or anything, and they flutter. And she was worried I was gonna fly up to the height of Big Ben.
E: [Makes snoring noises].
A: It’s true – why are you falling asleep?
G: Wake up, wake up, wake up.
E: Is she still talking?
G: You know what I like? You have different foods here. For instance, these mints. [Picks up a handful of mints off the table, spilling several]. We do not have these.
A: We have mints.
G: Oh but we do not have these ones. These are great. They are delicious.
E: Yeah and Elmo likes fish and chips. And Cue Gardens cos it’s really pretty there.
Who is your favourite Olympic athlete?
E: Oooh, Gabby Douglas. She’s team USA gymnastics. She won individual all around gold medal to go with the team gold medal she won with her US team mates at the London games, which is here. [Bangs the table]
So are you fan of Gabby then? Have you got a crush on Gabby?
E: Yes. I love Gabby.
When you last spoke to us you said you were a fan of Beyonce-
E: [Interrupting] Hubba hubba. Hubba hubba.
So is Gabby your new favourite celebrity?
G: You look like you’re blushing, Elmo.
E: Well, yeah. Elmo still loves Beyonce. There will always be a special place in Elmo’s heart for Beyonce. But Gabby Douglas, [shouting] HUBBA HUBBA HUBBA.
Who’s your favourite musician or celebrity that you’ve collaborated with on Sesame Street?
E: Robert DeNiro. He was funny. He taught Elmo how to act.
G: Paul Simon.
E: But he’s the mayor on Sesame Street. Elmo was thinking about Sir Paul McCartney, because we would still love to have him on Sesame Street.
G: And his name is Paul. Very easy to get confused.
A: I like Mr Elvis Costello. He was very sweet. And you know what, he brought his beautiful wife, too. And his kids. His wife is amazing. Diana Krall, she’s a beautiful singer and piano player.
E: She sang on Sesame Street too.
A: And Jason Moraz, he was good.
E: And Bruno Mars. We love to name drop.
OK so moving away from celebrities… we watched a lot of Sesame Street when we were growing up, but we’ve grown up since then and you guys haven’t.
G: Is it that obvious?
E: Obviously. [Laughs]
So, what’s your secret to eternal youth?
E: Sesame Street.
G: Fur. Fur. Fur. It hides all the wrinkles, you see.
A: I say joy and mirth.
G: It’s good too.
As we’re a business publication in the licensing and the toys industry-
E: [Interrupting] Business? We don’t know anything about business.
The team and I think you guys are great teachers and problem solvers. You’re good at teaching kids and so maybe you could teach the toy industry something?
E: We’ll see [laughs].
What would you do in these situations… so, first of all. Counterfeit toys-
Fake toys. How would you stop fake toys? What do you do with them?
E: There’s no such thing as a fake toy. A toy is a toy is a toy. That’s the way Elmo feels. That’s very non-business of Elmo.
G: It does not even need to be a toy to be able to play with it. It can be a toy if it isn’t a toy.
E: You can make it a toy. Like that candy for instance [points to a plate of mints on the table]. You could make that a toy.
G: I think that kind of advice might put the toy industry out of business.
E: Really, why? [Shouts] Next question!
So what would your favourite toys be?
E: Favourite toys…? The ones that are made.
G: By the toy industry! [Laughter] Did that make up for the last question? Sorry!
E: [Turns to publicist] You listening to this? Are you listening to where we’re going with this?
Publicist: I heard every word.
E: And you’re going to get us in trouble, aren’t you? [laughs].
A: I like things like Play-Doh and stuff. Toys that you can make stuff that you get to build with. I like building toys.
E: The best toys are the ones that when you know somebody made it special for you.
The toy industry is very competitive. And sometimes some toy companies take other toy companies to court if they-
E: [interrupting] You know we’re looking at you blindly.
A: These sound like major adult things.
G: Is he speaking English?
E: It’s Swahili. It sounds like Swahili. What we can tell you is that we love toys.
G: We love to PLAY with toys.
You don’t care about what’s running behind them?
A: We care about lots of things, but I think when we think of toys, we think of playing. We don’t think of what happens before.
E: And when we think of toys, we think of sharing them with each other, too.
A: We’re pretty basic.
G: We think of playing and sharing with our friends and having a good time.
E: [Leans towards the dictaphone] Recorder that’s all we’re gonna say about toys, OK?
Considering you guys are in England right now, if you were king of England for a day, what would you do?
A: Well I’d be shocked cos I’m supposed to be a queen.
G: [Laughs hysterically].
OK you’d be a member of the Royal Family then.
A: I don’t have the plumbing to be king, is what I’d say.
E: What is she talking about?
G: I don’t know what anyone is talking about here.
E: If Elmo was king for a day, Elmo would let everybody off work, and we’d all go out for the whole day.
G: I would let all of my subjects play with all of my toys. I would share all of my toys with the entire kingdom.
A: Here’s what I’d like. I’d like to get everyone to make the biggest toy ever. Like the biggest structure ever. Ever.
G: Even bigger than your castle?
A: [Shouts] Long live the structure that we created! I’m sorry, it’s past my naptime.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
E: We’d just like to thank you for the questions. They were cool.
G: And thank you for the [ToyNews] magazine. It’ll make some great reading.
A: We could make a great toy out of the magazine.
E: No! Elmo wants to see what’s in it first. Well it was nice meeting you.
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