An ‘Abbott Elementary’ Star Once Had A Terrifying Encounter With A Beloved ‘Sesame Street’ Character: ‘The Head Was Off’

Sesame Street characters have been dominating social media lately thanks to Elmo, and more recently, Grover who’s decided to chart an ill-fated path into journalism. (Grover, no!) Now, here comes Abbott Elementary star Tyler James Williams with a horrifying tale about being a child actor on the set of the beloved TV show.

The actor was only seven years old when he made an appearance on Sesame Street, and clearly, the first thing he saw has haunted him forever.

“I remember the moment of walking on set and seeing a man in Big Bird and it stopped me at first,” Williams told The Jess Cagle Show. “The head was off and he just had the legs on, and it definitely shocked me.”

Despite having that image seared into his brain, Williams revealed that the performers are actually very cognizant about making the production process as kid-friendly as possible even though you’ll occasionally see a headless Big Bird or Elmo with a hand up his, um, back.

Via Entertainment Weekly:

“They stay in character the entire time,” he remembered. “If it’s Elmo, although you can see the hand up the puppet, the voice coming out of the man’s mouth will always be Elmo until the kids leave, so that’s what helps bridge the gap a little bit. I’m seeing behind the curtain, but I’m still getting things here that are comfortable and familiar. They’re very aware of how I think jarring that can be for a kid and they do a really good job of making it feel as natural as possible.”

After getting over the initial shock of seeing a decapitated Big Bird, Williams said that even as a kid, he quickly realized that working the iconic character is hard as hell.

“Big Bird, the man is in the suit, but the mouth is moving from his arm that is stretched up, so you somehow have to be able to stand and move one of the arms and flap it and, you know, walk and do all of this while your other hand is moving along with the mouth,” Williams said. “And I remember looking at that and going, ‘This is much harder than anybody thinks.'”

(Via Entertainment Weekly)