Bert and Ernie are two Muppet puppet characters who are major protagonists on the popular U.S. children’s television show Sesame Street that appear together in numerous skits. Originated by Frank Oz and Jim Henson, the characters are currently performed by Muppeteers Eric Jacobson and Steve Whit mire, with Oz performing Bert occasionally since 2000. Ernie is orange and Bert is yellow.
Ernie and Bert were built by Don Sahlin from a simple design scribbled by Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. Initially, Henson performed Bert and Oz performed Ernie, but after just one day of rehearsal, they switched characters. According to writer Jon Stone, the relationship between Ernie and Bert reflected the real-life friendship between Henson and Oz.
According to A&E’s Biography, Ernie and Bert were virtually the only Muppets to appear in the Sesame Street pilot episode, which was screen tested to a number of families in July 1969. Their brief appearance was the only part of the pilot that tested well, so it was decided that not only should Muppet characters be the “stars” of the show, but would also interact with the human characters, something that was not done in the pilot.
In 1997, the parody website “Bert is Evil” displayed Bert in a number of doctored photographs, implicating him in crimes ranging from the Assassination of John F. Kennedy to those of Jack the Ripper. A similar image from another source and featuring Bert conferring with Osama bin Laden was mistakenly included by a Bangladeshi print shop on a series of protest signs in late 2001 and 2002.