An old Sesame Street clip is going viral 50 years to the month after the show debuted. Like pretty much every vintage clip from the show, it’s shockingly delightful, so we think it’s the twist ending that’s powering its current popularity.
The clip in question features Herry Monster talking to a kid named John Williams, who had landed a dream job chatting with Muppets at the ripe age of three. It was shared last week by Kristina Holzweiss, a librarian and author.
The clip begins in 1974, with a five-year-old Williams, known as John-John because his mother loved JFK, agreeing to count with Herry Monster and insisting that he go first. The pair count into the teens, with John-John getting more and more excited as they climb higher and higher.
Until, that is, he gets to 15 and can’t quite figure out what’s next. John-John flashes a smile and looks to Herry for help.
“16,” Herry reacts, and John-John repeats it with even more excitement before continuing on to 19 and asking “What comes after 19?” Then, the twist.
— 🌎Kristina A. Holzweiss #HackingSchoolLibraries⭐ (@lieberrian) November 21, 2019
There’s a smash cut to a man yelling “20!” with the same energy John-John had been counting with. That’s because it is John-John, now an adult, appearing on the 1989 special Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting.
Herry asks “John-John, is that you all grown up?”
“It sure is Herry.”
Herry asks about his uniform, and John-John explains that he’s in the Air Force, and he has been for about a year and a half.
“Maybe for old time’s sake we could do a little counting?” Herry asks.
“Sure we can!”
“From 16, huh?”
“OK, but I’ll go first, you go second.”
The pair picks up where they left off, counting all the way to 19 until another sudden cut, back to John-John as a child, yelling 20, the perfect capper to the video.
Since Holzweiss tweeted the video, it has attracted over 240,000 likes and nearly 60,000 retweets, a testament to the delight of the twist ending and the fond place Sesame Street has in the memories of so many adults.