Welcome back to Rotten Ink! This update is going to be a fun one as it’s a “Horror Host Icon” update all about Alistair Cookie, the host of Monsterpiece Theater…now I need you all to relax and just have fun with this one as I am sure some of you are saying out loud “Alistair Cookie is not a Horror Host he is an educational kids show character.” You are not wrong in your thoughts, but hear me out: some of the segments he hosted had kid friendly horror themes, he himself is a monster and again just sit back and have fun with this one. While he might not be a full fledged Horror Host, he is a Host of a parody themed movie show and much like Count Floyd was a gateway for young kids to discover the wonderful world of Horror Hosts. So grab some cookies and milk, and let’s talk tales with Alistair Cookie of Monsterpiece Theater who is coming to you from Sesame Street.
Alistair Cookie is a blue monster that wears a smoking jacket, with early episodes even having a pipe that he would eat at the end of the show (this was done away with not to make smoking look cool to kids) and sits in a massive wingback chair in a study with a fireplace surrounded by books and photos of his friends from the past. He is a cool and calm host and loves cookies and milk as he showcases a short segment that is based on a book, fable or film and is done to teach the viewers a lesson of education as well are done in a silly nature to deliver a chuckle. And Alistair loves himself some cookies and will devour them and at time even gleefully talk about the cookies. Alistair not only during an episode would interact with the viewers at home but also those Muppets that appear in his sketches, and even at times Alistair himself will be in one of the spoof segments! Alistair Cookie started being the host for Monsterpiece Theater in 1978 that was a part of the classic educational series “Sesame Street” and was a take off of the PBS show Masterpiece Theatre and its host Alistair Cooke. Monsterpiece Theater lasted for around 36 episodes (within the main show) and came to an end in 1999 as part of the Sesame Street segment lineup. During its run, Monsterpiece Theater would spoof books, shows and movies like NYPD Blue, Chariots Of Fire, Dances With Wolves, Dr. No, Gone With The Wind, Hamlet, West Side Story and The 39 Steps to name a few. While Alistair Cookie and Monsterpiece Theater might not be on the air anymore with new episodes, kids of the time like myself loved the show and enjoyed every time it was apart of Sesame Street. And I should say that Monsterpiece Theater aired on PBS during its run, and for those of you who grew up in the late 70’s through the 90’s you know just how cool Alistair Cookie was and just how zany and crazy he was to eat cookies and share a tale with us all. I want to also say that the shows opening theme is great and has a regal sound with later seasons even having Alistair eating and talking about a cookie he is eating.
Cookie Monster is the Muppet behind Alistair Cookie and he is one of the biggest stars in the history of Sesame Street on TV. Cookie Monster is a Muppet who was created by Jim Henson and played by Frank Oz from 1969 to 2004 and David Rudman helped from 2001-2004 before taking over the role that he is still doing to this day. But Cookie Monster first appeared in TV Commercials for General Foods as he would steal and eat snack food along with fellow monsters and he was called Wheel-Stealer, but oddly enough his commercials never would be aired and the future Cookie Monster would not get his big break until 1967 when he would be used in a IBM training film and a few years later he would be called Arnold The Munching Monster and would be used in commercials for Munchos a potato chip from Frito-Lay. But then Cookie Monster took a role on Sesame Street starting in 1969 and his career was set and would lead to him being a featured cast member and one of the most loved Muppets of all time. He would go on to star in movies as well as shows like Saturday Night Live, Martha Stewart, All Things Considered and The Colbert Report and so many more. Cookie Monster who is called that cause he loves to eat cookies also later would tell kids that cookies are good but they should also eat veggies, but keep in mind he has not lost his love for cookies and is still appearing on the show to this day! And growing up indeed Cookie Monster was one of my favorite characters from Sesame Street and I had books, a patch and toys that featured him and one year my Birthday Cake had Cookie Monster on it. When you think of Icons of the Muppet world Cookie Monster has to be at the top of your list. And come on you know reading this Horror Host Icon update the song “C Is For Cookie” that he sang is going through your head. And on a side note Alistair Cookie was suggested to the Horror Host Hall Of Fame Board to be on a ballot and sadly did not get the vote to make it on in around 2021.
Like all good “Horror Hosts” Alistair Cookie has had a really cool doll made of him that was sold by PBS and come complete with his chair as well as smoking jacket. And this is one doll that I wish I would have known about as I would have 100% bought it. Now you can only find it via third party sellers on sites like Ebay and they are going for high prices. But fans of Alistair Cookie I wanted to make you aware that this doll was made and is out there for you to collect.
Monsterpiece Theater was a staple on Sesame Street for a few decades and Alistair Cookie was a Host that kids always enjoyed seeing on their TV Sets. And we are now at the part of this review were we will take a look at show and what I have here is a Best Of DVD set that I was able to get thanks to my brother and because there is so many of them I will be picking my favorite 8 episodes. And keep in mind the “movies” he showed was all part of the host segment and at times Alistair himself would be the star of the short he was hosting! So with that grab a cookie or two and pour yourself a very tall glass of milk as we are going to talk Monsterpieces with the one and only Alistair Cookie.
Best Of Monsterpiece Theater Vol. 1
Starring – Mel Gibson & Grover Not Rated 1978-1999
Host: “Upstairs, Downstairs” Alistair is sitting in his wing backed chair with a pipe and welcomes viewers and the short has Grover going up and down stairs and getting winded doing so. Once back to Alistair he thanks us for watching and then eats the smoking pipe! “Gone With The Wind” Alistair starts the episode by welcoming us to the show and saying he is very happy to bring us his favorite film today…but then says that he has never seen it but heard it was good. The short has a mansion being hit by a windstorm and inside Kermit and a female Muppet watch as things are being blown around and are both confused to what to do to stop it, and while doing match they both end up being blown away by the wind. And when we join Alistair his library is also now being hit with wind and he ushers us out by thanking us for watching. “1 Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” Alistair with book in hand is sitting in his library and welcomes us to the show and builds up the show as being a showcase of the number 1’s historic flight over the cuckoo’s nest. The segment goes wrong at first as number 3 flies over a chicken coop, and four falls from the sky into a pig pin than finally number 1 fly over the nest. In the end Alistair is relieved that they finally showed the right segment and bids us farewell and relaxes back into his chair. “Twin Beaks” has Alistair himself going toe the strange town of Twin Beaks that is populated by birds and he is trying to figure out why the town is called that and even talks to the bird with a log to try and get the answer, and does notice that all the birds do have two beaks. Once back in the library Alistair takes a pie and eats it down and ushers us once more out of the show. “Lethal Weapon 3” once more Alistair welcomes us to the show and says tonight’s feature is packed with danger and the mega movie hit Lethal Weapon 3. We then join Mel Gibson and Danny Glover standing by a Danger sign and they are looking around when all of a sudden a giant # 3 falls from the sky. And in the end as Alistair ends the show a giant # 4 falls from the sky and lands on his chair. “Hamlet” the show starts with Alistair in his chair and the moon is out and he says tonight’s episode is very classy and is very proud to bring the viewers Hamlet! The segment then has a castle and Mel Gibson as Hamlet who is reading a book when Elmo enters the scene and watches as Hamlet goes through emotions reading the book and when asked how he can get a book Hamlet tells Elmo to go to the library. In the end Alistair eats a Danish pastry as well as the plate it was on. “Dances With Wolves” Alistair once more is happy to bring the viewers a blockbuster film that is filled with action and buffalos and ushers us into the short that is set at a ball that has farm animals dancing and a young female big has no one to dance with, so enter the wolf. And just because they are different they still have a great time dancing together. Alistair ends the episode shoving cookies into his mouth. “Dr. No” Alistair is once more in his chair and tells the viewers that the night’s episode stars the master spy James Bond! The segment takes place in a eye doctors office and James Bond needs Dr. No’s help in order to read. In the end Alistair eating cookies tells the viewers that next episode will be another James Bond adventure.
That was such a fun Horror Host Icon update that I know has many of you readers split on if he is a “Horror Host” or not, and believe me I have heard that same debate over even the likes of Count Floyd, The Crypt Keeper, Miko Macabre and the cast of Dinner & A Movie as many do not look at them as full fledge Horror Hosts. And I myself say that all mentioned are indeed Horror Hosts and while they are not your traditional style hosts they all have their own styles, fans and creative ways to be a Host. And in the case of Alistair Cookie I think he is a gateway Host for kids that will help them to discover other movie hosts, as lets be honest many of the parody segments are based on cult films and TV shows from Twin Peaks all the way to Hitchcock’s 39 Steps and even a Lethal Weapon 3 in between. Also to be honest I loved all the episodes on this disc and just picked some of the more fun and silly ones. So to wrap it up I want to thank Alistair Cookie for all his years on Monsterpiece Theater that has lead to so many great memories for me as well as thousands of others who grew up with his antics on select episodes of Sesame Street. For the next update we will be leaving Sesame Street as well as the world of Horror Hosting and will be heading to Jellystone Park to visit one of my all time favorite cartoon characters Yogi Bear! So until next time eat a cookie or three, enjoy a glass of milk or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time as we go on the hunt for some picnic baskets.