The "R" Machine
a skit performed by Ernie (Jim Henson) and Bert (Frank Oz)
Written by Jim Henson
Bert (fixing the machine): "Ha! Well, this machine knows what letter comes next. I put this here..."
Ernie: "Hi there, Bert. What's that machine you're working on?"
Bert: "Oh hi, Ernie. This is my latest invention, my automatic "R" detector."
Ernie: "No kidding."
Bert: "Yeah. Anytime this machine hears an "R" or an "R" word, it rings a bell. I'll start it up for you now...."
(sound of machine starting)
Ernie: "Wow! Look at that machine go."
Bert: "Now if you'll just say something that begins with "R"..." (bell rings)
Ernie: "What was that?"
Bert: "Oh, I just said "R". (bell rings) And when you say "R" (bell rings), the bell rings." (bell rings)
Ernie: "Hey! You said "rings" (bell rings) which begins with "R"." (bell rings)
Bert: "Right." (bell rings)
Ernie: "Why, that's remarkable! (bell rings) Hey! (Ernie laughs) Keeheehee! That's fun. Let me tell it an "R" riddle." (bell rings twice)
Bert: "O.K. Just don't go too fast. I don't know what'll happen if the machine gets going too fast."
Ernie: "O.K. Listen to this, machine: Roscoe really raised rabbits while Ruth rode the red reindeer. If Roscoe's rabbits raised a racket, why did Ruth's reindeer run the rabbits ragged?"
(bell rings 17 times)
Bert: "Hey, hey! Don't talk so fast. The machine is beginning to smoke."
Ernie: "Well, I only have one last poem here."
Bert: "Yeah, yeah, but listen.."
Ernie: "Robert rolled reddish radishes around the ring of rubber rubbish..." (The bell rings seven times and the machine makes a "Moooooooo!" sound)
(The machine explodes and makes a whistling sound)
Bert: "Hey, hey, wait! Hold it!....Wait!....Now look what you did!"
Ernie: "Oh my! The machine looks ruined."
(The bell rings and the machine makes another whistling sound)
(The machine pops out a spring)
Transcribed by the ravishing Don Murphy and William Powell
Originally released on
The Muppet Alphabet Album (1971)
Children's Television Workshop
The same album was reissued in 1996 as
Sing The Alphabet (CD) and on Cassette
also released on the album
Bert's Blockbusters (1974)
and on the album
At Home With Ernie and Bert (1979)
and on the cassette
Bert & Ernie: Side By Side (1981)