Aloysius Snuffleupagus, more commonly known as Mr. Snuffleupagus or Snuffy, is one of the Muppet characters on the long-running educational television program for young children, Sesame Street. He resembles a woolly mammoth, without tusks or (visible) ears, and he is a friend of Big Bird. He attends Snufflegarten and has a baby sister named Alice.
For many years, Big Bird was the only character on the show who saw him (he only came along when Big Bird was alone). The main adult characters teased Big Bird when he said he had seen the Snuffleupagus, because they didn't believe there was such an animal, often despite evidence to the contrary (such as an oversized teddy bear that Snuffy had left behind or segments in which Snuffy interacted with other characters, such as a street scene where Snuffy was seen playing London Bridge with some of the neighborhood kids). This was modeled in part on the imaginary friends some young children have.
By the late-1970s, the storylines had the adult characters becoming increasingly frustrated with Big Bird using Snuffleupagus as a scapegoat whenever something went wrong while they were out of the room. In one episode, newspapers on Sesame Street carried the front page headline, "Snuffy's got to go!"
This running gag ended with the November 18, 1985 episode of Sesame Street, which was also episode 2096 and the 17th season premiere, when the adults finally met Snuffy. Big Bird is sick and tired of not having the grown-ups believing him when he tells them about Snuffy. So he decides to arrange for them to come to his nest when he yells the signaling word, "Food". When Big Bird calls out the word, Snuffy runs off to tell his mother about it, so once again the grown-ups just miss him. Gordon tells Big Bird he needs someone to help him keep Snuffy in his nest and Elmo offers to be the one. So when Snuffy returns, Elmo holds on to his snuffle so he can't go, Big Bird yells, "Food", and one by one the adults come and see Snuffy for the first time ever. After Snuffy introduces himself, Big Bird does an "I told you so" routine, prompting the adults to apologize profusely.
It is rumoured that the Children's Television Workshop decided on this storyline in part after high-profile (and sometimes, graphic) stories on pedophilia and sexual abuse of children on shows such as 60 Minutes and 20/20.
Mr. Snuffleupagus remains a prominent part of Sesame Street.
After his revelation, Mr. Snuffleupagus became more and more a regular member of the Sesame Street cast, even appearing in episodes without Big Bird.
According to sources like the Sesame Workshop website and Sesame Street Unpaved, the character's name is spelled "Snuffleupagus". Many licensors, close-captioners, and fans (including websites) misspell the word. Even The Jim Henson Company website errs, spelling the character's name "Snuffulupagus".
The 1985 Warner Brothers movie Sesame Street presents Follow That Bird depicts his name properly spelled on his mailbox. At the time he was still considered by others as Big Bird's "imaginary" friend. The fact that he was shown with his own real place, as well as him sending Big Bird a very real postcard, set up his revelation to the rest of Sesame Street later that year.
Snuffleupagus, nicknamed Snuffy, was first performed by Jerry Nelson, then Michael Earl, and finally Marty Robinson.
* In the 1996 video Elmo Saves Christmas, it is revealed that Snuffy's grandmother lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
* In the 1980s, it was established that the species was indigenous to Hawaii. On the cast's trip there, Big Bird found a mountain that looked awfully like a side view of Snuffy. He christened it "Mount Snuffleupagus" for the time there.
* Similar to how Big Bird often mispronounced Mr. Hooper's name as "Mr. Looper", Snuffy often mispronounced Mr. Handford's name as "Mr. Handfoot."
* The episode where the adults met Snuffy is cited by some fans as the moment when Sesame Street jumped the shark.
* In his stand-up comedy show, "Killin' Them Softly", Dave Chappelle accused various characters of the Sesame Street-cast of having a bad influence on children. He accused Snuffy of being a junky because of his odd appearance and the way he talked.
* In a 1980s episode before Snuffy's "reveal", Big Bird got back at David when David told him he had a friend named Michael who could juggle "anything" who was coming to visit. (The friend was played by a juggler and stand-up comic named Michael who was famous for juggling a bowling ball, an apple, and a raw egg in his act, and proceeding to eat the apple while he juggled it. He recreated the performance on the show.) However, whenever David tried to get Big Bird to meet him, he kept disappearing just before so, prompting Big Bird to think Michael was imaginary. To round it all out, Michael didn't believe David when he said he knew an "8-foot-tall yellow bird".
* His eye lashes won "Longest eyelashes for a fictional character" in the Guiness World Record Books '97
* Snuffy has a younger sister named Alice.