Hey, Isn't That...? #2: Willie Dynamite

So, I was watching the 1974 blaxploitation film, Willie Dynamite the other night, and suddenly it dawned on me who was playing the flamboyant pimp, Willie. I nearly choked on my Cheerios. I rushed to IMDb to be sure my memory was correct, and indeed it was.

First, let me tell you a little bit about the character and the movie. The central character is a flamboyant and ruthless pimp who smacks around his "bitches" to keep them in line. There may be a lot of pimps and hoes in NYC, but Willie D. is the best and his "stable" (as he calls his ladies) is the finest in the city.

Jealousy from rival pimps and pressure from the NYPD always keeps Willie on his toes. A social worker with a heart of gold tries to rehabilitate Willie and his hoes, but this pimp is no pushover. As the tagline for the movie reads: "Ain't no one crosses WILLIE D!" And that ain't no lie.

Thus, you can imagine my surprise upon discovering that Willie Dynamite is played by none other than Roscoe Orman. Who's that you ask? This dude played Gordon on Sesame Street from 1974 - 2008! I grew up with this guy - I grew up with friggin' Willie Dynamite! Yes!

Willie Dynamite - front row next to Bert.


  1. That is crazy. Next you are going to tell me that Mr. Hooper and Maria were in controversial movies.

    Easy Reader from The Electric company was the one who really struck it big with movies. Who would have guessed?

  2. So Gordon can be a pimp and remain on the show? Well Roosevelt Franklin (the muppet) was not so lucky. Roosevelt got canned from Sesame Street because he portrayed a negative stereotype on the show. He was one of the first african-american muppets to be on Sesame Street, yet he was constantly in detention after school. But I guess it is OK to be pimping hoes.

  3. really? willie dynamite was gordon from sesame street? cool! who would've though?

  4. Roscoe was, like Ron O'Neal from SUPERFLY, a New York stage actor when he was drafted for WILLIE DYNAMITE which is actually one of the better of its genre! Yeah, first time I saw it with him referring to "m'bitches" with a swagger, my jaw fell open, too!

    Mr. Orman used to tour the country doing mall shows for SESAME STREET. 3 shows a day of "One of These Things is Not Like the Other" in center court in front of hundreds of screaming toddlers! Once, between shows at the mall I worked at, I caught him sneaking a cigarette with fiends out back by the trash compactor!

    Always felt Gordon (and Susan) was really the heart of SESAME STREET yet there's barely mention of Roscoe Orman in last year's big, thick behind the scenes history of the show!

  5. lol! Make that "friends!," not "fiends!"

  6. I don't know what shocks me more; that Roscoe Orman played a bitch-slapping pimp, or that he's no longer on Sesame Street. My two kids already consider themselves too old for that show (at 6 and 3; I watched it up to the age of 9, but then there wasn't much else for kids in those days). So, is Gordon gone from the Street, or has someone else stepped into the role?

  7. And on a somewhat related topic, check out Uptown Saturday Night for an appearance by Lee Chamberlin (of The Electric Company) as hostess of a nightclub of ill repute!

  8. That's the $H!T..... My Main Man Gordon, I knew there was something about you that I can dig! I betcha he was slappin' Maria if she didn't come up with his and home made tortillas! Taught the Count EVERYTHANG he knows! And there's no doubt Snuffy was a loyal customer, only Willie D can get an elephant strung out so bad he move in permanent slow motion! Pimpin' is as Pimpin' does!


  9. Roscoe is very much still on Sesame Street, in fact he's still the de facto main adult human character. Maria and Luis are still frequently on and still played by Sonya Manzano and Emilio Delgado. Bob and Susan both still make occasional appearances as well, though sadly neither is as prominent as in the 70's and 80's.

    A great recent episode featuring Gordon and Susan, as well as Maria, Luis, Oscar, Burt and Ernie, prominently, is Episode 4276 'The Flood' from 2011/2012. It's on Netflix under Season 42.