Role in the series
He is one of the lead characters in the television series Dinosaurs. Identified as a Megalosaurus, Earl is the 43-year-old head of his family, consisting of his wife Fran, teenage children Robbie and Charlene, mother-in-law Ethyl Phillips and infant son Baby Sinclair. Married for over 15 years, Earl tends to take his more sensible wife for granted, who often brings him down to earth with a sharp "Earl Sneed Sinclair!" Earl's own family background is seldom delved into, but he was the class runt in high school and has an estranged sister, country singer Pearl Sinclair. He is given two common nicknames--Pally Boy by Roy Hess and Not the Mama by Baby.
Employed as a low-level tree-pusher for the voluminous WESAYSO Corporation, Earl is old-fashioned and resentful as his family often tries to break with dinosaur tradition, yet usually caves in (though in the show's final episode, "Changing Nature," he is very supportive of new technology).
Earl's best friend is Roy Hess and it's sometimes unclear whether work is a refuge from home or home is a refuge from work. In particular, Earl struggles with being a new father again and Baby Sinclair's continual address of "Not the Mama" over "Daddy" is a source of frustration. One such attempt to win his youngest son's approval involved adopting the superhero persona Captain Impressive ("Earl, Don't Be a Hero"). Earl's other desire, outside of being left alone to snack and drink beer, is to achieve recognition from B.P. Richfield and the outside world, whether by becoming "Employee of the Month" or through laying claim as the discoverer of Sinclair City ("The Discovery").
Though usually content to watch television and avoid serious thought, Earl could be occasionally galvanized into action by either his family or a delayed conscience. His achievements during the series' run included running for Chief Elder ("And the Winner is..."), becoming the network's lead television programmer ("Network Genius") and trading places with a tree ("If I Were a Tree"). Earl also used to play accordion and was surprisingly good at it ("Swamp Music").
Despite his occasional moments of enlightenment, the well-meaning but dense Earl ultimately contributes to the extinction of his entire species ("Changing Nature").
Behind the Scenes
Earl was a full-bodied, realistic animatronic puppet with the facial radio controls operated by Dave Goelz in season 1 and the first part of season 2 and by Mak Wilson for the rest of the series' run. The body suit was performed by Bill Barretta (in one of his earliest Henson projects) and, on occasion, Tom Fisher.
Earl and the rest of the show's main cast appeared in a Dinosaurs-based parade at Disney-MGM Studios when the series was running.
- "You do that one more time and I'm gonna throw you across the room!"
- "All right, that ends right now. I've had it up to here with this 'Not the Momma'. I am not 'Not the Momma', I'm your daddy, and you only get one, buster, and that's what you're gonna call me. Daddy. Now say, 'Daddy.'"
- "Honey, I'm home!"
- "Exactly! And it's that kind of delusion that's made our country what it is today."
- "As you can see, I have separated all known dinosaur wisdom into three categories: animal, vegetable, rocks."
- "Water is the opposite of fire, which we have previously established as a vegetable. What's the opposite of a vegetable? Fruit. So, water is a fruit! Fruit is not a vegetable, so it has to be either an animal or a rock. We know it's not an animal. Therefore, fruit is a rock."
- "Son, under our system, a guy can't muscle his way to the top without any opposition. We are required by our constitution to let the voters think they have a choice. That's democracy."
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