During the 1970s, the Sesame Street cast made live performances across the country, but there was no effective way to get Oscar to enter the stage. Caroll Spinney, inspired by a puppet character on The Gong Show, conceived of a full-body garbage man who could physicially carry Oscar. Since his arms are usually just holding onto Oscar's trash can, Caroll Spinney was able to perform Oscar as well as Oscar's right hand while inside the Bruno costume. The trash can was connected to an opening in Bruno's stomach.
Though generally a silent character, 1 of the few times that Bruno spoke was in the song "Put It in the Trash Can", which he sang as part of a singing group, "Bruno & the Trashmen". He had a brief line at the end of Follow That Bird, saying "Sure, Boss!" when Oscar asked him to take a walk around the block. Similarly, when Oscar asks him a question in Here Come the Puppets!, Bruno gets out a "Well, uh..." before Oscar cuts him off & says that's enough. An invisible wire was connected from Bruno's mouth to somewhere inside the trash can.
According to Spinney, Bruno's greatest moment was at the end of Follow That Bird "as he slowly walks into the sunset carrying Oscar". Bruno has demonstrated skills at rollerskating while also carrying Oscar in his trash can, in both Here Come the Puppets! & Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake. In the latter, Bruno surprised both Oscar (to his disappointment) & the humans (to their amazement) at how good of a skater he was.
After several years in storage, the puppet's foam disintegrated & the puppet was retired. Caroll Spinney stated in a live appearance that it would've been expensive to rebuild Bruno.