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Sesame Street

USA



Original Air Date:
1969
Channel:
PBS
Prod. Co.:
Jim Henson Productions
Genre:
Educational
 

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Characters & Voices
Alan - Alan Muraoka
Alice Snuffleupagus - Judy Sladky
Aloysius 'Snuffy' Snuffleupagus - Martin P. Robinson
Baby Bear - David Rudman
Barkley the Dog (Woof - Woof)
Bert - Frank Oz
Betty Lou - Lisa Buckley
Biff - Jerry Nelson
Big Bird - Carroll Spinney
Bob - Bob McGrath
Bruno - Carroll Spinney
Buffy - Buffy Sainte
Carlo - Carlo Alban
Celina - Annette Calud
Colambo - Joey Mazzarino
Cookie Monster - Frank Oz
Count von Count - Jerry Nelson
David - Northern Calloway
Don Music - Richard Hunt
Elmo - Kevin Clash
Ernie (1969 - 89)
Ernie (1989 - )
Fat Blue - Jerry Nelson
Forgetful Jones - Richard Hunt
Fred the Wonder Horse - Jerry Nelson
Gina - Alison Bartlett
Gladys the Cow - Richard Hunt
Gordon (1969 - 71)
Gordon (1971 - 73)
Gordon Robinson (1973 - )
Grover - Frank Oz
Grungetta - Pam Arciero
Guy Smiley (1969 - 89)
Harvey Kneeslapper - Frank Oz
Herry Monster - Jerry Nelson
Hoots the Owl - Kevin Clash
Kermit the Frog (1969 - 89)
Kermit the Frog (1989 - )
Kingston Livingston III - Kevin Clash
Lillian - Lillias White
Linda - Linda Bove
Little Bird - Fran Brill
Luis Rodriguez - Emilio Delgado
Maria Figeuroa Rodriguez - Sonia Manzano
Molly the Mail Lady - Charlotte Rae
Mr. Handford - David Langston Smyrl
Mr. Harold Hooper - Will Lee
Mr. Macintosh - Chet O'Brien
Mr. Noodle - Bill Irwin
Mr. Noodle's Brother - Michael Jeter
Natasha - Kevin Clash
Olivia - Alaina Reed Hall
Oscar the Grouch - Carroll Spinney
Painter - Paul Benedict
Placido Flamingo - Richard Hunt
Prairie Dawn - Fran Brill
Prince Charming - Frank Oz
Professor Hastings - Frank Oz
Rafael - Raul Julia
Roosevelt Franklin - Matt Robinson
Rosita, La Monstrua de las Cuevas - Carmen Osbahr
Roxie Marie - Fran Brill
Ruthie - Ruth Buzzi
Sam the Super - Automated Robot
Savion - Savion Glover
Sherlock Hemlock - Jerry Nelson
Sherry Netherland - Alice Dinnean
Slimey - Martin P. Robinson
Sonny Friendly - David Rudman
Sonny Friendly - Richard Hunt
Sully - Richard Hunt
Susan Robinson - Loretta Long
Telly Monster - Martin P. Robinson
The Amazing Mumford - Jerry Nelson
The Countess Dahling von Dahling - Fran Brill
The Countess von Backwards - Camille Bonora
Two - Headed Monster
Two - Headed Monster
Two - Headed Monster
Uncle Wally - Bill McCutcheon
Willy - Kermit Love
Zoe - Fran Brill
 
“Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away,
On my way to where the air is sweet,
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street?”

It may be the most famous street in the world, a meeting place for muppets, monsters, grouches, imaginary friends and a big yellow bird. Say the words Sesame Street to anyone who’s been a kid since 1969 and you’re almost sure to get a smile, maybe even a song. Yes, kids, learning was fun again.

The show began in November 1969 as a way of reaching inner-city kids (hence the urban setting and multicultural cast), but its clever mix of comic bits, catchy songs and informative (but fun) lessons caught on with kids of all backgrounds. Jim Henson’s Muppet creations-Ernie and Bert, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, Herry Monster, Snuffleupagus, Count von Count, Guy Smiley, Prairie Dawn, Telly Monster and the relatively recent but insanely popular Elmo-interacted with human regulars Susan, Gordon, Bob, Maria, Luis, David and Mr. Hooper throughout the program. As the show’s popularity grew, so did the roster of famous guest stars (everyone from Little Richard to Hillary Rodham Clinton).

The Sesame Street songs became a cultural phenomenon of their own, with over fifty compilation albums recorded to date. Some taught letters (“Letter B” to the Beatles’ “Let It Be”), others numbers (“Born to Add” to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”), others taught social lessons on everything from recycling (“Keep On Truckin’”) to cleanliness (“I Gotta Be Clean”) to self-acceptance (“Everyone Makes Mistakes”). Still other songs may have had dubious educational value (did anyone really learn anything from “Rubber Duckie” or “Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco”?) but were undeniably fun.

Though the mood was usually light, Sesame Street didn’t shy away from serious topics. When Will Lee (the actor who played Mr. Hooper) passed away, a special episode dealt with the death, as Big Bird learned how to cope with the loss of his dear friend.

The characters became icons, the songs were part of the shared experience of childhood, and the lessons helped jumpstart the education of many a young viewer. And after more than thirty years, there’s no sign that this street will be closing any time soon.

(This memory was brought to you by the letters “Y” and “L”)
 
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Matt Groening's "The Simpsons" series premieres on FOX-TV in 1989.