Saturday Surprise — A Step Back In Time

Welcome to Saturday Surprise!  Today, I would like to travel back in time … about 48 years, to be exact, to 1969.  Remember what you were doing on this day in 1969?  Of course you do, right?  The only thing I can say for sure is that I was a lot younger then. Heck, I cannot remember what I was doing five minutes ago, let alone 48 years!  But come along with me for just a few minutes …

Pull up a chair and turn on the television … it’s time for …

On this day in 1969, “Sesame Street,” a pioneering TV show that would teach generations of young children the alphabet and how to count, makes its broadcast debut. “Sesame Street,” with its memorable theme song (“Can you tell me how to get/How to get to Sesame Street”), went on to become the most widely viewed children’s program in the world. It has aired in more than 120 countries.

The show was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney’s goal was to create programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational. She also wanted to use TV as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten. “Sesame Street” was set in a fictional New York neighborhood and included ethnically diverse characters and positive social messages.

Taking a cue from “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” a popular 1960s variety show, “Sesame Street” was built around short, often funny segments featuring puppets, animation and live actors. This format was hugely successful, although over the years some critics have blamed the show and its use of brief segments for shrinking children’s attention spans.

From the show’s inception, one of its most-loved aspects has been a family of puppets known as Muppets. Joan Ganz Cooney hired puppeteer Jim Henson (1936-1990) to create a cast of characters that became Sesame Street institutions, including Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Grover and Big Bird.

The subjects tackled by “Sesame Street” have evolved with the times. In 2002, the South African version of the program, “Takalani Sesame,” introduced a 5-year-old Muppet character named Kami who is HIV-positive, in order to help children living with the stigma of a disease that has reached epidemic proportions. In 2006, a new Muppet, Abby Cadabby, made her debut and was positioned as the show’s first female star character, in an effort to encourage diversity and provide a strong role model for girls.

Since its inception, over 74 million Americans have watched “Sesame Street.” Today, an estimated 8 million people tune in to the show each week in the U.S. alone.

History.com, 2009, Sesame Street debuts, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/sesame-street-debuts, November 10, 2017, A+E Networks

A trip down memory lane is always fun, isn’t it?  Ahhhh … the good ol’ days.  Who was your favourite character?  I think Kermit was mine, though I loved them all!  I had so much fun with this one … I spent literally hours watching YouTube clips!  How about a bit of trivia about the show …

  • The show was almost called 123 Avenue B, but it was changed due to the fact that it was a real New York City address.
  • Cookie Monster predates the show by 3 years. Jim Henson originally designed an early version of the character in 1966, for a cracker commercial.
  • In 2004, Cookie Monster revealed that, before trying cookies for the first time, his name was Sid.
  • Big Bird is 8’2″ tall.
  • Big Bird’s teddy bear is named “Radar” after the character from M*A*S*H (1972) who always slept with a teddy bear.
  • As of 2005, this program has won over 100 Emmy Awards, the single-most awarded to any television show in the United States.
  • Don Music, the piano player who would bang his head against the piano in frustration, was discontinued when kids at home started doing the same thing.
  • The Count’s birthday is October 9, 1,830,653 B.C.

I hope you enjoyed this Saturday Surprise, brought to you by the letter “S”.  Have a great weekend, everyone … love and hugs to all!

27 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — A Step Back In Time

  1. Way back in the Sixties we all saw Sesame Street

    A show about reading & counting (often fingers and feet)

    Featuring ‘Animal’ and ‘Big Bird’

    And a ‘Cookie Monster,’ so absurd!

    ‘Elmo,’ and ‘Oscar,’ , a true elite!

    We have all named the muppets

    The most entertaining of puppets

    Like ‘The Count,’ counting over

    Miss Piggy and Grover

    But who remembers Statler and Waldorf?

    OK the last line didn’t rhyme, but who cares 😄

    My favourite character was Miss Piggy because she just didn’t take any guff from anyone! 😄

    Bit late again…but it is a nice change to remember the past fondly! Happy times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,
    In 1969 I was in college. A couple years later, I graduated college and got married.
    I raised my kids on Sesame Street even though I was a parent who encouraged outdoor play.
    I watched a lot of Wiggles with my grandson as the guys were cute. And with my granddaughter, it is “Daniel Tiger” as well as “Sesame Street.” We are both fans of Elmo.
    I tell my grand kids about my favorite advances of the past 50 years and one of them is PBS and Sesame Street. On the top of the list are Google and cell phones.
    Thanks for another fun post.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha … If I had to guess, that is exactly who I would have guessed. I was already in college when it started, but watched it with my own children and then later my grandchildren, so i had a healthy dose of Sesame Street. Much better … healthier for the mind … than most programming intended for adults!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, thanks for the memories. Sesame Street is truly an enduring national treasure. Other kid shows have touted better education success, but none have endured, which means it has the most traction. People remember characters and episodes, which says a great deal. Thanks, Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sesame Street wasn’t compulsory viewing here for a long time so I’m not aware of content though I am of characters.
    My favourite Muppet was Animal and I don’t know if he was a Sesame Street character or not.
    xxx Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yipeeeee! I loved Sesame Street, even as a pre teen. Favorite character? The Count! Uh one ringy dingy, uh two…marvelous! And the guest stars were always fun too. Then Grover was my next favorite. So much of him in me… I loved so many shows during that time. There was a glut of educational, fun and informative tv for kids and teens. Schoolhouse Rock, The Afterschool Special, most Tuesday Movie of the week were aimed at young adults. Then along came Nickelodean and Beavis and Butthead and rhings sort of shifted…..thanks so much for this trip down Sesame Street, Jill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! There are a ton of YouTube videos out there … check them out next time you need a few laughs. I had so much fun with this one … so many memories, many laughs, even a few tears in the episode after Mr. Hooper died.

      Like

  6. I see Kermit and think ‘it’s not easy being green.’ and then i think of Pepe, and the alt-right, and most of those losers weren’t even born yet. what must they think of the pig-frog romance on the Muppet Show?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Delightful trip down memory lane; could not resist but have a look through our kitchen window into our little garden….to see ‘Kermit’ sitting pensively at the little bird bath…..Yes! Great character! They’re all super…Love them! Thanks Jill! Have a ‘Muppet-Happy Week-end! Hugs! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fun stuff! My favorite Muppet was Grover. Our University just had its 50th anniversary and they posted pictures of students, faculty and staff from the late 60s — including one of me. I had no idea who that person was. I still don’t!!

    Liked by 1 person

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