Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street Hits The Big 4-0

   The popular PBS children's show "Sesame Street" turns 40 this year, and there are celebrations aplenty.
A new book is out with lots of behind the scenes photos and articles about the program.
I have fond childhood memories of coming home from school, and spending time with Grover, Kermit, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and the gang.
Those were indeed precious times. It was learning disguised as fun, and it worked. And it's still working for millions of children not only in the United States, but around the world.
For me, Sesame Street was part of a block of educational television that included "The Electric Company" (featuring Morgan Freeman as the Easy Reader!) and "Mister Rogers Neighborhood."
I have many favorite moments from the show. I was, and still am, a big fan of Bert & Ernie, and the Cookie Monster is always a hit. The show featured animation as well, and I distinctly remember one animated bit where a mother is giving a grocery list as her daughter tries to memorize it: "A gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, and a stick of butter," or something to that effect. It's close. She repeats it over and over as she travels to the store.
I am so grateful to have had these programs in my life as a child. "Sesame Street" gave you the fundamentals--basic language and math skills, plus how to live your life as a decent person. And it's all done in a wonderful way kids can instantly relate to--puppets with funny voices.
Of course, you can't forget that classic opening theme song: "Sunny Day/Sweeping the clouds away/On my way to where the air is clear/Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?"
Jim Henson had already created commercials with some of his muppets in the years before he hit the "Street," (I'm sure you can still see them somewhere on the internet), but he struck gold when he paired his creation with education.
I wish he were still around to celebrate this milestone. He left an amazing legacy that has changed the lives of millions of children for the better.
Thanks, Jim, and let's raise a glass (of milk or juice) to 40 more years of this spectacular show.
Check out this video which combines another of my favorite shows "Mad Men" with "Sesame Street."

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