Happy 40th Birthday SESAME STREET!

Written by Holly on Thursday November 5, 2009

sesame_street_friendsSESAME STREET begins its new season next Tuesday, November 10, forty years ago to the day of the series debut. 

James Earl Jones was the celebrity guest in that first episode. The show was an immediate success, and just one year later, Big Bird was on the cover of Time.

Here are a few more things you might not have known about SESAME STREET...

  • The fabric for Bert and Ernie's sweaters could be purchased at a store back in 1969. But today, their sweaters have to be hand knit to match their original pattern. 
  • A Birdseed Milkshake at Hooper's Store cost 20 cents in 1969 and costs $2.99 now.
  • Big Bird is covered with approximately six thousand dyed North American turkey, coq, ostrich and hackle feathers.
  • All of the SESAME STREET Muppets have four fingers, except Cookie Monster, who has five. 
  • Oscar the Grouch was orange in the first season.
  • Ernie is the only SESAME STREET Muppet to have a built in smile (despite how they might be drawn in the graphic to the right).
  • Cookie Monster used to have pointy teeth. Yikes! Glad that's changed.

With over 21 million minutes (and counting) since the Count's first "ah ah ah," SESAME STREET continues to grow with children and their changing needs. As preschoolers today have different viewing habits, the 40th season has been reformatted to resemble a typical broadcasting block. Murray the Monster Muppet hosts each episode from different locations linking four longer segments. Each episode will begin and end with a brand new version of the classic "Sunny Days."

While maintaining an emphasis learning letters and numbers, the new season kicks-off "My World is Green & Growing," a two-year science initiative designed to increase positive attitudes towards nature. First Lady Michelle Obama appears in the first episode and teaches "the street's" residents about the many benefits of planting a garden. (A final peace of trivia... Michelle Obama is the fourth First Lady to be on the show.)

On a personal note... I am a SESAME STREET alum, having watched the series since I could first focus my little eyes on a television set. We didn't have cable TV in the rural community where I grew up, and unless the weather was clear, we couldn't even get all of the broadcast stations. But, thankfully, we always had OETA. There isn't a doubt in my mind that SESAME STREET helped "wire" my brain to enjoy learning. (Wouldn't it have been a shame to go through all those years of education and not enjoy it?) Thank you, Children's Workshop, PBS and OETA, for making learning fun. And thank you to my parents for knowing it really is okay to put your kids in front of the TV... especially when it's on the right channel.