“Sesame Street” is still very much a beloved television show for kids of all ages. Even adults like to take a peek at it when there is a special guest star appearing on an episode. The program first aired on November 10, 1969, to great reviews, high viewership, and believe it or not, some controversy.
“Sesame Street” had aired on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) since its inception, but it recently (January 16th, 2016) moved to the Home Box Office (HBO) cable station.
“Sesame Street’s” producers have long used a combination of educational goals and a strict curriculum to shape its content. With elements of sketch comedy, puppetry, animation, and educational teaching tools, it remains one of the most popular children’s programs on television today.
Over 77 million viewers have enjoyed “Sesame Street” throughout the years.
Here are some awesome facts about Elmo, Cookie Monster, and the rest of the Sesame Street Gang!
A Vampire? Nope.
The puppets in Sesame Street were made by the legendary Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets. A public relations representative says that the bio of the Count describes him as not being a vampire specifically, yet he was modeled after Bela Lugosi’s Count Dracula. With the castle, bats, fangs, and cape, he seems like a vampire to us. His character is one of the original puppet players from the show’s inception in 1969.
Big Bird’s Teddy Bear
Big Bird is known for his security teddy bear who is named “Radar.” Did you know the bear was named after the character from “M*A*S*H” who always slept with a teddy bear? Did you also know that Big Bird really lives up to his name — he is a whopping 8’2″ tall?!
It’s All About The B & E — Almost
The show was almost focused solely on Bert and Ernie as its starring characters. Remember the rumors that circulated that they were gay? Well, I don’t think that is quite what “Sesame Street” producers had in mind. Ernie and Bert were the only characters that tested well with children during screenings. When human and Muppet characters were separated, screenings did not go well. Psychologists were really worried that kids would be disturbed by mixing fantasy and reality. However, when producers showed the show with just humans, kids’ attention spans went straight down which could have affected the show’s main goal — teaching.
The Trashy Diva. Facts You Need To Know About Oscar The Grouch
Caroll Spinney is the voice of the trashy diva on the street who is known to millions of fans as Oscar the Grouch. In all his green glory, he is one of the original players of “Sesame Street.” Did you know that Oscar the Grouch once fell in love with the Wicked Witch of the West, but their relationship didn’t exactly take off. Oscar the Grouch was also originally orange! “Sesame Street” has gone through lots of alterations since changing networks. To update Oscar for HBO, a recycling bin was recently placed next to his garbage can.
Elmo’s World And Beyond
Elmo lives quite the high life. He has testified before Congress, met a few First Ladies, has an Elmo doll named after him, has a pet fish, and he is only three and a half years old! You would think Elmo’s favorite food would be pizza or hamburgers, but it’s actually wasabi. According to PBS Newshour, there are over 60 unique Elmo segments. Elmo may never grow up, but that’s OK. We like him just the way he is!
Grover The Super Monster!
The blue guy has played quite a few roles on Sesame Street. He has played a superhero (Super Grover and Super Grover 2.0), waiter, salesman, professor, farmer, marshal, astronaut, and elevator operator. This crazy little blue guy was a fan favorite of many and he is still a part of the original cast. Super Grover’s true identity is not Grover Monster at all, but rather Grover Kent, an ambitious doorknob salesman.
The Ladies Man
The Count has been quite the ladies man. His three lady friends on the show have included Countess Dahling von Dahling, Lady Two, and Countess Von Backwards. With his suave comedic appeal, dashing cape, and seductive ways, he has really attracted the ladies on the block. Some people consider vampires to be appealing, so maybe that is one of the reasons he has landed so many girls!
More on Caroll Spinney And His Incredible Talents
Did you know that Caroll Spinney also plays Big Bird in addition to Oscar the Grouch? He spoke at a meet-and-greet where he talked about both characters. Spinney dons a harness and a video monitor when he plays the big yellow bird. Apparently they couldn’t find an 8’2″ person for the iconic role.
Mr. Snuffleupagus was at first designed to have a more scary appearance, but his look was softened by producers since he is a little kid’s character. The big brown guy was originally only to be seen by Big Bird. The producers took on a special show in 1992 where Snuffy’s parents got a divorce, however, the special did not test well at all with kids and it was dropped.
Cookie, Cookie, Cookie
This monster of cookies was first designed in 1966 by Jim Henson, for a cracker commercial. For the record, Cookie Monster is left handed and he is a service waiter at “The Furchester” where he serves — what else — cookies! Cookie Monster has another specialty. He has five fingers on each hand, whereas the other Muppets each have four. Cookie Monster used to have big pointy teeth in the early days when he appeared in commercials.
Bob McGrath Makes Sweet Music On Sesame Street
Bob McGrath first started appearing on the show in 1969, when he took on the role of resident music teacher. Bob lives above Mr. Hooper’s store. He was born June 13th, 1932, and is from Ottawa, Illinois. Bob is married to Ann Sperry. You should check out his latest album titled “Bob’s Favorite Sing Along Songs.” Also, check out his other album titled “Sing Me A Story.”
Things You Didn’t Know About Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie are not, in fact, gay. That rumor goes back to 1980, when their sexuality was questioned in the book “The Real Thing” by Kurt Anderson. Remember Ernie’s big yellow rubber ducky? Well, there is a song about it called “Rubber Duckie,” and it reached up to number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Here is some more cool information: Ever notice that Bert is uptight and Ernie is the relaxed one? The producers and creators of the show have Bert wearing vertical stripes to signify that he is more uptight and Ernie wears horizontal stripes to give him the appearance of being more relaxed.
More on Elmo
The character of Elmo started out as a background extra and was given up on as a character at one point. Elmo didn’t make his huge debut until Season 12 of “Sesame Street.” He originally communicated with sounds and not words. In 1998, Elmo made his big splash. Today, Elmo is literally everywhere from the small screen to toys to shows at theme parks. Remember “Tickle Me Elmo?” He’s come quite a long way since then and he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon! Believe it or not, Elmo testified before the United States congress in 2002.
Scandal Scandal Everywhere
Not everything has been coming up roses for Elmo since his moment in the Congressional spotlight though. The man behind the puppet, Kevin Clash became the subject of intense media scrutiny as well as a police investigation in 2012 when two men claimed that Clash had had an indecent relationship with them when they were under age. This lead to Clash eventually resigning from Sesame Street, with the company stating, “Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from ‘Sesame Street.'” Who knew the lives of puppeteers could be so scandalous!
Kermit The Frog
Jim Henson’s Kermit the Frog was known as “Sesame Street’s” #1 guest. Kermit is best known for playing himself on “The Muppet Show.” Kermit disappeared from the show, but once again surfaced in 1998. The spunky frog was first introduced in 1955 and he is still going strong. His partner, Miss Piggy, continues to be the love of his life — we think.
Sesame Street and HBO
“Sesame Street” got a makeover for its debut on HBO which included many changes. After over 45 years on PBS, the children’s icon underwent major changes to premiere on the new station. “Sesame Street” has been given a new set along with Big Bird’s nest moving to a tree, Oscar now has a recycling bin next to his trash can, and Elmo now lives in a Brownstone instead of an apartment. “Everything has been changing around here,” Carmen Osbahr, the puppeteer who for 26 years has performed as the turquoise, hug-loving bilingual monster Rosita, recently said.
The Lovable Rosita
Carmen Osbahr has played Rosita, the always loving bi-lingual turquoise monster, for the past 26 years. Rosita was introduced into the show in 1991 and is designed to look like a fruit bat. Rosita is fluent in both English and Spanish, which makes her bilingual and a real asset to children’s programming. It was a big deal at the time to bring in a regular character to children’s programming who spoke both English and Spanish.
All About Kindness
New seasons of “Sesame Street” focus on the great act of kindness. In a recent episode, Elmo and Abby created a band, but were at odds as friends and playmates trying to play the song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” With compromise, Elmo and Abby learned how to strengthen their friendship and how to compromise. Brown Johnson, executive vice president and creative director at the “Sesame Workshop” feels that kids should practice kindness with all of the bad things things that are going on in the world. He feels that kindness can and should be a major part of educational curriculum.
The Theme Song
“Can You Tell Me How to Get Sesame Street?” (the instrumental version) was part of the show from 1969 to 2015. The new theme song titled “Smarter, Stronger, Kinder” is the current theme which delights new audiences on each show. Old “Sesame Street” fans may have a hard time adjusting to the new theme as it’s quite different from the original!
Julia – The Muppet Character with Autism
Julia is new to the “Sesame Street” family and she has autism. Julia is the first character with autism and she speaks volumes to kids with and without autism. The show explains that kids who have autism are still very worthy of love, friendship, and respect. The show also goes on to explain that these kids’ brains work a little differently. “Sesame Street” always knows how to deal with PC issues in the correct manner, and this is one of those aspects that makes the show so special.
The Show Was Designed With A Very Simple Inner-City Goal
When “Sesame Street” debuted nobody knew it would become a global phenomenon. The show was actually started with an incredibly simple premise — making sure that inner-city children would learn how to formulate phrases in standard English. Eventually, an entire educational curriculum was added to the super popular children’s TV show.
She’s Hot & Then Cold
For a child’s show, Sesame St. sure does seem to have it’s fair share of scandals! When pop star Katy Perry appeared on the show to sing a duet with Elmo in 2010, lets just say her vocal talent wasn’t what most people noticed. According to parents who complained to the network, the combination of Perry’s low cut dress and running motion made the performance more suitable for an adult audience than toddlers. Perry would later spoof the incident on SNL, getting the last laugh.