Little Bits of History

Brought to You by the Letters J and H and the Number 1

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 10, 2010



Henson at the 1989 Emmy Awards. (Photo by Alan Light)


November 10, 1969: The National Educational Television network debuts the children’s classic, Sesame Street. The show was developed by master puppeteer, Jim Henson and founded by Joan Ganz Cooney and Ralph Rogers. Today it is produced by Sesame Workshop and presented on Public Broadcasting Service, the evolution of the NET network.

Sesame Street has shown over 4,000 episodes to a global audience of preschoolers. Each episode is presented by a letter and a number. During the hour program, live actors, Muppets, and animations reinforce the academic curriculum. They also teach social/emotional problem solving such as cooperation and taking turns. There is a Spanish word of the day, too. The predictability of the formatting allows for young children to feel a sense of mastery over the subject matter.

The show is not just for small children. There is a subtle undercurrent of humor that draws in older children and parents. The street has been visited by over 200 famous people in the more than three decades it has been in production. Name recognition is always a concern for businesses. Ninety-nine percent of American preschoolers recognize the characters from Sesame Street and 81% of them own a toy or game while 87% own a book from the series.

The mission of the show is to reach children in a responsible way showing them that learning is fun. The crucial elements of education are presented in an entertaining way for all children. The goal is to foster a love of learning. They have succeeded.

“Sally, you’ve never seen a street like Sesame Street. Everything happens here.” – Gordon Robinson

“Good evening, and welcome to Monsterpiece Theater.” – Alistair Cookie

“Me do anything for cookie!” – Cookie Monster

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” – Jim Henson

Also on this day, Notre Dame “won one for the Gipper” when they played undefeated Army.

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