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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Happy 40th Birthday Sesame Street!

posted by Nell Minow

I watched the very first episode of Sesame Street when I was a teenager. My dad, Newton Minow, helped get the funding for the show in the late 1960’s and I remember how excited he was about transforming what children could learn from television. They would create catchy jingles and short, entertaining segments to help teach numbers, the alphabet, and more. I happened to be home from school with a bad cold the day it premiered, and I fell in love with it immediately, its fresh, insouciant, wildly imaginative, even more wildly funny, and utterly endearing sensibility. I still remember Wanda the Witch, who lived somewhere West of Washington and Wore a Wig. I loved watching it with my children. It was so much fun it was to see Smokey Robinson singing “U’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” with the letter U tugging on his leg and the day when everyone learned that Mr. Snuffleupagus was really real. I loved its gentle lessons about kindness and feelings. I especially remember one segment with violinist Itshak Perlman describing easy and hard with such simplicity and sweetness.

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Forty years later, I still sneak a peek now and then. It’s just…ducky.

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Sesame Street has a delightful 40th anniversary video featuring guest stars from Michelle Obama to Adam Sandler, Jason Mraz, Paul Rudd, Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Ricky Gervais. I’d love to hear your favorite Sesame Street memories.

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  • Chris Denny

    Most of my favorite moments usually include Grover. He was always so caring and sweet and yet shy, so I always seemed to relate to him (still do, somehow). But as I think about all of the memories, I think I remember really learning about death when Mr. Hooper passed away. Sesame Street could have just brushed it off and written the character out of the show, but I think the creators/producers/anyone else involved with the show at the time realized they had a golden opportunity to help children learn to cope with death and loss and that it’s okay to be sad. That was a wonderful life lesson.
    And, despite the fact that my wife thinks I watch too much television, even she can see the merits of watching Sesame Street even now.
    Happy Birthday to a wonderful group of people that create that show each and every day.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    A great comment, Chris! Quite honestly, there was one segment on kindness and helping others I must think of once a week, and it always reminds me to be more patient and listen better.

  • Alan

    When Michelle Obama was on Sesame Street, do you think the Count explained to her how spending doesn’t reduce the deficit?

  • gunawan

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY my Friends
    GBU
    regards
    gunswan

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Apparently you did not get the Sesame Street message about kindness, respect, and grace, Alan.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, gunawan!

  • Anne

    The King of 8, Jim Henson falling down the stairs with the big cake, the ladybug picnic, who are the people in your neighborhood, Grover as the waiter never getting the blue guy’s order right, counting pinball machine (sung by the Pointer Sisters!)
    boy there are so many!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Those are great picks, Anne! The Ladybug’s Picnic was one of our family favorites, too.

  • Bobbi Wade

    Jeremy Irons singing “Put down the duckie”.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    My all-time favorite Sesame Street song, Bobbie! And very good advice for all of us, too!

  • Snubba

    Oh, I just love Sesame Street. We watched when we were little too, even my kids did. Mr. Snuffleupugus was my favorite–the slow way he talked and his eyes spoke volumes. Quality show for kids!
    Thanks for sharing this…pretty cool.
    Snubba

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