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