Happy 45th Birthday Sesame Street

Happy 45th Birthday Sesame Street

The happiest and kindest street in the world is 45 years old today. Here’s to many more celebrations on #SesameStreet!

Sesame Street is a wonderful TV show that reaches 156 million children in more than 150 countriesSesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind the show, does really important work in the world.

In Afghanistan, the TV show is called Baghch-e-Simsim and has an emphasis on education for girls. In Bangladesh, four-year-olds who watch the show score 67% higher on literacy tests than those that don’t. And children who watch episodes with ‘pro-social messages exhibit pro-social behaviours that are up to 40% higher than children who do not watch these episodes‘.

Of course, it’s not only children who love Sesame Street. Adults are crazy about it, too. Some of my happiest memories as a child involve watching Sesame Street, and I’m sure it affected me positively as I grew up. (Or simply got bigger, depending on who you ask.)

Over those 45 years, there have been lots of remarkable happenings on the Street – far too many for us to cover properly here. So we’ve just picked 5 little things that you might not have known.

Who sang the numbers song?

One of the best bits of Sesame Street was the numbers song with the pinball animation. You know the one. Once you hear it, you can’t help but sing along.

Amazingly, it was sung by the Pointer Sisters. They had some very cool hits in the 70s and 80s, including Automatic and Jump.  Anyone else remember dancing around the kitchen to these as a kid? (I did.)

Sesame Street got superstitious with Stevie Wonder

As well as teaching kids about and numbers (and letters), the Street also introduced them to wonderful music. The show had all sorts of guest stars and musicians over the years, but I think this is probably the coolest example.

Mr Monster went to Washington

#Elmo, the ticklish one, testified at the US Congress in 2002. He told them how important music was to children’s education and was the first (and so far only) non-human to testify. He went down as ‘Mr Monster‘ on the official records.

Breaking Bad’s bad guy knew Big Bird

Gustavo Fring, one of Breaking Bad‘s most notorious characters, had a past life as a summer camp counsellor. He had to look after a very nervous Big Bird who hadn’t been to camp before. If only he’d learned as much from BB as BB did from him, he’d have turned out a bit nicer.

Big bird is Oscar the Grouch

#BigBird and #OscartheGrouch are, of course, alive. Everyone knows that. But did you know that they’ve been brought to life by the same person? He’s called Caroll Spinney and he’s played both characters since 1969. Even more amazing, he’s 80 years old and has no plans to stop.

Happy birthday Sesame Street.  Thank you for entertaining and educating us for 45 years. We hope you’re always around.


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