Sesame Street

Sesame Street

Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show

“Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away,
On my way to where the air is sweet,
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street?”

It may be the most famous street in the world, a meeting place for muppets, monsters, grouches, imaginary friends and a big yellow bird. Say the words Sesame Street to anyone who’s been a kid since 1969 and you’re almost sure to get a smile, maybe even a song. Yes, kids, learning was fun again.

The show began in November 1969 as a way of reaching inner-city kids (hence the urban setting and multicultural cast), but its clever mix of comic bits, catchy songs and informative (but fun) lessons caught on with kids of all backgrounds. Jim Henson’s Muppet creations—Ernie and Bert, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, Herry Monster, Snuffleupagus, Count von Count, Guy Smiley, Prairie Dawn, Telly Monster and the relatively recent but insanely popular Elmo—interacted with human regulars Susan, Gordon, Bob, Maria, Luis, David and Mr. Hooper throughout the program. As the show’s popularity grew, so did the roster of famous guest stars (everyone from Little Richard to Hillary Rodham Clinton).

The Sesame Street songs became a cultural phenomenon of their own, with over fifty compilation albums recorded to date. Some taught letters (“Letter B” to the Beatles’ “Let It Be”), others numbers (“Born to Add” to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”), others taught social lessons on everything from recycling (“Keep On Truckin’”) to cleanliness (“I Gotta Be Clean”) to self-acceptance (“Everyone Makes Mistakes”). Still other songs may have had dubious educational value (did anyone really learn anything from “Rubber Duckie” or “Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco”?) but were undeniably fun.

Though the mood was usually light, Sesame Street didn’t shy away from serious topics. When Will Lee (the actor who played Mr. Hooper) passed away, a special episode dealt with the death, as Big Bird learned how to cope with the loss of his dear friend.

The characters became icons, the songs were part of the shared experience of childhood, and the lessons helped jumpstart the education of many a young viewer. And after more than thirty years, there’s no sign that this street will be closing any time soon.

(This memory was brought to you by the letters “Y” and “L”)

Release History

11/10/69 PBS

TV Sub Categories


TV Studio

Children's Television Workshop

Television Cast

Alan  Alan Muraoka
Alice Snuffleupagus  Judy Sladky
Aloysius 'Snuffy' Snuffleupagus Martin P. Robinson
Baby Bear David Rudman
Barkley the Dog (Woof-Woof)  Bruce Connelly
Bert Frank Oz
Betty Lou  Lisa Buckley
Biff Jerry Nelson
Big Bird Carroll Spinney
Bob  Bob McGrath
Bruno  Carroll Spinney
Buffy   Buffy Sainte-Marie
Carlo  Carlo Alban
Celina   Annette Calud
Colambo  Joey Mazzarino
Cookie Monster Frank Oz
Count von Count Jerry Nelson
David  Northern Calloway
Don Music Richard Hunt
Elmo Kevin Clash
Ernie (1969-89) Jim Henson
Ernie (1989- )  Steve Whitmire
Fat Blue Jerry Nelson
Forgetful Jones Richard Hunt
Fred the Wonder Horse Jerry Nelson
Gina  Alison Bartlett
Gladys the Cow Richard Hunt
Gordon (1969-71) Matt Robinson
Gordon (1971-73)  Hal Miller
Gordon Robinson (1973- )  Roscoe Orman
Grover Frank Oz
Grungetta   Pam Arciero
Guy Smiley (1969-89) Jim Henson
Harvey Kneeslapper Frank Oz
Herry Monster  Jerry Nelson
Hoots the Owl Kevin Clash
Kermit the Frog (1969-89) Jim Henson
Kermit the Frog (1989- ) Steve Whitmire
Kingston Livingston III   Kevin Clash
Lillian  Lillias White
Linda Linda Bove
Little Bird   Fran Brill
Luis Rodriguez  Emilio Delgado
Maria Figeuroa Rodriguez  Sonia Manzano
Molly the Mail Lady  Charlotte Rae
Mr. Handford  David Langston Smyrl
Mr. Harold Hooper  Will Lee
Mr. Macintosh  Chet O'Brien
Mr. Noodle  Bill Irwin
Mr. Noodle's Brother  Michael Jeter
Natasha Kevin Clash
Olivia  Alaina Reed Hall
Oscar the Grouch Carroll Spinney
Painter Paul Benedict
Placido Flamingo  Richard Hunt
Prairie Dawn Fran Brill
Prince Charming Frank Oz
Professor Hastings Frank Oz
Rafael Raul Julia
Roosevelt Franklin Matt Robinson
Rosita, La Monstrua de las Cuevas  Carmen Osbahr
Roxie Marie Fran Brill
Ruthie  Ruth Buzzi
Sam the Super-Automated Robot Jerry Nelson
Savion  Savion Glover
Sherlock Hemlock Jerry Nelson
Sherry Netherland  Alice Dinnean
Slimey Martin P. Robinson
Sonny Friendly David Rudman
Sonny Friendly Richard Hunt
Sully Richard Hunt
Susan Robinson   Loretta Long
Telly Monster Martin P. Robinson
The Amazing Mumford Jerry Nelson
The Countess Dahling von Dahling Fran Brill
The Countess von Backwards   Camille Bonora
Two-Headed Monster David Rudman
Two-Headed Monster Jerry Nelson
Two-Headed Monster Richard Hunt
Uncle Wally  Bill McCutcheon
Willy Kermit Love
Zoe Fran Brill

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