Sesame Street Turns Forty

6 11 2009

Sesame Street Characters

Today marked the 40th birthday of the acclaimed children’s show, Sesame Street.   To be honest, I never watched it.  I know, I know.  It’s a strange thing to admit, but it’s true.  When I was a kid I certainly saw plenty of television, including Romper Room, the muppets and plenty of cartoons.   I never visited the Street though.  Why? I have no idea.

The characters are certainly haven’t missed my participation, with so many popular and world-famous characters taking part in the 40 year history.   Big Bird, Elmo and the Cookie Monster are household names in most english speaking households. To be honest I can’t even name one human character from the show, although I guess most people could name at least a few.  Cookie Monster is my favourite, even after the debacle of the “Cookies are a sometimes food” nonsense from a few years ago.

I never really liked Big Bird.  He always seemed a bit creepy to me, and for a while I thought Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster were the same thing.  Oscar is green and Cookie Monster is blue, but I can explain my ignorance to the fact we had a black and white tv!

Another thing that amused me for a while was the whole “Evil Bert” phenomenon that hit the internet a few years ago, where photoshoppers would place the muppet into various historical and hysterical pictures enacting various nasty behaviours.  I’m sure if you google the phrase Evil Bert you will relive the whole mess.

To me personally, the thing Sesame Street gave me was the brilliance of Frank Oz and Jim Henson.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed from reading this blog page, I am something of a Star Wars nut.  A lot of the special effects and creatures from those films would not have been anywhere near as realistic without Frank Oz’s experience on Sesame Street.  We’d also be missing such childhood classics from Jim Henson like Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal, developed by Jim Henson, and of course the Muppet Show.

Puppetry seems to have died out in the last decade or so, I suppose it’s because of the evolution of computers and the increasingly affordable CGI.  It’s good to see that something like Sesame Street can outlast the technological developments that have killed off a lot of other movie and film techniques.

Happy Birthday Sesame Street. Here’s to another 40 years.

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