Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Still Counting on 'Sesame Street'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Still Counting on 'Sesame Street'

Article excerpt

In the fall of 1969, something unusual was happening every afternoon in the Beverly Hills High School library. I know because I was there. The facility had just been hooked up to something called the Information Retrieval System, a sort of precursor to the electronic age that lay ahead. It allowed students to watch the local public television station from small cubicles, each of which contained a TV screen and a set of head phones.

A myriad of programming was available. Documentaries on everything from Alaskan wolves to Vietnam. Programs that taught languages - Spanish, Hebrew, Japanese. But only one show got any real viewing audience from the teenage habitues of the library, and these were mostly large athletic-looking seniors. They would sit in their individual carrels, happily oblivious to their surroundings, shouting out a song that went "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10!" They were watching this new show called "Sesame Street."

Obviously the intended audience was children slightly younger, by oh, maybe 15 years. But right from the start, when "Sesame Street" debuted Nov. 10, 1969, everybody got with and loved the program. It melded and welded learning and having fun into one big, loud, cross- cultural mishmash. It showed America as a land of many colors - red, white, and brown.

In the 30 years it's been on the air, we the viewing audience have watched the "Sesame Street" family grow and change as our own families have grown and changed. Right from the start, it had an urban appeal. It showed kids living and learning in a magical, mythical place filled with talking monsters like Grover, and Cookie, and eventually Elmo; plus my two personal favorites, the chronically cranky Oscar the Grouch and the sublimely angst-ridden Telly. "Sesame Street" is a place that looks more than a little like that magical, mythical place called New York City, where occasionally you might run into a cranky and angst-full character who's not made of brightly colored faux fur. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.