Sesame Street, which debuted in 1969, was a children’s show known for its educational content presented to the audience using puppets, animation, humor, and real life situations. Nearly every child who grew up in the United States spent time watching this show as children. At the time of this writing, Sesame Street was still in syndication on the Public Broadcasting Station.
Sesame Street changed significantly over the years, and comparing a modern episode to episodes from the 1970’s and 1980’s demonstrates stark differences. The show’s producers evolved the tone and format of the show to keep pace with contemporary American culture and viewing habits. For example, in 1980, a typical Sesame Street episode would feature a large number of small vignettes, but by 2002, vignettes were often longer and story lines starting crossing episodes. It was initially thought that the attention span of young children was too short to handle long vignettes, but as the years progressed, this philosophy shifted (around 1989).
Some of the long running human characters you may remember as a kid are Bob Johnson (the resident music teacher), David (worked for Mr. Hooper and lived above the store), Gordon (science teacher), Maria (owns the fix-it shop), Luis (married to Maria), and Susan (Gordon’s wife). Some of the old Muppets were Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Snuffy, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Hoots the Owl, Kermit, Telly, and the Two-Headed Monster. And who can forget all those short cartoons where they would count or teach the viewer about the alphabet. “1, 2, 3…4, 5, 6…7, 8, 9…Lady Bugs, at the Lady Bug Picnic…”