“Sesame Street” debuted on November 10, 1969, and it continues to amuse and educate children to this very day. While the children’s show recently made the jump to HBO, it continues to air for free on PBS and has been translated into 34 “co-productions” around the world while airing in 120 countries.
If you grew up watching “Sesame Street” or you have children at home who are obsessed with the popular children’s programming series, you’ll be amazed by some of the fun, intriguing, and outright bizarre facts we’ve collected about the children’s TV show.
It Wasn’t Originally Called Sesame Street
When the TV series was originally being written the show’s producers wanted to call it “123 Avenue B.” The name was changed to “Sesame Street” because there was already an Avenue B with the same address in New York City. Producers were worried that a lot of mail would be sent to some poor unsuspecting soul.
The Theme Song Was Originally “Sing A Song”
“Sunny days, sweeping our cares away….” It’s hard to imagine “Sesame Street” without its current theme song. We would argue that it’s the most recognizable and popular TV show theme song of all time. However, the show was originally set to feature the song “Sing A Song” which was later released as a cover from “The Carpenters.”
Cookie Monster Is Older Than Sesame Street
He’s one of the most beloved characters on the Jim Henson created TV show but Cookie Monster is actually three years older than the series. Cookie Monster was originally created by Jim Henson for a cracker commercial. “Cracker Monster” just doesn’t the same ring to it and his original teeth were creepy.
There Was Uproar Over A “Racist” Character
When “Sesame Street” debuted one of the fan favorites was Roosevelt Franklin, an African American character who was dropped from the show after season seven. Producers for “Sesame Street” received thousands of letters from angry viewers who thought the character portrayed a negative African-American stereotype.
Mr. Snuffleupagus Was Creepy When He First Debuted
The very first time Mr. Snuffleupagus appeared on “Sesame Street” he was freakishly creepy. His green eyes and general appearance was pretty scary for many children and he was quickly replaced with the Snuffy we have grown to love.
The Bert and Ernie Gay Rumor Started More Than Three Decades Ago
Ernie and Bert, for the record, are not gay. In fact, it isn’t even a new rumor. In 1980, Kurt Andersen wrote the book “The Real Thing” in which he made the claim. In recent years, growing support for the LGBTQ community has led to further rumors which have been shot down by the show’s producers.
Count Is Very Very Very Old
Muppets Were Not Supposed To Interact With Humans
“Rubber Duckie” Was A Smash Hit — On The Radio!
Big Bird Is Tall — Like Super Tall
Ernie And Bert’s Stripped Shirts Were Chosen For A Specific Reason
Have you noticed that Ernie wears horizontal stripes on his shirt while Bert features vertical stripes? Those patterns were chosen so Ernie would appear more relaxed and Bert would appear more uptight.
Oscar The Grouch Was Orange When He Debuted
When Oscar The Grouch made his first appearance on “Sesame Street” he was orange. His color was eventually changed to green to really highlight his life living in a garbage can. His color was changed starting in the second season of the long-running TV series.
Kermit The Frog Disappeared After Jim Henson Died
Guy Smiley Had A Real Name And Jim Henson Didn’t Like Him
Snuffleupagus Was A Figment Of Big Birds Imagination
When Mr. Snuffleupagus first appeared on “Sesame Street” he was a figment of Big Bird’s imagination. Adults on the show didn’t believe he existed and referred to him as Big Bird’s imaginary friend. He would eventually reveal himself and become on of the TV show’s most beloved characters. It wasn’t until 1985 that he was revealed to adults on the show over fears from producers that his character was encouraging children to hid things from adults.
Sesame Street Has A Secret “M.A.S.H.” Tie-In
The character Radar on the hit TV series “M.A.S.H.” always slept with a teddy bear. It was only fitting that Big Bird’s favorite teddy bear would be given the name Radar in order to pay homage to the popular TV series.
A Divorce Episode Didn’t Air
In 1992, Snuffy’s parents got a divorce. Or rather, they would have divorced if the episode ever aired. The episode was not seen in a favorable way by children so producer’s scraped the episode and it never aired.
The Voice Of Elmo Has Another Famous Role
Elmo voice actor Kevin Clash is best known for playing the little red monster before controversy struck. However, many of his fans probably are not aware that he played the voice of Baby Sinclair on “Dinosaurs.”
The First Ever Guest On The Show Was James Earl Jones
That’s right folks, James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, was the first guest to ever appear on the TV show. He recited the alphabet to the series’ viewers. That’s probably better than attacking them with a light saber.
The Longest Running And Most-Watched TV Show In U.S. History
In 2008, it was estimated that more than 77 million Americans watched “Sesame Street” at children. It is the longest-running children’s program in the United States and the most watched TV show, in terms of unique viewers, in TV history. Those metrics don’t even include the millions of viewers who have enjoyed the TV show around the world.