Sesame Street first came to our screens on 10th November 1969! The popular children’s TV educational show has broadcast over 4500 episodes since then and been broadcast to over 140 countries and translated into 70 languages. Many of the main characters have been there since the beginning, including Bert and Ernie and Big Bird. Fan favorites such as Elmo didn’t join until the mid 1980s!
The backstory of Sesame Street
The show is famous for its skits, and famous guest stars, and delivering educational content in a fun format. It was first conceived in the 1966 by creators Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett. Cooney was already in television, working as a producer and Morrisett was a psychologist who worked for the Carnegie Corporation. The show was the first of its kind. The team behind the show used the educational formula of modeling, repetition and humor to prepare children for school. It also created disputes between characters to foster tolerance of diversity and non-aggressive ways to solve conflict.
The show was developed at a time when social change was ripe. The President at the time Lyndon B Johnson had created federal programs under the name ‘Great Society’. The goal of this was program was eliminating poverty and racial injustice. Off the back of this, the creators of Sesame Street saw this as an opportunity to bring education to children that lived in urban areas. One of their top priorities was teaching kids from inner cities who may have experience increased disadvantage through racial inequality and poverty.
The urban inner-city feel of the set was purposefully made to be relatable to an audience who grew up in these areas with puppets who lived in apartments downtown just like they did.
Sesame Street was in many ways a pioneer. Early on the show paved the way in hiring ethnic minorities, increasing women employees, and would later cast actors with physical disabilities.
The show has received positive acclaim worldwide, and as of 2018 has received 189 Emmy Awards- more than any other TV series ever!