40 things you may not know about The Street

1. Four First Ladies have visited Sesame Street: Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.
November 25, 2009

1. Four First Ladies have visited Sesame Street: Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

2. In 2001, Big Bird’s nest was destroyed by a hurricane, teaching kids how to cope with loss as he rebuilt it.

3. While it is thought that Snuffleupagus was invisible, he’s always lived on Sesame Street – -he just has inconvenient timing.

4. A birdseed milkshake cost $0.20 in 1969 at Hooper’s Store, and now costs $2.99.

5. Sesame Street has a subway stop that is powered by imagination, and one can get there by taking the equally imaginary A, B, 1 or 2 trains.

6. After a long search for a name, one of the show’s writers was tossing around the word sesame – an allusion to the fabled command from The Arabian Nights, ‘Open, Sesame!’ – which suggested excitement and adventure. Since the show had an urban setting, sesame and street seemed an ideal combination.

7. It takes two puppeteers to manipulate Ernie, Rosita, The Count, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Telly Monster and Snuffleupagus, while Big Bird, at 8′ 2′ tall, only requires one.

8. Elmo began his life on Sesame Street as a nameless Anything Muppet before becoming the 3 1/2-year-old furry red monster in 1984 that has since tickled children of all ages.

9. James Earl Jones was the first celebrity to appear on Sesame Street.

10. Cookie Monster used to have pointy teeth.

11. Ernie is the only Sesame Street Muppet with a built-in smile.

12. Oscar was just as grouchy in 1969 as he is today. His first words on the show were ‘Don’t bang on my can! Go away.’

13. Two cast members have had their real-life children portray their TV offspring – -Sonia Manzano (‘Maria’) and Roscoe Orman (‘Gordon’).

14. Bert has more than 368 bottle caps in his collection.

15. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

16. Oscar the Grouch was orange in season one.

17. Currently, there are nine Elmo puppets, including a remote-controlled version.

18. In South Africa Elmo is called Neno, while in Mexico he goes by, yep, Elmo.

19. Cameraman Frankie Biando has been on Sesame Street since the first season and still operates Camera 1 on-set.

20. Sesame regular Kermit the Frog hosted the Tonight Show in 1979.

21. There are some 27 original and localized co-productions of Sesame Street and Sesame content can be watched in 140-plus countries around the globe.

22. Sesame Workshop conducts its global operations from 1 Lincoln Plaza in New York City.

23. Sesame Street has won 122 Emmys to date and a recent Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award – the most for any television show in history.

24. Fran Brill, a veteran stage and film actress, was the first female puppeteer to work on Sesame Street and was trained by legendary puppeteers Frank Oz and Jim Henson.

25. Abby Cadabby, a pink fairy-in-training, moved to the neighborhood in 2006. She was the first new female lead character added to Sesame Street in 13 years.

26. All of the Sesame Street Muppets have four fingers, except Cookie Monster, who has five.

27. Sesame Street‘s original studio was the 1st Street Second Stage/Teletape studio in New York. The game show Beat the Clock moved out of the space to make room for the set.

28. At the end of Sesame Street‘s 40th season, 4,212 episodes will have aired.

29. Sesame Street has won nine Grammy Awards.

30. Roscoe Orman is the third actor to portray Gordon – -he joined the cast in season five.

31. Elmo is the only puppet in history to have testified before Congress.

32. Sesame Street‘s current executive producer, Carol-Lynn Parente, started her career at Sesame Workshop as a production assistant.

33. More than 440 celebrities have visited Sesame Street.

34. Big Bird is covered with approximately 6,000 dyed North American turkey, coq, ostrich and hackle feathers.

35. Carroll Spinney still uses the Oscar the Grouch puppet from Sesame Street‘s second season.

36. In 1969, the fabric for Bert and Ernie’s sweaters could be purchased at a store, but their sweaters now have to be hand-knit to match their original pattern.

37. Sesame Workshop has more than 1,000 licensees across the globe.

38. As a nonprofit, product proceeds and philanthropic donations support Sesame Workshop’s educational research and creative content for children around the world.

39. The Jim Henson Company has built more than 5,000 puppets for Sesame Street over the past 40 years.

40. Sesame Street is the longest-running children’s show in the US and still produces new episodes every year!

About The Author
Lana Castleman is the Editor & Content Director of Kidscreen and oversees all content for Kidscreen magazine, and related kidscreen events.


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