Where do you go when you want to “sweep the clouds away”? Where do you go when you want to be on your way “to where the air is sweet”? “Sesame Street,” of course!
According to History.com, on this day in 1969, “Sesame Street,” a pioneering TV show that would teach generations of young children the alphabet and how to count, made its broadcast debut. “Sesame Street,” with its memorable theme song (“Can you tell me how to get/How to get to Sesame Street”), has gone on to become the most widely-viewed children’s program in the world, airing in more than 120 countries!
“Sesame Street” is the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney’s goal was to create programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational, and she also wanted to use television as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten. “Sesame Street” is set in a fictional New York neighborhood and includes a variety of ethnically-diverse characters and positive social messages.
Taking a cue from “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” a popular 1960s variety show, “Sesame Street” is built around short, often funny, segments featuring puppets, animation and live actors–a format that has been hugely successful, although, over the years, some critics have blamed the show and its use of punchy segments for shrinking children’s attention spans.
From the show’s inception, one of its most-loved aspects has been a family of puppets known as Muppets. Joan Ganz Cooney hired puppeteer Jim Henson (1936-1990) to create a cast of characters that have become “Sesame Street” institutions, including Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Grover and Big Bird.
The subjects tackled by “Sesame Street” have evolved with the times. In 2002, the South African version of the program, “Takalani Sesame,” introduced a 5-year-old Muppet character named Kami, who is HIV-positive, in order to help children living with the stigma of a disease that has reached epidemic proportions. In 2006, a new Muppet, Abby Cadabby, made her debut and was positioned as the show’s first female star character, in an effort to encourage diversity and provide a strong role model for girls.
Since its inception, a staggering 74 million Americans have watched “Sesame Street.” Today, an estimated 8 million people tune in to the show each week in the U.S. alone. Everyone wants to have a “sunny day” on the most famous, fabulous street in the world! And now the Muppets are making a return to the big screen with their new full-length feature film this Thanksgiving!
“‘Sesame Street’ characters are among our most popular balloons,” states Tony Sellars, co-owner of San Jose, California’s premier balloon decorators, Party Fiesta Balloon Decor. “I don’t think a day goes by when we don’t get a request for Elmo balloon decor. The impact ‘Sesame Street’ has on children and families is amazing!”
Please drop by Party Fiesta’s showroom–located at 999 Lincoln Avenue in San Jose, California–to see what kind of balloon magic Party Fiesta can create for your next party or event!