July 28, 2010
Legend has it that, back in late 1964, Jim Henson and his Muppet troupe (performer Frank Oz, puppet builder Don Sahlin, and writer Jerry Juhl) Read more . . .
This children's program has both entertained and educated children for years with its use of music, animation, puppets, and live actors.
The show's format features small segments of animated sequences, games, songs, and adults and children mingling with Muppets in order to teach children letters, numbers, or basic life skills such as safety, hygiene, and healthy eating habits in an entertaining fashion.
Muppet characters featured on the show are an 8'2" tall yellow bird appropriately named Big Bird (Caroll Spinney); a large brown elephant-like creature named Aloysius "Snuffy" Snuffleupagus (Judy Sladky); garbage can-dwelling Oscar the Grouch (Caroll Spinney); roommates and total opposites Bert (Frank Oz, later Eric Jacobson) and Ernie (Jim Henson, later Steve Whitmire); cute furry monster Grover (Frank Oz, then Eric Jacobson); cookie-crazed Cookie Monster (Frank Oz, later David Rudman); number-loving Count von Count (Jerry Nelson); and loveable little red furry monster Elmo (Kevin Clash).
Live characters residing on Sesame Street are music teacher Bob Johnson (Bob McGrath); veterinarian Dr. Gina Jefferson (Alison Bartlett O'Reilly); The Robinson's: Gordon (Roscoe Orman), Susan (Loretta Long) and Miles (Olamide Faison); and The Rodriquez's: Maria (Sonia Manzano) and Luis (Emilio Delgado) who runs the "Fix-It Shop" until it becomes the "Mail-It Shop," and their daughter Gabi (Desiree Casado). When actor Will Lee who portrayed General Store Owner Harold Hooper passed away, the show used it as an opportunity to teach children about how to deal with a loved one's passing. Mr. Hooper's faithful assistant David (Northern Calloway) takes over the store and later, Alan (Alan Muraoka) becomes the owner.
The longest running children's series in history also regularly features guest stars, new characters, and changing storylines that reflect the times for its audiences, old and new.