Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to Sesame Street?

Today I showed Tsuruta "Infant School" the Sesame Street DVD "Imagine That!". I bought it from Amazon, so I vaguely remember that it was older, and I watched it for the first time with the kids. I could definitely tell that it was made before I was born, so when I got back to the office, I looked it up, and WOW it was made in 1969, only one year after the first season aired.. No wonder Ernie, the Grouch, and Elmo weren't major stars yet, Big Bird didn't even appear at all! I decided to sit down and read the LONG Wikipedia article on Sesame Street, and I thought I'd share with you some of the more interesting tidbits about Sesame Street

  • As of 2009, the series has received 118 Emmy Awards, more than any other television series

  • An estimated 77 million Americans watched the series as children. (That's almost a quarter of our nation.. CTW had a lot of power in its hands..)

  • It premiered on November 10, 1969, and is the longest running children's program on US television.

  • As author Malcolm Gladwell has stated, "Sesame Street was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them". Sesame Street was the first children's show that structured each episode and made "small but critical adjustments" to each segment to capture children's attention long enough to teach them something

  • It was decided, by recommendation of child psychologists, that the Street scenes, which CTW researcher Edward Palmer called "the glue" that "pulled the show together", would never feature the human actors and Muppets together because they were concerned it would confuse and mislead young children.

  • The producers went back and reshot the Street segments; Henson and his team created Muppets that could interact with the human actors, specifically "two of Sesame Street's most enduring Muppets: Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird". These test episodes were directly responsible for what writer Malcolm Gladwell calls "the essence of Sesame Street--the artful blend of fluffy monsters and earnest adults".

  • The producers of Sesame Street used laboratory-oriented research to test if what they were producing held children's attention. The researchers involved with the show found that preschoolers are more sophisticated television viewers than originally thought.

  • Fifteen writers a year worked on the show's scripts, but very few lasted longer than one season. Norman Stiles, head writer in 1987, reported that most writers "burn out" after writing about a dozen scripts

  • Entertainment Weekly reported that by 1991, Sesame Street had been honored with eight Grammys.

  • Although the series had been on the air for less than a year, Time Magazine featured Big Bird, who had received more fan mail than any of the show's human hosts, on its cover and declared, " ...It is not only the best children's show in TV history, it is one of the best parents' shows as well"

  • Sesame Street was not without detractors, however. In May 1970, a state commission in Mississippi voted to ban Sesame Street. A member of the commission leaked the vote to the New York Times, stating that "Mississippi was not yet ready" for the show's integrated cast.

  • In 2003, one of Sesame Street's international co-productions, Takalani Sesame, caused some controversy in the US when the first HIV-positive Muppet, Kami, was created in response to South Africa's AIDS epidemic.

  • I don't know why I can't find info about this, but on Imagine That, there was a clay stop-motion short starring "Arnold", later of Hey Arnold! on Nickelodon.

  • Behind the scenes video of Sesame Street was never allowed until 2000 when PBS affiliate WLVT in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, aired, for the very first time, footage of the cast and crew as they rehearsed and recorded an episode

  • On November 10, 2009, Sesame Street celebrated its 40th anniversary that included a segment with First Lady Michelle Obama interacting with the Muppets.

  • Research[citation needed] by Sesame Workshop in 1989 discovered that "many preschool children failed to recognize that Kermit felt happy about being green by the end of "Bein' Green".

  • In 2002, CTW introduced Kami on the South African co-production Takalani Sesame. Kami was the world's first HIV-positive character on a children's show! Despite outcry from US politicians (since CTW is partially funded by the US Government), Kami has been named a UNICEF ambassador for children and has appeared in Takalani segments alongside Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, among others.

No comments:

Post a Comment