Ten Facts About...

Ten Facts About Sesame Street

The residents of Sesame Street have been entertaining and educating kids across the planet since the late 1960s. Here are ten facts about Sesame Street.

Fact One

Sesame Street is the longest running children's television show on American television, having transmitted over 4,000 episodes since beginning in 1969. It has also been shown in more countries around the world than any other children's television programme, having been shown in 180 countries around the planet either as its original American version or as a version adapted for the country it is being shown in.

Fact Two

Sesame Street's website gets over 1 million visitors a day. That's about 500,000 times the number of daily visitors to this site. Oh well.

Fact Three

Research carried out in 1996 found that by the age of three 95% of American children had watched Sesame Street.

Fact Four

Most famous as a Sesame Street character, Cookie Monster was actually created three years before appearing on the show. He was used as a character in advertisements for some General Foods snacks in 1966, stealing snacks called Wheels (he was called the Wheel-Stealer). The adverts never aired. He appeared in a training video for IBM in 1967 in a sketch which also featured in an episode of The Ed Sullivan Show in October of that year. The character returned to advertising snack foods, now known as Arnold the Munching Monster and filming commercials for Munchos in 1969, before finally making the move to Sesame Street and becoming known as Cookie Monster.

Fact Five

Sesame Street has won more Emmy Awards then any other television show in the United States.

Fact Six

A test screening of Sesame Street kept the muppet characters separate to the human characters after psychologists warned against mixing fantasy and reality. Test screenings revealed that the audience was drawn to the muppet sketches but not to the ones featuring humans so it was decided to allow muppets and humans to interact in the show.

Fact Seven

A character called Don Music who played the piano but banged his head against it in frustration had to be discontinued because children were doing the same thing.

Fact Eight

"Sing," a song that appeared several times over the years on Sesame Street and was nearly used as its theme tune, was later recorded by The Carpenters and reached number three in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973.

Fact Nine

A DVD released in 2006 of some of the earliest episodes of Sesame Street has a warning on it stating it isn't suitable for children! The sticker says "These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child." Apparently, some of the behaviour featured in episodes from the late 1960s and early 1970s could be a bad influence on modern children. Scenes featuring Cookie Monster's binge-eating, Oscar the Grouch's depression and Alistair Cooke's habit of smoking pipes (and then eating them) might warp the sensitive minds of twenty-first century children.

Fact Ten

In the movie E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, a scene is featured which shows Gertie watching an episode of Sesame Street and E.T. standing behind the television set. An animated segment in the episode about the letter "B" helps E.T. to learn to speak English. While Gertie is getting E.T. to associate other words with objects around the house ("phone" for example), Big Bird is heard saying "I think it came from outer space."

Facts added November 2008