At 40, Sesame Street Hasn't Aged a Bit

Classic kids' show pioneered educational entertainment
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2009 4:00 AM CST
In this April 10, 2008 file photo, Big Bird reads to Connor Scott and Tiffany Jiao during a taping of Sesame Street in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
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(Newser) – The first kids who learned the letters of the alphabet from Sesame Street could have grandchildren by now—but Big Bird hasn't aged a day. Using TV to educate preschoolers was a radical concept in 1969, when Sesame Street founder Joan Ganz Cooney and Muppet creator Jim Henson launched their "fairly small" children's show. Forty years later, the show is a global phenomenon, watched in 140 countries.

Over the decades, Sesame Street has tackled tough social issues and adapted its characters to local contexts—like Kami, the HIV-positive muppet on South Africa's Takalani Sesame, CBS reports. A show that has hosted stars from Johnny Cash to Jake Gyllenhaal will welcome a new special visitor to its season launch tomorrow: First Lady Michelle Obama, who will plant a garden and promote healthy eating.