Muppet-mad Sesame Street celebrates 40 years

Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:32pm EST
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By Burton Frierson

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The following news article was brought to you by the number "40".

Ever wonder what is the world's longest street?

It stretches across more than 140 countries and anyone between the ages four and 40 has probably seen it. It is also the home of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Grover.

Any five-year-old in the United States can tell you how to get to Sesame Street, or Rue Sesame in France, Sesamstrasse in Germany, Jalan Sesama in Indonesia or Takalani Sesame in South Africa.

When you get there, wish everyone happy anniversary because the U.S. experiment that started on November 10, 1969 as an attempt to help underprivileged children learn with television has just turned 40.

"When we started out I didn't know that it would appeal to all these countries. I thought of it as a quintessentially American show," Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney told Reuters.

"It was sort of hip and cool and late-60s and The Muppets seemed to me very American, so I was stunned when foreign countries started asking us ... but I loved it ... if we would do Sesame Streets in their country."

Other nations quickly adopted it, and eventually Sesame Street would stretch from Bangladesh to Brazil, India to Israel, Japan to Jordan and Egypt too.   Continued...

<p>Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney (2nd R) poses with some of the cast during a 40th anniversary street naming celebration in New York, November 9, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>