SEASON 40 PRESS KIT:  MORE SESAME STREET
SESAME STREET MILESTONES
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1966

Joan Ganz Cooney does a feasibility study on children and television for the Carnegie Corporation.Joan Ganz Cooney and her Muppet friends from Sesame Street.

1967

Joan Ganz Cooney becomes a television consultant to Carnegie and the decision is made to pursue a television project for preschool children.

1968

Press conference announcing establishment of Children’s Television Workshop with Joan Ganz Cooney serving as Executive Director.

1969

Frank Oz and Jim HensonThe Muppets™ and Jim Henson are signed.

Sesame Street premieres on November 10 on NET (the predecessor to PBS) and several commercial stations including WPIXin New York. Two nights earlier a preview of the series is shown in prime time on the NBC network.

James Earl Jones makes the first celebrity guest appearance on the show.

1970

Big Bird appears on the cover of Time.

Sesame Street receives the George Foster Peabody Award, three Emmys and the Prix Jeunesse award.

The first Sesame Street original cast album is released on Columbia Records. It wins a Grammy award.

Children’s Television Workshop opens field offices in inner-city and rural areas across the country.

The Sesame Street cast tours 14 cities to encourage viewership by children and their parents.

Sesame Street magazine debuts.

1971

Maria and Luis bring bilingual education to their Fix-It Shop.

Snuffleupagus makes his Sesame Street debut. He teaches adults that encouragement is important for children. 

1972

Count von Count first appears on Sesame Street. Linda Bove signing.

Linda Bove, a founding member of the National Theater of the Deaf, teaches sign language. 

The first international Sesame Street co-production Vila Sésamo debuts in Brazil.

Mexico’s Sesame Street co-production, Plaza Sésamo, premieres and features Aberlado, a parrot who loves to solve problems and learn new things. Plaza Sésamo focuses on literacy, diversity and gender equity. 

1973

Sesamstrasse, the German Sesame Street co-production, debuts and emphasizes the importance of creative play, the value of respect for self and others and appreciating different environments.

Sesame Street Canada debuts.

Biff and Sully, construction workers who simplify hard concepts, are Sesame Street’s newest Muppets™. 

1974

Sesame Street airs on 250 American television stations and in 41 countries worldwide.

Harvard’s Gerald Lesser, a CTW educational advisor, publishes Children and Television: Lessons from Sesame Street.

Sesame Street’s float makes its first appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

1975

The Smithsonian Institute exhibits Bert and Ernie.

1976

International MuppetsSesamstraat, The Netherlands’ co-production of Sesame Street, premieres and highlights important social and emotional lessons for Dutch children. 

Olivia, a photographer, moves to Sesame Street and is a new role model for girls.



1977

A Kermit the Frog balloon is added to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Sesame Street travels to Hawaii to help children learn about and appreciate differences and diversity among people.

1978

Barkley the Dog joins the cast of Sesame Street.

Sesame Street Fever spoofs the disco craze.

CTW’s Community Education Services division establishes the 10th Sesame Street center for the children of inmates in the Kirkland, South Carolina prison.

Maria visits her family in Puerto Rico. Six episodes are filmed on location in San German.

Children learn about ethnic diversity, deafness and sign language, dental care and exercise. Science segments ask, “What’s alive?” and “What’s inside?”

Big Bird visits the White House to attend a children’s diplomatic holiday reception.

1, Rue Sésame, France’s Sesame Street co-production, premieres with a focus on poetry, art and music.

1979

Kermit the Frog hosts The Tonight Show.Kermit the Frog

A Sesame Street co-production in Kuwait, Iftah Ya Simsim, introduces cultural traditions, legends and history.

Barrio Sésamo (Castilian)/ Barri Sèsam (Catalan) launches in Spain.

1980

Sesame Place theme park opens near Philadelphia.

Sesame Street Live! goes on tour.

1981

School skills, such as taking turns and raising hands, are taught. The role of the teacher and the structure of a school day are explained, as are such skills as listening and following directions. Children also learn to identify sounds and recognize pitch, rhythm, tempo and sound patterns.

Sesame Street co-production Svenska Sesam premieres in Sweden with a curriculum emphasizing socio-emotional development.

1982

Sesame Street helps children appreciate reading. Using stories, poems, letters, and newspaper articles, children learn that reading is fun and informative.

1983

Will Lee as Mr. HooperWill Lee, who portrayed Mr. Hooper, dies. The decision is made not to replace the actor or have him move away. Sesame Street curricular experts and scriptwriters carefully plan how to tell young children about death. The program wins an Emmy Award.

Big Bird visits China.

Israel’s Sesame Street co-production Rechov Sumsum debuts teaching children about traditions, heritage and Israeli daily life.

Sesame! a co-production in the Philippines debuts.

1984

Elmo, a curious three and a half-year-old, and the always-worried Telly Monster join the cast.

1985

Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird is released in movie theaters.

Susan and Gordon adopt Miles [played for several seasons by Roscoe Orman’s (Gordon’s) real-life son, also named Miles].

1986

Children learn to count to 40. They learn about the concept of zero and about adding and subtracting numbers larger than 10. They also learn about recognizing and completing patterns.

1987

Alice Snuffleupagus, Snuffy’s little sister, joins the cast as does Gina, a teenager who moves to Sesame Street.Alison Bartlett-O’Reilly (Gina)

1988

Maria and Luis get married. 

A Big Bird balloon makes its first appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

1989

Sesame Street celebrates its 20th birthday.

Maria and Luis have a baby girl named Gabriela.

Hiroshi, a Japanese art student comes to Sesame Street, introducing another culture to children.

Rua Sésamo debuts in Portugal.

Turkey’s Susam Sokagi premieres with a focus on building language and number skills.

1990

Gina graduates from high school. Miles starts kindergarten and Gabriela enters day care.

First Lady Barbara Bush visits Sesame Street and reads the book Peter’s Chair.

1991

CTW develops the Sesame Street Preschool Education Program (PEP) 

to help child-care professionals and families enhance learning. PEP reaches out to day care centers with storybook reading programs.

RositaA Latina Muppet™, Rosita, joins the cast. She often mixes Spanish and English words together in her sentences.

Big Bird visits Crow children in Montana to learn about Native-American traditions and respect for family and nature.

Sesam Stasjon, Norway’s Sesame Street co-production debuts with a curriculum supporting the goals of the Norwegian educational system.


1992

Sesame Street goes on location to visit Navajo, Cherokee and Iroquois Native Americans.

Research indicates that Sesame Street reaches 92% of Caucasian, Latino and African-American preschoolers living below the poverty line.

1993

Sesame Street goes “around the corner” (crossing streets can be dangerous without an adult) and introduces The Furry Arms Hotel, Finders Keepers, Celina’s Dance Studio and Gina’s Family Day Care Center.

Ruth Buzzi joins cast as Ruthie. Zoe

Zoe, a charming three-year-old Muppet, joins the cast as do humans Angela, Jamal and their baby Kayla. Children Nathan, Tarah and Carlo also come on board.

1994

Sesame Street celebrates its 25th birthday. 

CTW’s float celebrating Sesame Street’s “Let’s Read and Write” literacy campaign makes its first appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

First Lady Hillary Clinton discusses healthy habits with Big Bird and Rosita during a visit to Sesame Street.

Big Bird receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

1995

It is estimated that Sesame Street has aired in more than 120 countries.

1996

Rosita, Betty Lou and Zoe start the Girls, Girls, Girls Club.

Polish culture is the focus of the Sesame Street co-production Ulica Sezamkowa that premieres in Poland.

Canadian co-production Sesame Park debuts.

Ulitsa Sezam, Russia’s adaptation of Sesame Street, airs for the first time 

1997

Susan and Gordon look back at Miles’ adoption 11 years ago.

1998

Mr. Noodle and Elmo“Elmo’s World” debuts on Sesame Street.

Sesame Street co-production Shara’a Simsim premieres in Palestine.

Rechov Sumsum/Shara’a Simsim, the local Israeli/Palestinian adaptation of Sesame Street, wins the Japan Foundation President’s Prize for international educational programming. 

Zhima Jie, the Chinese version of Sesame Street, debuts on Shanghai TV, and emphasizes aesthetics and the arts.


1999

Sesame Street marks its 30th birthday.

The feature film, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, debuts in

theaters in October.

Sesame Street wins its 75th Emmy award.

Big Bird is featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

The FOX network special, CinderElmo, airs for the first time in December.

2000SESAME WORKSHOP

Children’s Television Workshop changes its name to Sesame Workshop to acknowledge that its mission stretches far beyond the world of television into a wide variety of interactive media.

Takalani Sesame launches on television and radio in South Africa. 

SesameStreet.com is relaunched with a brand new look and added features.

2001

Big Bird’s nest is destroyed in a hurricane and children learn about coping with loss.

A study conducted at the University of Kansas is published that demonstrates that Sesame Street can be an effective tool in increasing children’s school readiness if they watch regularly.

G is for Growing, a collection of studies on the educational impact of Sesame Street on children, is published.

Sesame Street Music Works, an initiative promoting the importance of music in child development, launches with a live webcast.

A new Big Bird balloon premieres at the 75th Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Egyptian Sesame Street co-production, Alam Simsim, debuts and features Khokha, a four-year-old Muppet girl with a passion for learning. She serves as a role model for girls. 

2002

September 11th Special.Four special episodes are produced to indirectly address the September 11, disaster by helping kids develop strategies for coping with fear, loss, diversity and bullies. New York City firefighters appear on the show.

Sesame Street premieres a revised format that includes new segments such as Journey to Ernie and the Spanish Word of the Day.

Sesame Street’s 4000th episode airs.

Sesame Street wins its 85th Daytime Emmy award.

The recording Elmo and the Orchestra wins Sesame its 10th Grammy award.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan makes an appearance on Sesame Street to teach the Muppets about working together.

Elmo testifies before a House Labor subcommittee about the importance of music education for children. 

Kami, the first HIV-positive Muppet, debuts on South Africa’s co-production Takalani Sesame. 

2003

Two new segments premiere on Sesame Street, ”Global Thingy” and “Global Grover,” introducing children to the world around them.

First Lady Laura Bush visits Sesame Street and reads a book titled, Wubba Wubba Woo.

A new Muppet™ is born on Sesame Street, Baby Bear’s sister- Curly Bear.

Sesame Workshop releases, “Songs from the Street: 35 Years of Music,” a compilation CD that includes classic Sesame Street songs sung by both Muppets™ and celebrities.

Sesame Workshop launches the You Can Ask! initiative, a multi-lingual project to help children cope with stress and trauma. The materials are provided to mental health offices, crisis counseling service providers, schools, community agencies and child-care programs in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. 

Sesame Stories, a new television production and outreach initiative that impacts children in the Middle East, launches in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, promoting respect and understanding. 

2004

Sesame Street season 35 premieres on PBS with a prime time special.

Sesame Street wins its 97th Emmy award. HEALTHY HABITS FOR LIFE

Sesame Workshop launches “Healthy Habits for Life” an initiative to address the issue of childhood obesity.

A local Sesame Street educational outreach initiative is launched in Afghanistan to encourage literacy and numeracy, as well as sharing and cooperation. 

Using nature as a thematic springboard for showcasing Japan’s unique cultural heritage and for conveying educational goals appropriate for Japanese preschoolers, Sesame Street Japan launches on TV Tokyo.

Takalani Sesame launches a national call-to-action with “talk to me…” a South African multimedia campaign to promote communication between adults and children on the crucial subject of HIV and AIDS.

Rruga Sesam (Albanian language) and Ulica Sezam (Serbian language) debut in Kosovo.

2005

Sesame Street’s 36th season debuts with a focus on encouraging healthy eating and physical activity, as part of the “Healthy Habits for Life” initiative. The initiative elicits a tremendous public response to teaching Cookie Monster that “A Cookie is a Sometimes Food.”

Sesame Street wins its 101st Emmy, earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the Most Emmy Wins by a Television Series.

Sesame Place celebrates its 25th birthday.

Takalani Sesame’s “talk to me…” campaign is honored with the prestigious Japan Prize, a George Foster Peabody Award, a Gold Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival, the Gold Intermedia-globe from the World Media Festival and the Rose D’Or Social Awareness award. 

5, Rue Sésame premieres in France, featuring regionally produced live action and animation segments as well as new Muppet characters, including an energetic girl in a wheelchair named Griotte.

Sisimpur, a Sesame Street co-production in Bangladesh, debuts.

Alam Simsim debuts on Arab satellite station Future TV with new regional live action films from Lebanon and United Arab Emirates, reaching an estimated 280 million viewers.

Sabai Sabai Sesame, a version of Sesame Street specially adapted for Cambodia, premieres in that region. 

2006

Sesamstraat, The Netherlands’ local adaptation of Sesame Street, celebrates its 35th anniversary with a series of special events including the naming of a tulip after the Muppet™ character Purk, and placing Purk’s face on a postal stamp.

A documentary about Sesame Street’s international co-productions, The World According to Sesame Street, debuts at the Sundance Film Festival.

Indian MuppetThe Indian co-production Galli Galli Sim Sim debuts in August.

U.S. First Lady Laura Bush tapes a segment for the first season of India’s Galli Galli Sim Sim. 

Sesame Beginnings, a research-based DVD series for parents and young children under age 2 that encourages learning through parent-child interactions and features baby versions of the Muppets from Sesame Street, debuts with its first two titles.

Plaza Sésamo develops a healthy habits initiative in Colombia, commencing production of live action films from the region that are incorporated in the television show.

Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who plays the roles of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at the 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards.

Abby Cadabby, a fairy-in-training, moves to Sesame Street and becomes the first female Muppet to join the show in 13 years. Gina adopts a baby boy from Guatemala.

Rechov Sumsum returns to the airwaves in Israel with a new season.

Sesame Workshop launches Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment an initiative designed for military families with children to help them cope with the feelings, challenges and concerns experienced during various phases of deployment.

The Muppets™ of Plaza Sésamo visit Columbia for the first time as Sesame Workshop produces original live action segments for the show’s 11th season.

2007

Garibaldo returns to his nest in Brazil through the launch of a brand new Vila Sesamo preschool block.

Sesame Workshop announces that the Plaza Sésamo brand now penetrates 100% of major Latin America markets. 

Hikayat Simsim, a co-production in Jordan launches with a focus on teaching basic skills and Jordanian culture

Sesame Workshop begins implementing a multi-media initiative in Tanzania that spans television, radio, community outreach platforms and addresses the education and health needs of children in the region. SESAME STREET PODCAST

One week after its launch, the Sesame Street podcast reaches number 1 on iTunes top podcast list.

2008

Sesame Workshop launches Jalan Sesama, presenting basic cognitive and social skills to the children of Indonesia, while representing the vibrant diversity of the country’s vast archipelago. 

Sesame Tree debuts on BBC Northern Ireland television. This new media project aims to encourage children in Northern Ireland to explore and appreciate the world around them and promote respect and understanding.

Plaza Sésamo celebrates its 35th anniversary and launches an 11th season on Televisa, Mexico’s terrestrial broadcaster.

Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes, the second phase of the Workshop’s military outreach program launches, helping military families with young children cope with the effects of deployments, multiple deployments or when a parent returns home changed due to a combat related injury.

The Sesame Street Experience for Military Families, a free traveling tour, visits 43 military installations across the country. 

Sesame Street wins its 118th Emmy Award.

Sesame Street’s 39th season debuts, in hi-definition, with new cast member Leela, a young Indian-American who embraces her heritage and culture. New regular segments “Murray Has a Little Lamb,” and “Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures” also debut.

Sesame Workshop's WebsiteSesame Workshop launches a redesigned website www.sesamestreet.org simultaneously with the premiere of Sesame Street’s 39th season. 

Sisimpur launches its 5th season on Bangladesh’s BTV.

Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies helps families with young children between the ages of two and five prepare for an emergency with basic information and ways in which they can best respond to an emergency and helps them develop a sense of resilience and self-confidence. 

Health messages related to HIV/AIDS and malaria are part of Kilimani Sesame when it launches in Tanzania.

The planetarium show One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure debuts, taking viewers in China and the U.S. on an exciting discovery of the sun, moon, and stars. The show and educational outreach initiative is a bi-national collaboration between Sesame Workshop, Beijing Planetarium, the Adler Planetarium and Liberty Science Center.

2009

Sesame Workshop partners with USAID and launches Sesame Street Presents: The Adventures of Kami and Big Bird, an outreach effort to provide resources about HIV and AIDS to Nigerian children and caregivers. 

Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change airs April 1 on PBS. The special, tells the stories of service members who return home with injuries, visible and invisible, and explores the heroic struggles their families face in discovering a new way of finding a “new normal, is hosted by Grammy and Golden Globe winner, Queen Latifah and Elmo, and features Grammy Award winner, John Mayer.

Sesame Workshop launches the Sesame Street Family Connections website to help military families stay connected and Sesame Rooms in 35 play spaces across the U.S. for military children.

SESAMGADE, a new Sesame Street block premieres in Denmark with original Danish material and a Danish Elmo.

Sesame Street wins it’s 122 Daytime Emmy Award and is honored with a Lifetime Achievement EmmyCELEBRATING 40 YEARS - SESAME STREET from NATAS.

Sesame Street celebrates its 40th birthday with the launch of its new season exactly 40 years to the day of its premiere on November 10. 

First Lady Michelle Obama plants a garden with Elmo and Big Bird on Sesame Street.