Featuring colorful Muppet characters created by Jim Henson, Sesame Street celebrates its 40 anniversary as a pioneer of educational television. Its premiere on November 10, 1969 combined education with entertainment culminating in the longest running children’s program on US television.
The show is produced by the non-profit Sesame Workshop, formerly known as the Children’s Television Workshop, founded by Joan Ganz Cooney and Ralph Rogers.
Up until the late 1960s, the use of television as an educational tool in the US was “unproven” and “a revolutionary concept”. In 1966, the Carnegie Institute hired Joan to study how the media could be used to help young children, especially those from low-income families, learn and prepare for school.
She proposed using television’s “most engaging traits”, including quality film and animation, to reach the largest audience possible and affect them for many years after they stopped watching it.
As a result of the initial proposal, an $8 million grant was awarded to establish, in collaboration with Carnegie Institute, the Children’s Television Workshop and create a new children’s television program. In 1968, millions more were invested by the Ford Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the US federal government.
Caroll Spinney, the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, talks about four decades of Sesame Street….
Watch the video below…