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Sesame Street milestones

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SesameStrSeason 1

A listing of major events in the development, rise, evolution, and enduring success of Sesame Street.

Portal-sesame

1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s

1966

  • Joan Ganz Cooney does a feasibility study on children and television for the Carnegie Corporation.

1967

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

1968

1969

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1970

1971

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1972

1973

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  • The curriculum for Season 5 includes lessons on emotions and feelings. It introduces new Muppet characters including a group called the Twiddlebug Family and two construction workers, Biff and Sully.
  • 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.

1974

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1975

1976

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  • Sesamstraat, the Netherlands' co-production of Sesame Street, premieres and highlights important social and emotional lessons for Dutch children.
  • Season 8 focuses on female roles as Olivia, a photographer, moves to Sesame Street.

1977

  • Sesame Street's 1,000th episode airs.
  • Sesame Street travels to Hawaii to help children learn about and appreciate differences and diversity among people with an 8-episode arc starting in episode 1089.

1978

  • "Sesame Street Fever" spoofs the disco craze.
  • In season 10 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.
  • Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, an hour-long Sesame Street Christmas special airs in primetime on PBS on December 3. It wins an Emmy award.

1979

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1980

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1981

  • Season 13 focuses on 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

  • Big Bird goes to camp in a 5-part episode, starting in episode 1706.
  • Sesame Street helps children appreciate reading in season 14. Using stories, poems, letters, and newspaper articles, children learn that reading is fun and informative.

1983

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SSSeason16Cast

1984

  • Elmo, initially a generic red monster performed by Brian Muehl and later re-cast to Richard Hunt, is given to newcomer Kevin Clash who reinvigorates the once minor character and eventually takes him to unforeseen heights of popularity.

1985

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1986

  • In season 18 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.
  • Random House Home Video starts releasing Sesame Street videos.

1987

1988

  • Maria and Luis get married in episode 2485.
  • A Big Bird balloon makes its first appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

1989

SSSeason20Cast

1990

  • Season 22 welcomes a new human character to the cast, Savion.
  • First Lady Barbara Bush visits Sesame Street and reads the book "Peter's Chair".

1991

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  • A Latina Muppet, Rosita, joins the cast in season 23 along with Baby Bear.
  • Big Bird visits Crow children in Montana to learn about Native-American traditions and respect for family and nature in a multi-episode arc starting in episode 2881.
  • 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.

1993

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1994

  • Sesame Street celebrates its 25th birthday.
  • 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

  • Sony Wonder begins releasing Sesame Street videos and albums, in addition to rereleasing past titles.

1996

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  • 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
  • The Tickle Me Elmo talking plush doll is produced by Tyco and quickly becomes the year's hottest toy. Tyco is unable to keep up with the demand during the Christmas season. Over 5-million dolls were sold within the first year.

1997

  • On May 5, as part of the Cinco de Mayo celebration on Sesame Street, Abelardo from Plaza Sésamo came to visit his cousin Big Bird for the first time.
  • Slimey makes an historic trip to the moon over a 6-episode arc, with references to the journey in additional episodes.

1998

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  • Season 30 welcomes Alan to the cast as the new owner of Hooper's Store.
  • "Elmo's World" debuts.
  • Elmopalooza, a one-hour TV special, aired on ABC on February 20 to celebrate the show's 30th anniversary.
  • Sesame Street co-production Shara'a Simsim premieres in Palestine.
  • Zhima Jie, the Chinese version of Sesame Street, debuts on Shanghai TV, and emphasizes aesthetics and the arts.

1999

2000

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  • The 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.
  • Sesame Workshop purchases the rights to the Sesame Street Muppets from the Jim Henson Company, then under ownership of EM.TV. However Henson's puppet workshop continues to build and maintain the puppets used on the show.

2001

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  • Big Bird's nest is destroyed in a hurricane and children learn about coping with loss with a 5-part story starting in episode 3976.
  • 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

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2003

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  • Two new segments premiere on Sesame Street in season 34, "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 launches the "You Can Ask!" initiative, a multi-lingual project to help children cope with stress and trauma.
  • 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

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  • Sesame Street season 35 premieres on PBS with a prime time special.
  • Sesame Street wins its 97th Emmy award.
  • 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

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  • 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.
  • 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

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  • A documentary about Sesame Street's international co-productions, The World According to Sesame Street, debuts at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • The 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.
  • Caroll Spinney receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at the 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards for his work as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.
  • In season 37, Abby Cadabby, a fairy-in-training, moves to Sesame Street and Gina adopts a baby boy, Marco, from Guatemala.
  • 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

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2008

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  • 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.
  • 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. Additionally, The Sesame Street Experience for Military Families visits 43 military installations across the country.
  • Season 39 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 launches a redesigned website 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.
  • Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis is released. The book focuses on the development and rise of Sesame Street as an influential children's show and pop culture staple.

2009

Season 40 Cast
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  • 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 Queen Latifah and Elmo, and features 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 its 122 Daytime Emmy Award and is honored with a Lifetime Achievement Emmy from NATAS.
  • Sesame Street celebrates its 40th anniversary with the launch of its new season exactly 40 years to the day of its premiere on November 10. Sesame Street marks the occasion with a commemorative book and DVD set, as well as a week-long takeover of the Google logo.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama plants a garden with Elmo and Big Bird on Sesame Street.

2010

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  • When Families Grieve, airs April 14 on PBS. The special presents strategies for families coping with the death of a parent, as Elmo's family deals with the death of Uncle Jack.
  • Season 41 addresses the processes of scientific investigation, with 13 shows focused on this topic. One of the main curricular goals is to encourage children to think scientifically and to model the scientific process

2011

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  • The documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey debuts at the Sundance Film Festival. The film focuses on the life and career of puppeteer Kevin Clash.
  • The show's 42nd season debuts in September, teaching lessons based on the show's new STEM curriculum to teach science.
  • The video game, Once Upon a Monster, debuts on Xbox Kinect.

2012

  • Sesame Workshop and Microsoft launch Kinect Sesame Street TV for the Xbox Kinect system, allowing viewers to interact with the program and characters while watching specially created episodes of the show.
  • With the premiere of the show's 43rd season, Elmo's World is replaced with a new segment, Elmo the Musical.

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