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This Way to Sesame Street

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This Way to Sesame Street was a promotional special that aired on NBC stations on Saturday, November 8, 1969, at 5pm. The 30-minute show, sponsored by Xerox, gave a special preview of the then-new National Educational Television series Sesame Street, which was set to debut two days later (November 10).[1]

Picture Description
Rocketfallsover
Rocket countdown: The rocket falls over.
ThisWay01
Voice-over: "This Way to Sesame Street. Introducing a new television series for children."
Rocketcountdowntakeoff
Rocket countdown: The announcer blasts off.
ThisWay02

ThisWay03
The voice-over reads the screens.
Rocketblowsup
Rocket countdown: The rocket blows up in a shower of soot.
ThisWay04

ThisWay06

ThisWay07

ThisWay09
Ernie notices that there are millions of people watching them on TV - which confuses him, because he and Bert are not supposed to be on until next week. Bert explains that the Xerox people are giving them a half-hour to promote their new show, Sesame Street, before it airs. They won't sponsor it, however, because it will be airing on public television. They both explain that it's a show for preschoolers, it will be on every day (sometimes twice a day), and the idea, according to Bert, is to "make use of all the things kids like to watch on TV anyway, and use those things to teach." What do kids like to watch the most on TV, Ernie wonders? Bert has a simple answer: "Puppets." Ernie pushes him aside, denying that. Bert keeps bouncing back with other answers: "Cartoons? Dancing? Dogs and cats? Explosions? Roller derby?" Ernie has an even better answer: "Commercials." They eagerly turn their attention to the marathon of animated sequences that follows ...
Wandawitch2
Wanda the Witch
Artist: Tee Collins
Carolburnett0001
Carol Burnett: "Wow, Wanda the Witch is weird."
X-ends
"Poverty X": A peanut-shaped figure lists the words that the letter "X" can be found in.
(First: Episode 0006)
M-Mail
M for Mail
Eatingapeach
E imagination
Artist: John and Faith Hubley
1446d
E - egg: A cow hatches a chick, which says "Moo."
ThisWay10

ThisWay11
Bert tries to introduce the next film (about how milk comes from the farm); but Ernie keeps interrupting him, expecting a segment on numbers. Ernie goes off on a tangent about numbers, finally begging to see a film about the number 7. Bert reluctantly gives in.
Baker7
"Seven Song (Song of Seven)"
Eggscookies
Counting 11 eggs and one cookie.
Jazzyspies2
Jazz #2
Wombat
A wombat ("Itchy") scratches its four legs as Ernie and Bert count them.
5peopleinmyfamily
Anything Muppets sing "Five People in My Family."
ThisWay12
Bert explains that the show is not just cartoons and songs, but is meant to be a portrayal of a real place. Ernie suggests showing a clip from the very first show, where we meet everyone who lives on Sesame Street.
0001a

0001a2
Ernie's request is granted, as we see the first three minutes of the first show, in which we meet Gordon, Mr. Hooper, Bob, Susan, and Big Bird.
Erniebeforeafter
Ernie & Bert: Ernie wants to have some cookies. Bert asks Ernie if he knows what "before" means, and Ernie demonstrates by saying that before he can have a cookie, he has to open the lid to a cookie jar, and after he closes the lid, he eats the cookie. He demonstrates a few times, until he loses his appetite for lunch.
Susanhappyandyouknowit
Bert: "And there's Susan again. She's playing a singing game with the children. Let's listen, Ernie." Susan sings "'If You're Happy and You Know It" to some kids.
Buddyjimshoes
Ernie: "Hey, there's Buddy. Buddy and Jim are friends of ours, too." In this segment, they try to put on shoes and socks.
Goodmorningstarshine
Bert: "And look, Ernie, there's Bob again. He's going to sing to us." A portion of the clip of Bob singing "Good Morning Starshine" is shown.
ThisWay13
Ernie lists some of the guest stars who will be seen on the show, including Burt Lancaster, James Earl Jones, Mahalia Jackson, Carol Burnett - but Bert balks when Ernie mentions Kermit ...
1scary
Kermit's Lectures: Cookie Monster drinks both of Kermit's glasses of milk, which he was going to use to explain "more" and "less". When Kermit insults Cookie Monster, several of Cookie Monster's monster pals gang up on Kermit, prompting him to point out that now there are more monsters and less frogs.
ThisWay14
Ernie sums up the program's initial goals, and Bert mentions that there's a parent's guide that contains descriptions of every upcoming episode, which Ernie displays. He then becomes worried that "they" (meaning the audience) haven't met the Anything Muppets, or Oscar yet. Bert says they're out of time, but Ernie begs him for just one more clip.
Aisforape
A for Ape
ThisWay15

ThisWay16

ThisWay17
Bert keeps stressing to Ernie that it's time to go, but Ernie keeps protesting all throughout the end credits (even pointing out that they left out Danny's credit!). Finally, Ernie displays the address to write to in order to get the program guide.
ThisWay18
The voiceover from the beginning repeats the address.
ThisWay19
In a filmed message, James E. Allen Jr., then-current US Commissioner of Education, gives a speech commending the efforts of the Children's Television Workshop, assuring the public that this show is worth looking forward to. [2]


Sources

  1. Time Magazine, November 7, 1969
  2. James E. Allen Personal Papers

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