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Traction Jackson

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Performer:
TractionChairSong

Traction Jackson, aka TJ, is a wheelchair-bound African American boy who appears in computer animated segments on Sesame Street, beginning in Season 35. TJ, whose real name is Tyrone Jackson, is an energetic boy who enjoys basketball and whose best friend is his dog, Bernie. TJ's chair features unique, colored swirls on the wheels.

TJ made his debut in the 35th season opener/special The Street We Live On. New segments were added beginning in Season 36. Reminiscent of previous Sesame Street characters like street-scene regular Tarah, TJ was introduced as part of Sesame Workshop's curriculum to teach children that people are the same beneath physical differences.

Production Background

The Traction Jackson shorts are produced by the Tennessee-based studio Magnetic Dreams. The studio's creative director is Muppet performer Rickey Boyd, who used his friendship with Kevin Clash to arrange for his company to win the assignment. According to articles about the series, Boyd said the character of TJ was inspired by child in a wheelchair he met while working as a puppeteer on Animal Jam. "Everyone was just amazed at what a great attitude he had," Boyd recalled.

Sketches

Picture Theme / First Appearance Description
TractionChairSong
Me and My Chair


Episode 4057

A remake of an earlier live-action song, TJ sings about how his chair enables him to move faster than he could with shoes.


Online: Sesamestreet.org

4125zo
14 Baskets


Episode 4070

In this counting short, TJ attempts to make fourteen consecutive baskets, while Bernie cheers from the sidelines.


Online: Sesamestreet.org

4115zc
Fruit Snack Samba


Episode 4089

TJ corrects Bernie about his junkfood habits, singing a lively tribute to fruit.


Online: Sesamestreet.org, Sesame Street Podcast: Healthy Snacks

4124q
TJ Meets Margarita


Episode 4098

TJ and Bernie encounter Margarita, a neighborhood kid who initially refuses to let TJ use the court, believing his wheelchair prevents him from playing. TJ proves her wrong, and the two become friends.


Online: Sesamestreet.org

4130n
Follow Me


Episode 4130

TJ, Bernie, and Margarita play "Follow Me" with Grandpa Mudcat.


Online: Sesamestreet.org

4158.TJackson
The Doggone Jealous Blues


Episode 4158

TJ is sad because Bernie is playing with Margarita instead of him. Grandpa sings him a song about "The Doggone Jealous Blues," after which Margarita invites him to play.


Online: Sesamestreet.org

TJ40
Counting to 40


Episode 4187

TJ and his friends count to 40 by 10s in song.
TJ-IWords
Imagining I Words


Episode 4227

TJ and his friend sing about I words.


Video: Learning Letters with Elmo, Alphabet Songs Online: Sesamestreet.org

Credits

External Links

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