‘Get up from that TV set and go do your homework’ Sounds familiar?
That’s what parents keep shouting at their children. Television is seen as an antithesis to education but things changed once mavericks like Ralph Rogers and Cooney decided to integrate education and television giving birth to Children’s television workshop which have produced some of the very best educational programs for children and the show which really put ‘edu-tv’ on the map is Sesame Street.
The radical and revolutionary thought behind the show was the fact that television was the tool which held the attention of a child and it could be used to educate them. Sesame Street was the first children's show that structured each episode and made "small but critical adjustments" to each segment to capture children's attention long enough to teach them something.
When it premiered in 1969 the reception was really low but by the time the first season ended it has already managed a 7 million fan base in US alone. Such was it widespread publicity and social message that federal funds were allocated for the show during its mid years. The show has also been made in to feature films by Warner Brothers and various merchandizing brands have taken over its products.
The program has won 33 Emmy Awards. Its accomplishments are being celebrated this year with an exhibit in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Entitled Sesame Street, 1969-1989: The First 20 Years, this exhibit elegantly displays familiar Muppets:Elmo, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Slimey. Mr. Hooper's storefront is also there.
The Smithsonian calls the exhibit an appropriate representation of modern educational trends in America, combining as it does the techniques of commercial television with educational content.
As Rittika Dasgupta from Kolkata recounts, her growing up years was all about watching Sesame street on Nickelodeon. Srinanda Ganguly , a student of JNU fondly remembers Miss Piggy and the song’She drives me crazy’ It would not be wrong to say that the show reached a viewership all over the world, something the creators might not have envisioned but the legacy of edu tv which began with this show continues still on its 40th anniversary here’s wishing Sesame Street a long life ahead.
Enjoy the season 40 highlights :