I had a little spare time this afternoon, so I got to surfing around wikipedia and learned a ton of neat facts and trivia about everyone’s favourite childrens program. 20 great facts below;
1. Baby Bear is Jewish.
2. The Count is nearly two million years old.
3. The Count’s laugh after counting each number was discontinued over concerns of it frightening children.
4. In 1985, Snuffeupagus ceased to be a creature only Big Bird can see. The reason? Concerns that adults not believing Big Bird about Snuffy would lead to children being afraid to speak out about sexual abuse.
5. In the first season, Grover was brown, not blue.
6. Cookie Monster predates Sesame Street by 3 years. He began his life as “The Wheel Stealer” in an unaired General Foods commercial, and went on to become involved in an IBM training film and a commercial for Munchos, where he went under the name “Arnold the Munching Monster.” Back in these early days, he had a big set of sharp teeth and seemed a little more terrifying to kiddies than the friendly blue monster we all know and love.
7. During his first season in 1979, Telly was known as “The Television Monster.” He had an antenna on the top of his head and his eyes would spin around whenever he watched TV. In 1980 he was revamped into the worrywart we’ve all gotten used to.
8. Rosita, the only Hispanic Muppet on Sesame Street, is actually a fruit bat.
9. In the first season, Oscar the Grouch was orange, not green.
10. In 1970, a single was released of Ernie singing “Rubber Duckie.” It reached #16 on the Billboard chart.
11. Bert and Ernie aren’t gay. Get over it. Sesame Workshop has gone on record about this.
12. The pilot episode of Sesame Street that was screen tested in front of a number of families in July 1969 featured only one Muppet sketch. It involved Bert and Ernie. This was the only part of the show that tested well, so the show was retooled to focus more heavily on the Muppets, and to have them interact with human characters as well.
13. After Jim Henson’s death in 1989, only a handful of “News Flash” segments, which prominently featured Kermit the Frog, were created. In 2001, the sketches, both old and new, were abandoned completely.
14. Guy Smiley’s real name is Bernie Liederkrantz.
15. The fat blue muppet that always plays a customer to Grover’s waiter has a name befitting his appearance – Fat Blue.
16. In 2002, a the South African version of Sesame Street, an HIV-positive muppet was introduced in 2002. Kami is a five year old girl that became HIV-positive through a blood transfusion as an infant. Her name is derived from the word “Kamogelo,” which means “acceptance” in several African languages.
17. Contrary to popular belief, Big Bird is not a canary. He’s a Golden Condor.
18. Although the character of Elmo didn’t debut until 1984, the Elmo puppet was used regularly as a background Muppet since the early 1970’s.
19. Barkley was originally intended to be an acrobatic ape rather than a sheep dog. As well, he was called Woof Woof at first, only being called Barkley after several appearances.
20. Ken Kwapis, the director of the 1985 Sesame Street film “Follow That Bird,” went on to be involved in the creation of such cultural TV landmarks as The Larry Sanders Show and the The Office.
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