Narrated by David Bushman, Television and Mass Media Curator for The Paley Center
Sesame Street was born during a 1966 dinner party conversation when Carnegie Corporation’s Lloyd Morrisett asked Joan Ganz Cooney, a producer at New York’s Channel Thirteen, if television can be an effective teaching tool. Cooney believed it could and set about developing the show that would become Sesame Street. She raided Bob Keeshan‘s Captain Kangaroo, which was produced at CBS Studios also in New York and would itself run 29 years, for talent and she hired 32-year-old puppeteer Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets. Sesame Street premiered on PBS on November 10, 1969– both NBC and CBS had passed on it— brought to you by the letters “W”, “S,” and “E” and the numbers “2” and “3,” sparking a revolution in children’s TV programming. In one of the most memorable episodes, Big Bird learns of the death of neighborhood grocer Mr. Hooper, played by Will Lee who had been blacklisted from TV during the McCarthy years of the 1950s.