1969: Access to ‘Sesame Street’ is Open
Sesame Street aired for the first time on PBS on this day in 1969. The show was the result of talks between TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney and Carnegie Foundation vice president Lloyd Morrisett. From the beginning, the show featured short films, skits, songs and more hosted by live actors and Jim Henson’s Muppets. In 1981, when the federal government withdrew its funding, the Children’s Television Workshop turned to other revenue sources, including lucrative royalties on books and items based on the show’s characters. In 1999, the show featured a separate segment, “Elmo’s World” due to the popularity of the loved red Muppet. By the show’s 40th anniversary, it was being broadcast in more than 140 countries. Sesame Street has won 13 Emmy Awards and eight Grammy Awards and yet, we still do not know how to get there. Beginning in 2015, Sesame Street began a partnership with HBO airing new episodes on both networks. The show’s 51st season will begin on HBO in 2021.
1953: ‘Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom’ Comes to Theaters
Walt Disney’s first cartoon to be released in Cinemascope was released on this day in 1953. Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom is an educational “Adventures in Music” animated short film that had a long life in public schools teaching children about music long after its initial theater viewing. The film begins with Professor Owl teaching his students about music. (In more recent years, this scene has been used for the opening of many of the Disney’s Sing-a-Long videos) The study of musical instruments included four core sounds: Toot (brass), Whistle (woodwind), Plunk (strings) and boom (percussion) with each presented as caveman character. The short won the 1954 Oscar for Best Short Subject.
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