Don't Forget Sesame Street Tonight Apr 4, 2004 8:17:24 GMT -5
Post by Susanelizabeth28 on Apr 4, 2004 8:17:24 GMT -5
Most-loved 'Street' celebrates
'Sesame Street' marks its 35th season with a prime-time special.
By Jacqueline Cutler
April 4, 2004
Seemingly, no one can even mention "Sesame Street" without smiling.
Over the years, legions of celebrities have visited the venerable neighborhood; during this season, the PBS show will be highlighting these visits.
"Sesame Street" may be the only show that actors, musicians and dancers unanimously acclaim.
To kick off the 35th season, the show visits prime time at 8 p.m. today on WFYI with "Sesame Street Presents: The Street We Live On."
"I think it is just playing, and the fact that the puppets have such lives," Lily Tomlin says, explaining why the show has drawn her back for repeat performances.
The actress-comedian and co-stars from "The West Wing" dance in the special.
"If you are like me, you totally invest in that reality, that suspension of disbelief that they are real little creations. That's my inclination anyway."
"It's just playful, innocence, sweetness, goodness, foolishness and silliness all wrapped up together," she says.
All of those aspects are in the one-hour special, which repeats at 10:30 a.m. Monday on WFYI for preschoolers.
In many ways, the special is a typical show. For other programs, that could be mundane.
But anyone who has ever watched a toddler recite the alphabet because fuzzy monsters are singing it knows that "Sesame Street" arguably is the most influential show on television.
The news is important, dramas great, and sitcoms funny, but what other show has prepared millions of children worldwide to read?
As always, the show is brought to viewers by a letter and a number, in this case "C" and "10."
For those whose "Sesame Street" viewing days predate Elmo, be aware that the ditzy little monster hypnotizes youngsters.
No matter what religion one is raising their children in, they become Elmotarians once "Elmo's World" comes on.
Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo, says, "I had no idea he would be this popular."
Clash cites working with Robert De Niro and Maya Angelou as among his favorite experiences in his 24 years as a puppeteer on "Sesame Street." But visiting the White House last year to tape a public service announcement with first lady Laura Bush, about reading, was pretty wonderful, too.
"The president was about to board a helicopter," Clash says. "And I asked the first lady if Elmo could go and wave to her husband. And she said, 'Sure.'
"And here I am, this black guy kneeling and waving (with Elmo on his hand) to the president. He looked confused; then he waved. I don't know if anyone has ever done that on the White House lawn before."
Trip through time
In the special, Grover, the spaciest creature on the show, takes Elmo for a taxi ride into the past, where they see "Sesame Street" as it was before Elmo came.
They see Mr. Hooper the storekeeper (who died in 1983), the long-ago wedding of Luis and Maria, and the birth of their daughter, Gabi.
As the street's fuzzy denizens gather, it is impossible to stay, well, a grouch. That delightful feeling of good will lasts with the stars, as well.
"I was in New York, feeling very blue," Cher says. "I turned on 'Sesame Street.' I am not alone. There's 'Sesame Street.' "
Norah Jones recalls being a kid, watching Bert and Ernie going fishing, and Ernie calling out, 'Here, fishy, fishy,' and the fish leaping onto his boat. "For five years, I thought that was how you fished," the twenty-something jazz singer says.
Veteran actress Doris Roberts adds, "My favorite thing about 'Sesame Street' is all 35 years."