11 November 2009

40th Anniversary of Sesame Street

Anyone who watches news programs or uses Google knows that this week is the 40th anniversary of the first airing of Sesame Street. I have a soft spot for the show; I am part of the generation that was the original target audience for the show. My family lived in NY when I was in elementary school, so the set of the show resembles the neighborhoods I grew up in. Watching Sesame Street is about as close as I get to reminiscing about childhood.

All the talk about Sesame Street and Muppets this week made me think about the only celebrity death that has ever made me cry. When Jim Henson died in 1990, I had only been married for about a year and I'm sure that ABM thought that I had flipped my lid because I bawled my eyes out. When CBS aired a tribute to Jim Henson several months later using Muppets, I cried all over again.

Why did I feel such a connection to Henson? It was mainly because of this song:




Even as a little kid (I think I was five when I first heard it), this song made me cry. I immediately understood that the song was telling me that it was OK to be different. Being shy and quiet didn't mean that I was less important. The song was by Joe Raposo and it has been recorded by many different artists, but no other celebrity has made quite an impression on me as Henson did singing that song in the voice of Kermit the Frog. It makes me wonder what my kids will look back on as influential when they are my age.
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