Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Night Tomfoolery (8)

Conceived in 1966 and premiered on PBS in the USA in 1969, Sesame Street is a little kids show that seeks to use humour, puppets, music and the occasional famous person to teach kids about all of the basics, such as letters, numbers, language, shapes, etc. Now in its 42nd year, it is watched in over 140 countries arounnd the world. In America it has won 8 Grammies and 118 Emmies, more than any other children's television show.

I remember watching a fair bit of Sesame Street in my early years. The characters of Bert and Ernie, Grover, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Elmo, The Count (my favorite), Big Bird and of course Kermit, were a staple part of my television diet.

Sesame Street wasn't just about puppets, as there were many humans interacting with these characters. People such as Mr Hooper, Bob, Maria, Luis and Gordon taught me about life as well as any teacher did.

One of the great things about Sesame Street is that it attracted a number of well known actors, entertainers and musicians to perform and play for the kids. Tonight's Tomfoolery will explore some of these performances (well, those that I can find on YouTube, anyway).

Last week ended with Natalie Portman's performance with Elmo. Tonight will be another performance with Elmo, this time with Jack Black (in 2008) teaching us about what an octagon is.

Now for Annette Bening and Cookie Monster, teaching us about Here and There.

And Cookie Monster sharing his cookie with Susan Sarandon.

Now we have Liam Neeson, doing the second best counting to 20 I have seen, with The Count.

American talkshow host, Larry King, interviews the letter W:

As well as actors, there have been a number of musicians on Sesame Street. This first one sees Victor Borge talking about practising on the piano.

Andrea Bocelli sings a lullabye to Elmo.

The videos shown above are all very slickly directed and most of them are pretty recent. The next two are from 1973; firstly Stevie Wonder and band with Superstition.

And then teaching Grover to sing.

The final two videos for tonight shows legendary trumpet player, Winton Marsalis teaching music. The first was shown in 1985 and discusses playing notes.

This final one was shown in 1998 and was again about playing notes.

We're going to stay with this theme for next week, as we explore music on Sesame Street.

Have a good week.

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