It has been a half century since our televisions first asked, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” Today, just about everyone knows the answer: Some 86 million Americans grew up watching Sesame Street, which can currently be seen in more than 160 countries. Next month, it becomes the first TV show in history to receive the Kennedy Center Honors. In celebration of the show’s 50th season (which premieres on HBO this month, along with a star-studded anniversary special), Hemispheres takes a walk through five decades of sunny days.
Sesame Street premieres on public television.
The show wins its first two (of an eventual record-setting 192) Emmy awards.
co-productions—Mexico’s Plaza Sésamo and Brazil’s Vila Sésamo—premiere.
A Sesame Street float appears in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the
The Sesame Place
theme park opens
Elmo is elevated from background puppet to named character.
Follow That Bird, the first feature-length Sesame Street film, is released in theaters.
Big Bird gets a star
on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame.
Stores across the U.S. sell out of the plush Tickle Me Elmo toy in just two hours on Black Friday. Black market prices rise to more than $3,000.
Kami, the first HIV-positive Muppet, premieres on South Africa’s Takalani Sesame.
Years prior to Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda appears in season 40, singing “Murray Has a Little Lamb.” By season 42, he’s a regular composer for the show.
The show moves to HBO for its 46th season, debuting a new set and 30-minute format. (Episodes continue to air on PBS, nine months after they premiere.)
The show introduces
Julia, its first autistic character. (She wears noise-canceling headphones at the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.)
Puppeteer Caroll Spinney, who had performed both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show’s inception (winning four Emmy awards), retires.
New York City
the Upper West Side intersection of
West 63rd Street
and Broadway as