40 Years of Sunny Days and Funny Clips: Happy Birthday, "Sesame Street!"

8 years ago

"A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter. I remember!"

It was something I thought was a family idiom, chanted in the car on the way to the store, until the day I found myself saying it out loud in the Safeway.

"A container of milk. And a stick of butter," rejoined my friend. "I remember!"

I was astonished. "How did you get into my head?"

"Sesame Street," he said.

Oh, right. I remember. I'm remembering a lot about the iconic kids' show, which turns 40 today. It's one year older than I am, and looking back at the Sesame Street videos, I see we really did grow up together.

"A Loaf of Bread" was one of the first videos I ever looked up on YouTube:

That led me to the yip-yip Martians and the telephone -- and I just now realized this is why I say "Yip. Yip. Chicken. Chicken. Chicken." sometimes (you know, I must be really bizarre to grocery shop with).

Or, in fact, to travel to rivers, lakes, or aquariums with:

Then I came upon the disturbing, fascinating, superpsychedelic Yo-Yo Master segment -- another one that reverberates through my '70s-kid mind. (And yes, I also still say, "I must really be lost good.")

And, of course, there's the original "Mah Nà Mah Nà," which, along with "Baby Elephant Walk" and the theme from "Rocky and Bullwinkle," is in my permanent earworm rotation.

The show's changed over the past 40 years -- so much so that a DVD release of classic clips a couple of years ago came with a warning that the content may not be suitable for teaching today's tots. That brouhaha came on the heels of the donnybrook over Cookie Monster's switch to a healthier diet. Jeff Moss, the show's first head writer and creator of Oscar the Grouch, told Terry Gross on Fresh Air that Oscar wouldn't have been invented today -- he's too unhygienic, not to mention those attitude problems.

Today, the show celebrated its 40th with a guest appearance by Michelle Obama, who talks about garden planting (wow, she's talking gardening on all my favorite shows these days). As Alessandra Stanley points out in the New York Times, it's a less gritty and urban, more tofu and yoga these days, though global warming is too scary for the little ones.

There's also a new host, Murray Monster, and some -- gasp -- CGI segments, but it's recognizably Sesame: Goofy, friendly, with the power to stick with kids and crack the adults up (and sometimes piss them off, given the minor imbroglio over the recent Pox News parody).

I observed Sesame Street's birthday with a few more of my own favorite clips, from Patrick Stewart's classic "B or Not a B" to NPH as the Shoe Fairy.

More Sesamemories:

Cake Wrecks celebrates the anniversary with some Sesame sweets.

Bitch takes a look at the show's feministory.

Cool Mom Picks found some instantly nostalgia-producing Sesame Street stuff (want that Snuffleupagus tee).

Miss Banshee at Mamapop has some "Sesame Street" trivia.

Notes from the Asylum liked the idea of a Sesame "Mad Men" (and sad men and glad men) last season, but wished for a muppet Joan Holloway (don't we all).

And finally, you can vote for the funkiest "Sesame Street" video of the '70s on SesameStreet.org.

I remember. Do you? Which segments flit through your brain? Post your favorite episodes in the comments -- if you can't find the video clip I'll try to find it for you, and I'll add it to the player if I do.

"Sesame Street" 40th Anniversary Temporary Street Renaming

More from living

by Colleen Stinchcombe | 9 hours ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 5 days ago
by Allie Gemmill | 7 days ago
by Debbie Wolfe | 7 days ago
by Fairygodboss | 8 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 9 days ago
by Justina Huddleston | 10 days ago
by Ashley Papa | 13 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 13 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 13 days ago
by SheKnows Editors | 15 days ago
by Kristen Fischer | 18 days ago
by Fairygodboss | 20 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 20 days ago
by Julie Sprankles | 21 days ago