Ride Out the Pandemic with Sesame Street
You could do worse.
Instead of watching buffoons and insurrectionists on the tube, hook into the Web for vintage episodes of “Sesame Street.”
We’re in for the long haul, anyway. Get prepared.
I was reminded of “Sesame Street” recently when Sen. Ted Cruz, that vicious sack of goo, declared “Sesame Street” a public enemy for talking up vaccinations against Covid.
Imagine trying to indoctrinate the kiddies (and their adult caretakers) about needles carrying life-protecting medication.
I hadn’t thought of “Sesame Street” in a while, what with our grown grandchildren no longer needing our care.
But the Cruz diatribe against Big Bird revived our love of early “Sesame Street,” when our children were young.
Classic episodes came flooding back -- as real in my mind as scenes from “M*A*S*H” or “All in the Family” or "The Carol Burnett Show."
One daughter – known as “Zingara” (Gypsy) to our Italian-American baby-sitter – would come back from kindergarten at mid-day (my wife was at work, teaching) and I would fix a plate of cheese and salami and we would watch “Sesame Street” together.
I will never forget the spoof of a game show, in which floppy-haired host Guy Smiley offered a choice of prizes to the winners, Ralph and Trudy Monster – either a paid trip to Hawaii, with a new house, a new car, and ten thousand dollars in cash, or the second prize, a cookie.
That sent Ralph Monster into an early-radio Jack Benny-esque cheapskate holdup dilemma. (“Your money – or your life?” “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!”)
In the version I remember, Trudy Monster stood by her man.
“I know you like cookies,” she said. What a wife. So he joyfully chose the cookie
I will bet that episode was as graphic a view into the capricious heart of humankind as anything from Shakespeare or Toni Morrison.
Wasn't that a time: Vintage “Sesame Street,” when Jim Henson and his furry friends were inventing a genre and public television.
At some point in the early days, there appeared a Rubenesque blonde who appeared to be another jovial member of the gang but in her actions and her statements she soon revealed herself as always, always, out for Number One. Miss Piggy.
Another classic I remember involves one member of the cast blowing into a banana and producing a jazz trumpet sound.
At that point, Gordon, the Black male presence on those early shows, turned toward the camera and, sotto voce, proclaimed, “a regular Miles Davis.” Something for the older folks.
As the decades went by, “Sesame Street” produced an electronic trove of masterpieces, many of them on Youtube. Look at the one I found, with young Wynton Marsalis having a trumpet duel with a pure-soul feathery artist named Hoots the Owl.
Playing for an audience of adorable kiddies, Marsalis is having a great time emitting his versatility. However, Hoots the Owl has one trick that even Wynton Marsalis cannot emulate.
Dude can fly.
Classic public television.
I’m sure Ted Cruz, dead-soul schlub, hates it.
12/17/2021 12:06:23 pm
Sesame Street has been wonderful…..but I think it is also responsible for our short attention spans!
12/17/2021 12:29:03 pm
Marty: Interesting thought. I would agree that TV contributed...but my guess is that Sesame Street kept kids (and me) on the same subject for more than a few seconds...and those skits had a theme...
12/17/2021 01:47:38 pm
Alan D Levine
12/17/2021 12:28:30 pm
My son, now fifty-one years old, watched Sesame Street, Electric Company, and Mr. Rogers every day for many years. He reads books cover to cover, watches baseball games from start to finish, and concentrates very hard at a demanding job. I don't think he suffers from a short attention span.
12/17/2021 01:54:22 pm
12/17/2021 03:53:42 pm
I'll watch Aidy Bryant as Cruz....she gives him an upgrade just because she is Aidy Bryant. GV
Edwin W Martin Jr
12/17/2021 08:43:44 pm
In the 1965-66 era, we had good friends in the Bethesda, Md. area, and they were the kind of people whe kept ice cream pops in the freezer for neighborhood kids, they had no children, but Worked in education.
12/18/2021 02:23:45 pm
Hey, I forgot Fred Rogers, Mr Rogers neighborhood. He introduced a person with disbilities to the “neighborhood.”
12/18/2021 07:20:16 pm
Linda Bove Waterstreet is an American deaf actress who performed as herself on the PBS children's series Sesame Street from 1971 to 2002. Wikipedia
12/18/2021 05:42:03 am
Hi George: You did great writing about this amazing show. This wakes up our child lodged inside of us. In these troubled times, Sesame Street is an excellent antidote. In Brazil this show was titled “Vila Sésamo” and had the actress Sonia Braga (she made a beautiful career in the U.S.) I watched it during my childhood. I loved Big Bird (in Brazil known as Garibaldo, and Monster Cook as Come-come, something like Eat-eat.)
12/18/2021 06:12:56 am
12/18/2021 06:21:38 am
Sorry for my mistake. I wrote wrongly a curse word. I wanted to say Cookie Monster. Please, my apologies to all.
12/18/2021 12:57:28 pm
Dear Altenir: Thanks for your comments. I knew exactly what you meant, and I think it is charming to see you at 98 percent proficiency in a second (third?) language. So I'm leaving it alone -- proves you are not perfect. You've seen me bumble around in Spanish and French, at the baptism in Greenwich Village, to make up for not knowing Portuguese. You are so much better....
12/18/2021 01:38:52 pm
Dear George: Thank you so much.
12/20/2021 12:21:46 pm
What was great about Sesame Street was that it was fun for me to watch along with my kids. It was a natural way for them to pick up useful lessons..
12/22/2021 09:17:43 am
Comments are closed.
“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.