Watch this 1960s pitch reel for Sesame Street

Originally published at: Watch this 1960s pitch reel for Sesame Street | Boing Boing


And here all this time I thought Hey Stupid was what they called Fox News…


“you’re gonna have a whole generation of kids counting backwards!”

This pitch drop is full of negative assessment and downright trashing of the proposed show. I love it.


Just recently saw the new documentary about the beginning of Sesame Street.

People don’t realize how groundbreaking the show’s setting and cast were for children’s TV. Using an urban location and racially mixed cast inner city kids would recognize and identify with, was both simple and brilliant in conception and effect.


At least some of this is on the first DVD set… I know it’s used in one of the ads on the 2nd set (which is annoying, because we already own both sets, and IIRC there’s no way to skip past it)

Yeah, in our household our kids were taught not to call anyone “stupid” so this part was real helpful… (every time we played the DVD; see above)

(See also: our experience with Caillou)

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I was the target audience for this show when it started. I think I even remember that “j” looks like a fishhook cartoon.


Unfortunately, Sesame Street has created generations of kids who can’t deal with anything longer than a commercial. Their whole gimmick was using commercial-like blurbs, like Max Headroom’s blipverts, to grab attention. In doing so, they taught kids to look for the Shiny Pony.

Ironically, the three networks at the time rejected Sesame Street which is why it ended up on PBS (at the time . CTW is no better than any other media-whore.

You might want to watch more Sesame Street.

And that’s hardly the only study that showed its positive impact on preschoolers.


In 1968, Rowlf appeared with Kermit the Frog on the pitch reel for Sesame Street . At the end of the pitch reel, Rowlf is depicted as being eager to join the Sesame Street cast, while Kermit seems reluctant to do so; however, it was Kermit who became a Sesame star, while Rowlf appeared only in one filmed segment and was never a part of the show’s regular cast. In 1976, Rowlf joined the recurring cast of The Muppet Show as the show’s pianist.

So what was Rowlf up to during those intervening years?


I wonder who’s doing the performing, as both Kermit and Rowlf were originally Jim Henson characters? I suspect Henson’s doing Rowlf as Kermit seems a bit off brand to me. (Of course, Henson could have dubbed the part he wasn’t physically performing, but that seems a bit involved for a pitch reel.)


me too. i DEFINITELY remember the “J” cartoon, and the others they showed. i had no idea Ralph was around so early. i don’t remember him from Sesame Street proper, but he must’ve been there. he seems more like a Muppet Show incarnation to me.


well dang, i should’ve kept reading the comments! at least this jibes with my memory!


Interesting hot take.

Also, velcome to boing boing.


I vehemently disagree with that statement. I better take a breather and count to ten. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, niiiiiiiiiinnnnnne, teeeeeeeeeeennn!


I’ll just put a word in here for Out to Lunch, a little remembered bridge between Sesame Street and the Muppet show. It actually used Muppets from both shows as well as some actors from The Electric Company


Obligs, man;

You can’t just, like, mention it and then not post the Pinball Countdown; that’s the Pointer Sisters, yo!


If you want to take a cynical look at it, Sesame Street was trying to win an arms race. Every other kids show out there is fighting for their attention… louder, brighter, flashier. Kids were going to be chasing whatever shiny object was dangled in front of them anyway, so a shiny educational object seems like a worthwhile endeavor. Many people seem to think they did a pretty good job.


Interesting that 2 generations raised in front of that program do not bear that out. The use of advertising tactics were instrumental in raising literacy among its intended audience of pre schoolers.

The show also was one of the most inclusive casts in television. Done in a way that was neither exploitative nor forced.


Count me as one of them.

I even raised my own kid on classic Sesame Street, and the Electric Company, and School House Rock which aired on ABC, but was still integral a/f when it came to exposing kids to ‘bite sized’ doses of educational entertainment.

To blame Sesame Street of all things, for the lack of attention spans we often see in this day and age of two-year-olds being given ipads is utterly ludicrous, almost to the point of being disingenuous.


It sounds like it was conceived of completely in the non profit sphere. Wikipedia:

Sesame Street was conceived in 1966 during discussions between television producer Joan Ganz Cooney and Carnegie Foundation vice president Lloyd Morrisett. Their goal was to create a children’s television show that would “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them”,[20] such as helping young children prepare for school. After two years of research, the newly formed Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) received a combined grant of US$8 million ($56 million in 2020 dollars)[21] from the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. federal governmentto create and produce a new children’s television show.[22] The program premiered on public television stations on November 10, 1969.[23]It was the first preschool educational television program to base its contents and production values on laboratory and formative research.[24]Initial responses to the show included adulatory reviews, some controversy,[19] and high ratings. By its 50th anniversary in 2019, there were over 150 versions of Sesame Street , produced in 70 languages.[25] As of 2006, 20 international versions had been produced.[26]

I have to ask - since something like 95% of kids watched Sesame- did you? How did it effect your development?


And that wasn’t the only Pointer Sisters appearance!

I’ll confess watching it (and Mr. Rogers) until 5th grade. “Well I have to watch it, since my younger sisters always watch.” Yeah, but no one insisted that I watched, and no one was holding a gun to my head… I couldn’t say how it affected my development. But I’ve mentioned before how, in hindsight, I watched an unbelievable amount of TV.


I also remember when Stevie Wonder was on Sesame Street, but I didn’t remember this:

I also love the animation that the Hubleys did for the show (and Electric Company), for example: