Sesame Street was founded in 1969 by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett. Built on a dream of using television to educate children, the show is still going strong over four decades later!
A Reason to Celebrate
On their quintessential city block, Sesame Street characters—both Muppets and their human friends—celebrate 7 years of fun, furry togetherness. Season 7 (1975-1976) focused on children with learning disabilities.
"I knew that I was born to be in educational television," says Sesame Street founder Joan Ganz Cooney. A pioneer in children's educational media, Cooney founded Children's Television Workshop in 1968 as a learning opportunity for all preschool children.
Elmo's Early Days
The puppet we recognize as Elmo first appeared on the show in the early 70's, but he didn't become the character kids know and love until puppeteer Kevin Clash gave him his voice, charm, and ebullient personality in 1984. Here he is with his big buddy Aloysius Snuffleupagus, who first appeared in season 3.
Muppet visionary Jim Henson with one of his creations, Big Bird, who was the very first Muppet to appear on the show. When the show first aired, Big Bird didn't look the way he'd end up looking—designer Kermit Love eventually gave the goofy, clumsy bird a little extra plumage.
"I wanted this show to jump and move fast and feel and sound like 1969, because kids are turned on visually!" says show founder Joan Ganz Cooney, here pitching the show to executives. "From the beginning, we…designed the show as an experimental research project with educational advisors, researchers, and television producers collaborating as equal partners. This partnership is what has made the show unique."
Building a Foundation
Founder Lloyd Morrisett and Dr. Ed Palmer, head of the original research team, review early test results with an advisory team. From the very beginning, research has been a cornerstone of the show, with each episode exhaustively tested for kid-appeal and educational impact.