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Entries in Sesame Street (14)

Thursday
Mar072013

"Sesame Street" Reaches YouTube Milestone

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sesame Street reached a major milestone on Tuesday.

The PBS show's YouTube channel topped one billion views.  Much of the channel features clips from Sesame Street episodes.

Which individual video has the highest number of views? "Elmo's Song," with more than 87 million.

The Count is featured in a special video commemorating the achievement, called "Counting the 'You's in YouTube." As of early Thursday, the clip had more than 32,000 views.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov272012

Former Elmo Puppeteer Faces Another Underage Sex Allegation

Wendell Teodoro/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- A third person has come forward to claim that he had a sexual relationship when he was a teenager with Kevin Clash, the Elmo puppeteer who resigned from Sesame Street last week.

According to the New York Daily News, the currently-anonymous accuser will file a lawsuit in New York City on Tuesday.  His lawyer will hold a press conference the same day.

The 29-year-old accuser claims he engaged in sexual activity with Clash in 2000, when he was 16.  His lawyer says his client and Clash met again in 2003 and 2004.

Initially, a 23-year-old man accused Clash of having a sexual relationship with him when he was a minor, but then recanted that allegation.  Last week, a second man, age 24, sued Clash over a similar claim.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct082012

Big Bird Makes "SNL" Appearance After Romney Debate Name-Drop

Theo Wargo/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Big Bird made an appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend, days after Gov. Mitt Romney mentioned him during the first presidential debate of 2012. 

The famous feathered Muppet appeared on the late night show's Weekend Update segment.

Sesame Street's policy is that Muppets can't answer questions that would be above their ages.  Despite being a TV veteran for 40 years, Big Bird is actually six, so any biting political satire was off the table.  But having the character appear got the message across: it was pretty odd for Romney to specifically name-drop the bird during the political showdown.

Bird mentioned he, "didn't want to ruffle any feathers," but acknowledged he's received a lot of extra attention. 

"It's weird to think that just a few days ago I could just blend in like every other perfectly normal eight-foot-tall talking bird," the muppet said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug242012

Jerry Nelson, Voice of Sesame Street's 'Count,' Dead at 78

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jerry Nelson, the voice of Sesame Street's "Count von Count" character, has died, Sesame Workshop confirmed Friday. He was 78 years old.

"A member of the Sesame Street family for more than 40 years, he will forever be in our hearts and remembered for the artistry in his puppetry, his music, and the laughter he brought to children worldwide through his portrayal of Count von Count, Herry Monster, Fat Blue, Sherlock Hemlock, the Amazing Mumford and many other beloved characters," the company said.

"We will miss his extraordinary spirit and the joy he brought to our Street."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov162011

'Sesame Street' Seeking Mysterious Early Castmember

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Children's Television Workshop is trying to solve a mystery that even its Muppet detective Sherlock Hemlock can't crack: Who played the role of "Gordon" during an un-aired pilot episode of Sesame Street?

The producers say the actor who played Gordon in the very first broadcast episode of the show in 1969 was the late Matt Robinson.  He held the role through season three, and was succeeded by Hal Miller for seasons four and five before actor Roscoe Orman took over the role he continues to play today.

But the man in the un-aired test episode is still a mystery, even to veterans Caroll Spinney who's played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since day one, and actors Bob McGrath and Loretta Long, who appeared with the actor in the clip.

On a website dedicated to the search, the producers posted: "In celebration of our 40th anniversary in 2009, we went through rooms full of Sesame Street archives -- everything from clips and stills to letters and pay stubs.  And we came up empty."

So CTW is crowd-sourcing the problem, looking for anybody who may know who the man is.  

The website states, "It could be something seemingly small; something like 'my great aunt once said that her third cousin was almost on Sesame Street.'"

The producers say any tips can be sent to the email address: wheresgordon@sesame.org.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct172011

Sesame Street YouTube Channel Hacked with Porn

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sesame Street’s YouTube channel was back up Monday after being shut down when hackers took over the site and replaced the videos with porn.

For about 20 minutes Sunday, visitors to the YouTube channel of the popular children’s show saw hardcore porn instead of Elmo and Big Bird.  The channel has nearly 150,000 subscribers, and usually hosts dozens of clips from the PBS program.

But Sunday, the hackers replaced the page’s banner to read, “SESAME STREET: I’TS [sic] WHERE PORN LIVES.” In the profile description, the hackers wrote: “WHO DOESN’T LOVE PORN KIDS? RIGHT! EVERYONE LOVES IT...PLEASE DON’T LET SESAME STREET TO GET THIS ACCOUNT BACK KIDS...WE GONNA MAKE ALL THE AMERICA HAPPY!”

The banner pinned the hacking on two YouTube users, MrEdxwx and MrSuicider91. MrSuicider91 has yet to comment; MrEdxwx posted a video on his own channel stating, “I did not hack Sesame Street. I am an honsest [sic] youtuber. I work hard to make quality gameplay videos and most important I respect the community guidelines.”

It’s unclear how the hacking happened, and no one has come forward to claim responsibility.

After the hacking, the channel was shut down by YouTube due to “repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines” which ban explicit material from the website.

Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street, issued an apology after the hacking Sunday, and said in a statement on its YouTube channel: “We apologize for any inconvenience our audience may have experienced yesterday…our channel was temporarily compromised, but we have since restored our original line-up.”

A YouTube spokesperson told ABC News that “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit graphic content. As always, we remove inappropriate material as soon as we are made aware of it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct052011

'Sesame Street' Introduces Poverty-Stricken Muppet in New Special

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Sesame Street will debut a poverty-stricken Muppet in a primetime special airing Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time on PBS.

The hot pink Muppet, Lily, is a member of a family that struggles with food insecurity, according to Entertainment Weekly. Her story is part of the special's goal to raise awareness of the fight against hunger in the United States.

Growing Hope Against Hunger will feature country singer Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams Paisley.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep262011

What's New on 'Sesame Street'? Math and Science

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This season of Sesame Street, which premiered Monday, has added a few new things to its usual mix of song, dance and educational lessons.

In its 42nd season, the preschool educational series is tackling math, science, technology and engineering -- all problem areas for America's students -- in hopes of helping kids measure up.

Carol-Lynn Parente, the show's executive producer, said that 2-year-olds were more than ready for engineering experiments.

"It really boils down to a curriculum of asking questions, observing ... making a hypothesis and testing it out," she told ABC News Monday.

This season, Sesame Street will include age-appropriate experimentation -- even the orange monster Murray will conduct science experiments in a recurring feature.

The show's producers say they are responding to an urgent need.

According to the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, among 65 industrialized nations, 15-year-olds in the United States placed 23rd in science and 30th in math.

For 30 years, researchers have studied what has been coined the "Sesame effect," in which they found that exposure to the program as a preschooler equaled higher achievement in high school.

Frequent viewers even earned better grades in English, math and science and had a higher grade point average than non-viewers.

"Children are learning the prerequisites so when they begin school, they're ready for school," said Sandra Calvert, a professor of psychology at Georgetown University and director of the Children's Digital Media Center. Calvert worked with scientists involved with the "Sesame effect" and conducted her own studies on Sesame Street character Elmo.

"They [children] know numbers, letters, pre-literacy skills," she said. "So when they walk in the door, they are really ready [and] wired to learn."

Experts say that the show's curriculum is designed for children 2 and older and that children learn best when parents watch with them and ask questions during the program.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug122011

Bert, Ernie Don't Have Sexual Orientation, Says 'Sesame Street'

Moritz Winde/Bongarts/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Are they gay?  It's the age-old -- well, several-years-old -- question intriguing fans of muppets Bert and Ernie.

On Thursday, Sesame Street weighed in on Facebook:

"Bert and Ernie are best friends.  They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.  Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."

The controversy emerged most recently with an online petition suggesting Bert and Ernie be allowed to marry.  Thousands of same-sex couples have been married in New York since gay marriage was legalized in the Empire State in July.  So why not Bert and Ernie?

Chicago resident Lair Scott started the online petition at Change.org to pressure the Sesame Street Workshop to "Let Bert & Ernie get married on Sesame Street."  The petition reads, "We are not asking Sesame Street to do anything crude or disrespectful...It can be done in a tasteful way.  Let us teach tolerance of those that are different."  The petition has collected more than 1,600 signatures.

But are Bert and Ernie even gay, never mind ready for the ultimate commitment?  Scott clearly thinks so.

In an interview with ABC News, Scott said, "A lot of people have wondered about Bert and Ernie...Living in the same bedroom and the same home would make anyone question their sexuality."

His aim, he added, is to get 20,000 petitioners to encourage the Sesame Workshop to either marry Bert and Ernie or introduce a gay or lesbian character.

A few days before he posted the marriage petition, Scott had generated another, asking Sesame Workshop to "Out Bert and Ernie as Gay."

For a couple of puppets geared toward preschoolers, Bert and Ernie have generated controversy over the years, centered primarily around their sexual orientation.

The rumor mill went into overdrive last year when Bert wrote on the Sesame Street twitter account that his haircut resembled Mr. T's -- "the only difference is mine is a little more 'mo, a little less 'hawk."  That was enough to convince many bloggers that the Sesame Workshop was secretly signaling Bert's sexual orientation.

But the folks on Sesame Street have always pushed back against the rumors.  In 2007, Sesame Workshop president and CEO Gary Knell wrote, "They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets...they do not exist below the waist."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug102011

Wedding Bells for Bert and Ernie?

Moritz Winde/Bongarts/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Thousands of same-sex couples have been married in New York since gay marriage was legalized in the Empire State in July. Now an online petition is pushing to have one more twosome join the line at City Hall -- Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie.

That's right -- the muppets.

Chicago resident Lair Scott started an online petition at Change.org to pressure the Sesame Street Workshop to "Let Bert & Ernie get married on Sesame Street." The petition reads, "We are not asking Sesame Street to do anything crude or disrespectful… It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different." As of this writing, the petition had collected more than 1,600 signatures.

But are Bert and Ernie even gay, never mind ready for the ultimate commitment?

Sesame Workshop, which produces the television show, says no, issuing a statement that reads, "Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves."

That doesn't sway Scott. He's also got a petition up to convince Sesame Workshop to "Out Bert and Ernie as Gay."

Sesame Workshop responded, "Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics…they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation." Scott did not respond to ABC News' attempts to contact him.

The characters were developed 40 years ago by Jim Henson, the creator of Sesame Street. The felt-based duo both wear stripes and have mops of black hair. But that's where the similarities end. Ernie has always played the lovable doofus to Bert's boring, straight man. Bert likes pigeons, Ernie prefers rubber ducks.

For a couple of puppets geared toward preschoolers, these two have generated a certain amount of controversy over the years, mostly centered around their sexual orientation.

Last June, on the Sesame Street twitter account, Bert wrote that his haircut resembled Mr. T's; "the only difference is mine is a little more 'mo, a little less 'hawk." That was enough to convince some that Bert was secretly signaling his sexual orientation. The mere fact that the two puppets seemed male and shared a room seemed enough.

The website Snopes, which debunks urban myths, labeled the rumor that Bert and Ernie are gay as false.

In 2007, Sesame Workshop president and CEO Gary Knell famously wrote, "They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets… they do not exist below the waist."

Of course that kind of logic won't likely stop the petitions on Change.org. Predictably Lair Scott, who started this whole thing, now has some competition in the Bert and Ernie petition department. There is now a "Leave Bert and Ernie alone" petition and a "Stop Pressuring PBS to make Bert and Ernie Gay" petition.

As of this writing, the number of people signing up for those petitions is climbing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio