(On the 50th Anniversary of Sesame Street)
If my recall is correct, the first time I saw an episode of the children’s TV show Sesame Street, in the Philippines, was in 1973 or 1974.
I was glued to the television every morning when the show was on, waiting most especially for the segments of Oscar the Grouch, Kermit the Frog, the piano-man Guy Smiley, and the grocery owner Mr. Hooper as well as the animated bits The Alligator King, Capital I and the Lowercase n, and the Pinball Countdown.
The Electric Co. and The Great Space Coaster
Soon after, another similarly themed show came out—The Electric Co. (1971-1977), which was then followed by The Great Space Coaster (1981-1986), with the memorable Gary Gnu.
Báta Batutà and Batíbot
In the Philippines, by the late ’70s, a children’s show inspired by Sesame Street came about in the form of Báta Batutà, featuring its own local characters such as Kárdong Kalabáw, Alice Kamátis, and Professor Tiník.
Only in 1984, when Sesame Street was directly adopted as the Filipino counterpart Sésame, which evolved into Batíbot in the following year, popularizing Kíkong Matsíng and Pong Pagóng.
All these children’s shows became a part of many a children of the generation with which my childhood is associated. However, in terms of longevity and iconicism, Sesame Street remains the original and the pioneer, at least considering the last half of the 1900s.
First aired in November 1969 and still ongoing, Sesame Street celebrates its Golden Anniversary this month. Here’s to another 50 years of giving educational entertainment to not only children but also the young at heart.