Well, paint me blue and call me Grover—Sesame Street premiered 45 years ago today, on November 10, 1969. With more than 4,300 episodes to date, it is one of the longest-running shows in television history. My colleague Scott Eberle has written about the series’ cultural and educational impact. And as The Strong inducts three new playthings into its National Toy Hall of Fame, it’s worth mentioning that the Toy Hall’s honorees abound throughout Sesame Street’s run. (Big Bird alone offers a treasure-trove, from his cherished teddy bear, Radar, to his mildly worrisome ability to roller skate.*) If the National Toy Hall of Fame inductees weren’t already emblazoned in our hearts for their ability to foster learning and creativity, then their endearing appearances on Sesame Street may do the trick.
Dollhouse: Episode 0131 (1970)
The first episode of Sesame Street’s second season is sponsored, appropriately, by the number two. The segment, “Doll House,” emphasizes the theme ad infinitum: two happy girls set up tea for two little dolls before tucking them into two tiny beds. The final 20 seconds of the clip demonstrate why people who have two kittens can’t own anything as nice as a dollhouse.**
Checkers: Episode 1227 (1979)
Ernie happens upon Bert playing checkers with his pigeon, Bernice, who pecks at the pieces aimlessly as she learns the game. Bernice makes for a more challenging opponent than Ernie, but Bert seems a little impatient nevertheless.