10 Things You Probably Never Knew About Sesame Street

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Do you know Mr. Hooper's first name?

This year Sesame Street celebrates its 43rd season on public television. Wow! A truly amazing feat, especially when you consider how many original cast members, puppeteers and voice artists are still involved with the show. Though the consistency of the production and the team behind the show is largely what has ensured its success, the show has changed over the years to reflect losses like the deaths of Mr. Hooper, creator Jim Henson and most recently puppeteer and voice actor Jerry Nelson, as well as grown to incorporate the interests and attention span of the evolving generations of kids watching the show.

If, like me, you’ve been a fan since the 70’s/80’s, you may think you know everything there is to know about Sesame Street, but here are 10 facts I bet you never knew about America’s favorite children’s show:

  • Snuffy has a first name… 1 of 10
    Snuffy has a first name...
    It's "Aloysius." Aloysius Snuffleupagus!
  • Elmo is… 2 of 10
    Elmo is...
    ...the only non-human to testify before Congress. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."
  • Cookie Monster… 3 of 10
    Cookie Monster...
    ...used to be called Sid! According to The Atlantic, "During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid."
  • Oscar the Grouch… 4 of 10
    Oscar the Grouch...
    ...was orange in season 1! Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two. Oscar explained his color change by saying he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.
    Photo credit: The Atlantic
  • Ernie finally answered the big question… 5 of 10
    Ernie finally answered the big question...
    ...about whether or not he and Bert are a couple. He said, "All that stuff about me and Bert? It's not true. We're both very happy, but we're not gay."
  • Bert… 6 of 10
    ...added a few years later, "No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck." So there.
  • Big Bird… 7 of 10
    Big Bird...
    ...really is big. He's 8'2" tall!
  • The Count… 8 of 10
    The Count...
    ...was originally a more sinister character. He could hypnotize and stun people.
  • The Nigerian version of Cookie Monster… 9 of 10
    The Nigerian version of Cookie Monster... HIV positive and loves yams. He also drives a cab and educates children about malaria. His name is Kami.
    Photo credit: Mental Floss
  • Mr. Hooper… 10 of 10
    Mr. Hooper...
    ...also had a first name, Harold. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

All photos via Muppet Wiki unless otherwise noted. To learn more interesting facts about Sesame Street, check out The Atlantic’s 43 Sesame Street facts.


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