Happy Birthday, Sesame Street

As you may have noticed if you’ve used Google recently, this week marks the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street, an educational children’s show that has always attempted to be promote diversity and understanding. While it has not always been perfect — most of the Muppets, unfortunately, are still gendered as male by default — it certainly influenced my childhood in many positive ways.

I’m fairly sure that I learned to read from Sesame Street, and one of my earliest distinct memories of watching TV is viewing the episode in which Maria discovers that Snuffleupagus is real, and not just Big Bird’s imaginary friend. (Interestingly, the decision to make Snuffy a “real” character was made because the producers felt it was dangerous to promote the idea that adults did not believe children — something that feeds into the culture of silence surrounding sexual abuse.)

There are so many songs from this show that I love, and can easily transport me back to my childhood: “C is for Cookie”, “Water, Wind, and Sun”, “Grouches of the World Unite”, but I think my absolute favourite is Ernie’s “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon”, which is sung by Jim Henson:

[YouTube Video: We see Ernie staring out his bedroom window at a crescent moon, as he begins to sing “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon” (transcript below). We cut to a scene of Ernie sitting on the moon, looking down at the earth; as he continues to sing he lays back against the inside arc of the crescent. We cut to a scene of Ernie swimming beneath the ocean amongst seaweed and fish; he continues to sing. Cut back to Ernie at the window; he turns to face the camera as he sings of visiting the jungle and going back in time to meet dinosaurs. Cut back to Ernie on the moon; he is holding onto one end of the crescent and appears to be floating. Eventually, he sits on the moon, and the camera zooms in on his face before we cut back to Ernie’s bedroom, where we see Ernie climbing into bed as he finishes the song. As the final bars of music fade out, the camera pans back to the image of the crescent moon outside the window.]

Lyrics under the cut:

Well I’d like to visit the moon,
on a rocket ship high in the air.
Yes, I’d like to visit the moon,
but I don’t think I’d like to live there.

Though, I’d like to look down at the earth from above,
I would miss all the places and people I love
so although I might like it for one afternoon
I don’t wanna live on the moon.

I’d like to travel under sea,
I could meet all the fish everywhere
Yes, I’d travel under the sea,
But I don’t think I’d like to live there.
I might stay for a day there if I had my wish
but there’s not much to do when your friends are all fish,
and an oyster and clam aren’t real family,
so I don’t wanna live in the sea.

I’d like to visit the jungle, hear the lions roar,
go back in time and meet a dinosaur,
there’s so many strange places I’d like to be,
but none of them permanently.

So if I should visit the moon,
well i’ll dance on a moonbeam and then,
I will make a wish on a star and I’ll wish I was home once again.

Though, I’d like to look down at the earth from above,
I would miss all the places and people I love
So although I may go,
I’ll be coming home soon
Cause I don’t want to live on the moon
No I don’t want to live on the moon.



Categories: arts & entertainment, Culture, education, fun & hobbies, Life, media

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5 replies

  1. I don’t remember all that much from my own sesame street days but since my sister is almost exactly 10 years younger than me I had the WONDERFUL luck to be exposed to “Elmos saves Christmas” now whenever I think of sesame street I most usually think of the song “every day can’t be Christmas”

  2. I was too old for Sesame Street when it came to Australia but I remember it a little from when my younger sister watched it. I didn’t really get into it until we had The Muppet Show in primetime TV, and then I enjoyed watching Sesame Street so I could see Muppet mischief.

  3. I have fond memories of Sesame Street… some not so fond… I remember playing Super Grover and getting stung on the bum by a bee when I was three!
    Also, I love this song and it makes me cry, I think it is so beautiful! Yes I am weird.

  4. Sesame Street is a great show, and this is a beautiful song.

  5. I was so glad when Snuffleupagus became real, because as a four year old not being believed really frustrated me. I was lucky that it was only my five year old brother tormenting me, but still.

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