Alistair Cooke (1908-2004) was a British-born broadcaster, writer, and television host, who became familiar to American audiences hosting intellectual fare such as NBC's Omnibus and later the PBS anthology Masterpiece Theater.
Cooke's hosting on the latter series inspired the Sesame Street parody Alistair Cookie (portrayed by Cookie Monster). On the May 19, 1990 broadcast of Cooke's BBC radio series Letter from America (which had been running since 1946, originally as American Letter), the real Alistair Cooke discussed Jim Henson, who had died three days prior: "But now, this week, a truly immense figure died, a giant of entertainment and, you might say, a world educational pioneer whose creations, if not his name, are known to four generations – Jim Henson, the supreme puppeteer of television who created the characters for Sesame Street and taught the children of 80 nations to spell without tears."
Near the end of the piece, Cooke recalls his own parodic connection:
- Letters to America - May 19, 1990 - Transcript and program audio