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Sesame Street
Premiere November 10, 1969 (0001)
Finale May 8, 1970 (0130)
Episodes 130

Sesame Street Show Open Season 1

Season 1 opening.


Season 1 title card.


The season 1 cast.


The original cast of Sesame Street.


Ernie, Bert, Betty Lou, Roosevelt Franklin, Gordon, and Susan.

Broken Ukulele

Ernie and Beautiful Day Monster.


Big Bird and Bob.


James Earl Jones on Sesame Street.


Oscar the Grouch


The baker in Numerosity.


Kermit the Frog and early Grover.


Ernie and the Salesman.


Six spies in Jazz Numbers.


Kermit the Frog and Cookie Monster.


The Anything Muppets of Sesame Street.


Kermit with Professor Hastings

Bob reads book season 1

Bob reads a book to the kids on the 123 Sesame Street stoop, a recurring segment in the season.


Ethel Kennedy on Sesame Street.


"Mah Na Mah Na," an eventual Muppet standard, is performed for the first time during this season.

0072 04b

Throughout its debut year, a handful of episodes had Big Bird creating various items out of boxes and other found objects, which miraculously ended up working like the real thing they were simulating. In Episode 0072, he created a television set so he could watch "The Mr. and Mrs. Game."


Season 1 cast with Susan in nurse attire.

After five test shows and years of preparation, Sesame Street premiered on NET (National Educational Television, a precursor of PBS) on November 10, 1969.


During this first season, Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird were the only Muppets to appear regularly in Street scenes, while most of the other Muppets debuted in separate segments. Many of the Muppet characters had designs and/or character traits that would be changed or dropped later on. Big Bird had a much more naïve voice and a smaller head with fewer feathers, and was written as a sort of dopey adult character. Oscar, who would retain much of his grouchy demeanor, had orange fur. Monsters, who would become core characters by the second season, had fierce teeth, often destroyed anything in their path, and didn't have consistent names.

Bob, Mr. Hooper, Gordon, and Susan were the original human cast members. With the exception of Mr. Hooper (whose actor died in 1982), the other original characters were still with the series until casting changes for Season 46, making them some of the longest continually-running non-soap opera characters in American entertainment. Like the Muppets, the human characters would change over time. Bob, originally a shop teacher, would later teach music, and by the end of the first season Susan would become a nurse. The season also featured live-action segments starring Buddy and Jim, a human comedy duo that failed at such tasks as hanging a picture and making a sandwich. Jennie also made occasional appearances, utilizing her drawing skills to play various games with the kids.


Sesame Street's format as established in 1969 would remain virtually unchanged for decades; live-action street scenes would alternate with Muppet comedy skits, musical numbers, and short film segments, all known collectively as "inserts." Many of the Muppet scenes and films were created so that they could be replayed over and over (at least one segment would be repeated within any given episode); some of the segments made in 1969 would continue to be rebroadcast into the 1990s. (Some of these pieces are available for viewing at, as well as being used in various international co-productions.)

The original episodes had a much more literal, almost lecture-like tone to the Street scenes, closer in style to its original contemporaries like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood or Captain Kangaroo. With time, the Street-scenes became more natural with a definite plot thrust, with less breaking of the fourth wall. For example, in the first episode, Ernie once addresses the audience as those in "TV land."

While the Muppets would eventually become the biggest stars of the show, they did not appear as frequently as the cast. Cartoon segments aired more frequently than Muppet segments, and as such, some of the original illustrated promotional material featured the cast and Muppets interacting with animated characters, who also appeared in advertisements of the show. Animated segments and live-action inserts featured in the season included Alice Braithwaite Goodyshoes (a know-it-all type who would get some repercussion for her arrogance), Jazz Numbers, Speech Balloons, skywriter Alphabet Bates, and Numerosity, most of which continued to air many years later.

The season introduced many original songs that have gone on to become beloved Sesame Street classics, including "Rubber Duckie," "I Love Trash," "Bein' Green," "The People in Your Neighborhood," and "One of These Things." While all of those songs would have multiple performances on the show over the years, the last two would have many different versions during this season.

During the first season, many segments had some sort of connection with each other. It would be common for characters in the street scenes to introduce the next segments, various Muppet inserts would directly lead into the next film or cartoon, celebrities would appear in short tag sequences commenting on the previous segments, and some Muppet inserts would have them commenting on the previous segments. Some episodes during this season would end with live animals appearing on the street set. Many episodes also had segments where one of the adults would read an existing children's book.


In 1968, the Children's Television Workshop established the original educational concepts that would prepare children for school. Over time these would be expanded into larger fields (such as women's career awareness, medical issues, and science and space). The original topics that were focused on during the first season included:

  • recognition of the 26 letters of the alphabet (often in the form of short cartoons like the Speech Balloon series)
  • numbers from one to ten (both forward and backward, though a few segments centered on counting to twenty)
  • shapes: circles, rectangles, triangles, and squares
  • putting items in the right order, reasoning, and problem-solving
  • classification (illustrated by the song "One of These Things")
  • relational concepts (including "Near and Far," "Big and Little," and "First and Last")
  • perceptual and auditory discrimination
  • self: parts of the body, coordinated movement, emotions, differing perspectives, and self-esteem (as illustrated by Kermit the Frog's "Bein' Green" song)
  • roles: members of the family and jobs
  • cooperation and fair play
  • the natural environment (often demonstrated in animal films) and the man-made environment[1]


Episodes 0001 - 0130 (130 episodes)



Jim Henson and his band of Muppets.

Matt Robinson, Loretta Long, Will Lee, Bob McGrath, Jada Rowland, Brandon Maggart, James Catusi
Puppets by The Muppets
Caroll Spinney, Frank Oz, Jim Henson (Uncredited: Don Sahlin, Danny Seagren, Caroly Wilcox)
Human Characters
Gordon, Susan, Mr. Hooper, Bob, Jennie, Buddy and Jim
Muppet Characters
Anything Muppets, Baskerville the Hound, Beautiful Day Monster, Bert, Betty Lou, Big Bird, Big V, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Fred, Billy, Flute-Snatcher, Granny Bird, Granny Fanny Nesselrode, Grover, Guy Smiley, Hippie, Jack, Kermit the Frog, Lefty the Salesman, Little Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Professor Hastings, Roosevelt Franklin, Roosevelt Franklin's Mother, Rufus, Scudge, the Snerfs, Snerk, Sour Bird, Splurge, Taminella Grinderfall, Thudge, Tony
Guest Stars
Batman and Robin, Carol Burnett, Michael Cooney, Ruby Dee, Odetta Holmes, Mahalia Jackson, James Earl Jones, Ethel Kennedy, B. B. King, Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick, Burt Lancaster, Ed Lipton, Don McLean, Listen My Brother, Pat Paulsen, Lou Rawls, Jackie Robinson, Rowlf the Dog, Tony Saletan, Pete Seeger, Superman


Daniel Seagren Big Bird behind the scenes

The cast and crew pose for some photos for Look.

Original cast stoop

Season 1 credit crawl

credit crawl

See also[]


Previous season: Next season:
(first) Season 2 (1970-1971)