This one-hour special marks the 20th anniversary of Sesame Street, the ground-breaking educational children's series that has taught numbers and the alphabet, along with social and cultural concepts, to generations of preschoolers.
Hosted by Bill Cosby, the retrospective includes appearances by Muppet characters Big Bird, Grover, the Count, Kermit the Frog, and Bert and Ernie, as well as Sesame regulars Bob, Gordon, Susan, Maria, and Luis, and many others. Kermit the Frog and Jim Henson introduce the show.
The program illustrates the changing topics and techniques that have blended entertainment with education over the years, and features classic clips from past episodes as well as the recollections of those responsible for making the series a success and viewers who grew up watching the show.
Among the highlights are Ray Charles and a chorus of Muppet monsters singing "It's Not Easy Bein' Green" by Joe Raposo; a discussion between series creator Joan Ganz Cooney and Jim Henson; clips from international versions of the series; and famed tenor Placido Domingo performing with his Muppet counterpart, Placido Flamingo.
The special ends with a memoriam to Joe Raposo, who had died two months before its broadcast. For his last project with Jim Henson, Raposo wrote two original songs, "What a Bird!" and "Look Through the Window." Additionally, Raposo's "Sesame Street Theme" opens the special, and "Sing" is performed by the entire cast as the finale.
A DVD of the special was released in 2010 by Lions Gate Entertainment for the Jim Henson Company. (This special is one of the few Sesame Street projects directly produced by the Jim Henson Company, who retain the rights.) However, the DVD release omits the end credits. In 2013, the special was re-released on DVD and iTunes through Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment.
- Host: Bill Cosby
- Guests: Ray Charles and Placido Domingo
- Muppet Performers: Caroll Spinney, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Fred Garbo, Fran Brill, Camille Bonora, Judy Sladky, Martin P. Robinson, Bryant Young, David Rudman, Kevin Clash, Pam Arciero (Uncredited: Noel MacNeal)
- Cast: Emilio Delgado, Sonia Manzano, Bob McGrath, Loretta Long, Roscoe Orman, Miles Orman, Linda Bove, Bill McCutcheon, Alison Bartlett, Northern Calloway
- Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Kermit the Frog, Grover, Cookie Monster, Herry Monster, Don Music, Count von Count, Placido Flamingo, Elmo, Baby Natasha, Oscar the Grouch, Telly Monster, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Alice Snuffleupagus, Barkley, Prairie Dawn, Ruby
- The Amazing Mumford, Frazzle, Two-Headed Monster, Gladys the Cow, Sonny Friendly, Forgetful Jones, Hoots the Owl, Athena, Anything Muppets, Monsters, Kermit the Forg, Parker Monster, Clancy, Billy Monster, Chip and Dip, Grundgetta
- Executive Producer: Jim Henson
- Produced by: Diana Birkenfield
- Directed by: Peter Harris
- Written by: Judy Freudberg and Tony Geiss
- Music Composed and Directed by: Joe Raposo
- Production Designer: Victor DiNapoli
- Music Producer: Danny Epstein
- Orchestration: Larry Wilcox
- Staging Consultant: Anita Mann
- Associate Director: David Gumpel
- Muppet Workshop: Caroly Wilcox, Kermit Love, Richard Termine, Stephen Rotondaro, Mark Zeszotek
- for the Children's Television Workshop
- Executive Producer: Dulcy Singer
- Special Projects Producer: Nina Elias
- Music Associate: Dave Conner
- Stage Managers: Chuck Vinson, Frank Comito
- Production Assistants: Eric Andrews, Pat Nugent, Jennie Zoikowski, David Blacker, Mary Foster
- Cameras: Les Leibowitz, Frank Biondo, Dave Driscoll
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Jim Henson's Red Book entry, 12/9-11/1988 – VTR Sesame St. 20th – last time with Joe Raposo – Ray Charles – Placido Domingo
- ↑ Jim Henson: The Biography, page 405
- John O'Connor, "TV WEEKEND; 'Sesame Street': Milestone and Beginning", New York Times, 7 April 1989.
- Muppet Central Review
- The Muppet Mindset review of the DVD
- DVDizzy.com DVD review