‘Sesame Street’ Marks 50 Years at Empire State Building

By Reuters

New York’s Empire State Building beamed green and yellow on the evening of Nov. 8, marking half a century of “Sesame Street” on air.

And to celebrate the occasion, “Big Bird” himself was on hand to officially flip the switch in the lobby of the Empire State.

He was joined at the ceremony by his original patron, the now 85-year-old Caroll Spinney, who also worked as “Oscar the Grouch.”

The popular children’s program first aired in the fall of 1969 with the question, “Could television help prepare less advantaged children for school?”

Its message of compassion still resonates.

“‘Sesame’ was founded on some fundamental values that everyone deserves respect, opportunity, kindness, all with a little bit of furry fun,” Steve Youngwood, the chief operating officer for Sesame Workshop.

Sesame Street's Big Bird
Sesame Street’s Big Bird And Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Light The Empire State Building at The Empire State Building on Nov. 08, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Since it began, the show’s brightly colored puppets have helped educate kids in more than 150 countries and 70 languages.

For his part, Caroll Spinney let Reuters in on a little a secret after playing two lead characters for decades.

“I think ‘Oscar’ is more fun than ‘Big Bird’,” he said.