Robrt Pela Heads to Sesame Street at the Arizona Science Center

I was too old for Sesame Street.

When it debuted in November of 1969, I was in the second grade, and this oddball educational show wasn't yet a groundbreaking, game-changing cultural touchstone. It was a brand-new public-TV kiddy program aimed at 3- to 5-year-olds just learning their ABCs. I already knew the alphabet; in fact, I'd recently gotten in trouble with my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Jorgensen, for turning in a book report on Animal Farm (not, she insisted, appropriate reading for a 7-year-old). But still I rushed home from school each day to watch Susan and Gordon (the first Gordon -- the real Gordon, not the bald guy who later replaced him) and Bob and Mr. Hooper hanging out on an inner-city New York street, comparing notes on the letter G and counting to 10.

I was there for the Muppets. The worst part about going to school was having to go to bed at 7, which meant that on Sunday nights I missed The Ed Sullivan Show and, therefore, his castmates, the Muppets.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela