Jul 22, 2009

the people in your neighborhood

When Sesame Street: Old School Volumes 1 and 2 DVD set was released two or so years ago, my heart skipped a beat. Finally! I so loved Sesame Street back in the day. I still do. I knew who were the people in my neighborhood. I knew the alligator king had seven sons. And yes, I could do the ooohh ooohh , pigeon. Like visiting your ancestral home with your little ones in tow, I couldn't wait to take the Mak-Tatos down memory lane with me on this street I adored and the 'friends' I grew up with - Ernie, Bert, Oscar, Grover. Each and every one of them. And then word on the street was that the DVD was not suitable for pre-school children. Huh?

(Place picture of Bert's mono-brow here. Pipe in sound of thunder and the Count's evil laugh here)

Here is an excerpt from Virginia Heffernan's article for the New York Times , Sweeping the Clouds Away.
Sunny days! The earliest episodes of “Sesame Street” are available on digital video! Break out some Keebler products, fire up the DVD player and prepare for the exquisite pleasure-pain of top-shelf nostalgia. Just don’t bring the children. According to an earnest warning on Volumes 1 and 2, “Sesame Street: Old School” is adults-only: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”
Say what? At a recent all-ages home screening, a hush fell over the room. ''What did they do to us?'' asked one Gen-X mother of two, finally. The show rolled, and the sweet trauma came flooding back. What they did to us was hard-core. Man, was that scene rough. The masonry on the dingy brownstone at 123 Sesame Street, where the closeted Ernie and Bert shared a dismal basement apartment, was deteriorating. Cookie Monster was on a fast track to diabetes. Oscar's depression was untreated. Prozacky Elmo didn't exist.

And in conclusion:
People on “Sesame Street” had limited possibilities and fixed identities, and (the best part) you weren’t expected to change much. The harshness of existence was a given, and no one was proposing that numbers and letters would lead you “out” of your inner city to Elysian suburbs. Instead, “Sesame Street” suggested that learning might merely make our days more bearable, more interesting, funnier. It encouraged us, above all, to be nice to our neighbors and to cultivate the safer pleasures that take the edge off — taking baths, eating cookies, reading. Don’t tell the kids.

You can read the New York Times article in full
here .

One commenter on a thread made me laugh out loud. " Where I work there are a lot of Oscars and gluttonous monsters. I'm so glad sesame street prepared me." And so we ponder.. should we expose our little ones to Sesame Pre-Elmo times? I say YES! YES! YES! And to prove it, here's a video from way back when, from a certain street I called home. Now go, gather the pre-schoolers.


Nona said...

We love this at home! First time I saw this on you tube after so many years, got teary. Bud Luckey is the genius behind this sweet, sweet song about perspective... in the literal and metaphorical sense : )

Nana said...

Nona, yes. THE Bud of Pixar. Most of my fave shorts are his. Martian Beauty, Ladybug Picnic, Alligator King. What a career!

Barni Alunan-Escaler said...

Bud Luckey is my hero. Happy he's alive and well in Pixar (remember "Boundin'" about the lamb and Jackalope? It was the short animation before The Incredibles). Every memorable song for me was by him (or Joe Raposo). Nana, there's some telepathy going on here. Have been meaning to post the string of Sesame Street old school clips that get watched around here every single day. That's About the Size of it is a chart topper.

Barni Alunan-Escaler said...

Oooh. Have you seen the Daddy Dear clip? You'll remember it when you see it. I nearly wept with nostalgia, and now I have to sing it for the boys every night before they go to sleep.

Hilarious - Kermit's news flash stories. Didn't realize back then how absolutely funny they are! Especially the Rapunzel prince. :D

Nana said...

Barn, re: telepathy. Were the original twins before the Mak-Tatos came along remember? Daddy Dear? Mental block. Ok.. have to You Tube that one. Right now.

Barni Alunan-Escaler said...

Yes, twin! And by power of osmosis, you have to thank me for your boys. :)

Nans, Nons - more vintage SS your kids might enjoy:

- Starfish
- One, Two Toucans (the one with the fiddler? My man, Bud Luckey again!)
- that number baker that falls at the end with all the pies
-Operatic Carmen, yes, but I don't get why my boys love Cecille!
- Don Music
- Bas baa bamba with Luis
- What's the Name of that Song (with a very thin SS cast)
- True Blue Miracle (Christmas on SS)

We should just hold a Sesame Street festival.