1969: PBS Broadcasts the First Episode of ‘Sesame Street’
PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, was born on November 3, 1969, replacing National Educational Television (NET) as the service providing noncommercial programming for viewers nationwide. One week later, on November 10, PBS presented its first episode of Sesame Street, a series that still is on the air (though now on HBO), and…ranks as one of the most important TV shows the medium has ever presented.
It’s the place where many of our children are first exposed to allusion and satire, and get to enjoy jokes based on their then-tiny body of stored knowledge: nursery rhymes, fairy tales, popular music, and other TV shows. What, on TV, counts more than a show that teaches preschoolers to count, and read, and develop both a sense of self and a sense of humor?
Sesame Street has been around so long that viewers who watched it as toddlers have grown up to revisit it with their own children — and though both the neighborhood and the cast of characters have expanded, and (unfortunately) the long-running theme song and opening credits have been replaced, Sesame Street remains a familiar, friendly place to visit.