Sesame Street Celebrating its 50th Anniversary

This year marks 50 years since Sesame Street first aired on PBS. Since then, it’s earned 189 Emmy Awards and 11 Grammy Awards, and has even officially become a real street on the corner of 63rd and Broadway in New York City.

Sesame Street is known for addressing diverse topics on the show through its characters. Abby Cadabby, who debuted in 2006, was the first character on the show to have divorced parents, and in 2015 the show introduced Julia, its first character on the autism spectrum.

While many of the popular Muppets like Big Bird and Cookie Monster have been on the show since Day 1, it may surprise you to find out that Elmo didn’t actually make his appearance on the show until 1980! In fact, at first Elmo was introduced as just a generic monster, and wasn’t fully developed until 1984. Today, he is commonly regarded as the most beloved monster on the show. has put together a compendium of 50 popular Sesame Street characters that includes when they made their debuts on the show.


Another interesting Muppet fact from the graphic is that Sesame Street wasn’t Kermit the Frog’s television debut. While Kermit did appear on the first episode of the show, he actually made his initial television appearance on Jim Henson’s first show Sam and Friends in 1955. Back then, Kermit was a lizard-like creature made of Henson’s mother’s old coat with two halves of a ping pong ball for eyes. It wasn’t until Sesame Street aired that he became the familiar frog that we all know and love.

Are there any other Muppet debuts that surprised you?

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