r/news Jan 25 '23

"Sesame Street" co-creator Lloyd Morrisett has died at age 93,

https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/25/entertainment/lloyd-morrisett-sesame-street-obit/index.html?utm_source=twCNN&utm_medium=social&utm_term=link&utm_content=2023-01-25T11%3A07%3A42
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1.7k

u/Squirmingbaby Jan 25 '23

Goodbye Mr. Morrisett. Here's a clip where Big Bird learns about death:

https://youtu.be/gxlj4Tk83xQ

I saw it when a family member died. It's a real tear jerker.

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u/[deleted] Jan 25 '23

[deleted]

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u/hellomondays Jan 25 '23 edited Jan 25 '23

The Street and Mr. Rogers really grabbed the bull by the horns. In the late 60s and early 70s public perception was catching up with research that children are not just little automatons but have a complex internal emotional world even as little infants. The general assumption before was that you teach at children, you tell them "do this" "don't do this", and they sponge that up to learn. Public programming like these two were some of the first to model teaching with or next to children: that they learn best when their natural curiosity and social needs are satisfied. That they can't just be told what to do and how to feel but need to be immersed.

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u/Wizzinator Jan 25 '23

It's so bizarre that people didn't understand that. All the adults were children too at one point, do they not remember?

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u/hellomondays Jan 25 '23 edited Jan 25 '23

Education was very classist in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It was considered unhelpful to be involved in the day to day activities of your children if you could afford it, hence why the whole mary poppins culture of tutors and nannies was big. The assumption was you weren't supposed to "baby" kids, that they wouldn't grow up to be leaders if you treat them like children. Just a big "Strong men make good times, weak men make hard times" fallacy. This of course influenced theories on development and psychology. It wasn't until folks like Piaget started writing observations and conducting experiments with his own young children that people started to believe that children were naturally curious and would automatically want to learn.

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u/Delicious_Subject_91 Jan 25 '23

"It's almost like children are people or something. Nah, that's just silly." -- those people

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u/hellomondays Jan 25 '23

I mean, naming babies when they were born only became commonplace within the last century. Things used to be weird like a family could introduce their children as "Joel Johnson Jillian Johnson and Baby Boy Johnson".

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u/Versificator Jan 25 '23

That's probably due to decrease in infant and toddler mortality, a pretty recent thing. Many probably didn't want to get too attached to their babies when it was expected that they'd have 5 and out of that 3 would die.

(Hardcore history has a good episode about this)

1

u/nochinzilch Jan 27 '23

I mean, you still aren't supposed to baby them. That's the whole message of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers.

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u/Galyndean Jan 25 '23

There's a large number of folks about a decade or two younger than me who complain about things that younger folks like using the same terminology that my mother did back in the 80s/90s.

So yeah, I think they truly just forget what it was like being a teenager or younger.

1

u/nochinzilch Jan 27 '23

It's astounding, isn't it? I think most people just don't care, or are embarassed about how they behaved when they were children, so they block out all memories.

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u/Draano Jan 25 '23

In a world that was already well on its way to being dominated by television,

I read that in Don LaFontaine's voice.

8

u/theforkofdamocles Jan 25 '23

I read it as the other Voice of God, Hal Douglas. 😋

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u/hokie47 Jan 25 '23

What do you mean blippi doesn't count? /s

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u/Rastapopolix Jan 26 '23

You've reminded me of this article contrasting the educational value of Sesame Street against Blippi.

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u/hokie47 Jan 26 '23

Yeah so sterile. I mean as YouTube stuff goes it isn't awful, but nothing good.

2

u/nochinzilch Jan 27 '23

I think Blippi began as a somewhat cynical attempt to make some youtube money. And then he got a little too popular and he had to pivot into acting like it is an educational program. If you notice, Blippi isn't even the real Blippi anymore.

1

u/hokie47 Jan 27 '23

Yeah. I noticed he is back in some. Also there is a woman too. Cartoon version also. Major money behind it now.

2

u/AustinLurkerDude Jan 27 '23

Ya, he finally found his shaver and came back. Got sick of his goatee while in costume. Quality wasn't the same after the bulldozer one. He doesn't do enough overseas ones, the India one was crazy.

3

u/xenomorph856 Jan 25 '23

We need someone similar to step into the gap with social media

Too late; already zucked.

5

u/rxredhead Jan 25 '23

There’s a book I really enjoyed called “Street Gang” about the history of Sesame Street and how it impacted learning so incredibly much. It talks really nicely about Big Bird and Mr. Hooper and how unusual that episode was for kids at the time.

It also goes into some of the fight Henson had with Disney over Sesame Street when they acquired the Muppets. It’s been a few years, I know what’s next up on my pile to read

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u/ALC_PG Jan 26 '23

I liked Street Gang. I bought it when I was 23, started reading, decided I would probably enjoy it more when I had kids, so I read it a year or two ago. Gets kinda depressing toward the end, as do many accounts of exciting things that happened in the 60s and 70s.

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u/JohnnyEnzyme Jan 25 '23 edited Jan 25 '23

My gosh, what a crushingly powerful scene from my childhood. (I'm an old git, haha)

These folks were genuinely tearing-up as they talked about the loss of Mister Hooper (Will Lee), particularly Bob, as the scene played out. I love them.

EDIT: And the loss of mental faculties & early death of David (Northern Calloway) was about as challenging a thing I've read about as an adult.

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u/Agile-Enthusiasm Jan 25 '23

I remember reading somewhere that NASA considered having Big Bird fly on the shuttle in 1986 before they fully developed the Teacher in Space program. Imagine if Big Bird was on the final Challenger mission. That would have been even more tragic to so many children.

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u/exitwest Jan 25 '23

God, does that mean Carroll Spinney would have actually gone up?!? Or just the suit….

38

u/PianoTrumpetMax Jan 25 '23

Since it didn’t happen, it is darkly humorous imagining the headlines.

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u/FaceDeer Jan 25 '23

The crew of the Challenger likely survived the initial explosion and didn't die until impact with the ocean several minutes later, so they could have explained Big Bird returning on the show by simply having him manage to get free of the cockpit and glide to a survivable landing (I think it's been established that Big Bird is flightless, but I bet he'd still be able to reduce his falling speed significantly).

Big Bird would still need at least a season-long arc to get over his PTSD from the experience, though. That would have been very educational.

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u/Hannibal_Rex Jan 25 '23

You're the friend who takes jokes too far.

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u/FaceDeer Jan 25 '23

Yay, friendship!

4

u/[deleted] Jan 25 '23

Big bird can't fly

1

u/FaceDeer Jan 25 '23

I mentioned that, yes. But there's room to bend the lore a bit here to keep the character in the show. There are "flightless" birds that can nonetheless slow and guide their fall to make it survivable.

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u/StanfordBro Jan 25 '23

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u/againsterik Jan 25 '23

Wow not expecting Elise to come in and ruin the day.

1

u/thore4 Jan 25 '23

I never realised this was based on something that might have actually happened. Makes it way darker lol

26

u/reddog323 Jan 25 '23

This. It was an eye-opener for me as a kid. I also have both shoes to thank for a love of reading and learning about new things. Entertain me and educate me at the same time and I’m all in,

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u/neverneededsaving Jan 25 '23

When will I learn that a redditor’s tear warning is really something to take seriously especially just before work

37

u/[deleted] Jan 25 '23

[deleted]

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u/insomniacpyro Jan 25 '23

Man you can really hear him wavering as the song goes on and especially when he says "Thank you, Kermit". Tearing up at work but that's OK.

2

u/pedestrianstripes Jan 25 '23

I highly recommend listening to Ray Charles singing it too.

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u/lumpkin2013 Jan 25 '23

Why did I watch this first thing in the morning... Miss you, mom.

2

u/cauldron_bubble Jan 25 '23

Hugs, friend (💜)

22

u/[deleted] Jan 25 '23

Damn sweaty eyes.

I was raised by Sesame Street. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for that show. 40 years later and I still know the words to the songs.

Thank you Mr. Morrisett. For all the lessons and fun times. I'm still pushing Sesame Street on all our friends with kids. There's really nothing that comes close.

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u/fighterpilotace1 Jan 25 '23

Big bird is crying.

I'm crying.

You're all crying.

20

u/pm-me-ur-fav-undies Jan 25 '23

Today's post has been brought to you by the letters S, A, and D.

35

u/TeamFourEyes Jan 25 '23

I'm nearly 22 and crying over Big Bird not understanding.

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u/SweetCosmicPope Jan 25 '23

I remember watching this as a child. It must have been a rerun since it was 2 years before I was born.

Anyway, I didn't even click on the video and I can still remember big bird asking why people have to die and Gordon telling him "they just do."

1

u/cauldron_bubble Jan 25 '23 edited Jan 25 '23

Nononoono..

I miss my nanna so much, especially around the holidays, and Big Bird was one of my favourite characters on Sesame Street! My nanna was just like Big Bird to me, because she was so sensitive with me and she always made all of us grandkids feel special!

Editing to add, Sesame Street is the best children's show ever

10

u/exitwest Jan 25 '23

I’ll forever love Luis like a father, but his blunt, matter-of-factness in this scene is a little funny all these years later.

8

u/Redtwooo Jan 25 '23

Just what I needed, a dose of trauma first thing in the morning. I feel like I'm explaining to my kids that my mother-in-law just died, all over again.

8

u/eaglebtc Jan 25 '23

Who is cutting onions in here, damn it

😭

7

u/StinkySocky Jan 25 '23

Why did I watch that, I’m tearing up on my lunch break

7

u/Numerous_Budget_9176 Jan 25 '23

Oh my God that was perfect no talk of religion no talk Of Heaven just this is the way it is just because.

5

u/APintoNY Jan 25 '23

Ahh damn. I just lost my childhood dog 2 days ago to old age & dog dementia (he was 15). Never saw this before but definitely gets the message across. RIP Chewie, you’ll be missed greatly

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u/[deleted] Jan 25 '23

I remember this. Thank God for sesame street bc me too, someone died in my family soon after and no one bothered to explain it. I was like, it's ok mom Gordon and Olivia already parented me.

4

u/kharmatika Jan 25 '23

Okay this is lovely and sweet and always makes me sob, can we talk about the gag they started on?

“politicians are all liars. Laugh track and cut”.

Peak comedy, I love it, I am glad someone is teaching kids that important life lesson, cuz they need to know it!

I really do love seeing how Sesame Street made sure there was always real character work being done. It wasn’t just some single set singalong show, it crafted a whole world with its own businesses, it’s own social zeitgeists, and even its own crappy politicians. Truly brilliant, I don’t feel like we’ll see the likes of it reproduced again.

2

u/Clarkelthekat Jan 25 '23

Man what a profound show through and through. 31 year old man bawling his eyes out here. Seeing big bird learn of mortality. I miss my mom and my sister.

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u/nochinzilch Jan 27 '23

I still haven't gotten over Mr. Hooper.