While it has persevered for almost four decades, Sesame Street's heart and soul is very much a product of the 1970s. There was nothing like it when it first hit the public television airwaves in 1969; while other children's programs took place in mystical and magical lands, Sesame Street took place in a regular inner city neighborhood. Okay, it was an inner city neighborhood where monsters and people lived together, but it's that partial realism which set it apart from other programs, and, perhaps subconsiously, gave kids a sense of community and belonging.
Below I've placed a couple of videos of a guy by the name of Greg Pattillo playing the opening themes to Inspector Gadget and Sesame Street on the flute.
Before you run screaming in the other direction, which is exactly what I do whenever the possibility of a flute solo lingers around the corner, just let me say you've never heard these tunes performed like this before. This musician melds flute playing with beat boxing, and the result is amazing. That's right: he plays the flute and beat boxes at the same time.
While poking around YouTube for something completely different, I serendipitously stumbled upon a bunch of Roosevelt Franklin clips from Sesame Street. Some of you youngsters out there may be asking who the heck Roosevelt Franklin is, so let me inform you: he was a hip, rhyming, purple Muppet who appeared on the show in the 1970s, voiced by Matt Robinson, the original Gordon on the series.
In the 1970s, Sesame Street was not the perfectly sterilized children's show it is today. The show never advocated bad behavior, but it understood that sometimes kids can be rowdy and disruptive. Even in those more carefree days, however, some felt Roosevelt Franklin was a bad influence on kids, not to mention a negative cultural stereotype, so he was booted from the show. I personally don't see anything negative about the character. If anything, I think he taught kids that it's okay to be proud of who you are, to stand up and let the world know you're special, too.
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