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Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting (1989)

A 20th anniversary celebration of the classic educational TV series.

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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Host
Himself / Kermit the Frog / Ernie (voice)
Bert / Grover / Cookie Monster (voice)
Bob McGrath ...
Fred Garver ...
Barkley (as Fred Garbo)
Loretta Long ...
Miles Orman ...
Fran Brill ...
Prairie Dawn (voice)


Bill Cosby hosts this special celebrating 20 years of Sesame Street. Meanwhile, Ernie and Bert use their new video camera to film Sesame Street, and Kermit The Frog goes out to the street to ask the question of the day, which is "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?" Written by wermuth601

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Comedy | Family





Release Date:

7 April 1989 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


This special was originally planned to be shown as an episode of The Jim Henson Hour (1989). Instead, it was broadcast on its own, one week before the premier of The Jim Henson Hour. See more »


Host: You are some bird. How old are you?
Big Bird: I'm six.
Host: You've been around 20 years. How come you're still six?
Big Bird: Just lucky, I guess.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This program is dedicated to Joe Raposo See more »


Features Iftah ya simsim (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

It doesn't seem like 21 years ago
23 January 2010 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Having watched various versions of Sesame Street for almost my entire life, I still can't figure out some types of math, specifically how it can be that most anniversary specials are broadcast a year earlier. I think it has something to do with the fact that the you don't start counting the years until after the first one is done. However, as Sesame Street likes to be punctual , this special was actually broadcast 20 years after its television debut, only about 6 months too early. It also serves as the unofficial premiere episode of 'The Jim Henson Hour', which explains why Jim himself opens the show with Kermit on his arm like a ventriloquist dummy. He also gets to interview Sesame Streets 'mommy' Joan Ganz Gooney later on.

Bill Cosby, probably NBC's biggest star at the time, hosts the show, much like James Earl Jones did 'A Walking Tour of Sesame Street' a decade earlier. Of course both men filmed funny and educational bits for Seseame Street when it first started. One of Cosby's clips is included in the special and his 1970s outfit has to be seen to be believed. Words simply cannot describe it. Three of the human cast members, Bob, Gordon and Susan have gathered in Hooper's Store to reminisce about working on the show, so in effect they seem to be speaking as themselves, Bob McGrath, Roscoe Orman and Loretta Long for possibly the only times in their career.

Back on the street Bert and Ernie are trying out their brand new video camera in an attempt to 'get Sesame Street on TV'. This proves that the Muppets are method actors and have nothing to do with Bob, Roscoe and Loretta's train of thought. However, this little subplot really doesn't amount to much. More interesting is reporter Kermit attempt to find out the way to Sesame Street by interviewing people on the street. Naturally he bumps into Grover several times (and also the gone but not completely forgotten Muppet character Don Music). But the real delight comes when Kermit is reunited with two young women, Fanny and Shala, who filmed a segment with the frog back in 1973 when they were little girls.

Even better is when Herry Monster is reunited with the most memorable Sesame child: Jon-Jon. Thanks to the Sesame way of still repeating sketches and cartoons from the earliest years, Jon-Jon will remain a toddler forever on screen. But in this TV special, we get to see big Jon in an army uniform. Amazingly, his way of reacting to Herry is still exactly the same as it was in days of old. However, big blue Herry seems to have gone under the knife a couple of times since the early seventies: a nose job and a couple of face-lifts at least.

Other highlights include Ray Charles performing 'Being Green' again, this time with all the lesser known Muppers (including Elmo when he was still in background character mode) and a duet between the two Plácido's: Domingo & Flamingo. Then there is a segment devoted to the various international versions of the Street, starting with a multi language version of 'Rubber Ducky'. Old 'Cos actually has to explain the nature of this clip, which has become standard on DVD's for animated features. Of course not every foreign language version did a version of that particular song, so there is another montage of opening titles from all around the world. This is followed by Bill Cosby trying to pronounce each title correctly.

The show ends with the entire Muppet and human cast performing Joe Raposo's 'Sing'. And for possibly the first and last time, each actor and Muppeteer receives an on screen credit as they sing their designated lyrics. This is especially touching to see now, knowing that some of the actors are still on the show 20 years later, while others like Jim Henson, Richard Hunt and Northern Calloway would pass on just a few short years after '20 years and counting'.

8 out of 10

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