Were some of your first friends named Grover, Mr. Hooper, and Bob? Do you remember the Ladybug Picnic? How about Pinball Number Count? Sesame Street Old School is a time capsule of the early days of the ground-breaking ... more »series you grew up on. Take a trip back in time with Bert, Ernie, Big Bird and Snuffleupagus. Sing along with classics like "C is for Cookie," "I Love Trash," and "Rubber Duckie." For the first time on DVD, the music, memories, and mayhem from Sesame Street's first five seasons can be enjoyed again and again!« less
"After many years of fans begging the Sesame Workshop (formerly the Children's Television Workshop) to do a major release of "classic" material from the archives, it appears that they finally relented! I think the success of the Electric Company Set from several months back paved the way...
Let me start out by saying that I'm 29 years old and have been collecting this material for years. The bulk of what I've obtained came from the Noggin channel which was playing old episodes of Street from 1969 to 1989 until they stopped airing them a few years back.
I imagine most of the people interested in this set are familiar with the early years of Sesame Street. It was a chaotic, brilliantly conceived show from day one... very much a product of its time (the late 60s), and although the show was devised to teach kids, it was in its own way as revolutionary in format as Monty Python's Flying Circus was... extremely fast paced and chock full of highly imaginative, trippy animated segments (such as, for example the Racecars Spies number series, best described as a psychedelic freak out with dreamlike, surreal animation regarding numbers one through ten and sung by Grace Slick, then of Jefferson Airplane, in her own inimitable way)... And that's just the tip of the iceberg. For those of you who grew up being hypnotized, and yes, often frightened by the many strange, often subversive animated segments of the show (many of which are permanently etched in your brain; you'd be amazed how vividly some of these clips come back to you even after not seeing them for 25 years or more), still recall with affection the brilliant jazzy orchestrations of show composer Joe Raposo (who wrote the most sophisticated music ever devised for children's TV), remember hanging out with Mr. Hooper and a Gordon who actually had hair (there were actually two other actors who played Gordon before the current bald one we know and love), and loved the rougher, edgier quality of those early muppet segments, this is the release for you. After many years of Schoolhouse Rock being available for purchase (which I love too, but the early Street material is even better in my opinion), we can now look forward to this:
7 hours of classic content
5 complete hour-long episodes (slightly edited due to music rights issues)
Over 54 bonus segments, including:
The original pitch for the show - first time available anywhere!
Celebrity appearances from James Earl Jones, Jesse Jackson, Johnny Cash, Jackie Robinson
Classic segments every parent will remember: "I Love Trash," "Rubber Duckie," "C is for Cookie"
Original animations including Ladybug Picnic, Alligator King, King of Eight
Hopefully this will be the first of many releases of classic Sesame Street! The second volume of the Electric Company will be released in November."
Brian | United States | 10/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They've done a good job at balancing full episodes with minimal (if any) repetition with shorts of the popular skits and segments. I find the announcer cartoon (called Bob) annoying and an unnecessary delaying tactic to get to the episodes. If you skip to the next chapter you miss the beginning. If you don't you're stuck listening to him. He may provide some useful info, but nothing I wouldn't want to be able to easily skip. Some of the sound and video quality is poor. Fuzzy film, blown out or faded colors. I'm guessing that the masters have degraded some, it is kind of interesting to hear record pops and static on "Being green" (Pretty minor distraction just at the beginning). Anyhow all these are minor quibbles. It was great to see the episodes and sketches as well as see the early incarnation of these characters. (It looks like Big bird is missing half his head and Oscar is Yellow!)
So the info I was looking for before I bought the disc and still haven't seen anyonepost it is what is on the DVD's. If you'd rather be surprised, stop reading now. If you would like to know what is listed as being on the DVD's, read on true believer...
Taken from the liner notes. Please excuse typos or ommisions.
Disc 1 Season 1 Episode 1 Originally aired Nov 10, 1969 Animals wash off with Bert and Ernie; Henson #3; Meeting Oscar; Gordan Dresses Anything Muppets; Jazz #2; Wanda the Witch; Kermit Walking W; Picture Hanging Buddies; Beginnings
Bonus tracks (called Bonus Trash in pamphlet) Bein' Green; Rubber Duckie; Counting with James Earl Jones; ABC-DEF-GHI; I Love Trash; Alphabet with Jackie Robinson; Batman Crosses the Street; Swinging Baboon; Big Bird Meets Little Bird; Alphabet with Lou Rawls; I've got two; Alphabet Soup; Original Sales Pitch; The Itty-Bitty Nitty-Gritty Kiddie Show; Season 1 Credit Crawl
Disc 2 Season 2 Episode 131 Originally aired Nov 9, 1970 Henson Dollhouse; Everybody Makes Mistakes; Alphabet with Bill Cosby; Exit Animation; Noisy Bedroom with Bert and Ernie; Carol Burnett's Nose; What's my Part? With Guy Smiley; Whistle a Happy Tune; The Case of the Missing Sandwich
Season 3 Episode 276 Nov 8, 1971 Welcome to Sesame Street; Oscar's traveling Can; Grover's Restaurant; Big Bird meets Snuffleupagus; Great Cookie Thief; Sorting Song; People in Your Neighborhood; Short and Long Ladders; Ernie Counts Sheep
Extra Cookies Season 2; King of Eight; Over, Under, Around and Through; Superman; Astronaut Drawing; Counting with Listen My Brother; I love being a Pig; Season 2 Credit Crawl Season 3: C is for Cookie; Ladybug Picnic; Martians Telephone; Amazing Mumford Magic Trick; Alligator King; J Friends; A Special Day with Bert and Ernie, "I Am Somebody" with Jesse Jackson; Would you Like to buy an `O'; I in the Sky; My Favorite Letter P; My Martian Beauty; Mad Painter; Season 3 Credit Crawl
Disc 3 Season 4 Episode 406 Originally aired Nov 27, 1972 Sesame Street Alphabet; Alphabet with Ernie and Cookie Monster; Simon's Song; Jon Interview; Count Counts Ernie's Blocks; Heaney and Light with Grover; Here is Your Life, Oak Tree; Enter and Exit; Grover's Restaurant
Season 5 Episode 536 Originally aired Nov 19, 1973 Fat Cat; Kermit and Joey Do the Alphabet; At the Movies; Bird on me; How do you Do?; Chin Ups with Grover; Beat the Time; Hand clapping Number; Doing the Pigeon
More Paper Clips! Season 4 Kermit's News with Rapunzel; Bread, Milk, and Butter; Lost Paper Clips with Bert and Jon-Jon; Witches Cooperate; Song of the Count; Bert's Bust; First and Last with Beetle Bailey; Season 4 Credit Crawl Season 5; At the Movies with Bert and Ernie; Nasty Dan with Johnny Cash; Prairie Dawn's School Pageant; Twiddlebugs go to the Zoo; Jazz Alphabet; Hamburger Bun Factory; Madrigal Alphabet; 3 Wishes with Bob and Cookie; Telephone Booth with Super Grover; Season 5 Credit Crawl "
Yes Virginia, there was a Sesame Street before Elmo...
Kelley A. Bergamo | Homewood, IL | 10/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been an avid fan of Sesame Street since the age of six weeks, when my mom placed me in my baby swing in front of the TV on an autumn day in 1976.
I just received this set today and I watched it from beginning to end. The episodes are crystal clear, fully restored, and completely unedited, unlike the versions shown on Noggin. I saw many clips that brought back fond memories, including the classic sketch where Bert is disturbed by water dripping in the bathroom and asks Ernie to "do something about it". In response, Ernie turns on the radio to drown out the sound of the faucet, and then turns on the vacuum cleaner to drown out the sound of the radio! Absolutely hilarious! All of your other old school Muppet characters are here, including Grover, Cookie Monster, Oscar (shown in his original orange color and his telltale green fur), Herry, Little Bird, Kermit the Frog Prairie Dawn, and of course, Big Bird and Snuffy! All of the actors look so fresh and young and you gotta love them 70s outfits! In addition to the five season premieres, there are also "classic clips" from each season as well as the original sales reel hosted by Kermit the Frog and Rowlf the Dog (who would later star in the Muppet Show) explaining what this new show called Sesame Street was all about.
I am glad that Sesame Workshop (formerly known to us old schoolers as the Children's Television Workshop) finally listened to the pleas of us thirty-somethings. I hope that there will be more episodes to come. This is a set that I will treasure for years to come and someday hope to share it with my own children."
"Can You Tell Me How to Get?... How to Get too Sesame Street
Kenneth M. Gelwasser | Hollywood, Fl USA | 11/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the evenings my young son and I sit down to eat dinner in front of the TV set (yes, I know it's bad parenting to plop a kid in front of a TV at mealtime) and usually "Sesame Street" is what we are watching. Like most pre-schoolers, he enjoys the Muppet characters, the humorous plotlines and hopefully he's getting something educational out of it. But as 42 year old Dad, who was a child of the '60s and has sweet rose colored, nostalgic memories of growing up in the '70s, it just seems like something is missing from what I remember. Now, I don't want to bash the current show. For my money it's still the best educational programming for Pre-schoolers on the tube today. But had I outgrown it? Or is the Elmo/Mr. Noodle version of the show, somehow different?
Well, recently I got my answer, when I gave my son the newly released DVD boxset, "Sesame Street, Old School (1969-1974)" for his fifth birthday. (O.K., who am kidding? I was actually buying it for myself.) Once, I put these discs on and the opening credits started, it was like a powerful wave of nostalgia ran over me.I instantly started singing the bouncey, unforgettable theme song and as the show's opening rolled by, I started recognizing the mostly urban, kids (and the seal) that had been indelibly etched in my mind (my favorite is the pensive little girl on the tricycle).
Watching these early episodes on disc makes me realize just how how revolutionary, energetic, imaginative and well written this show really was in it's early years. I love the amazing animation segments, that taught numbers and the alphabet with humor and just a touch of pychedelia. Early versions of the Muppet characters are there, including Big Bird (with a smaller head), Bert & Ernie, Oscar the Grouch (he's Orange!) and of course Kermit the Frog (this amazed my son, who only knew the green one through movies and "The Muppet Show" DVDs). The original multi-ethnic, friendly cast of humans are also all there, which included Gordon, Susan, Bob, Mr. Hooper, Luis and more. I love the ideal of hanging out with these folks!
The shows are a treasure trove of '70s nostalgia. I love looking at the clothes including bell bottoms, flower shirts with huge collars and mini skirts. The actors (including the kids) all have either Vietnam-era long hair or those far-out afros. I also love the show's soundtrack, which makes ample use of both Jazz and '70s style Funk. Also, throughout the episodes are cameos from younger versions of Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, Jackie Robinson, Lena Horne, James Earl Jones and the late, Johnny Cash.
The DVD boxset is made up of three discs, which contain the season premieres of the first 5 seasons. It interesting to see the show evolving and becoming more polished as time goes by. Also included are 45 bonus segments (including my favorite tunes "Rubber Duckie" and "Being Green"). The extras also include the original "pitch reel" use to sell the show to broadcasters. The DVD picture & sound mastering is well done. I've seen a number of videotaped shows from that era, now appearing on DVD, that don't look half as good.
If I had but one complaint, it's about a warning thats put on the first disc, which says "these early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grownups and may not suit the needs of today's preschool children". Where did they get that from? My preschooler was absolutely engrossed in these episodes. He smiled and laughed as he counted and read along with the segments. One farm episode in particular got the two of us into a long conversation about milking cows (hey, its important to a 5 year old!).
This really is wonderful DVD boxset, which chronicles the early years of a show, that revolutionized children's television. It is both fun and entertaining. Hopefully, the fact, that there is a Volume 1 on the box means there is more to come! I highly recomend it for both nostalgic adults and their young children. Don't wait, just buy it!"
Review Brought to You By the Letter "A" and the Number "1"
Christina Warren | Atlanta, GA | 10/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At 23 years of age, I can truly say that I have been a lifetime fan of Sesame Street. Watching the 3-DVD set of Sesame Street - Old School, Vol. 1 has been both nostalgic and enlightening. Because I was born practically a decade after most of the material on this set originally aired, I expected most of the content to be new to me (I was barely a year old when Mr. Hooper's death was explained to the world), but that was not the case. Many of the short films and interstitials were familiar (and not just because I used to watch Sesame Unpaved on Noggin) to me as a viewer from the mid-1980s, and I think that just underscores the quality the show has exhibited from the beginning. Sesame Street truly revolutionized children's programming, not just because it was educational, but because it was (and remains) entertaining, not pandering. I'll admit, seeing Gordon with an afro, Orange Oscar and the first few tries at Big Bird's head still freak me out a bit (as they did when I saw them on Noggin several years back), but the show itself is just as good as I ever remembered, something that cannot be said for most nostalgia entertainment (like Transformers or He-Man or JEM).
The set contains five full episodes from the first five seasons, and 54 (the liner notes are incorrect, they should have asked Count for help) bonus clips. The set also includes the 25 minute pitch-film that was made before the series originally aired, explaining Sesame Street's message and motive. Although the episodes have a disclaimer that it is not necessarily intended for today's pre-school children, I believe they would probably enjoy "classic" Street even more than the current lineup of shows. The fact that today's pre-schoolers may be more advanced than the Sesame Street of yore can really be attributed to Sesame Street itself, and that's pretty cool. Still, I personally appreciate that the aim of the set is at adults, because so many of us associate our childhood with Sesame Street. A booklet is included that gives a brief overview of the series from the first five years and I found it informative.
According to Muppet Central, a few sketches were altered or removed for music copyright issues (one with Stevie Wonder, one with Rogers & Hammerstein), but because I never saw the originals, I found nothing amiss. What astounded me more than anything was that at the end of the first five years, more than 600 episodes of the show had been produced. No wonder they can't release full seasons! Although the full-length episodes are great, my favorite part are the additional sketches from each respective season. Seeing Kermit sing "Bein' Green" in its original form, the "Bread, Milk and Butter" cartoon and the "In in the Sky with Diamonds" parody is a real treat.
The picture quality is great -- especially considering the program's age (and the fact that it was one of the first programs to be recorded on video, although film was used for most of the interstitials) -- I doubt the show ever looked as good as it looks right now. The sound quality is good too -- mono of course -- but clear and crisp.
Overall, I highly recommend this set for anyone who loves or loved Sesame Street. For those who were born after these episodes aired (like me), looking back at the beginning is really special. It is clear that everyone involved had a true love for teaching and interacting with children and taking television to another level."