By Ellen Bari
Last week, at the Museum of the Moving Image, Leslie Stahl (60 Minutes) introduced Joan Ganz Cooney, the creator of Sesame Street, by sharing some of the honors she has received: Presidential Medal of Freedom, 13 honorary degrees from America’s most elite schools, and of course, the unique distinction of being ‘Big Bird’s Mommy.’ Stahl quipped that although she and Joan are good friends, “you don’t really get to know about your best friends until you Google them.” Seeing these women together on stage, one could not help but think: what a lovely pairing of ground-breaking role models. But these two share another distinction: Sesame Street and 60 Minutes both debuted in 1968- 43 years ago! And both shows are still going strong.
Cooney described the 1960’s as a time of tremendous opportunity. “Change was in the air and you could do everything. Government and private business collaborated, and the world was ready to do something for kids.” (Head Start began 1965)