Skip To Content

    15 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "Sesame Street"

    Cookie Monster has a first name! And more.

    1. Oscar the Grouch was orange on season one.

    View this video on YouTube

    Jim Henson changed Oscar to his more traditional green for sesason two. To explain the change, Oscar says he went on vacation to a swamp called Mushy Muddy, which made him turn green overnight.

    2. Big Bird is 8'2" tall.

    3. Cookie Monster used to have (terrifying) pointy teeth.

    4. Psychology Today attempted (tongue-in-cheek) to diagnose the Sesame Street characters with mental disorders.

    5. Snuffleupagus' first name is Aloysius.

    6. In 2002, the South African version of Sesame Street debuted an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

    View this video on YouTube

    Kami, whose addition was deemed important for the geographical area, contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. Her mother also died of HIV/AIDS.

    7. Sesame Street is filmed in Astoria, Queens, but it's intended to be a neighborhood in Manhattan.

    8. Ernie is the only Sesame Street Muppet who has a built-in smile.

    9. A muppet named Roosevelt Franklin was dropped from the cast after viewers complained he perpetuated a negative African-American stereotype.

    10. In 2003, detainees at Guantanamo Bay were reportedly tortured by being forced to listen to the Sesame Street theme song for hours on end.

    View this video on YouTube

    Prisoners were forced to wear headphones that blasted the chirpy Sesame Street theme for hours or days on end, according to a report that surfaced in 2008. (Christopher Cerf, the composer of the song, reveals his umbrage with this in an Al Jazeera documentary.)

    11. In 2002, Elmo testified before Congress.

    12. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street.

    View this video on YouTube

    13. Big Bird performed "It's Not Easy Being Green" at Jim Henson's memorial in 1990.

    View this video on YouTube

    Henson's requests for the memorial were that no one wear black, and that a jazz band be present.

    14. Cookie Monster's first name is Sid.

    15. Bert and Ernie, according to official Sesame Street statements, are not gay.