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Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Happy 40th Birthday Sesame Street

Jim Henson and Frank Oz with Bert and Ernie

It’s hard to believe but Sesame Street was born 40 years ago to this day. The show was originally conceived in 1969 to teach less advantaged children, through the means of television, so that they would arrive in school with the same preparation as middle-class children.

The show’s 40th season also starts today featuring new title and end sequences, First Lady Michelle Obama and its very first CG-animated block, Abby’s Flying Fairy School.

To celebrate, Google has shown a whole bunch of Sesame Street-inspired logos throughout the last week. They have them collected in higher resolution on their website, including all the localised ones that you may not have seen in your country, along with a “behind the scenes” look at the making of the final day’s logo, below.

Sesame Street Google Doodle

Here’s some more to feed your Sesame Street fix:
Why did Britain fall out of love with Sesame Street?
TIME Magazine: Sesame Street’s 40-Year Cavalcade of Stars gallery
Feist’s performance on Sesame Street
Ricky Gervais and Elmo
Sesame Street Classic songs playlist

You Will: AT&T’s eerily accurate predictions of modern day technologies

In 1993, AT&T ran a number of commercials in which Tom Selleck (or someone who sounds remarkably like him) predicted the kinds of crazy things we’d later just take for granted in our everyday lives, like in-car GPS to help us navigate our way, pay road tolls without cash, TV movies on demand and so on. (thanks Will!)

If you hadn’t seen these before but thought they seemed a little familiar, it may be because Universal Studios parodied them in their Terminator 2 3D attraction pre-show video.

Walt Disney on What’s My Line?, 1956

Here’s mystery guest Walt Disney on the North American version of the TV quiz show “What’s My Line”, first aired on CBS in November 1956. The show also features Jerry Lewis as a contestant who asks, “Walt, did you check with the government to see if they needed any money lately?”

Also fascinating are Walt’s comments on his love of the immediacy of television. I wonder what he’d have made of the internet.

Knowing is only half the battle. So what’s the other half?

Nerduo "Half the battle" t-shirt graphic

Remember the public service announcements at the end of G.I. Joe cartoons in the 80s? If knowing is half the battle, what’s the other half? Our friends at Nerduo have the answer, in t-shirt form: lasers!

Apollo 11 Live TV Coverage

Moon landing live on TV

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, Jason Kottke has set up a virtual 1960s television set which will broadcast coverage “live” tonight at 16:00 EDT for the moon landing and 22:10 EDT for the moon walk.

The coverage will be reported by the late Walter Cronkite, who sadly passed away last Friday.

The Apollo 11’s lunar module, the LM-5 (better known as the Eagle), landed on the moon, with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong as its passengers, on July 20th 1967.

How Disneyland Helped to Send Man into Space


Stephen Worth has an interesting article over at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive on how we’ve imagined the future throughout the past century. It includes scans of an article from a 1950 issue of Coronet magazine, illustrated by Chesley Bonestell, about a family trip to Venus in the year 2500, along with some clips from the Disneyland TV show’s “Mars and Beyond“. Mars and Beyond was one of three space-themed specials:

It’s impossible to overstate how important the Disney space shows were to the American space program. President Dwight Eisenhower requested a copy of “Man in Space” to screen for his top military officers to convince them that space travel was indeed possible. Six months after “Mars and Beyond” aired, congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act which established NASA. The launch of Russia’s Sputnik satellite in October 1957 might have been the immediate impetus for the swift passage of the funding for the program, but the groundwork for the concept behind NASA was laid by Wernher von Braun and Walt Disney.

Clearly, scientists like Wernher von Braun and politicians like Eisenhower and Kennedy were responsible for America’s space program. But it took more than science and funding to put man on the moon. It took will. The awe inspiring imaginary vistas of Chesley Bonestell and the fantastic animation of Ward Kimball and Walt Disney became our collective dreams. The day after “Man in Space” aired, every man, woman and child in America had the same fantasy in their head- the burning desire to go to the moon. The visions created by these artists and filmmakers became reality because they crystallized and energized our collective will.

Animation has the power to mobilize society to do great things.

Mars and Beyond can be found on the Walt Disney Treasures – Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond DVD along with “Man in Space” and “Man and the Moon” as well as, of course, on YouTube:

  1. Man & the Sky
  2. Mars in Pop Culture
  3. History of Life on Earth/Solar System
  4. Mars from Earth
  5. Life on Mars
  6. Travel to Mars

If that’s not enough, here’s some Ward Kimball concept art.

BBC nuclear bomb script released

The National Archives have released a transcript that was to be read by the BBC every two hours in the wake of a nuclear attack in the Cold War between 1973 and 1975.

This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes.

Top 50 music videos of 2007

It doesn’t look like DoCopenhagen have compiled their own list of top music videos for this year so you’re going to have to make do with this top 50 from Pitchfork. Still marvellous.

Doctor Who Children in Need Special

I haven’t watched many of the newest Doctor Whos with David Tennant, but I did watch a huge number with Peter Davidson as a kid. Here’s an 8-minute special which aired last night as part of BBC TV’s Children in Need appeal containing both of them in a nostalgic paradox. Enjoy.

And, of course, there’s more information than you could ever want to know about it over at Wikipedia already.

Frost and Pegg’s Perfect Night In

I only managed to catch the last fifteen minutes of Frost and Pegg’s Perfect Night In when it aired on Channel 4 a couple of months ago but, thankfully, a selfless guy by the name of FrostituteMayo (presumably a big Nick Frost Fan) recorded and YouTubed the whole lot.

Essential viewing for anyone that grew up in the UK through the 70s and 80s. (thanks David!)