Now Appearing at the Museum für Film und Fernsehen
“Der, die, das / wer, wie, was / wieso, weshalb, warum? Wer nicht fragt, bleibt dumm.” (This, this and that / who, how, what / why, why and why? Those who don’t ask stay dumb.)
The German version of SESAMSTRASSE (SESAME STREET) was broadcast with this title song for the first time on January 8, 1973. However, the program was created in the USA by the Children’s Television Workshop, a nonprofit organization. At that time, a team of psychologists, educationalists, advertisers, doctors and television editors had examined what especially fascinates children about television. The result: Animals, dolls, cartoons, slapstick comedy, speed, jokes and prominent personalities as mediators of knowledge. SESAME STREET was developed on the basis of these findings. The primarily target groups were children from the underprivileged classes of society, who were intended to be fostered as preschoolers.
The introduction of the innovative series was controversial in Germany. In the early years, NDR and the other third programs broadcast synchronized versions of the American original series. Americanisms were renounced and individual German contributions were inserted into the series more and more frequently – on the subject of the alphabet, for example.
A new era of SESAMSTRASSE began in 1978, when a new street was created with residential buildings and a market stand as scenery for the background story. Puppets developed especially for the German market, like Samson and Tiffy, acted together with well-known actors, such as Liselotte Pulver, Henning Venske or Horst Janson. The concept and the characters of SESAMSTRASSE have changed repeatedly since then. After a four-year break, Studio Hamburg produced a new season of the series in 2012, where the lively Elmo is now its main focus.
The main characters of SESAMSTRASSE, Ernie and Bert, the Krümelmonster (Cookie Monster), Oskar (Oscar the Grouch) and other Muppets, were invented and realized by the American puppeteer and director Jim Henson (1936–1990) and his collaborators. The Museum für Film und Fernsehen presents seven of the original puppets in the area devoted to the permanent exhibition (3rd upper level): Krümelmonster, Tiffy, Rumpel, Feli Filu, Anything Muppet and the photo puppets Ernie and Bert, as well as an over life-sized Samson.
In addition, a selection of highly imaginative costumes that prominent German actors have worn during their guest appearances on SESAMSTRASSE are exhibited on the 3rd upper level.
In the Program Gallery (4th upper level) visitors can watch a selection of 22 films dating from the last 40 years, as well as documentaries about SESAMSTRASSE.
A presentation in cooperation with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)