Evidently, the People In Your (Sesame Street) Neighborhood Were Too Old


*Sesame Street is being brought to you today by the number 3 and the letters F, I, R, E, and D.

Three longtime, beloved human characters — including Gordon! –were released today from the longstanding children’s program.  

The actor who played Gordon since 1974 is 72 years old.  Others released include Emilio Delgado, 76, who played Luis, and Bob McGrath, 84, who had played Bob since the show premiered in 1969.

I was a part of Sesame Street’s original “class” in ’69, and my kids loved the second Gordon.  I reached out to Orman by phone for a comment.  His rep said he had none.

We all know how to read between the lines of “No comment.”

McGrath confirmed the cast members’ release earlier this week. “I have completed my 45th season this year,” he said. “And the show has gone under a major turnaround, going from an hour to a half hour. HBO has gotten involved also. And they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka — who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us — and Chris Knowings, who is also young.”

No reading between the lines is needed for that one. Muraoka, 53, is the current owner of Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street, and Knowings, 36, joined the cast in 2007 as “Chris Robinson.”

Were these beloved cast members let go because they’d gotten to old to be people that you meet in your neighborhood?

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit that produces the show, issued a statement explaining the changes.

“Since the show began, we are constantly evolving our content and curriculum, and hence, our characters, to meet the educational needs of children,” the statement read. “As a result of this, our cast has changed over the years, though you can still expect to see many of them in upcoming productions.”

PBS, the longtime home of Sesame Street and current network for rebroadcasts of the show, was quick to join the “we didn’t see this coming” chorus.

“…Sesame Workshop…is an independent production company, and the casting decision was made by them,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “We did not know about it beforehand. We found out about it after.”

It seems pretty clear to me that “the people in your neighborhood” — you remember, the ones that you meet when you’re walking down the street — can’t be too old, or they’re given the boot!


This article was brought to you by the letters M I C H A E L P C O L E M A, and N.  Follow him on Twitter.


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