Saturday, July 27, 2013


1969: Wow, what a big year. I began first grade at Moore Elementary School. The principal was Mrs. Cunningham, and my teacher was Mrs. Hunt. (I am Facebook Friends with two of her children.)

But the reason 1969 was such an important year for me essentially boils down to this: Sesame Street began. Now, at six years old, and an early reader at that, I was just a bit beyond Sesame Street's target audience. But the Muppets were more than sufficient reason for me to watch. I actually remember watching "This Way to Sesame Street", a half-hour preview special that was shown on NBC on November 8th, two days before the show itself debuted. Perhaps I had seen the Muppets on the Ed Sullivan Show prior to this, I don't remember. But I was transfixed.

I eventually figured out how to get to Sesame Street — literally — myself.

In December, in Woman's Day magazine, the Henson "Purple-Necked, Black-Bearded Blatch" story appeared, with a script and instructions for making the puppets. My mother made me every one of them.

1969 was a big year in many other ways:

On June 22, Judy Garland died. I believe I remember this, and my mother telling me that Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz had died. But she wasn't a little girl anymore. I vaguely remember my mother telling me she had "had some problems", or something like that.

On July 20, we landed on the moon. I have absolutely no recollection of this event. I was almost six years old. If something this noteworthy had happened when Burton was almost six, Laura and I would have brought him in front of the TV, and said "Watch this! This is history! Remember this moment for the rest of your life! You are watching history being made!" But I don't believe my mother did anything like this for us. I wish I could say I remembered it.

On September 6, H.R. Pufnstuf debuted. I loved this show.

On September 20, the last Looney Tune was released. I loved watching Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings, definitely a leading contributor to my interest in animation.

On September 26, the Beatles released Abbey Road.

On October 5, Monty Python's Flying Circus was first broadcast.

1969. I feel like this is the year I really started being — for better or for worse — whoever it is that I am.

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