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Monday, June 29, 2009

They played jump rope but the rope it broke…

I drift into semi-senile codgery more often as I watch my daughter sponge the world’s cultural scum, or as I see it creeping toward us in the temporal distance: Pink! Hannah! Montana! Everything!

“Back in my day, we had decent cartoons on Saturday mornings like Superfriends and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors and G.I. Joe and we learned about storytelling and heroism and how to only fight half the battle and get out of the pool when a thunderstorm came up. Now, kids these days. They don’t even have the buddy cop show Simon and Simon to sneak up past their bedtime to watch. Or Moonlighting. Instead they have a wash of pink vapidness. Who will save them from stranger danger? Or teach them to eat their veggies? Or tell them about the magic of the conjunction (junction, what’s your function?)”

Back in my day we also had the best in non-commercialized educational programming, pre-Elmo Sesame Street.

Growing up along the Canada-U.S. border I would receive both PBS and CBC broadcasts of Sesame Street, and I watched a lot of it. (It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized the Americans didn’t get all of the segments in French, or that Canadians didn’t get the segments in Spanish. This ignorance on my part was akin to another border-ignorance I had: until I was 18, yes 18, I thought you could walk into any place in the U.S. and give them Canadian money and they would take it at the daily exchange rate. I walked into a Safeway in San Jose and tried to buy a Pepsi with some Canadian change and the cashier looked at me like I was insane. He looked at me like I was dangerously insane when I met his incredulity with “What do you mean you don’t take it? It’s Canadian.”)

Ten years ago Erin would have been doomed to some marketed, packaged hell that had neither 80’s cartoons nor classic pre-Elmo Sesame Street. But now we have the internet, and the internet provides.

This was my favourite Sesame Street clip growing up, and it’s Erin’s favourite too. Across the span of decades my daughter and I are joined in our learning to count to 12. Tiny Shawn looks into the future and knows he must learn the lyrics to this song because his daughter will one day demand not only that he play the clip at every opportunity, but that he sing the song to her. And when he gets to the part where they stand around and tell knock-knock jokes she grins and knocks on her own head.

28 comments:

CatrinkaS said...

Ladybug Picnic was TOTALLY my fave. That and the other picnic theme, with the king? "You bring the watermelon!" "Good plan, king!" All about the importance of logistics, planning, and a good picnic menu. Can't find that one, though. Plz tell me you remember...

Sugar Jones said...

Love me some Ladybug Picnic!

So sad... I have allowed my children to get sucked into too much TV. Totally guilty. Thanks for sending up some flares.

Bekki said...

That was one of my favorite SS clips! Thank you for posting it.

livinginagirlsworld said...

I will spontaneously break into Ladybug Picnic song at the drop of a hat when someone starts counting. Well, it's actually a toss up between that and the pinball machine "1,2,3,4,5...6,7,8,9,10...11,12" When she's a little older start with the Muppet Show. Have mine convinced it's awesome...which it is.

Whit said...

I just spent 30 minutes watching those videos. I totally forgot all of them but the pinball. Classic!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

There are things that exist in my head that I totally forgot live there until something like this brings them all back. Man, what a great flashback. Now I know how I'm gonna spend tomorrow morning with my son.

disneyland_grandma said...

Five! Fancy! Fruitcakes!

kyooty said...

I didnt' even have to click play it's stuck in my head! thanks so much. BTW did you know you can totally hook the kids up with School House Rock and now coming soon, School House Rock 2! yes 2 :) The boys had the SHR going this week on DVD, the whole enchilada and a side of fun!

What about the pinball machine counting to 12, there you go, it's only fair that I plant that one! didn't it usually come on the same day as ladybugs? and don't forget the falling pie man. :)

kyooty said...

Catrinkas you are speaking of the Good kind and his 7 sons?
And for your border hugging child hood, AutoBUS!!! auto bus! auto bus!!

Mommy Melee said...

Back in the Napster days I tried to download the Ladybug Picnic song all the time. My husband refused to believe that it existed. Then when the Internet got BIGGER I found it on YouTube. I've been singing it to both my boys, and my mom does too. So funny! It's by far my favorite clip.

Stephanie N. said...

That made me so happy. My husband grew up on a farm in Kansas, in an area where PBS still does not come in on local broadcasts, and Sesame Street is the single biggest reason I pity him any time this comes up. I cannot imagine childhood without it.

Melanie said...

I love the ladybug picnic! thanks for the flashback!

Jill said...

Dude! Do you actually watch Sesame Street because that little clip is totally still on! We just watched an episode last week that had the Ladybug Picnic.

Aunt Becky said...

Loved that one. I found it on Youtube for Alex who, despite my own glee, was not impressed.

Swirl Girl said...

Shawn- I'm a little older than you (ahem) and I, too , watched Sesame Street pre-Elmo. Both my girls watch(ed) it too. You'd be surprised how many really old clips from Sesame Street Past make on to today's shows. How about the Electric Company, huh? That Silent E turned my 'hop' into 'hope" for quality non-commercial tv.

You should try Between the Lions on PBS, too. It has that combination of puppets, humor, and dare I say - education that we all love.

Fancy Schmancy said...

School House Rock is all over Youtube, or you can buy the dvd. I can still recite the Preamable to the Constitution from memory, and I can sing it.

Eric said...

Does she like that crazy show...
yo gabba gabba?
That show scares me!

Otter Thomas said...

Amen to all talk about the superiority of our cartoons to todays. I loved Sesame street too. I love the reference to conjunction junction. It got me thinking about the lonely bill on capital hill too.

Kris said...

That clip is on the Sing Yourself Silly video. It`s a great buy. All sorts of good songs and videos from back in the day. My daughter went through a phase of watching them every day when she was the same age as yours.

Also - NOTHING is creepier than In The Night Garden. That shit is what nightmares are made of.

Karen said...

We had something better than Sesame Street when I was a kid....we had the Banana Splits! All those who remember...say "Amen!"

Adrienne said...

Amen!

Growing up in Detroit, I also enjoyed having both the CBC and the US channels.

My favorite CBC was Mr. Dressup with Casey and Finnegan. My mother made a VHS of episodes for my daughter and she grew to love them as well.

Jenni said...

this was my favorite too!

Momma Sunshine said...

LOVE youtube for this very reason. I've shown my two girls (4 and 6) all the classic Sesame Street clips. I LOVE hearing them sing along to "Ladybug's Picnic"...

TeachingDad said...

Just found your blog - our PBS time has passed, but we have great memeories of our morning and afternoons enjoying PBS and the Disney channel. Kind of miss those days!

Penney said...

We had a satelite dish growing up (wait, this DOES become relevant, I swear) and my step-father was in charge of ordering the channels - he ordered the sports package (of course) but did not bother to order the NORMAL channels (things were clearly done differently back then...so I never got the opportunity to watch Sesame Street at home...until I was 12 I would actually get up early at sleepovers to find Sesame Street on my friends' TVs. Pathetic. But you're right. At least it wasn't Hanna Montana.

Lex said...

The Ladybug Picnic was always my favorite!!! Every time I watch with my kids (not on my own! eeesh! who would do that?), I wish futilely that it would play. Thanks for sharing this piece of my childhood.

Assertagirl said...

We recently bought the Sesame Street Old School DVD and it is awesome! Ladybug Picnic is on there along with a whole lot of other classics. If you don't have it, you should get it! I can't wait to show it to our child.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I remember the Ladybug Picnic all too well. I think I had that tape and played it for my kids...

As for Can. money not being accepted, what the hell?!?! And especially when we're at par, and sometimes even worth more. That's right, I said more, than American money.

Anyway, I still love the Ladybug Picnic. And we're going on a picnic today, and I hope I see a ladybug, and I'll sing the song, and everyone will think I'm nuts. And now I'm just rambling...