American Top 40 PastBlast, 11/17/79: Kermit the Frog, “Rainbow Connection”

This week I’ve seen several places around the Web noting that this past Sunday was the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street’s television debut. I was attending a half-day kindergarten at Lancaster Presbyterian Church in late 69; I don’t know how long it took for me to begin watching Sesame Street, but I’ll bet my mother tuned it in for my sister and me before too many months passed by. While I was more of a fan of The Electric Company, thinking back I remember plenty of scenes and plenty of characters, both Muppet and human:

–Bert’s constant exasperation with Ernie (one Christmas, Amy and I got Ernie and Burt puppets—true to our relative natures, the Bert was mine);
–a skit that incorporated the Association’s “Windy” (though contrary to the lyrics, I thought it was ‘Wendy’  back then);
–the change in actors who played Gordon;
–dear, dear Grover, the Muppet I liked best (a favorite book from those years was The Monster at the End of This Book);
–Amy’s year-end play in kindergarten, in the spring of 71, was a collection of Sesame Street skits and songs—she took part in singing “I Love Trash.”

I was just starting 7th grade when The Muppet Show made its debut in the fall of 76, and it became regular viewing during the junior high and early high school years. Though I’d always liked Kermit, those weekly visits to the Muppet Theatre solidified his stature in my eyes. 

When The Muppet Movie came out in 79, I was 15, and perhaps I thought I was just a little too cool then to go see it at the theater. I wasn’t unhappy when “Rainbow Connection” debuted on AT40 that October, though; it’s a beautiful song, written and sung from the heart. We’re hearing it at #26 on this show, one spot away from its peak.

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