Friday, January 08, 2010

Sesame Street Cemetery Grows

The show has been on the air for forty years. Unsurprisingly, many of those performing on the show in the 1970's are no longer with us.

Of course, it was the passing of Will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, in 1982 that inspired the writers and performers to broach death as a topic on the show.

Some of the deaths were especially sad. Jim Henson, of course, passed away suddenly and cruelly in 1990. Richard Hunt, the mad puppeteer who created numerous characters (including that cow who loved to sing), fell ill and died in 1992. Matt Robinson, the first actor to play Gordon (there have been three), left us in 2002.

It is hard for me to watch old clips from the show, seeing the character David, and not be reminded of Northern Calloway's sad, talented, but apparently lonely and tortured life. Illness forced him away from the show, and a short time later he died. The year was 1990, and he was just 41 years old.

Now, they are joined by Olivia. The actress was Alaina Reed Hall, and she was a regular on the show from 1976-88. She played Gordon's sister and sang beautifully. She had been fighting breast cancer since 2007, and breathed her last on December 17.

Given how much we've been watching old Sesame Street episodes lately, we might well have been watching this 1977 duet the day she died. It's a memorable scene, along with the late Mr. Calloway. Enjoy them:

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