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Sesame Street is headed to the big screen

Given that you are a living, breathing human being, old enough to read and comprehend the words I’m currently typing, we feel pretty safe in assuming that you have some familiarity with Sesame Street. Since 1969 it has been the quintessential example of quality children’s programming, and unless you’re some kind of soulless abomination unto nature you likely have fond memories of watching the show as a kid. We certainly do. Ah, those were halcyon days, no? Plunking down in front of the tube with a bowl of sugary cereal and comfy footie pajamas to learn about vowels from a giant yellow bird and his time-displaced wooly mammoth pal; man, childhood was rad.

But enough of that wistful nostalgia. We’re adults now and the grown up world is a harsh and unforgiving place where movie studios seek to cash in on our youthful glee in increasingly cynical fashion. Hollywood already got its grubby mits on Transformers and G.I. Joe, and now it apparently wants to take a swing at our most sacrosanct childhood memories: Specifically, 20th Century Fox has picked up the rights to make a Sesame Street feature film.

Via The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog:

The studio has picked up the movie rights to the long-running and iconic children’s television show and has tapped longtime [Sesame Street] writer Joey Mazzarino to pen the script. Producers are Shawn Levy and his 21 Laps banner, Michael Aguilar, Mark Gordonand Film 360’s Guymon Casady. 

As the blog points out, this wouldn’t be the first time that Sesame Street has been adapted for theaters. In 1985 Warner Bros. Pictures released Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird, while 1999 saw the debut of The Adventures Of Elmo In Grouchland. Though we can’t speak to the quality of the latter — we were too busy living the swinging bachelor lifestyle at the turn of the century — we recall the former as a surprisingly excellent comedy, suitable for both kids and their parents. Sure, that’s in part the result of Jim Henson’s creations being undeniably timeless in their appeal, but we’re positive it also has something to do with the fact that Follow That Bird featured an awesome cast including John Candy, Chevy Chase, Sandra Bernhard and, hilariously, country music legend Waylon Jennings.

Can Fox’s upcoming production recreate the magic of the 1985 film? We’re not holding our breath. At best we just hope that Fox doesn’t bastardize Sesame Street’s iconic characters in an effort to seem hip and edgy. The show has remained relevant and beloved for almost half a century because Jim Henson’s creations are as close to perfect as you can get, and if anyone behind this production thinks they can do better than Henson, this project runs the risk of alienating its entire prospective audience. Here’s hoping Fox realizes that they’re dealing with the most sacred of intellectual properties, and chooses not to monkey with decades of established kid-friendly brilliance.

As this deal was just finalized, we’re quite a ways from seeing this film hit theaters. In the meantime, we recommend hitting up YouTube for some classic Sesame Street clips. The show has produced some amazing moments, like the video of Johnny Cash singing to Oscar The Grouch that we’ve embedded below. Straight up, that’s television gold.

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Earnest Cavalli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Earnest Cavalli has been writing about games, tech and digital culture since 2005 for outlets including Wired, Joystiq…
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