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Iconic US Children's TV Show Turns 45

FILE - Characters from Sesame Street Live appear on the street by Madison Square Garden to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the live touring stage shows based on the PBS television series in New York, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010.

A television show that features a 249-centimeter tall bright yellow bird, aided by multi-colored furry "animals" who interact with humans on a fictional New York City street reached a historic milestone this week.

Sesame Street, the popular U.S. children's educational show, turned 45 years old on Monday. The show has been a hit among pre-school children -- and their parents -- since its debut on November 10, 1969 on public television, and is now considered a U.S. cultural institution.

Millions of children across the U.S. tune in to Sesame Street every day to receive standard educational fare in reading, spelling and math from the now-iconic "Muppet" characters created by the late puppeteer Jim Henson: Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, and squeaky-voiced Elmo.

The show has received acclaim for its racially diverse human cast, and willingness to discuss a variety of real-life subjects, including death and physical disability.

Sesame Street has been shown in more than 150 countries since its debut, and its brand can be found on scores of toys, games and videos.