the $100 movie + time tripping

December 14, 2009 |  Category:   life remembering






Winter’s only barely begun and already we are looking at a long couple of months to entertain ourselves as we are (mostly) stuck indoors. I see a lot of dress-up and performances in our future.

So…we did end up going to see the 40th Anniversary Sesame Street Christmas screening yesterday. It was painful though. First we had to get Mia out of bed, who insisted on coming even though she was lethargically not feeling well all day. Then we had to trudge through the pouring rain and navigate through ridiculous puddles for 5 blocks to the train station to get off 1 stop later near BAM. At least it wasn’t cold. But here comes the worst part. People, if you are buying movie tickets ahead of time with your credit card, please remember to double check, triple check, quadruple check that you have your wallet with that credit card on you when you pick up your tickets or else you’ll end up a jackass and pay $100 dollars to go to the movies with your family of 5. Sure, we could have turned around and gone home, because really, what idiot pays that much money to watch Sesame Street on the big screen? But given how much trouble it took to get there, I knew the only option was to purchase another set of tickets as we all stood around dripping in wet clothes.

And so was the $100 dollar Sesame Street Christmas special worth it? Yeah, kind of. Claudine didn’t freak out like she did on our first trip to the movie theater and she squealed with delight when she saw the Swedish Chef. Mia would periodically look over at me with a cheesy smile and squeeze my arm during schmaltzy feel good musical numbers. And me? I got to relive my childhood in the 70s moment all over again, something I seem to be doing a lot of this year.

Unlike the girls who actually didn’t watch a lot of Sesame Street, I totally grew up on that show, and watching it for the first time in a long time cemented the fact that Bert might totally be the best Muppet character of all time: neurotic, sarcastic, grumpy, ambiguous in so many ways (are Bert and Ernie “adults”?) and a total drama queen. Watching the main feature, “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street” may also have answered the age-old question “just where the hell is Sesame Street anyway?”. People, you know what? The gang got on a subway after their ice skating party and got off at 86th street. Say what? It wasn’t clear from the signs if it was East or West, but I always thought Sesame Street was downtown or in Brooklyn. So another thing about the old, original Sesame Street? It was a gritty place. Garbage can be seen on the subway platforms, the brownstones and buildings looked a little run down, trash cans, random oil barrels and crates littered the street, laundry was hanging out the windows. Awesome!! It wasn’t a sterile place. It felt kinda real and like what I remember living in high rise apartments in NY in the 70s to be like, but it didn’t erase any of the magic that was Sesame Street.

For me, childhood in the 70s consisted of these things: rollerskating, Sesame Street, Electric Company, the Donny & Marie Show, Michael and the Jacksons, Soul Train, the Bay City Rollers (anyone remember them? no one does…), What’s Happening (seriously might be my favorite nostalgic sitcom of all time), Wonderama and the Magic Garden. When we got home it just so happened that Spike Lee’s Crooklyn was on BET which continued the nostalgia train. I know I’m totally dating myself by now, but from my naive memories as a young child in the 70s, I don’t so much remember the crime, the Great Blackout of 1977, the Son of Sam, or the gas shortage crises. I just remember that the 70s were awesome. So I’ll continue to look back at that decade with rose colored glasses and hopefully catch some old episodes of What’s Happening somewhere. It was fun to time trip yesterday. Just wish it didn’t cost me 100 bucks.

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  • llillian December 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I loved sesame street (early 80s kid here). one of my earliest memories is watching the episode about mr. hooper’s death. my parents taped it and we all watched it together. big bird was my favorite (I actually had a poster of him above my bed that I always insisted on kissing good night) and since he and mr. hooper were special friends, mr. hooper was my special friend too. I have a copy of the anniversary album which has mr. hooper singing the line “I have two hands to wave goodbye” and I still can’t hear or think about it without crying.

    now that I have my own daughter, I look forward to sharing sesame street with her, although I realize it isn’t the same show. why did they have to clean it up? and why on earth weren’t the original muppets enough? why do they keep adding less amusing and less interesting characters?

  • Kim December 14, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I loved sesame street too and totally grew up with it! Though I’m 21 so I suppose it wasn’t that long ago. I still find an excuse to watch the holiday specials with my little cousins anyhow =) good times..

  • Anna @ D16 December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Of course I remember the Bay City Rollers! Your entire last paragraph made me all misty-eyed and nostalgic.

    And yeah, the old Sesame Street really feels like NYC used to. My dad lived in the east 90’s when I was a kid, which was an entirely different world back then.

  • Brenda December 14, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Oh my gosh! Wonderama! And I was absolutely obsessed over the Bay City Rollers – still have their albums somewhere! And Donnie and Marie … never missed an episode! Wonder if there are episodes on Hulu …..

  • Nina December 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    And I felt bad when we paid to see ‘paranormal activity’ and then left after 10 minutes. Wow a $100 is a a lot of money but at least you guys had fun and that’s what matters, really.

  • Jenna December 14, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    wow – you guys remember the Bay City Rollers! I usually get blank stares when I ask that.
    Anna, I am a complete nostalgia freak. Seems to get worse (naturally) as I get older.
    Lillian, Sesame Street got revamped because the ratings started going down in the 90s and couldn’t compete with newer shows.

  • tina December 14, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Yes, I remembered the Bay City Rollers. I had older sisters and they were soooo in love with them. S-A-TUR-DAY Night!

  • nichole Robertson December 14, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    We share many of the same memories, and for sure the same rose-colored nostalgia. I adored Sesame Street, and LIVED for Donny and Marie. And they called it Puppy Luh-huh-uh-uv …


  • chris December 14, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Well then, you should LOVE the books by Bill Owens (photo books – awesome 1970’s life). And yes, I too, remember The Bay City Rollers – junior high all over again.

  • Andrew Thornton December 15, 2009 at 1:57 am

    I know what you mean about the year being one of nostalgia. Seems like at every turn I make I’m stumbling upon something that reminds me of my youth.

    I also agree that movies are getting ridiculously expensive. At a matinee showing with a forged student discount, the ticket was still nearing $10. That’s in some random small Southern town I was driving through. It boggles my mind.

  • Manya December 15, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Let me remind you of something else, too… Rhoda, The Mary Tyler Moore show, Bob Newheart, Carol Burnett, Sonny and Cher, the Oscar Mayer commercial, mood rings, Mork and Mindy-nanou-nanou, the Fonz….the Electric Company…”HEY, YOU GUUUUUYYYYS!!!!!!”

  • Ginny December 15, 2009 at 9:31 am

    The other day I was walking around singing S_A_T_U_R_D-A-Y D-A-Y…I got wth looks and couldn’t believe no one remembered the Bay City Rollers! Thank you for remembering them. :=)

  • Perpetua December 15, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Oh, the Magic Garden! Come to the garden of make believe, a magical garden…la la la… I SO wanted to be Paula and Carole when I was a kid. I don’t think I’ve outgrown that wish, actually. 🙂

  • Kwil December 15, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I was JUST thinking about Sesame Street and how weird big bird looks to me now.

  • Sophia December 15, 2009 at 11:35 am


    I could have written this post. I most definitely know who the Bay City Rollers are! I loved them and had a pair of socks with their name on them. They were my favorite pair of socks. I could have worn them everyday.

    I too watched Crooklyn on Sunday. It is one of my daughters favorite movies. She can recite the scenes. We had a conversation about the movie yesterday and I told her how much that movie reminds me of my childhood. I was the youngest girl with 3 older brothers. I stole my brothers 1/2 dollar collection to buy candy at the corner, just as Troy stole her brothers “funny looking money”. I so had the “rich” only child cousin whose big house I used to get shipped to. My Godmother would must definitely take my braids out and redo my hair. The thing is my family was “rich” is so many different ways. She may have had all the material things, but longed to come to our crowded apartment with my big noisy family.

    I could go on and on…this post really spoke to me.

    Stumbled upon your blog last week and so glad I did. I can relate to so many things you write about. Rollerskating, the shows you mention watching, the music you listened to etc…I turned 40 this year and my parents were Jamaican immigrants. I could tell stories for days about my childhood. Good and bad

    Now this is turning into a book let me end this by saying how much I appreciate this blog.

  • mixette December 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Everyone says, “$100 bucks doesn’t buy much these days.” But I’d say you got a whole lot of bang for those bucks. Sometimes you’ve just gotta roll with the punches, even if they are right in the wallet.

    I LOVE looking at our family photos from the 70’s! Everyone was just so darn groovy looking. My mom even kept some of the clothes we had as kids (she sewed for us) like the bellbottoms with masses of hand-embroidery and peace sign patches. Good times.

  • Leslie December 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Haha!! Bay city rollers were awesome!!!