30 Years Ago This Week: Sesame Street Says Goodbye To Mr. Hooper

30 Years Ago This Week: Sesame Street Says Goodbye To Mr. Hooper

If you are a person of a Certain Age, this week is when you learned, 30 years ago, about the loss of one of your childhood friends: Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street. Who are we kidding? If you were any age and ever watched Sesame Street, you felt befriended by the genial shopkeeper whose name Big Bird could never get straight.

Will Lee, the actor that played Mr. Hooper, died in 1982, and Sesame Street struggled with how to handle it. They contemplated punting and having the character retire and move to Florida, as the olds do, but decided it would be better to use the episode to explain to kids what happened to Mr. Hooper. The show aired on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1983 and is one of the defining moments of daytime television, for real.

Go watch the full crew of Big Bird’s adult friends on the Street help him understand that Mr. Hooper is gone and make sure you’re somewhere private so you can have a nice good cry.

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  • Enfant Terrible

    I watched that with my son when it first aired. His great-grandfather had just died, and it helped him deal with all those feelings.

  • Mickey Bitsko

    Must we be reminded of this tragedy every thirty years?