news flash

Sesame Street News Flash

The Sesame Street News Flash was a recurring segment on the children's TV show Sesame Street from 1971 up until 2001. They starred Kermit the Frog reporting on various settings from classic stories, or just reporting on what's going on, on the Street.

Basic outline of a sketch

A skit would usually pop up during the middle of the show. The screen would cut to a black background with a cloud outline with stars, lightning and the words "NEWS FLASH" as a special-bulletin jingle (an urgent-sounding version of the Sesame Street theme composed by Joe Raposo) was heard with Morse code beeps. An announcer (voiced by Jerry Nelson) usually said, "We take you now to Kermit the Frog with another fast-breaking news story!"

Then the scene would change over to Kermit the Frog, clad in a trenchcoat and hat and holding a microphone, standing outside where his report takes place. Most of the time, he would be talking to someone off-screen or facing the wrong way before realizing he is on camera. He would begin reporting by starting with "Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog of Sesame Street News..." and comment on where he is.

The News Flash segments usually focused on Kermit reporting on classic fairy tales or Mother Goose nursery rhymes, or sometimes important moments in history, such as the Boston Tea Party or young George Washington chopping down a cherry tree. Sometimes he would interview a scientist who just invented something that doesn't work right (for instance, Kermit interviewed Professor Nucleus Von Fission who invented a robot entitled the Six-Dollar Man), or talk with people on the street, such as interviewing Telly Monster and his sister on a rainy day, or talking with monsters in a day-care center on what they want to be when they grow up.

The report would go along smoothly, until something would go wrong or crazy, such as Rapunzel becoming bald as she "lets down her hair," Cinderella's fairy godmother accidentally poofing a fancy gown onto Kermit, or a whole band showing up at Old King Cole's castle instead of just his "fiddlers three." Kermit would then conclude the report by usually saying "This is Kermit the Frog returning you to your regularly-scheduled program."

Longevity

There were many News Flash skits produced between 1972 and 1994. After Jim Henson's death, the skits were unofficially canceled, but the older Sesame Street News segments were still rerun on the show. On a few occasions, a new Sesame Street News segment would be made relating to the episode, with Steve Whitmire performing Kermit the Frog. By 1998, the sketches became increasingly rare on the show. In 2001, when Sesame Workshop bought the rights to the Sesame Street Muppets, since Kermit the Frog was by that time more a part of the regular Muppet Show/Muppet Movie gang with Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, etc., Sesame Workshop did not buy the rights to Kermit the Frog, so the News Flash sketches were dropped from the show altogether.

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