Design copyright U.S. Postal Service

Sesame Street voted one of top 15 icons of the '70s

Adapted from Current, Nov. 29, 1999 and Nov. 23, 1998

It's official: Sesame Street took its place as one of the 15 best-remembered icons of the 1970s on Nov. 18 [1999] with the issuance of a block of 33-cent postage stamps featuring the beady-eyed visage of Big Bird. The downside: you can't buy the Big Bird stamp separately from disco and smiley-face stamps. Big Bird celebrated its philatelic debut with a visit to NBC's Today show.

As an icon of the 1970s, Sesame Street ranks second only to the Smiley Face, judging from a national vote held in 1998 by the U.S. Postal Service to select topics for new commemorative stamps.

Before Big Bird was chosen to grace the stamp, Current imagined how grand Cookie Monster might look on his own stamp. No such luck.

The inanely cheerful yellow symbol and the PBS children's program were among 15 subjects selected to represent the 1970s in the "Celebrate the Century" project, the Postal Service announced in October 1998.

Smiley Face got the top vote, 469,867, in balloting on web sites ( and and in post offices. Sesame Street drew 378,785 votes, said USPS spokesman Don Smeraldi.

A combo of PBS and NPR, recognizing the founding of the networks in the 1970s, did not make the cut, with 176,862 votes, following other also-rans, the ABC mini-series Roots and Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather.

Winning topics (including some category winners that didn't top the overall balloting) were: Smiley Face, Sesame Street, Earth Day, Disco, VCRs, the Bicentennial, Monday Night Football, the Pittsburgh Steelers, jumbo jets, medical imaging, the women's rights movement, 1970s fashion, NASA's Pioneer 10, the race horse Secretariat and All in the Family. Subjects are nominated by the Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee.



To Current's home page

Outside link: Postal Service's stamp voting page on the web, including winners for each decade.


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