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Sesame Street Exposed

Just how do you get to Sesame Street? The iconic set is located in Queens, New York, but its look was based on a block in Harlem that charmed set designer Charles Rosen. That's just one of the tidbits of insider info in Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis. The landmark show -- on the air for almost 40 years now -- has tackled tough topics like adoption, Down Syndrome, and death (remember when Mr. Hooper died? We're verklempt just thinking about it) with a staggering array of cameos -- everyone from Lauren Bacall to Ice-T.

More behind-the-scenes scoop:

• The original name was 123 Avenue B, but it was deemed too insidery New York. No one really liked the name Sesame Street, but no one came up with anything better, so it stuck.

• NBC and CBS both passed on the show. When you consider the gazillion dollars generated from licensing and merchandising, that was a colossal mistake.

• Oscar the Grouch was originally orange, and was inspired by a gruff cab driver puppeteer Carroll Spinney encountered.

• The first episode on November 10, 1969 was sponsored by the letters W, S and E, and the numbers 2 and 3.

To discover more behind-the-scenes secrets about show that taught your kid the alphabet (and helped you get a shower), read the book.