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Lupita Nyong'o, John Mayer, Zac Efron, and Christina Hendricks on 'Sesame Street'
In the four decades that Sesame Street has been on air, dozens of stars from Julie Andrews to Johnny Cash to The Backstreet Boys have picked up the directions to the famed block. Ahead, classic visits to Sesame Street from some of the biggest celebs.
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The British star found her way to Sesame Street, where she went exploring with Elmo as Arizona Emily. The two learned about the word explore and came upon the Golden Cabbage of Destiny.
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Back in their pop heyday, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean, and Kevin Richardson graced the inhabitants of Sesame Street with their presence. The pop princes performed the song "One Small Voice" with Elmo, crooning about the importance of speaking up.
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Michelle Williams, Beyonce, and Kelly Rowland stopped by Sesame Street for a little performance as Destiny's Child. The then-intact girl group joined Grover, Elmo, and Zoe and sang "A New Way to Walk."
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Jesse Tyler Ferguson
The Modern Family actor spent time with Cookie Monster on the Street. Ferguson taught viewers and Cookie about the word "fragile," giving a demonstration with a fragile cookie jar.
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The Mad Men actress departed Madison Avenue for Sesame Street, hanging out with Elmo to discuss technology. The episode introduced viewers to the fact that "Elmo loves technology."
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Lauren Graham took a break from being a Gilmore Girl and practicing Parenthood to be an author on Sesame Street. The actress caught up with Grover, teaching kids about the word "author" and writing a book with the furry friend.
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The Oscar winner charmed on an episode of Sesame Street, where she appeared alongside Elmo. The two discussed skin and its many shades and colors.
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Efron stopped by the Street to teach an important lesson. The actor spoke to Elmo about patience – the word of the day – as he pestered Efron to play basketball.
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Diaz, who has made multiple appearances on Sesame Street, served as an assistant to a newly christened Professor Grover. She helped the academic teach about trees and the many benefits of plants.
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John Mayer participated in an a segment that also featured Queen Latifah and Elmo. The three teamed up to discuss veterans readjusting after time in the military and Mayer sang "Say."
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In a very on-brand move, the Sex and the City star appeared on Sesame Street to explain the word "fabulous." She met up with Abby Cadabby to explore all things fabulous.
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Viola Davis stopped by Sesame Street for a game of "What Does It Mean?" with Elmo. The actress spoke Spanish to teach Elmo about fiestas.
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Amy Adams had a little Sesame Street fun with Elmo. She appeared on the show to teach the word "ingredient," using the lesson to bake a cake with Elmo.
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Celine Dion made some new friends on the Street when she met Big Bird, Elmo, and Herry. Herry got up the courage to introduce himself to the superstar with a little help from the "Happy To Meet You" song.
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The Veronica Mars alum caught up with Abby Cadabby and Elmo. Bell educated viewers on the word "splatter," repeating the word over and over as her shirt got, appropriately, splattered with paint.
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The former FLOTUS and presidential hopeful hung out with Big Bird and Rosita on Sesame Street. Focusing on health and strength, Clinton preached the importance of fruits and vegetables, regular medical checkups, and exercise.
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Aaron and Nick Carter
The Backstreet Boy and his little brother stopped by the Street together. Hanging out with the Two-Headed Monster and Elmo, the two performers spoke about family and sang the creatively titled, "I Like To Sing."
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Julie Andrews made a classic appearance on Sesame Street, singing an impressive rendition of "Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?" She also hung out with the gang, busting out a couple more songs and spending time with Kermit the Frog.
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Gyllenhaal made an appearance on Sesame Street, in which he taught kids about the word "separate."
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Ahoy there, Liz Lemon! The 30 Rock star made a big impression as a singing, thieving ''bookaneer,'' one of the pirates of the ''care-to-be-readin'.'' We'd listen to her recite The Curse of the Missing Underpants any time — especially if she brought along that tricorne hat.
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Sesame Street and the late Arrested Development are designed for vastly different audiences — but the two worlds collided when Arrested star Arnett appeared before Big Bird as preening Max the Magician. Wait a minute... shouldn't that be ''illusionist''?
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The show was just four years old when a 20-something Wonder stopped by to serenade kids — as well as enthralled parents — with a nearly seven-minute-long rendition of ''Superstition.'' But the piano prodigy didn't stop there: He also taught Grover a song and performed a funky original tune about Sesame Street itself.
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Oprah made the Sesame Street producers' dreams come true by voicing an Oprah-esque character in a parody of The Oprah Winfrey Show for the 41st season. The animated spoof was fittingly an exploration of the letter O.
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The First Lady helped celebrate Sesame Street's 40th birthday with a visit to extol the virtues of fresh fruits and vegetables. She planted a garden with Elmo and tried to convince Big Bird that although they were both tall and she could appreciate seeds, they were not actually related. Awwwwkward.
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The indie chanteuse kicked off the show's 39th season with a monsterrific version of her ubiquitous counting song, ''1-2-3-4.''
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James Earl Jones
His skit lasted only seconds, but remember that old adage about how a good actor can make the phone book riveting? Jones, fresh-faced and beaming, counted from 1 to 10 with such a commanding voice that you couldn't wait to hear what came next.
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He's never afraid to appear cheesy, and that's why we love him. Stiller sang ''The People in Your Neighborhood'' with Telly. He met a letter carrier and the cable guy, and then decided to dress as a person in the neighborhood, reappearing as a piece of cheese. ''A cheese is a really great fella, call me swiss, brie, or mozzarella.'' Now where's the ham?
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The Man in Black (okay, he still wore blue denim then) faced off against the monster in green (Oscar at his grumpiest) with a song about Nasty Dan, and ''the only words he ever said were/I don't like you at all,'' which suited Oscar just fine.
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Jones gets stood up by the letter of the day, so she sang ''Don't Know Y'' to Elmo at the piano. Without Y, she couldn't spell her favorite words (like yogurt and yarn). ''Don't know why Y didn't come.''
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Pryor gains a spot on our list merely for his ability to keep us on the edge of our seats, for he didn't just say the alphabet — he had something to add about almost every letter, and the unpredictability of the comic's facial expressions keeps you glued until the very end (though you might wonder if the star was partying before he hit the Street). ''Ain't nobody care about no C,'' he said. But oh yes, we did, and all the letters after that.
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In a joyful jam with the Muppets, the group sang ''Furry Happy Monsters'' (to the tune of ''Shiny Happy People,'' natch) with great abandon. ''Monsters having fun/Happy, happy/See them jump and run/Laughing all the while/Cheerful, cheerful/Flashing a big smile, that's the perfect sign that they're feeling fine.'' Everybody was jumping and laughing...and then it turned sour. ''Furry, sobbing monsters feeling sad.''
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Talking to a group of kids, Jackson gave an early lesson in self-confidence and tolerance, encouraging the tykes to accept differences in one another and in themselves. Black, brown, white, rich, poor, kids were repeating his now-classic motto, ''I am... somebody.''
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The big guy sweetly sang — as if there were any other way — ''I Don't Want to Live on the Moon'' with Ernie, shown living in the sea and dancing on the moon. This is a touching song, with lyrics like ''There's not much to do when your friends are all fish/And an oyster and clam aren't real family/So I don't want to live in the sea.'' And ''Though I'd like to look down at the earth from above/ I would miss all the places and people I love.''
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This is one of those low-key musical performances the show did before deciding to add bouncing Muppets to every number, and the simplicity of it is just beautiful. And so is the song ''Wonder Child'': ''It's you who taught me how to sing/Opened up the world for me/You make me see things through your eyes.'' You kind of have to see it.
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Yup, Simon — rocking a pageboy haircut — was just hanging on the stoop, singing ''Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,'' and he was more than willing to share the spotlight with his young backup singer, who managed to steal the scene out from under him. Did we mention he had hair?
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Who can't look at an oversize chair without thinking of Tomlin's precocious character? ''My name is Edith Ann and I can count to five [blows a big raspberry], but I won't and that's the truth.'' If we didn't learn to stick out our tongues from the kid down the block, we learned it here.
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Shakespeare comes to the Street: Stage lights go up on Stewart, garbed in dark cloak, holding a chunky letter B, and there was never a finer soliloquy. ''B or not a B, that is the question. Whether 'tis the second letter of the alphabet, or some other merry letter.... This letter doth hath two bumps in the front, and I reckon the word bump beginneth with B. Zounds, the word beginneth beginneth with B, if beginneth be a word. Now, by my sword I declare B or not a B, 'tis B. Good night, sweet B.''
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The soprano sings Elmo to sleep with a lullaby. Set to Bizet's Carmen. ''Stars are twinkling up in the sky/It's time for you to go beddie-bye.'' Complete with castanets and bleating sheep. Then Elmo busts out in a toreador's outfit. Not quite a soothing lullaby, but unforgettable nonetheless.
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The blind tenor tries his hand at getting Elmo to sleep, to the tune of ''Time to Say Goodbye,'' with much more soothing effect than Ms. Graves had...until the big finish, anyway. The little red monster pipes in, too, and holds his own against the maestro.
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Without a hint of irony, Blunt sings, to the melody of ''Beautiful,'' this song to Telly: ''This shape was brilliant/This shape was pure/I saw three angles/of that I'm sure/And I saw three pointy corners/and then I saw 3 straight sides/the top was very narrow/and the base was oh so wide.'' It's almost enough to make one weep: ''A triangle/my triangle, it's true/I saw your shape in a crowded place/Now I don't know what to do.''
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Belafonte, sitting under a palm tree, sings a calypso-tinged ditty about a coconut-counting man, with two cute birdies as backup singers. We get a rare glimpse of the Count's feet. (Now, as to why a vampire is sitting on a tropical island, basking IN THE SUN, we can't comment.)
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The king of the timbales squares off against Oscar the Grouch, who wants quiet for a meeting of fellow monsters. But Tito starts to play (what else?) ''Ran Kan Kan'' on pink and lime green drums, and the whole Street is moving along to the beat. Even Oscar can't stay in a foul mood.
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In white tie and tails, the classical cellist joins the Honkers, performing a piece by Murray Beethoven, the famous Honker. The three Honkers accent his playing with various head dings and nose honks. Yo-Yo keeps a wonderfully straight face throughout.
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Sitting in a bathtub, Little Richard plays a funky ode to rubber duckie on the piano, with backup from a sax-playing monster.
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LL Cool J
The rapper goes with Elmo on an Addition Expedition around Sesame Street. ''Add 'em up'' went the refrain. Various monsters were throwing it down as LL and Elmo practiced their mad math skillz.
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The Murphy Brown star gets the tables turned on her when Elmo plays the interviewer. See Bergen make a sad face and find out what makes Elmo happy (using his library card!).
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The funnyman, subdued here, talks about what things are alive, and how to tell if they are. Does it breathe, does it grow? Will it eat a banana or peanuts or a burger? Williams puts his loafer to the test: the shoe is definitely not alive but makes a fine nutcracker.
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Marlee Matlin and Billy Joel
The two serenade Oscar with ''Just the Way You Are.'' ''Just be grouchy/You've done it pretty well so far.'' With Joel's lyrics, Matlin signing, and the Grouch's responses, it's a perfect balance of sweet and nasty.
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The singer, backed by Sesame Street characters, belts out the alphabet, gospel-style, with a rousing finish.