A sad day in the neighborhood. Sesame Street is saying goodbye to three beloved cast members on the long-running children’s series.
The official Sesame Street Twitter account announced on Thursday, July 28, that Bob McGrath (Bob the music teacher), Roscoe Orman (Gordon the science teacher) and Emilio Delgado (Luis the handyman) will no longer appear on the show.
“Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado (‘Luis’) and Roscoe Orman (‘Gordon’) remain a beloved part of the Sesame family and continue to represent us at public events,” the statement read. “To us, and for millions of people worldwide, they are a treasured part of Sesame Street. Since the show began, we are constantly evolving our content and curriculum, and hence our characters, to meet the educational needs of children. As a result of this, our cast has changed over the years, though you can still expect to see many of them in upcoming productions. As we’ve stated previously, Sesame Workshop retains sole creative control over the show. HBO does not oversee the production.”
McGrath, 84, had been on Sesame Street since its first episode, which aired on November 10, 1969, and sings many of the show’s most famous songs, including “People in Your Neighborhood.” Orman, 72, took over the role of Gordon in 1974, and Delgado, 76, joined the children’s show in 1971.
“They let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka — who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us — and Chris Knowings, who is also young,” McGrath said at Florida Supercon earlier this month, according to The Muppet Cast podcast. (Muraoka, 53, plays Alan, who runs Hooper’s Store, and Knowings, 36, stars as Chris.)
Although Sesame Street said HBO was not to blame, McGrath said executives were reconfiguring the show to be geared toward today’s tech-savvy kids. “I have completed my 45th season this year. And the show has gone under a major turnaround,” he continued. “Going from an hour to a half hour. HBO has gotten involved also.”
Sesame Street fans were not happy about losing the original cast members, who many grew up watching. People took to Twitter to express their sadness and frustration.
“Shame on you @sesamestreet @HBO!!! Cutting Bob, Luis & Gordon. Now ageism includes the people in your neighborhood. Great lesson for kids,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Gonna miss Bob, Luis and Gordon. Sucks that Sesame Street’s lesson of the day was get rid of the old people,” another tweeter posted.
Last year, HBO made a deal with Sesame Workshop and took over five seasons of the show, allowing the episodes to air later on its original network, PBS, after nine months.