Pledge drives, 'Jam' on 'Sesame Street'

March 05, 1994|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

How could you criticize a show that has Little Richard singing "Rubber Ducky," Queen Latifah rapping about the letter "O," Big Bird auditioning backup singers for a la-la group, and Aaron Neville joining Ernie for a lovely version of "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon"?

The answer is you can't criticize "Sesame Street Jam," the centerpiece of a four-hour "Sesame Street Marathon" (5 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow on MPT, Channels 22 and 67, and WETA, Channel 26). The preview tape is a delight.

But that doesn't mean some parents won't find room for criticism, depending on how "Sesame Street" material is handled during the pledge drive. Last year, public TV came under some fire for using Barney to raise bucks.

"Sesame Street Jam" is only 45 minutes long. The rest of the four-hour marathon will be filled by repeats of other "Sesame Street" specials and pledge breaks.

"Jam" will also have poet Maya Angelou singing and Marilyn Horne going operatic with "C is for Cookie." Did I mention En Vogue, Los Lobos and Ladysmith Black Mambazo?

"Sesame Street Jam" is not to be missed no matter what your age. Let's hope public TV doesn't mess it up with fund-raising overkill.

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