Monday, Nov. 09, 2009

Farewell, Mr. Hooper

When Will Lee, the actor who played store owner Mr. Hooper on the Street, died of a heart attack in December 1982, the show's producers decided not to just write him out with an easy story line. Instead, they incorporated his death into the script. In a poignant scene broadcast on Thanksgiving Day in 1983, nearly a year after Lee's death, Big Bird struggles to grasp the concept that he won't see his friend again. By treating the subject gracefully but directly, the show helped shape the way its young viewers could cope with a delicate, painful topic.