Hi, out there. Say, do you know what today is?
We'll give you a clue--actually, scratch that, you might be a little rusty after all these years, so we'll just tell you: It's the 20th anniversary of "Blue's Clues."
On this very day 20 years ago, a friendly cartoon dog named "Blue" and her affable human best friend Steve made their television debut on Nickelodeon. In no time at all, Steve (whose real name is Steve Burns) had kids playing "Blue's Clues" in living rooms across the country. Pre-schoolers were pumped to sing along and parents were thrilled to see their toddlers learning from the TV.
Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper were colloquially charming, and their daughter Paprika was quite the saucy little thing. Mailbox always had us laughing with his jokes, and who didn't just love Shovel and Pail? "Blue's Clues" was filled with colorful characters, but it was the green striped shirt-wearing, 23-year-old guy named Steve who really made the magic happen--right up until 2002.
In an episode called "Steve Goes to College," Burns introduced viewers to his brother Joe (played by actor Donovan Patton). Joe, Burns said, would be taking over things at the "Blue's Clues" house--it was a sensible explanation, but for whatever reason, it didn't sit well with the Steve-loving public.
Even though Burn's departure happened before the social media era, rumors about why he really left spread like wildfire. Playground gossip had kids fearing Blue's best friend had died and parents were subject to all kinds of hoaxes about his untimely death.
In reality, Burns passed along his Handy Dandy Notebook so he could pursue a career in music. He released his first album, "Songs for Dustmites," shortly after his "Blue's Clues" departure. He went on to collaborate with several artists from "The Flaming Lips" and later started a band, "Steve Burns and the Struggle." His second album was released in 2009.
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The now 42-year-old entertainer has acted in a handful of indie films and smaller projects since his "Blue's Clues" days. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is quite a social media presence. He regularly jokes about the seemingly never-ending rumors of his early demise on Twitter, too.
Steve's certainly branched out of the typical kid show host mold, but he's grateful to have been a part of "Blue's Clues." "I don't think [being on the show] has caused any sort of credibility deficit," he once said on the "Today" show. "I think it's an amazing children's television show...I'm incredibly proud to have been even involved in it. I think coming from kids TV, it just makes the story more interesting."
Agreed. Now where's the mail?