Cuba Gooding Jr. with <EM>Sesame Street</EM>'s Elmo Cuba Gooding Jr. with Sesame Street's Elmo

TV Guide: Why this project?
Cuba Gooding Jr.:
Anything that I can do to help the proper development of children in the proper environment, I try to participate in.

TV Guide: Do you have any family members or friends who have been deployed?
Gooding Jr.:
No family members, but a lot of friends. [In the] military movies that I've done, from Men of Honor to Outbreak to A Few Good Men, I've made relationships with [military] people, some of whom are now deployed. Some have families who have dealt with loss. I'm really close to it.

TV Guide: The show opens with you near the stoop of one of the most recognizable brownstones anywhere: 123 Sesame Street. What was that like?
Gooding Jr.:
Magical. When we shot the special, they said they wanted to get some photographs with me and Elmo. When they brought him out, it was a little overwhelming. They have this ritual where they pull Elmo out and pose him a certain way. When that happens, you sense a certain energy around him, a presence. I have three kids now, two boys 10 and 12, and a little girl who turned 1 in October, and she's just discovering Elmo for the first time. It's awesome.

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