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Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street (2008)

von Michael Davis

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
6334128,457 (3.44)28
The story of one of the most important and beloved shows on television-how it got started, nearly failed, and was saved by Elmo When the first episode aired on November 10, 1969, Sesame Streetrevolutionized the way education was presented to children on television. It has since become the longest-running children's show in history, and today reaches 8 million preschoolers on 350 PBS stations and airs in 120 countries. Street Gangis the compelling and often comical story of the creation and history of this media masterpiece and pop culture landmark, told with the cooperation of one of the show's cofounders, Joan Ganz Cooney. Sesame Streetwas born as the result of a discussion at a dinner party at Cooney's home about the poor quality of children's programming and hit the air as a big bang of creative fusion from Jim Henson and company, quickly rocketing to success. Street Gangtraces the evolution of the show from its inspiration in the civil rights movement through its many ups and downs-from Nixon's trying to cut off its funding to the rise of Elmo-via the remarkable personalities who have contributed to it. Davis reveals how Sesame Streethas taught millions of children not only their letters and numbers, but also cooperation and fair play, tolerance and self-respect, conflict resolution, and the importance of listening. This is the unforgettable story of five decades of social and cultural change and the miraculous creative efforts, passion, and commitment of the writers, producers, directors, animators, and puppeteers who created one of the most influential programs in the history of television.… (mehr)
  1. 83
    Sesame Street Unpaved: Scripts, Stories, Secrets, and Songs von David Borgenicht (lorax)
    lorax: "Unpaved" is an extensively illustrated coffee-table history of Sesame Street, with pictures and tidbits rather than the extensive biographies of every participant that made "Street Gang" such a slow read for many. A much better nostalgia fix.
  2. 00
    The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers von Maxwell King (geophile)
    geophile: People interested in children's television programming may enjoy both of these books.
  3. 00
    Live from New York von Tom Shales (Othemts)
  4. 00
    Jim Henson: The Works - The Art, the Magic, the Imagination von Christopher Finch (punkypower)
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First things first, I will echo a sentiment from another person's review and say that before embarking on this book, decide what kind of Sesame Street fan you are. If you want to go back for a look at favorite characters, scenes, performers, puppeteers, and even a little bit into the psychology behind the show, turn to Sesame Street Unpaved. Seriously. This one will bore you to death. And there's nothing wrong with that--I totally get the neutral to negative reviews I've read so far concerning this book. But if you need to know more, more, more, and are interested in every possible thing that might surround Sesame Street and its origins, and are OK with the fact that it takes half the book for the show to even air, then this book is pretty cool.

Like most of my peers, I grew up on Sesame Street. And like many things in my young life, I had completely taken it and all other things educational for granted...I mean, c'mon. People have to PLAN this stuff? Don't teachers just tell you stuff and you just learn it? I think my first true revelation about education came late in high school when I came across Sesame Street Unpaved, which actually discussed the theory behind the show. This concept inspired a new sense of awe in me--the realization that I was part of the target audience for deeply considered formulas designed specifically to make me a more well-rounded human being, academically and psychologically. Sure learning prepositions and how to count in Spanish and that crayons don't grow on trees was one thing, but wasn't it just entertainment? My appreciation for the show on this level has continued to grow since.

I loved this book for the history of television, of which I had no perspective (I was born in the 80s...the world WAS television), and for the history of children's television (I was born in the 80s...children's television WAS Sesame Street). I loved learning about the years of research involved leading up to the first season. I loved its discussion of Sesame Street's development out of all things cultural, political, and commercial of the 1950s and 60s. I even loved the somewhat overkill of giving a biography on every person who so much as sneezed on the show. I loved learning about government funding and business. I loved learning how the focus of the show has swayed over the decades and the motives behind such decisions. I love that I have another reason to dislike Barney, have a growing distrust of Disney, and that I grew up on a Sesame Street that designed its curriculum around education and not how-can-we-make-this-as-PC-as-possible and will-this-character-make-us-lots-of-money (not that I entirely blame them...the money's gotta come from somewhere) (also, make your own conclusions about how this might reflect our current education situation) (also--holy cow--almost all the founding fathers of the show died in about a 10-year period between the late 80s and the late 90s...talk about upheaval). And finally, I love Jim Henson (still).

This book has been meticulously researched. You could just skim to the parts that matter to you, but good luck. The chapters don't have titles, and there's so much information, it's hard to separate what's crucial and what isn't. Davis' delivery is enthusiastic, but seems somewhat fair most of the time in talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the show as well as of those involved (the only time I really strayed was on Cooney's somewhat hypocritical attitude towards the feminist complaints early on concerning the lack and limited range of female characters on the show). Also note that Davis is over-the-top at times...in fact, some phrases sound straight out of TV Land they're so corny. There are lots of "little did he know" moments. If you are truly interested in the content and can get over some of the stylistic setbacks, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
This is the first book I am listing as dropped here on GR. While the premise of the book sounds interesting, the book is very slow in terms of its pacing. There is a lot of biography, as expected, but it is not exactly engaging reading. After one too many passages of so-and-so met what's-his-face for dinner/lunch to bounce ideas, I just got tired of the book. ( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
I found this guy's writing to be all over the place, but I stuck with it because the story was still interesting. ( )
  Zaiga | Sep 23, 2019 |
Read this just because I love Sesame Street and found a new hero - Joan Ganz Cooney. So easy to forget how far women have come in the business world in a relatively short time. ( )
  Jean.Walker | Sep 1, 2019 |
More biographies of the people involved than set stories than I would have preferred, but a good and interesting history of Sesame Street, how it came to be, and how many people were involved with making it. The audiobook was good, though it's weird listening to Carol Spinney talk about himself in the third person (and I'm pretty sure that Jim Henson didn't actually sound like Kermit the Frog on a day-to-day basis). ( )
  jen.e.moore | Sep 1, 2018 |
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The story of one of the most important and beloved shows on television-how it got started, nearly failed, and was saved by Elmo When the first episode aired on November 10, 1969, Sesame Streetrevolutionized the way education was presented to children on television. It has since become the longest-running children's show in history, and today reaches 8 million preschoolers on 350 PBS stations and airs in 120 countries. Street Gangis the compelling and often comical story of the creation and history of this media masterpiece and pop culture landmark, told with the cooperation of one of the show's cofounders, Joan Ganz Cooney. Sesame Streetwas born as the result of a discussion at a dinner party at Cooney's home about the poor quality of children's programming and hit the air as a big bang of creative fusion from Jim Henson and company, quickly rocketing to success. Street Gangtraces the evolution of the show from its inspiration in the civil rights movement through its many ups and downs-from Nixon's trying to cut off its funding to the rise of Elmo-via the remarkable personalities who have contributed to it. Davis reveals how Sesame Streethas taught millions of children not only their letters and numbers, but also cooperation and fair play, tolerance and self-respect, conflict resolution, and the importance of listening. This is the unforgettable story of five decades of social and cultural change and the miraculous creative efforts, passion, and commitment of the writers, producers, directors, animators, and puppeteers who created one of the most influential programs in the history of television.

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