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Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame…
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Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Michael Davis

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4292724,588 (3.39)20
Member:micketymoc
Title:Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street
Authors:Michael Davis
Info:Viking Adult (2008), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:nonfiction, history, television

Work details

Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis (2008)

Recently added byprivate library, vrullan, sdmf4bls, Phosfate, momnrod, musicpsych
  1. 52
    Sesame Street Unpaved: Scripts, Stories, Secrets, and Songs by 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
    Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests by Tom Shales (Othemts)
  3. 00
    Jim Henson: The Works - The Art, the Magic, the Imagination by Christopher Finch (punkypower)
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"If Sesame Street is the most successful show on television, it is also the most analyzed, criticized, evaluated, debated, debunked, championed, viewed with alarm, pointed to with pride, interpreted, misinterpreted, and overinterpreted media event since William Randolph Hearst declared war on Spain:---Ron Powers, television critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, 1970 (one year into the life of "Sesame Street").

Conceived in 1965 by television producer Joan Cooney and experimental psychologist Lloyd Morrisett, and born in 1969, "Sesame Street" became an overnight success after four years of gestation.

In Street Gang, Michael Davis takes us through the entire history of "Sesame Street". From research into how children watch television and learn (short segments, "jingles", colors, animation) to the decision to have Sesame Street, itself, an inner city street, to funding, to hiring everybody both in front of and behind the cameras.

Davis includes small biographies on each of the players as they arrive on the scene. The reader gets to know "Gordon and Susan" (Matt Robinson/Roscoe Orman and Loretta Long), Jim Henson and Frank Oz, Joe Raposo and Jon Stone, and countless other professionals and entertainers who strove to make "Sesame Street" the most innovative children's program on television yet.

Street Gang also gives a bit of background on earlier children's programming..."The Howdy Doody Show", "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" and, possibly most importantly, "Captain Kangaroo".

Writers and producers (including Jon Stone) from "Captain Kangaroo" were involved in the development and production of "Sesame Street". The character of Mr. Hooper (portrayed by Will Lee) was created as homage to Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo). Although, reading through Street Gang, one would think it was actually Oscar the Grouch (brought to life by Caroll Spinney) who was meant to mirror Keeshan.

This is probably the most comprehensive book you will ever read about any television show. Yet, far from being a dry tome, author Michael Davis keeps Street Gang flowing (much like "Sesame Street", itself) with quick moving scenes, so the reader is never bogged down in the details that could easily become tiresome, such as the financial and political wranglings in creating and keeping this show on the air. Davis gives us just enough at just the right time to keep the story flowing.

If you have any doubt about whether you should read Street Gang, pick it up, read the prologue...and then enjoy the rest of the book. ( )
  retropelocin | Dec 13, 2013 |
I wanted to like this book. I was excited to pick this up and start reading. Unfortunately, the book very much let me down. Truth be told, I don't think this is the kind of story best told with written word, but rather would better suit a TV documentary. As a person trying to get into the children's television business, I was hoping for a little insight on the creative end of Sesame Street, more so than the business end prior to Sesame Street, which the beginning of the book definitely pushed.

Overall, It wasn't my kind of book. I can't recommend it whole-heartedly, but worth taking a peek at if you're at all interested. ( )
  Kewpie83 | Apr 3, 2013 |
I tried to put my review for this on right after I read it, but I was foiled by poor wifi access. So the short version is that I liked this book because it was thorough in touching all the different things that affected Sesame Street's creation, nostalgic for me when I recognized different skits and scenes, and well-written in that it kept me reading right along. ( )
  sriemann | Apr 1, 2013 |
Street Gang covers a lot more than just Sesame Street - it covers a lot of the history of children's television, setting the stage for why Sesame Street was needed but also groundbreaking. At the same time it gives fairly thorough biographies of the people involved in the series. The first third of the book is a bit hard to get through and I think it could really use a cast of characters listing, just to help keep the huge number of people straight. That being said, I found it compelling reading and did enjoy it quite a bit, especially the latter half. The thing that give me the most pause are the author's disdainful treatment of the entire feminist movement, because what the heck is that about? ( )
  g33kgrrl | Mar 1, 2013 |
I was very excited when I first saw this book and couldn't wait to read it. It is extremely well researched and painstaking in its detail. And maybe that's the trouble for me. I only survived the first five chapters! I didn't even make it one third of the way through! And it seemed to take me absolutely forever just to make it that far. Unfortunately I felt like I was drowning in detail and never actually moving forwards. Because I didn't start out knowing the names of the people involved, the background history of each person was challenging to read, because, with so much detail, it was actually hard to work out sometimes which person I was meant to be concerned about, and which others were the relatives or significant influences.

The history of children's television is fascinating, but I just seemed to be swimming backwards against the tide. So unfortunately I don't appear to be intelligent enough for Street Gang. I had heard many years ago that a Baha'i was responsible for the creation of Sesame Street, and that its purpose was the promulgation of such principles as universal education and unity in diversity. Well, the show certainly promotes those principles, but whether there was ever any specific religious design to that end I never got far enough to find out!

I wanted to plough my way through, but there are just too many books and too little life in which to read them... But I do hope that I will find another opportunity to learn about this wonderful show. ( )
  mandochild | Jan 26, 2012 |
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To Dave, Jeff, Jim, Joe, Jon, and Richard
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Prologue: Joan Ganz Cooney walked toward the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street, lost in a fog of grief.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670019968, Hardcover)

In advance of the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street, comes Street Gang, Michael Davis's compelling--and often comical--story of the creation and history of the media masterpiece and pop culture landmark, told with the cooperation of one of the show's co-founders, Joan Ganz Cooney. Sesame Street was born as a result of a discussion 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 Gang, traces the evolution of the show from its inspiration in the civil rights movement through its many ups and downs--from Nixon trying to cut off its funding to the rise of Elmo--via the remarkable personalities who have contributed to it, and reveals how it has taught millions of children not only their letters and numbers, but 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 writers, producers, directors, animators and puppeteers who have created one of the most influential shows in the history of television.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The story of one of the most important and beloved shows on television, how it got started, nearly failed, and was saved by Elmo. 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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