400 pages, 8.37 × 5.48 × 0.89 in
October 27, 2009
Penguin Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0143116630
ISBN - 13: 9780143116639
Read from the Book
PrologueJoan Ganz Coney walked toward the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street, lost in a fog of grief. Ahead were the crenelated parapets that crown the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a Gothic Revival Glory on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Black limousines lined the curbside, clogging the street, as NYPD officers waved their arms in a futile effort to get vehicles moving. The sidewalks were overrun by pedestrians, hundreds of them, all moving toward the cathedral steps. Cooney walked alongside mothers with toddlers clutching Ernie dolls, students playing hooky from school, executives in crisp suits, Midtown secretaries in heels, Latinas in scoop-necked tops, and bohemian types sporting jeans, running shoes, and long ponytails. It was May 21, 1990, five days after Jim Henson, her friend and creative partner since 1969, had died from a runaway strep infection gone stubbornly, foolishly untreated. There was no other word to describe his passing other than shocking, and it was played just that way in the papers and on the nightly news. People who didn't know him wept as if a favorite uncle had died, that subversive adult who sat with the adults at Thanksgiving but would have preferred dinner at the kids' table. They came out in force for the public memorial, filling the vast, vaulted sanctuary, even more than the organizers of the event had anticipated. Some five thousand attendees filled the pews, standing in the antechamber and spilling into the aisles. The overflow w
From the Publisher
The New York Times bestselling account of the story behind one of the most influential, durable, and beloved shows in the history of television: Sesame Street, moving to HBO this fall
“Davis tracks down every Sesame anecdote and every Sesame personality in his book . . . Finally, we get to touch Big Bird's feathers.” —The New York Times Book Review
Sesame Street is the longest-running-and arguably most beloved- children's television program ever created. Today, it reaches some six million preschoolers weekly in the United States and countless others in 140 countries around the world.
Street Gang is the compelling, comical, and inspiring story of a media masterpiece and pop-culture landmark. Television reporter and columnist Michael Davis-with the complete participation of Joan Ganz Cooney, one of the show's founders-unveils the idealistic personalities, decades of social and cultural change, stories of compassion and personal sacrifice, and miraculous efforts of writers, producers, directors, and puppeteers that together transformed an empty soundstage into the most recognizable block of real estate in television history.
About the Author
Michael Davis was a Senior Editor and family TV Columnist for TV Guide from 1998-2007. A Neiman fellow, he has also worked for the Baltimore Sun and Chicago Sun-Times.
“Davis spins an evocative, insidery tale out of the wildly creative personalities and political ups and downs of the cozily delivered show.” —Washington Post “Davis tracks down every Sesame anecdote and every Sesame personality in his book. . . . Finally, we get to touch Big Bird’s feathers.” —The New York Times Book Review “Davis writes that when the show débuted, in 1969, the goal of its creators was nothing short of righting ‘the inequities in our society’ through the education of lower-class preschoolers. Such populist choices as an urban setting, a multiracial cast, and a catchy brand of ‘edutainment’ reflected both the mood of the era (it should ‘jump and move fast and feel and sound like 1969,’ a producer said) and painstaking research: a series of seminars held in the summer of 1968 was attended by developmental psychologists, television-industry insiders, and children’s authors and entertainers (Maurice Sendak endured boring sessions by making X-rated doodles; Jim Henson’s sandals and beard sparked fears that he was a Weatherman).” —The New Yorker “It was a pleasure to spend some time back were everything’s A-OK.” —Los Angeles Times “Street Gang is informative, heartbreaking, hilarious, and often eye-opening, even for the most Sesame Street-wise . . . Davis is a sensitive and subtly brilliant writer who conveys the soul of the program that has earned more Emmys than any other in history while managing to stay true to its founders’ idealistic vision: ‘All chil