Street Gang: The Complete History Of Sesame Street

by Michael Davis

Penguin Publishing Group | October 27, 2009 | Trade Paperback

Street Gang: The Complete History Of Sesame Street is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.
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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 400 pages, 8.37 × 5.48 × 0.89 in

Published: October 27, 2009

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143116630

ISBN - 13: 9780143116639

Found in: Entertainment
Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A wonderful tribute! How can you resist a book with Oscar the Grouch on the cover? My children loved Sesame Street and on occasion, in a pinch – don’t cringe at the thought – it was indeed an electronic babysitter. Having been fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom while my children were preschoolers I like to think I had a big impact on their early education, however, I must give Sesame Street its due in helping them start kindergarten knowing more than the basics. Mr. Davis does a superb job of giving us the history not only behind the creation of Sesame Street but also of the iconic shows (Howdy Doody, Captain Kangaroo) that were to precursors to this longest running children’s show on television. The little pieces of history and trivia about the actors were priceless tidbits. Starting out as dinner table conversation the concept of educational children’s programming fell firmly into the hands of Joan Ganz Cooney. She did the research and initiated the funding. The first two thirds of the book deals with these topics, so for die-hard Sesame Street fans it may seem a little tedious, but keep reading, the importance becomes apparent. Mr. Davis clearly explains how this show was ground breaking on so many levels – it incorporated multiculturalism, dealt with age and gender issues, it did not shy aware from real life issues such as birth, death, marriage, love and loss, pain and pleasure. Of course the chapters dealing directly with the creative side of the program were not only interesting but fun. The history of puppetteering and the meeting of minds between Jim Henson and Frank Oz are fascinating. Interestingly enough Mr. Davis does not gloss over the less attractive aspects of the show and its production including, the progression of the show to its current form, the behind the scenes tensions, actors coming and going and being human, and the sale to Disney Corporation. The book draws to a close with a beautiful recollection and tribute to Mr. Henson’s memorial service. Having read some other reviews of the book, readers are saying there were many things left out. I say how can you possibly include everything? In my opinion this a wonderful tribute to a piece of programming history and all the people involved in making it happen. I listened to the audio version narrated brilliantly by Caroll Spinney (the long time voices of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch).
Date published: 2010-04-08

– More About This Product –

Street Gang: The Complete History Of Sesame Street

Street Gang: The Complete History Of Sesame Street

by Michael Davis

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 400 pages, 8.37 × 5.48 × 0.89 in

Published: October 27, 2009

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

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
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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.

Editorial Reviews

“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
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Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18