Customer Reviews for

Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Can you tell me how to get behind the scenes of Sesame Street?

Reading this new book from former TV Guide editor Michael Davis is a good first step.

In a breezy and engaging style, Davis takes Sesame Street not only back to its beginnings, but back to the disparate roots of the core creative team who brought it to life. Fr...
Reading this new book from former TV Guide editor Michael Davis is a good first step.

In a breezy and engaging style, Davis takes Sesame Street not only back to its beginnings, but back to the disparate roots of the core creative team who brought it to life. From Joan Ganz Cooney's childhood in Arizona and early experiences working for NYC's Channel 13, to the early genius displayed by Jim Henson on "Sam and Friends," to kiddie classic "Captain Kangaroo" where Jon Stone, Sam Gibbon, and Dave Connell all got their start, Davis spends so much of the book covering how these people *got* to Sesame Street that by the time the show actually begins airing on Nov. 11th, 1969, you're about halfway through the book.

Not that this is a bad thing; for many of this book's readers, "Sesame Street" has simply been a fact of life, and kiddie TV forerunners like "Howdy Doody," "Ding Dong School," and "Captain Kangaroo" are novelties to be dredged up in random clips on YouTube. It's kind of like looking at one of those charts where they show the evolution from apes to humans.

There's plenty of juicy behind-the-scenes stuff, and Davis manages to strike a tone where he's neither writing a fluff piece (though his love of the show is very evident) nor trying to tear down an American pop culture icon. (The truth behind the slow decline and death of actor Northern Calloway, who played David in the '70s and '80s, is finally revealed here, and it's incredibly tragic.) The hurdles required to get the show off the ground, and keep it going in its early years are immense and well-documented. As "Sesame Street" prepares to enter its 40th season on the air, it's hard to imagine that there was a time where they weren't even sure if there'd be a second year.

There's probably more detailed books about the history of "Sesame Street" and the Children's Television (now Sesame) Workshop out there, but "Street Gang" is really accessible, and a quick read. A must-read for anyone who's waxing nostalgic about that part of their childhood. If anything, it'll deepen your appreciation of a show many of us grew up on.

posted by JL_Garner on December 28, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

STREET GANGS

Uh oh does not sound too good( blahhh)

posted by sam14SM on June 24, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    To won't read

    First of all, the book is talking about Sesame Street not street gangs. Second of all, not all minorities are involved with gangs. America was built on imigrants. That is why we're called "The Great American Meltingpot". I'm sorry to spout off like this, but it's comments like that that make my blood boil.
    P.S Linda Bove inspired me to learn ASL.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Well-researched.

    This book provided fascinating information about Sesame Street for the ones of us who still adore the program. There were times when I felt that there were more details than needed. Thus, it periodically seemed to "bog down" a bit. It was worth the purchase and reading of the book to experience the scene of Big Bird's dealing with [or not] the death of Mr. Hooper. As a grief counselor, I will be quoting this to my classes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Telling how we got, how we got, to Sesame Street

    Detailed history of the development of the much loved TV show provides insights not only into its growth but also delightful memories of the characters we grew to love over the years. I found myself humming the theme song every time I picked up the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Street Gang, a definitive history of Sesame Street

    Street Gang by Michael Davis is a great resource for all fans of the Jim Henson work or Sesame Street's great influence on a number of generations. The book chronicles the challenges the CTW team went through along the way and eventually how an iconic program was created. I was expecially interested in how Sesame Street had direct ties to Howdy Doody and Captain Kangaroo. Overall a very interesting read and quite informative.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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