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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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this Book!

    If you grew up with Sesame Street and enjoyed the Muppet show, you will enjoy this book. A great history lesson too. I enjoyed how it was written as well, it was made easy to stop and pick up.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Muppet Lover Alert!

    Street Gang will not dissappoint...whether you are a casual or avid muppet afficianado. Diverse and relevant details could be found with every flip of the page, exemplifying a major theme of the 'six degrees of separation' (in which one person knows someone who knows someone else...the the 6th degree/person...by which all humankind is totally linked together...). In similar fashion, one could understand with reading this book how each entertainer, educator, and creative consultant were intricately webbed to create an intellectual stronghold that has become a global institution for young and old alike. What better bond occurs when young and old share their 'favorite moments' over a cute, furry monster or sweet melody? It's a book you'll want to read time and again. After five years of incredible dedication and tenacity in preparing this manuscript, Michael Davis should be commended for giving the world this gift.

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    Engrossing Telling of the Synergy That Created Sesame Street

    As I read my copy while on vacation, the reviews came from lots of people I encountered. They asked if they could see my copy and didn't want to return the book. It seems everyone loves Sesame Street and Michael Davis' telling of how the show came to be. The history is a must read right now as we try to figure out how to pick ourselves up from the economic debacle that has been wrought; the story is a "how to" realize a dream.

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