Take a look behind-the-scenes in the creation of one of the longest-running children's television series in Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street. The brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, co-founders of the Children's Television Workshop, Sesame Street was created in 1968 as counter-programming for children's television shows that at the time were focused solely on marketing products to children. Primarily written and directed by Jon Stone, with the creative influence of Jim Henson, Sesame Street has gone on to be a cultural milestone for generations of children.
Directed by Marilyn Agrelo, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is a documentary that takes us behind the scenes and shows us the people that helped to make Sesame Street one of the longest-running children's television series. Particular focus is given to the show's original showrunner Jon Stone, who passed away in 1997, who was responsible for every aspect of what the show became. The other core creative influence on Sesame Street was Jim Henson, who at the time of the show's creation was primarily featuring his Muppets on late-night television, with Sesame Street being the now-iconic puppeteer's first project aimed primarily at children.
As someone who grew up watching Sesame Street in the 1980s, there is a certain nostalgia watching Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street and listening to interviews from long-running cast members Roscoe Orman (Gordon), Sonia Manzano (Maria), Emilio Delgado (Louis), and Bob McGrath (Bob), as well as, the original Big Bird and Oscar himself, Caroll Spinney, in what was likely one of the final interviews before his 2019 death. However, if there's a criticism I have to give Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, it's that there's no mention of Kevin Clash and his character of Elmo, probably due to Clash leaving the show in controversy in 2012, and there is little talk of how Sesame Street changed after Jim Hensen's death in 1990. That all said, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is still a very nostalgic look at the iconic show.
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is streaming as part of the 2021 Hot Docs Film Festival, with a Big Ideas live-streamed Q&A on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 7:00 PM
- Hot Docs 2014: I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story
- Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
- Hot Docs 2018: Won't You Be My Neighbor
- The Muppets
- Muppets Most Wanted