Sesame Street has become one of the most important and enduring television programs in American history, but there was a time, in the mid-1960s, when it was just a concept — and a bold one.
“The goal and plan was to reach children who were understaffed in education due to poverty and racism,” noted: Ellen Scherer Crafts, producer of the HBO documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, during his panel at Deadline’s Contenders Film: Documentary awards season event. “The goal was to raise all the children.”
The film explores the key figures who took the show from concept to reality, including creators Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, and other key contributors such as Jim Henson, whose Muppets entranced the young audience, and composer Joe Raposo, who wrote the title theme. . song, as well as “Bein’ Green” and countless others.
“Some of the best quotes in the movie, I think, come from Joe when he’s sitting at the piano and he’s talking about… what does Sesame Street mean to all of us and what is at the heart of it?” producer Trevor Crafts said. “There are images that we have that have never been seen… You can see the sense of family and love that there is between these people, and we never really got a chance to see that kind of behind the scenes look in this day and age.” by Sesame Street rather profound.”
Jon Stone, the longtime director of Sesame Street and the creative force behind so much of what made the show what it is (including the idea of the set evoking a brownstone-lined street in Harlem), is often overlooked in conversations about sesame street, but in street gang he finally gets his due.
“It was so important to us to make Jon Stone the emotional centerpiece of this piece because this man is the unsung hero of children’s television,” said director. Marilyn Agreloc said. “What he did is almost incalculable.”
Come back Tuesday for the panel video.