Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street
Directed by: Marilyn Agrelo
USA, 2021, 107m
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“Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?” Marilyn Agrelo’s (Mad Hot Ballroom) film Street Gang marvelously explores how creator Joan Ganz Cooney, original series director Jon Stone, and legendary Muppets creator Jim Henson—among other key talents—joined forces to create a children’s television show that would become a groundbreaking cultural phenomenon. Recognizing that kids were utterly captivated by television, these visionaries set out to harness the power of the medium for good by using the entertainment savvy of the TV industry to teach important life skills rather than sell products to children. Designed to resemble a diverse city neighborhood, the show was as universal as it was specific, and it changed the world. Drawing on fantastic and funny behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with beloved cast members and crew, this wonderful film goes beyond the considerable nostalgia appeal of Sesame Street to tap into the enduring emotional resonance of the program’s core message of affirmation and inclusion—and the promise of preparing the next generation to imagine a better world for us all.