The story of the street that changed history
A look at the history of the long-running children's TV show, "Sesame Street."
A look at the history of the long-running children's TV show, "Sesame Street."
SUNDANCE 2021: film #9
“we’re trying to sell the alphabet to preschool children”
i laughed, i cried, i learned, and what more could i possibly want from a documentary about puppets?
It’s hard not to adore a documentary centered around one of the most formative American television programs of the past five decades. From a general viewpoint and from a personal one, I had such a pleasant time returning to one of the first streets I knew by name.
Street Gang is a well-polished, broad documentary centered primarily around the first few decades of the beloved Sesame Street and the visionaries behind its creation. While covering a lot of information I didn’t know, I also found myself feeling left on the outside to the true candidness of the issues it brings up. There’s some considerably serious subject matter touched on but only lightly.
All the same, Street Gang is a lovely watch and would make a great companion to Won’t You Be My Neighbor.
SIFF 2021 Watch #7
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is just a delightful documentary. I grew up with Sesame Street so this was really enjoyable for me. It’s heartwarming and sweet. It was interested by it and that’s really what all documentaries should strive for. It’s just so cute. It was such a great way to start my day! Now it’s not necessarily presented in the most original looking away. It’s the standard documentary style. But I just love it. So enjoyable. So fun. So interesting. Definitely a must watch for any fan of Sesame Street! Overall Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is really great.
SIFF 2021 — #4
A good example of my white privilege is that I went 32 years without realizing the song “It Isn’t Easy Being Green” was about race. It is not like I ever stopped to think about it. And that’s exactly the point. I never thought about it.
I never thought about Sesame Street’s triumph as the first edutainment show competing with commercial programs, one squarely marketed for inner-city youth. How the show was designed around the streets of Harlem. How it utilized this perspective to bring education to everyone, to the broadest audience possible, starting with those often overlooked by television.
Street Gang is a nice entertainment documentary. Once it diverts from these interests, to more obvious…
"I remember thinking 'who the hell's going to watch this shit?'" -Producer,
What a fantastic tale. It's a group of people that said "fuck educational inequality we are going to bring learning to everyone" and then they fucking did it and in some ways it worked. They did research to figure out what was best for children, when they didn't know the answer they used social science to figure it out, when the community had problems they would listen and try to respond in a helpful way. So few groups of people really help to change the world and they did.
This doc does such a good job of…
The amount of love I have for Sesame Street and all of the muppets is beyond words, so I was gonna love this regardless.
The doc is a pretty standard presentation of the early days of Sesame Street, but you can tell how much love and passion is imbued in this project (from the people they interview to the actual production of the doc), and the end result is an immensely caring portrait of one of the most important shows ever made. It also tackles two of the most emotional moments ever broadcasted with extreme care, and even if it was more the content of the doc than the actual way it was presented, I was still crying buckets at points.
Anyone who holds even the faintest kernel of love for Sesame Street should see this!
STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET is a nostalgic trip behind the scenes to many of our childhoods as we see the humble beginnings of Sesame Street up until Jim Henson’s death in 1990 with funny outtakes & insight into the people who made it all possible. Plain but pleasing.
Is it possible to post cringe on Letterboxd? I definitely saw the “Mr. Hooper Died” episode in real time as a young child and it’s probably not overstating things to say it was a monumental gateway to understanding mortality. Anyway, Sesame Street is bedrock for a lot of people like me and should be constantly celebrated. Decent, fun, intelligent, and creative as a way of life.
“No one’s ever seen anything like it.”
Didn’t think I was going to cry at a Sesame Street documentary this morning but here I am.
This documentary, just like Sesame Street, will go down in the history books. There is so much professionalism in the presentation of this film and it just helps this documentary flow even better.
Sesame Street is a huge part of my childhood and just learning about just how big it truly is still baffles me. This is an essential watch I highly recommend.
I will argue to the day that I die that Sesame Street is one of the most poignant children shows to ever be created, and Street Gang definitely reinforced that thought for me. It's truly amazing seeing how many magnificent and driven people were behind such a once in a lifetime show and how great of a reach and impact the show truly had on an entertainment and an educational level. Getting a deeper look into the environment and the people was wonderful and I truly feel privileged to get a better understanding of the process!
That being said, I didn't really get much from this that went underneath the surface. For a documentary that discusses a large amount of…
Undeniably likable but also frustratingly shallow at times. So many stories here that could support their own standalone docs. I'd watch one on Matt Robinson or Joe Raposo. Or just old Muppet commercials. (Also nowhere near enough Cookie Monster. Zero stars.)
They told me how they got to Sesame Street 🥲
Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is directed by Marilyn Agrelo and is her fourth film. The film looks at the history of Sesame Street, from trying to get it onto television to the hardships it faced when it got there. This was a fun subject for a documentary so I thought it was a great idea to see with family which it did turn out to be. It's a very by-the-books documentary that doesn't really touch on a subject longer than a few minutes but it was a lot of fun and there are some nice interviews to come out of it.
What would've made this film so much better is if it went more in-depth into…
Like Big Bird’s head: broad but adorable.
It would be nice to see a miniseries that focuses on single elements, but this is not that kind of picture. This is a victory lap for one of the great experiments in child entertainment, but it is fun to be along for the ride.
SIFF 2021: Equal part laughs and unlaughs(cries). Sesame Street was a huge part of my childhood in the mid '80's so I'm not the most composed right after finishing it. Officially lost it when the little girl spontaneously tells Kermit she loves him.
I know Jim Henson's early joke in the doc was to point out how other children's shows treated their viewers as mass consumers but I can't help but giggle at the idea of this long running children's show possibly being called, "Hey, Stupid!" I know. I'm going to hell.
The crash course fans of every quadrant, casual observers, and uninitiated humans nowhere near versed in the realm of CTW and its Hensonian partnership alike can appreciate together. Any great television show with enough time and passion can evolve into its own living, breathing organism. Time spent building its lore, and the passion of the creative minds responsible. For Sesame Street, the credit could never just be about Jim, the physical/tactile influence. Joan Cooney (the staunch educating beacon), and especially Jon Stone (the iconoclastic, decisive coordinator) brought in their equal share along the way if not slightly more. While some of the old archival footage can’t be allowed to speak for themselves, with much of the anecdotal interviews often overpowering…
Really captures the essence of what Sesame Street meant to those who created and watched it. This documentary will make you laugh, and cry, and fall in love with the power and importance of cinema and television all over again.
Really compelling, thoughtful documentary digging into the process and people who created Sesame Street. There’s so much great archival material here, and the interviews with individuals who are still around are really lovely. The structure is a little messy, and it feels like there are some major omissions, but that’s to be expected when condensing 20 years worth of material into a two-hour film. The behind-the-scenes alone make this essential viewing, and learning about just how progressive and radical Sesame Street really was is eye-opening.
Another great Sesame Street documentary. We liked as much as “I Am Big Bird”.
A paint-by-the-numbers documentary, Street Gang: How We Got Sesame Street seamlessly navigates the fascinating and endearing background of Sesame Street’s creation. Intercutting between archival behind-the-scenes footage and conventional talking-head interviews, Street Gang: How We Got Sesame Street invokes a tender sense of nostalgia. Simultaneously, in its modern-day interviews, the doc also provides an intimate and modern eye of critique towards the whole creative process, especially on how race played a role in Sesame Street’s legacy and the strains and pressures the individuals of Sesame Street felt in its creation. However, the true star of the doc comes from the passion displayed by each individual involved as it utilizes and injects the magic and energy of the legendary television show into the documentary, creating an invigorating and memorable artifact.
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shows how many people it took to make sesame street and that's great. I can't help but get so bummed out about how early we lost Jim Henson. just all that could've been. what a great mind.
An American must-see. I feel very lucky to be raised not only by my loved ones but also Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. More television should be like Sesame Street.
This really should’ve gotten the Last Dance or O.J. Made in America treatment and been four to five times as long. Run of the mill true crime docs and Tiger King get 4 or 5 hours, but we can’t give more than two for one of the most important shows in TV history. Shameful.
Given the runtime, it’s inevitable that Street Gang only scratches the surface. And yet, as a visual learner (maybe thanks to Sesame Street itself), I enjoyed this much more than the book upon which it’s based. I could watch the behind-the-scenes footage for days. (And when I’m done, go binge old episodes from my childhood.) I wish we got more time with the Muppet characters—Grover, Cookie and Snuffleupaguss get shortchanged—but I’m also hopeful that there will be another doc one day. Maybe about Joe Raposo? That will allow me to linger for a couple more hours in these memories.
Vanessa 6,741 films
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