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Your Thoughts: Street Gang – The Complete History of Sesame Street

Discussion in 'Sesame Merchandise' started by Phillip, Dec 20, 2008.

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  1. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    A little late, but here are my thoughts:

    Like most have said, there's a lot of stuff to trudge through that gets tedious and has nothing to do with Sesame Street directly. Joan Cooney has a lush family history, but it just doesn't belong here. There's a long big and exciting build up to the show actually starting, and then like most have said; it rushes through the actual show very very fast.

    It's a lot more about the complete history of children's television more than anything else, but it's very enthralling. I didn't know anything about Kukla, Fran and Ollie or Captain Kangaroo outside of passing quotes from interviews with Jim or Frank, but it was a fascinating glimpse of those worlds non the less.

    What I loved most about the book was it's bold approach of subjects usually considered taboo. Mr. Davis and those quoted have no problem exposing the ugly side of people or expressing very frank opinions on many Muppet-related subjects I've always wondered about.

    The intro alone was worth the $30, and anyone who's interested learning stuff about Jim alone that I personally only heard rumors about should definitely pick this up. Yeah, there are couple moments that are hard to get through, but overall it is a fascinating read.
  2. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    I agree with this a lot. There's a brief mention that because Jim and Frank were so preoccupied with things like TMS, SS relied heavily on Richard and Jerry, but Jerry barely got any face time in the book.
  3. Kimp the Shrimp

    Kimp the Shrimp Active Member

    i just listened to Carol Spinney read the book.......not bad


    I Agree that it was mainly The Pre SS History and the 1970's. As a child of the 80's i was disappointed that it was skimmed over and the last 20 years here after thoughts.......


    But not a bad book
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Is there supposed to be a revised edition for the paperback book? I remember hearing that a while back, and I just wanna see if its still a go... and when it's going to be released.
  5. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    I really loved this book, and thought that it really showed what SS had to go through to get on the air. To think that just because of one man asking a simple question that something that has touched so many people in so many ways would get created. You could tell that Davies was an Ernie and Bert fan the way he kept metiointg them throughout the book, but it did shock me that he did not mention how Steve Whitmere took over doing Kermit and Ernie.

    I don't know about anyone else but after reading Carol's book I wanted to know about this Jon Stone person, and see if he really was like Carol said. After reading Street Gang I can say that Jon is my new hero. He really seemed like someone i would have had a great time working with. I would love to read his memore that never got published, i think it would really shed light on things and be a great read for film historieans and makers.
    I would also love to see this book made into a movie, and think that the way everything played out in the book could very well be a movie. What do you all think?
  6. zns

    zns Active Member

    I couldn't agree more. This book is definately a fine read for Sesame Street fans, Henson enthusiasts (which is what I consider myself), and television historians. Knowing that Sesame Street has managed to pull through a great deal into the 21st century, despite the amount of competition in the cable and satelite universe, is one of the greatest joys in the media world. I hope someday if I ever have children of my own, they can grow up with Big Bird and Elmo the way I did since the day I was born. God bless those at Sesame Workshop.
  7. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    You know what it really has been wonderful watching my kids falling in love with Sesame Street, the Classic Muppets and the Fraggles. To see there eyes light up when Elmo or Grover comes on the T.V is just a touching moment Now that I have my new baby I will be able to get her watching Sesame Street, and then grow with her again. I can't wait.
    I kind of thought that the book was a bit critical of Jim Henson, and the way he did some things, and some of the shows/movies he did. Now I have been a huge Henson fan and have seen a whole lot of his work from his early years to latter on in his life to the end, and I can say the only prodject i had any problem with was Labyrinth. It just didn't seem to sit well with me. Other then that I think most of Henson's work has a whole lot of heart. but that is just how I feel.
  8. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Well a few reports seemed to indicate that the new paperback edition (just released) would be a revised edition including an additional chapter on the various Gordons - but after a skim through in the bookstore it looks like the only difference between the paperback and the original (besides being in paperback) is the cover.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Even if they didn't add those things in, I was waiting for the papperbok to come out anyway... much cheaper that way.

    (and yes, I spelt it wrong on purpose as a reference to a Monty Python paperback edition of another book)

    EDIT: upon doing some searching, the chapter appears to be Web Only and even has that caption at the top pf the page.
  10. MJTaylor

    MJTaylor Member

    Having never read this book I am not really in a position to comment on it, but I would like to think this and the Louise Gikow book would complement each other. Her book mentions most of the things that minor muppetz claimed the Michael Davis book ommited, but Street Gang seems to have as many things that Sesame Street A Celebration left out.
  11. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Sure there is going to things left out. If you put everything that happend in the past 40 years it would take almost 40 years to tell it.
  12. StreetScenes

    StreetScenes Member

    funny how that works, isn't it? two people independently come up with the same idea for a book, and out come two TOTALLY different books. it seems like much of the criticism of street gang from fans is more just how everyone else would have written a history of sesame street differently.

    am i the only one that's utterly fascinated with the "pre-history" of the show? michael davis puts it in context, explains the show's existence, which is WAY more interesting (and more important for understanding the show) than just recounting all the mundane details of forty years of writing and filming. and having since read a number of similar institutional histories, i appreciate street gang even more. it tells a great story without losing the narrative from trying to incorporate so many people, and without losing sight of the important things by getting bogged down in recounting a play-by-play of: and then they filmed this segment, and then they filmed that segment...:sleep:
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I saw the new paperback version of this book, and I gotta tell you, it has a much much more interesting cover. I gotta pick it up sometime.
  14. zns

    zns Active Member

    I'm happy with my hardback/first edition of the book myself. I also got te audio CD set in the mail, and let me tell you, it is fantastic to hear Caroll Spinney tell us the story of the show that made history in the world of television/ :wisdom::grouchy:
  15. chudman1000

    chudman1000 Member

    It's actually kind of funny. I saw the new soft paperback version at my local McNally Robinson today for $20, but then the hardcover version seemed to be in the bargain books for $9.99 so I immediately picked it up! So far I've just read through the prologue and I've already found it quite interesting.
  16. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    It seems like Sesame Street Unpaved, Street Gang, and the 40th anniversary book all compliment each other. Sesame Street Unpaved has a lot more focus on characters and individual moments, Street Gang has a lot more focus on the pre-history and people who worked on the show, and the 40th anniversary book (which I still don't have a copy of... I hope I get it tomorrow) seems to focus most of it's pages on the actual people who worked on the show, with pages on almost every important person who worked on the show (with the exception of Michael Earl), but while it looks like it does have more Muppet character presence than Street Gang, it only has a few sections devoted to characters.

    There could probably be an entire book the lenght of this or one of the others that focuses on just characters, giving everybody one or two pages each.

    I wonder if a Muppets book like this would be good. I can't imagine that having as much "pre-history" focus (as most of it would be on Jim Henson, who created the Muppets himself... A lot of people were invovled in the creation of Sesame Street).
  17. Fool of Ideas

    Fool of Ideas New Member

    How does it compare with ' "Sesame Street" and the Reform of Children's Television ' by Robert W Morrow? i was looking at buying a few books & wasn't sure if one was better than the other but after going through a few reviews in this forum I'm definatley getting a copy of 'Street Gang' regardless. But is still wort picking up a copy of the other or is it another retelling of the same story? or is it told from another view?
  18. dmoss

    dmoss Member

    BIG Sale on this book! Looks like Amazon.com has it listed as a Bargain Book, for only $3.86! I went ahead and picked it up today, as I didn't have a copy. I'd scoop it up as soon as you can if you want one. It's been falling in price all week long, but I don't think it can get much lower!
  19. dmoss

    dmoss Member

    This is outrageous! I don't know how much longer this will last, but the book is On-Sale now for only $3.32! I'm gonna grab me another copy to give as a gift! It's the hardcover edition, too; not even paperback! :super:

    Clicky!
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    It's amazing...

    So, I had gotten the hardback edition as a Christmas present when it first came out, but like the general public, to me, I found it to be a bit of dry reading, and dare I say, I actually couldn't finish the book. :eek:

    Howver, earlier in the year, a buddy of mine who works at a library sent me a copy of the audiobook version read by Caroll Spinney, and somehow, that just made the world of difference; I agree, the book itself seems to skip through any actual content regarding SST and such, but there's still some interesting anecdotes about it's conception and such, and the bonus interview with Caroll with the audiobook was a great hour of listening, because there's actually some rarely heard stories and anecdotes from him in this particular interview, like such as Yogi Berra spitting tobacco at Big Bird as he walked across the stadium, and thinking, "Gee Yogi, I really liked you... till now", and how even after all these years, Tom Bergeron recognized him out of the clear blue from when he did Big Bird on the 2000s version of Hollywood Squares and such.

    My final recommendation is this: if you can't get through the actual book, then at least try to get the audio version, it makes a world of difference.


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