The Way to Sesame Street: The Politics of Children's Television
Walker, Jesse, Reason
IT'S HARD TO fathom just how unusual Sesame Street must have seemed when it debuted 40 years ago this month. The children's TV show didn't just mix entertainment with education: It was a full-blown collaboration between commercial showmen and social engineers. On one hand you had a team of educators, experts in child development, and officials at the Carnegie and Ford foundations trying to create a televised preschool. On the other hand you had veterans of projects ranging from Captain Kangaroo to The Jimmy Dean Show, including a gang of puppeteers best known for making strange and funny ads. The program itself reflected both an antipathy to commercialism and a fascination with commercials, which served not just as a source for its parodies but as a model for its programming.
The show emerged from the same Great Society milieu that had produced the Head Start preschool program. That guaranteed it would be a magnet for controversy. In his 2006 book Sesame Street and the Reform of Children's …
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Publication information: Article title: The Way to Sesame Street: The Politics of Children's Television. Contributors: Walker, Jesse - Author. Magazine title: Reason. Volume: 41. Issue: 6 Publication date: November 2009. Page number: 60+. © 2009 Reason Foundation. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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