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Get Involved, Internet: Help fund a doc on the early days of Sesame Street

Street Gang (Screenshot: Vimeo)

Since 1969, Sesame Street has been teaching kids about reading, counting, and other basic subjects with a potent combination of lovable Muppets, amiable human actors, and dizzying, often-surreal animation. (Who can forget that freaky pinball machine?) At the time of its debut, Sesame Street was distinctly unlike any children’s show that had ever aired on American television.

Now, a group of filmmakers wants to tell the show’s unique origin story in a documentary called Street Gang, and they’re launching an Indigogo campaign to help complete the project. Executive producer Trevor Crafts explains that the proposed movie, partially based on Michael Davis’ bestselling 2008 book of the same name, will feature exclusive interviews with people who worked on Sesame Street, alongside new animation done in the style of the show and even a complete recreation of the original Sesame Street set from 1969. So far, the iconic front stoop (123 Sesame Street) has already been completed, and it is indeed impressive. But the project is daunting. As director Marilyn Agrelo says, “That’s as big as it sounds.”


Elmo haters of the world need not fear, since this documentary is all about Sesame Street’s earliest years, long before the Red Menace ever made his presence known. Oscar, (Big Bird, Grover, and Cookie Monster are all there, though.) Crafts says that Street Gang will focus on three key behind-the-scenes figures: creator Joan Ganz Cooney, original director John Stone, and Muppet mastermind Jim Henson. As the producer explains: “We’ll show how these three rebels, along with an amazing cast and crew, achieved something truly remarkable.”

To provide potential donors with even more motivation, Crafts says that 15 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Sesame Street Yellow Feather Fund, “which helps the world’s most vulnerable children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.” The month-long campaign has a flexible goal of $175,000. Details of the rewards for backers of the project are available here.

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