and Nostalgia really is king nowadays. But for all the calls that specific franchises have “ruined their childhood,” some shows and movies remain unsullied even after all these years. One of those, for many people, is
Director Marilyn Agrelo took Michael Davis’ nonfiction book of the same name, with its hundreds of pages of history, and tried to pare it down to a single feature. As a result, it flies through a lot of information. At the center, Agrelo attempted to focus on three people: the show’s creator, Joan Ganz Cooney; the original series director Jon Stone; and the mastermind creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson. It was really down to the creativity and the determination of these three that we the show became what it was.
We learn about the early roots of the series, the creation of the Children’s Television Workshop, and the specific intention to appeal to children of the inner city. That’s the reason the show takes place on a street to begin with; they wanted to reflect the real world outside the windows of kids in New York apartment buildings. Cooney’s initial idea, a real genius idea, was to use the concepts of commercials to “sell” the idea of learning to kids. And that’s where Henson’s Muppet’s came in. The Muppet crew made high concept local commercials; it was
Additionally, we meet some of the other pivotal players and stories from over the years. The film discusses Matt Robinson, the original actor to play Gordon, who left because he wanted to further the depiction of realistic Black characters but Black parents complained. It delves into the music of the great songwriter Joe Raposo who composed such hits as “Bein’ Green” and “Rubber Duckie”. We also hear about the decision to work in the death of actor Will Lee (Mr. Hooper) into the narrative of the series.
While nothing here is very deep, it all adds up to a lovely reflection on the early years of
If anyone comes out as the true protagonist of
I really liked
4 out of 5