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The Creator


moon . . . ,” and it is not surprising to see Itzak Perlman or another famous person cavorting with one of the Muppets. As Gail David, “Sesame Street’s” Director of Corporate Communications, comments, “It’s amazing that anything can be so grounded and yet so effervescent.” The creation of “Sesame Street” in and of itself is a wonderful example of the creative process and the birth of a Creator brand. Joan Ganz Cooney, one of “Sesame Street”’s founders, relates in a soon-to-be published essay that it was during a dinner party conversation in March of 1966 that the idea for “Sesame Street” was first raised. Cooney, then a documentary producer at WNET, a local educational television channel in New York City, was talking with Lloyd Morrisett, then a vice president at the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The two were so excited by the proposition of doing something about the great untapped potential of television as an educator that they met again some days later. Morrisett had long been interested in children’s cognitive development. And as a father of two small children, he had been astonished once to find them watching the test patterns on television, waiting for the cartoons to come on— such was the dearth of engaging, quality programming for kids in those days. Ganz Cooney had been deeply concerned about poverty, civil rights, and the educational deficit that poverty created. The dinner-party conversation had had an electrifying effect on both participants. As Ganz Cooney now reminisces, “I just suddenly saw that I could do little documentaries on Channel 13 for the rest of my life and have no impact on those in need, or I could use television to help children, particularly disadvantaged children, learn. I saw it so clearly, it really was a kind of St. Paul on the highway.” The two joined forces, armed with the conviction that television could be a positive force in children’s lives, assuming that an educational curriculum could be delivered in a fresh and relevant way.1 It was the Sixties, the “Laugh-In” era, and a time of great creative license in terms of what was on the air, including advertising. Ganz Cooney had noticed that children, in particular, seemed to be mesmerized by the quick-cut, whacky formats of television commercials 1. Joan Ganz Cooney, in “The Top Fifty Women in American Radio and Television,” in press.

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype