Backstage at the Birth of Sesame Street

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Wonderful, intimate behind-the-scenes look at the early days of Sesame Street, via Vulture.

Thirty years later, Attie’s son, Eli, began looking at his father’s work anew and showing it around to gallerists and editors. (He’s successful in his own right; he wrote speeches for Al Gore and then moved to TV work, where he won an Emmy writing for The West Wing and now works on Billions.) The Capote and Hansberry photos started to get reprinted here and there, as did a few other portraits of famous people. Eventually, Eli made his way to the Sesame Street boxes in his parents’ house, and what he found there was extensive. There were hundreds and hundreds of images, all from the first season of one of the most important shows in the history of television. (Sure, sure, The Sopranos. But did it teach anybody to read?) There are lots of shots of Jim Henson and Frank Oz in unguarded moments, in both color and black-and-white. It’s version 1.0 of the show we know today, the birth of an institution, and they are exquisite documents of an experiment that succeeded beyond its creators’ imagination.

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