In 1969, Sesame Street debuted with a surprisingly fresh idea: What if television could be a force for good in children’s lives? At the time, there was a good deal of concern around the effect silly, slapstick TV entertainment was having on young minds, and Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett teamed up with Frank Oz and Jim Henson to see if there wasn’t some way to make television for kids educational and entertaining.
The story since then is pretty well-known, as there’s probably not a person reading this who didn’t at least learn some sort of lesson from Big Bird, Grover, Bert and Ernie and the gang. Now, HBO is getting ready to drop an in-depth documentary about the story behind Sesame Street, based on Michael Davis’ hit book of the same name. With tons of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the early architects and a look at the quietly radical ways it revolutionized TV programming, the documentary promises to be as interesting and inspiring as the show whose story it’s telling. It’ll be on HBOMax on December 13.