Cammy: I’ll admit that it was only in recent years that I figured out who Joan Ganz Cooney was. Once I knew, well, there’s no way I wouldn’t buy her multiple cups of coffee. This woman was one of the founders of the Children’s Television Workshop and Sesame Street (apparently it was she who said that if they couldn’t get Jim Henson, they wouldn’t bother with puppets for Sesame Street). And how could one not want to have a cup of coffee with someone so instrumental in helping so many of us to learn our letters, numbers, and basic concepts like near and far? Not to mention giving so many of us a weird cross-generational unity over strange little jingles and the sight of an absurdly large and slightly neurotic canary? Mostly, I want to have coffee with her as a thank you, but I can’t deny I want to pick her brain about what decisions they made in those early years about the Sesame Street curriculum–what did they opt to omit? And how does she feel about other CTW shows like 3-2-1 Contact which weren’t gifted with Sesame Street’s long run–is CTW ever going to resurrect them? And what was missing that kept them from lasting as long?
And most important of all: Which character on Sesame Street is her favorite?
Kristy: Um… sure. I had no clue who she was till just now. But like Cammy, and probably many of our readers, I owe her many pleasurable hours from my childhood, and Sesame Street definitely helped me learn all sorts of random things. I don’t share Cammy’s love of children’s literature, and while we’ve never talked about it, I expect she also has more interest in children’s television programming than I do. But while I’m not nearly as interested in the subject, I will say that even as an adult I find Sesame Street less patronizing and annoying than a lot of children’s television shows. (All I remember about 3-2-1 Contact is the theme song which is now stuck in my head. Thanks, Cammy.) So yeah… I’m interested to hear what the woman has to say even if there’s nothing I’m dying to ask her. And I feel the least I owe her is a cuppa joe.