John M. Culkin

John M. Culkin, 65, critic who analyzed the effects of television and film on society and advised the creators of “Sesame Street,” died July 23 in New York of cancer.

Culkin, a Jesuit priest who taught at Fordham U., theorized that the electronic media began to exert a strong influence on young people in the 1960s, leading to a cultural gap between them and older generations.

He advocated using modern communications to enhance education and advised the creators of the popular children’s television show “Sesame Street.”

Culkin left the priesthood and Fordham in 1969, then founded the Center for Understanding Media in New York City, which conducts research and sponsors projects in education, communications and the arts.

While at Fordham, Culkin recruited Marshall McLuhan to join the faculty for a year, helping to expose the Canadian scholar’s ideas to the American public.

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