Caseen Gaines is an author, director, educator, and popular culture historian.
His work has received praise from media outlets around the world including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Hollywood Reporter, and Esquire.
His latest book, Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way, was published in May 2021. His forthcoming book, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: The Ultimate Visual History, will be released this August.
He is the author of We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy, which led to his television appearances on Entertainment Tonight and Netflix's "The Movies That Made Us." His book The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History received a starred review in Booklist.
His first book, Inside Pee-wee's Playhouse, was a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medalist. Its follow up, A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic, was featured on The TV Guide Network, where Gaines also appears on a perennially televised documentary.
Beyond his books, he has been published at Vanity Fair, io9, and New York Magazine — and has written original features for Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club, and Decider. He has also worked as a consultant and ghostwriter on several narrative nonfiction projects.
He holds a Master’s Degree from Rutgers University in American Studies, where he focused on racial representations in popular culture, and, in addition to writing, is co-Artistic Director of a nonprofit theater company he cofounded in 2005 and a high school English teacher in New Jersey, where he has taught for fifteen years.
40 Years Ago, The Critics Hated Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal. They Were Wrong
Children's cinema has rarely been braver or more artful than The Dark Crystal.
A Christmas Story Doesn’t Really Want Kids To Love Guns
The kid wants a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle for Christmas. Here's why this matters.
The 100 Greatest Kids Movies Of All Time According to Movie Critic Dads
From golden oldies to 21st-century instant classics, here’s our deeply curated, and surely controversial, ultimate ranking of 100 movies kids must see before they hit their 10th birthday.
Big Bird Will Never Die, But Kids Should Know Who Caroll Spinney Was
Caroll Spinney once debated with Fred Rogers about breaking an illusion. But maybe kids need to know who this guy was.