My tribute to Jim HensonIf you haven't read in my posts by now, I will catch you up by saying I have been a loyal Muppets fan since I was a little girl sitting in front of the t.v. set watching Sesame Street. In my younger teens, I remember watching the Muppet Show! I love all the movies. I still watch for Kermit, Miss Piggy, Cookie Monster, and all my favorite Muppet characters in t.v. specials and commercials, in Thanksgiving parades; and the minute I heard that The Green and Red Christmas CD was out, I knew I wanted it as soon as I could possibly get my hands on one! It is one of my favorites! I still even have a few of the albums I listened to when I was just a kid! Does anybody remember listening to these too?
Today I wanted to post about Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, and one of the most well known puppeteers there ever was, loved and appreciated for his imagination and the magic he created artistically!
James Maury Henson was born on September 24, 1936, in a small town in Mississippi. His parents, an older brother, and he moved to the suburbs of Washington D.C. somewhere around 1946. He first began creating and performing with puppets during his high school years, for a t.v. station, WTOP.
He went on to college, where he first majored in studio arts, but then he went on to take craft and textile courses. He began working for a small t.v. show on WRC-TV. It is here where Henson's most well-known and beloved character, Kermit The Frog, and the name "Muppets" were born!
Jim graduated with a BS degree in Home Economics in 1960! It is while he was in college when he met Jane Nebel, who would assist Jim in his work, and later become his wife, in 1959. Between the years 1960 through 1970, they had 5 children, 2 boys and 3 girls. During much of this time, Jim made films, and worked in the making of t.v. commercials advertising coffee and milk products.. But all the while, he never forgot his dream. He felt his Muppets could entertain a much wider audience than just children. He felt he could entertain an audience of ALL ages!
In 1969, Jim was asked to join the team at the Children's Television Workshop, to work on the public tv show Sesame Street. The show, as everyone knows, is still a success today, and the rest is history! Jim and his co-worker/good friend Frank Oz, with a team of others, went on to make The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, movies, t.v. specials, musical productions, the cartoon the Muppet Babies, etc., etc... The list goes on and on!
Jim is highly credited with his work in the mechanics and techniques of puppetry and special effects. He went on to be an Oscar nominated film director, an Emmy award winning t.v. producer, and the founder of the Jim Henson Company, The Jim Henson Foundation, and Jim Henson's Creature Shop. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
It was in 1990, while working on a new film, when Jim began experiencing flu-like symptoms. Just about a week later, around May 13th, Jim went to a doctor who prescribed him NOTHING but aspirin, and sent him on his way. Back to New York, still not feeling well, he canceled a recording session he was to attend on May 14th. By 2 a.m. May 15th, Jim was having trouble breathing, and was coughing up blood. He finally decided to go to a doctor 2 hours later! He was admitted into the hospital at 4:58 a.m., but despite quick and aggressive treatment, Jim passed away just over 20 hours since he was admitted.. On May 16th, at 1:21 a.m. Jim died from organ failure due to infection, at the age of 53. Happening so fast as it did, the news was shocking and devastating to family, friends, and fans! Following Jim's wishes, no one was to wear black during the funeral services held, and a Dixieland Jazz band played a final number, "When The Saints Go Marching In".
Jim Henson's memory and impact live on, and will continue to, I'm sure, for generation to generation to generation! Jim Henson once said, "My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here." Well, no doubt.. He's done that! Here's a video that was made in remembrance of Jim. This was one of his favorite songs.
Update: Rumor has it that there MIGHT be a Muppet Halloween special in the making for 2010! I HOPE SO!!