If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that I post this every year, but today is the birthday of Jim Henson.
I don’t really believe in heros. In fact, I get sort of a sick kick when celebrities that people look up to do not so good things, and I see it as a warning about the dangers of hero worship. But it’s hard not to be inspired by Jim Henson.
I sort of discovered Jim Henson in 2010. I mean ‘sort of’ because much like his characters he had always been there. I had seen his films, both Muppet and not, I watched Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock, I had seen Muppets in 3D but was too scared to put on the 3D glasses. And all this time I knew Jim Henson was behind all this but it wasn’t until I came across the documentary The World of Jim Henson that I fully realised who this person was. He was an innovator, an artist, an auteur, a comedian and, most important to me at the time, a positive person. The Muppets are all about can-do just in the way Jim was. They put on a show every week despite heckling old men, wild animals running around and backstage explosions. But they do it because the keep love it; a message that sticks with me and was thrilled to see ingrained in The Muppets (2011).
My favorite Jim Henson story involves Jim telling Frank Oz (Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear) that he wants to do a show that will change the world. And that show was Fraggle Rock. It wasn’t ‘Let’s try to get theses messages of tolerance and love across’ it was literally ‘Let’s change the world.’ For me, if there’s someone to look up to it’s certainly someone who wants to change the world with singing frogs and bears who tell jokes.
It’s also Steve Whitmire’s birthday, the man to take over Kermit the Frog after Jim’s death. If that fact doesn’t fill you with happiness and wonder then I quit.
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