Saturday, August 13, 2005

Jim Henson

Kermit turns 50 this year. Jim Henson has been dead for over 15 years now.

Jim Henson is a hero of mine. I still watch The Muppet Show on DVD - we have the Time-Life series and are getting the complete season as it comes out. It's held up remarkably well - it's like the American Monty Python. I think that watching The Muppet Show and Sesame Street is one of the reasons I've gotten what sense of humor I had. The shows were so good at working on two levels - the kid's humor and the adult's humor as well. Unlike almost all the kids shows out there now, parents could watch along with the kids and not be a.)bored b.)lost or c.)offended.

And of course, there's the ultimate - Sesame Street. Along with Joan Ganz Cooney, Jim made a show that helped kids learn and have fun. It's been on for 35 years now and still teaches. There are only a few people who have done so much for kids. And again, there are little moments that can make the adults laugh too.

Perhaps most of all, you watch the Muppet Show and some of Sesame Street and they make it look so natural. You would swear much of the show is ad-libbed. (Some was - the Swedish Chef was Jim managing the head and Frank Oz doing the hands, and Frank would do stuff to try and make Jim react - juggle, clap, throw a Muppet..) They are so good at what they did that in the early days, when Jim's main Muppet was Rowlf the dog, the cue-card guy would hold the cards where ROWLF could see them, not Jim. A level of humor and excellence was reached by Jim Henson and the rest of the Muppeters that has been sadly lacking since.

Here's to you, Jim Henson. You are missed.

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