Jim Henson's 75th birthday


Sr Member

Of course today would have been Jim's 75th birthday. He's one of the only people I never met, who I miss as dearly as I would someone I had known my whole life.

Happy Birthday man! Thanks for Kermit and all the rest.
I agree with you, Apollo. He left a wonderful legacy with interesting characters. His son, Brian, has continued to have the Creature Shop and the company going into interesting territories. I'm sure there is at least one Jim Henson project or character everyone one of us have grown up with or have loved.

In honor of him, I've decided to post the link to this song. And I'm sure its true: someday, we'll find it.
Happy Birthday, Jim!

That's so weird, because I put on the Dark Crystal last night for no particular reason.
I'm currently watching The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which his Creature Shop was involved with. I plan on watching Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars after that, as his production company, son and the Creature Shop was involved with it. I don't have any of the muppet movies or other movies from my childhood that involved him and his company's involvement.
Remembering my dad, Jim Henson
9/23/2011 03:52:00 PM
We’re thrilled to share this guest post by Brian Henson about his father—puppeteer, director and producer Jim Henson, best known as the creator of the Muppets. For the next 36 hours, we’re honoring Jim’s birthday on our homepage with a special doodle created in tandem with The Jim Henson Company. -Ed.

When we were kids, my brother and sisters and I were always allowed to stay up late to watch our father’s appearances on The Tonight Show or The Ed Sullivan Show. No matter how late it was or how young we were, my mother would wake us up and trundle us down to the living room television. We’d be giddy—like Christmas. When he came home, he’d head down to the garage where he had a workshop, and repair everything that we broke while he was away—or build a dollhouse for one of my sisters. Jim never stopped making things.

He also loved games—card games, board games, all kinds of games. He was one of those rare parents who was always ready to play again. He loved dogs, particularly goofy ones. And he lived for those moments when everyone laughed so hard they couldn’t talk. I often walked onto the Muppet set to find everyone just laughing hysterically.

Although he loved family, his work was almost never about “traditional” families. The Muppets were a family—a very diverse one. One of his life philosophies was that we should love people not for their similarities, but for their differences.

Jim often had a little lesson about the important things in life: How to be a good person. How to believe in yourself and follow your dreams. And above all, how to forgive. If anything was stolen from one of us—like when the car was broken into—he would always say, “Oh well, they probably needed that stuff more than we did.”

He loved gadgets and technology. Following his lead, The Jim Henson Company continues to develop cutting-edge technology for animatronics and digital animation, like this cool Google doodle celebrating Jim’s 75th birthday. But I think even he would have found it hilarious the way today some people feel that when they’ve got their smartphone, they no longer need their brain.

Jim was clearly a great visionary. But he also wanted everyone around him fully committed creatively. If you asked him how a movie would turn out, he’d say, “It’ll be what this group can make, and if you changed any one of them, it would be a different movie.” Every day for him was joyously filled with the surprises of other people’s ideas. I often think that if we all lived like that, not only would life be more interesting, we’d all be a lot happier.
I was fortunate enough to have worked as one of the "extra" puppeteers in the closing sequence of the Original Muppet Movie. Jim Henson was truly an exceptional person. He was under a lot of pressure when he was making his first full length muppet movie, since it was not known how it would be received by the critics or the public. However, he remained calm throughout the day, and was very warm and friendly to all of us. He directed the entire shot, and taught the puppeters in the "pit" below the floor of the stage how to move the muppets. He had created a realistic way of talking and singing. I don't remember how many times we heard "Rainbow Connection" being played that day as we learned to have our puppets lip synch to it. After the dinner break, we were going to shoot the full sequence with Gonzo sailing overhead holding on to the balloons and knocking down the sets, etc. Well, a group of extras were sitting around and talking, and he came visiting with us as well. I was very naive and I asked him for his autograph and Kermit's. Then we had a brief conversation about how he and Kermit were never seen together so he couldn't give me both signatures on the same paper. However, he did sign both names, and handed it back to me. More than 30 years later, I still have it!

I was so sad to learn of his untimely death. He left us much too soon.

At the D23 Expo this year at the Anaheim Convention Center he was awarded the status of a Disney legend.

Here is the acceptance speech of his son Brian:

Brian Henson accepts Disney Legends award for his father Jim Henson at the 2011 D23 Expo - YouTube

And this is the recreation on stage of one of his famous puppet routines performed by Brian Henson:

Live Muppet puppeteering featuring Brian Henson at the 2011 D23 Expo - YouTube
I was 11 when Jim passed away...I've looked up to him and been amazed by his genius my whole life. I can't wait to see what his vision bring us next......
I know that he left us long before he should have. But there's a quote that I think fits with his passing, which is true from the moment he passed to now.

"When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there." - Jim Henson

And I think he has in a way, especially with the crazy family that we know as the Muppets. I think Brian Henson has done a great job at keeping his father's creations alive and well, as well as pushing boundaries with the Creature Shop and the productions that come from the Jim Henson company.
Wow what a guy!! Happy birthday Jim.

He was the best puppeteer ever to me.I have so many fond memories of growing up with his shows and movies.I will have to pop Dark Crystal in for a watch now.

I posted this picture of my son on Facebook as a tribute today. Glad to find this thread. My boys love the Muppets.

It is a bit odd that my son picked up Kermit and started playing with it today. Normally he is embarrassed to make him talk or when I do it. They love the shows and movies but HATE me playing with the muppet puppets we have, and they never seem to want to do it themselves. Maybe there was some Henson magic at work today. :)
Ever see the video of his memorial service? It keeps getting removed from youtube, but if you can find it I heartily recommend it. A fitting tribute that is both funny and poignant; where else would a seven-foot tall yellow bird singing a song made famous by a frog be one of the most moving thins you'll ever see?

So to quote Big Bird: "Thank you, Kermit"
This thread is more than 12 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. This thread hasn't been active in some time. A new post in this thread might not contribute constructively to this discussion after so long.
If you wish to reply despite these issues, check the box below before replying.
Be aware that malicious compliance may result in more severe penalties.