Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Jim Henson

The Muppets
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

September 24, 2013 marks what would have been the 77th birthday of one of the greatest figures in entertainment, Jim Henson.  Sadly, this master of the Muppets died in 1990, taken way too soon.  But his legacy lives on in his creations.

My first exposure to the Henson foundation was through Sesame Street.  I remember watching the show everyday, enjoying my favorite characters as they taught me more about counting, language, and just being a better person.  To me, no character on the show compared to Cookie Monster.  He was without a doubt my favorite, maybe it's my love of cookies that drew me to him.  As I got older though, I have come to love and appreciate Oscar the Grouch.  More often than not, I feel like I relate to him better than any other character on that famous street.

Big Bird was always a favorite too, and after watching the A&E Biography on the show, I have a whole new respect for the Caroll Spinney, the man behind the bird.  Bert and Ernie (say what you will about them) also got a laugh out of me.  Growing up, I had a Bert and Ernie transistor radio.

The Muppets & Henson
My love of Sesame Street naturally transitioned to the Muppet Show, another Henson creation.  We'd watch each week as a different celebrities "hosted" the show which was a kid friendly version of Saturday Night Live.  Kermit the Frog, who was voiced by Henson, lead the way for a group of unique friends, including a joke cracking bear named Fozzie, an egotistical oinker named Miss Piggy, and a hooked nose who-knows-what-he-is, named Gonzo.  I still have the puppet versions of the Muppets I had growing up.

The show lead to several movies in the 80's and eventually an animated series featuring the Muppets before they were famous.  Another Henson project, Fraggle Rock, was another  show that I watched religiously.

A Frog & His Boy
by Seb Mesnard
I was in high school when Jim Henson died.  We had gotten out early that day in May because of flash flooding.  I remember my mom was watching her soap opera when ABC News broke into programming with a special report.  I watched the screen in shock as the anchor announced the beloved Henson was gone.  I was sad for days following the news.  I'm grateful of the times I had as a kid learning and loving ALL of Henson's Muppet creations.  From Cookie Monster to Gonzo to Wembley, Henson made my world (and the entire world) a better place.

Happy birthday and rest in peace.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful genius & a beautiful soul...
    I did a lil' sketch in honor of his special day.
    Please check it out aquĆ­~