Anyhow, I was a huge fan of The Muppet Show As a kid.
|I loved Pigs In Space|
|MEE MEE MEE MEE MEE!! (image)|
I watched every episode. I thought it was fantastic.
And then, in 1982 something exciting was about to hit the silver screen: "The Dark Crystal". It was such a departure from the usual, snuggy, Sesame Street, Muppet Show world of Jim Henson. It was dark, and serious and even scary in some parts.
|oooo...remember when the Skeksis sucked the VITAL ESSENCE out of the Gelflings??? HORRIFYING...and yet..not unlike what my kids do to me often....|
From Wikipedia, "The Dark Crystal"
"The Dark Crystal is a 1982 British-American fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Although marketed as a family film, it was notably darker than previous material created by them. Characters for which they are famous do not appear, but some of the same performers are used. The animatronics used in the film were considered groundbreaking. The primary concept artist was the fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, famous for his distinctive faerie and dwarf designs. Froud also collaborated with Henson and Oz for their next project, the 1986 film Labyrinth, which was notably more light-hearted than The Dark Crystal"
Still, when I thought of Jim Henson, I thought of "The Muppet Show." and the Muppet movies (does anyone remember Kermit the Frog RIDING A BIKE? I freaked out over that as a kid!), and that lovable Kermit The Frog voice.
"The Muppet Show featured Kermit as host, and a variety of other memorable characters, notably Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great, and Fozzie Bear. Kermit's role on The Muppet Show was often compared by his co-workers to Henson's role in Muppet Productions: a shy, gentle boss with "a whim of steel" who "[ran] things as firmly as it is possible to run an explosion in a mattress factory."
Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, remembered that Henson "would never say he didn't like something. He would just go 'Hmm.' That was famous. And if he liked it, he would say, 'Lovely!' " Henson himself recognized Kermit as an alter-ego, though he thought that Kermit was bolder than his creator; he once said of Kermit, "He can say things I hold back.""
...Henson died on the morning of May 16, 1990 at the age of 53...On May 21, a public memorial service was held in New York City at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Another one was held on July 2 at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. As per Henson's wishes, no one in attendance wore black, and a Dixieland jazz band finished the service by performing "When the Saints Go Marching In". Harry Belafonte sang "Turn the World Around," a song he had debuted on The Muppet Show, as each member of the congregation waved, with a puppeteer's rod, an individual, brightly-colored foam butterfly. Later, Big Bird (performed by Caroll Spinney) walked out onto the stage and sang Kermit the Frog's signature song, "Bein' Green"...
...In the final minutes of the two-and-a-half hour service, six of the core Muppet performers sang, in their characters' voices, a medley of Jim Henson's favorite songs, culminating in a performance of "Just One Person" that began with Richard Hunt singing alone, as Scooter. "As each verse progressed," Henson employee Chris Barry recalled, "each Muppeteer joined in with their own Muppets until the stage was filled with all the Muppet performers and their beloved characters." The funeral was later described by LIFE as "an epic and almost unbearably moving event."
-Wikipedia: "Jim Henson"
Why did we love Jim Henson so much? Why do we still feel so much fondness when we think of his work today, or if we hear "The Rainbow Connection"? Is it because there's something so wonderful about anyone who is able to create so much magic and joy?
Perhaps that's it.