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Saturday, October 12, 2013

msnbc: Jim Henson: The Man Behind the Muppet

by Abby Borowitz

When you hear the name Jim Henson, you think of Kermit the frog, the Muppet who piqued our imagination.

Henson was a gentle, soft-spoken man who created Sesame Street and the Muppets and allowed us to enter this alternate universe and learn valuable lessons from puppets. “Jim was so pivotal to Sesame Street when they were developing it that one of the their co-creators said ‘If you cannot get him, you cannot do puppets on Sesame Street,’” Brian Jay Jones author of Jim Henson: The Biography said on Friday’s show. Jim “was almost pathologically conflict-averse, which I think is one of the reasons why people love him and why you do think he’s genuinely warm.”

Every character that Henson developed was a piece of him in some way. Kermit, who was developed in 1955 was “made out of his mother’s coat with ping-pong balls for eyes,” Jones said. “Over the course of the ’60s, as Jim put it, ‘We eventually frogafied him’.”

There is even a piece of Henson history at 30 Rock. On the 6th floor are pipes that Henson decorated when he was in the building. working for Jack Parr. “Frank Oz refers to that as the epitome of affectionate anarchy,” Jones said. “That was very Jim, only he would open a closet like that and say, ‘Let’s paint that and let’s make something fun out of that.’”


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