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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Jim Henson's Plaque Ceremony by KingRichard76

The following is an excellent article by MuppetsHenson friend, KingRichard76. Hope you all enjoy reading and special thanks to Richard for sharing his experience with us all!

Jim Henson's Plaque Ceremony by KingRichard76

On Friday the 16th of October 2015, I boarded three trains to get me from my hometown of Southend on Sea all the way to Borehamwood and Elstree, this was always going to be a trip that was so much more, it was a pilgrimage to experience a very poignant moment that would be bestowed upon a true visionary and a Dreamer whom changed the World - Jim Henson.


Dressed in my Kermit onesie and tshirt whilst having my Kermit with me, as we pulled into Elstree and Borehamwood train station I whispered to Kermit "You're home." we departed and exited the train station like so many countless television/movie stars must have done years previous, dotted all around the station and right down Borehamwood high street there were tributes of every kind in honour of ALL the legendary stars of stage and screen who at one point or another have all worked at Britains answer to Hollywood #Fact :)


A black clothed structure on a beautiful piece of grassland with nice plants and trees around it signified that I'd found the place I was searching for had a quick peek under the cloth just to make sure and so there at Clarendon Park, just outside a VERY well known fast food restaurant and LITERALLY a stones throw away from the World Famous Elstree Studios stands the home to the plaque of Jim Henson, I'd got there a bit early and waited for the others to arrive, briefly chatted to the wonderful guy who designed the plaque (Mike) :), shortly the reporter from the local newspaper turned up and then a few minutes later we were joined by Louise (Muppeteer Extraordinaire) Gold :), Jocelyn (cocreator of Fraggle Rock) Stevenson, Martin G (Producer) Baker and Barry Wilkinson along with councillors of Elstree and the Mayor of Borehamwood and Elstree, Richard Butler as well as a Camera crew from the local University shooting this prestigious event for indelible posterity.

Louise, Jocelyn, Martin and Barry all stood behind the plaque ready for the cameras to start clicking and rolling whilst a very generous group of councillors , dignitaries and Fans ;) Looked on at this momentous occasion, on the count of three the plaque was unveiled and there was no mistaking the wonderful image of a man who was a Friend to all, a TRUE LEGEND, a visionary a Creator Appreciated, a man whos kindness and creative ingenuity and talent has encompassed the World and created a Universe of so many beloved characters who have become engrained into the very fabric of society, there he was, the lovely unmistakable smile of Jim Henson with undoubtedly his greatest creation and best Friend, Kermit the Frog. The short bio of Jim was beautifully written with a very appropriate green background.

It was truly a very special moment for all involved, including Louise who was visibly moved by this. After the initial unveiling there was a larger photo taken with the councillors and Mayor and of course two very familiar Frogs ;) As the crowd began to dissipate and go back to the town hall I got chatting to Louise, all kinds of things were whirring around in my mind as to what to say to her but they'd all have begun with "Thank you." it was a wonderful honour that she took out the plastic packaging that has been inside my Kermit and started to perfom him, its no lie that Kermit has not been performed since March 26th 2014 when Steve Whitmire performed my Kermit, so to have two Muppeteers performing Kermit was the biggest honour a fan could have, after a few pics were taken (selfies) Louise and I chatted a bit more and she hugged me a hug that was so well appreciated, was so warm and kind and this just goes to show the very awesome lovely people Jim worked with :) I was then invited by Louise back to the conference hall - she just grabbed my arm :) And as we walked back chatting like friends once inside I put down my bag took out some of my collection that I'd brought up and Louise kindly signed "Of Muppets and Men," and a number of other dvds, then Jocelyn started chatting to me, she was saying what Fraggle Rock meant to her an she was lovely enough to sign my Fraggle Rock boxset we spent a great deal of time chatting was a wonderful honour to meet her :) 

After Martin G Baker and Paul Welsh had finished one of their interviews, Martin was kind enough to sign some of the projects he had worked on, then a bit later a silence fell upon the hall and everyone listened to the interview that began with Martin and Paul with a suitably placed red curtain in the background, they both recounted stories of working with Jim and his wonderful family of Muppeteers and the "STARS" that had Guest starred on the Muppet Show, one interesting thing Martin did say (which I totally agree with) was about how Tescos (which used to be where many LEGENDARY soundstages once stood) should be replaced with Soundstages :)

Was after the interview finished that the Camera crew then set their equipment up onto the table where I had placed the pieces I'd brought up, my book, dvds, & in the case of #MuppetsMostWanted my bluray ;) Was asked to take my coat off so that they could get a better shot especially of my outfit, Kermit onesie and tshirt, I was all mic'd up did a quick "Testing 1 2" Cameras started rolling, and "3 2 1!" the clapperboard snapped and Matthew started the interview with me :) I spoke about what the Muppets 
meant to me, having met Frank Oz, Steve Whitmire, and of course Kermit and enjoyed the professional approach and excellent questions that were put to me.

Afterwards I asked if I could have a group shot with all of the crew which was lovely to have happen :) 

The glass of red wine was much needed if anything to raise a toast to a man who created so much and to think it began with his Moms coat and two ping pong balls. 

And so after saying my buhbyes to those still in attendance and thanking them for a wonderful time, I made my way back to Jim's plaque to take a few photos and spend some time alone thanking him (like I had done earlier when I was waiting for everyone to turn up) as a Spiritual person I was SURE I could feel Jim around me, especially at the plaque then kissed the plaque goodbye and walked down Borehamwood High Street almost tracing the same footsteps of legends of yesteryear got onto the first train out of Elstree and Borehamwoodwhilst Kermit waved buh bye.


My Heartfelt thanks go out to Supernova for letting me know about this. Elstree Project/Howard Berry for being so wonderful and informative, Tolkienerd and Marni Hill for appreciating this experience along with me, the camera crew, Martin G. Baker, Jocelyn Stevenson and of course the lovely Louise Gold :) 

And finally Jim Henson and Kermit - thank you Jim & Kermit :) Xoxo 

KingRichard76

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