Sep 23, 2011

Jim Henson's Birthday

Tomorrow, I learned from Google, is the 75th birthday of the great Jim Henson.

Of course, I've written before about how inspiring Jim Henson has been to me. It's amazing to think that he'd only be 75 tomorrow. The last twenty years could've really been something for the Muppets. Maybe, however, it was his time. Maybe he left at the top of his game. I don't know. That's a bit too metaphysical for me.

Henson is such an inspiration because of his wild creativity. He never stood still, he never stopped imagining new creatures, new sketches, new characters. He continued to grow in his craft (go check out The Dark Crystal to see how advanced his puppetry had become by the end of his career). He also continued to explore other crafts--surrealism, animation, painting. Puppetry was only part of the big world of art, and the Muppets were only a part of the big world of puppetry.

I saw a video recently (I think through Drawn!, the illustration blog) about the collaboration between Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It doesn't have any narration, only interviews with Jim, Frank, and others, and clips from the various projects they worked on together. Though Frank seems to always try to give Jim sole credit for everything, the two really were one of those incredible corroborations that will be remembered for a long time to come, on the order of Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, or Gilbert and Sullivan. Kermit wouldn't be complete without Miss Piggy. Ernie wouldn't be complete without Bert, and the Swedish Chef wouldn't be complete without...uh...hands. Here it is, in memory of Jim Henson, whose Muppets continue to entertain us on the silver screen, on YouTube, at Walt Disney World, and in innumerable other places.

Happy Birthday, Jim!

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