Muppet Headlines: The next Muppet movie, Muppets Most Wanted, is set to premiere for Spring 2014. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell star in lead roles. James Bobin, who previously directed The Muppets, serves as co-writer and director of the film. The first official teaser trailer was released on August 6, 2013, with more trailers debuting internationally on November 20. (watch the official trailer below). The Muppets also starred in a holiday special with Lady Gaga, which aired Thanksgiving Day, November 28.
The Word on the Street: Season 44 of Sesame Street is currently airing and introduces a new cast member, Ismael Cruz Córdova as Armando, and a brand new segment, Cookie's Crumby Pictures. A new section of Sesamestreet.org, devoted to the show's STEM curriculum, is now online. The documentary I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story nears completion. In the meantime the show's German co-production, Sesamstrasse, is celebrating its 40th anniversary all throughout 2013, and with its first TV movie: An environmental crime story.
Faz Fazakas (1918-2013): Special effects designer Franz "Faz" Fazakas died at the age of 95 on September 30. Faz designed the mechanics for many Muppet characters, including the workings of the Doozers for Fraggle Rock. We also remember Jane Nebel Henson, Jim Henson's first collaborator, who eventually became his wife, co-founder of the Jim Henson Company and later founder of the Jim Henson Legacy. She passed away on April 2 at the age of 78.
Video releases: The Muppet Movie Blu-ray and soundtrack album are available from Disney. This December, The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island will be released as a Blu-ray combo pack. New Sesame Street DVD releases include Fairytale Fun and Be a Good Sport (coming in January).
Book releases: Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones was released on September 24th. Next spring, a Muppet character encyclopedia written by Craig Shemin will be released in March, and the behind-the-scenes book Down at Fraggle Rock: Lost Treasures from the Jim Henson Archives is set for release in April.
Jim Henson began working with puppets as a college student, creating the show Sam and Friends in 1955 for a local Washington, D.C. television station. The energetic Muppets soon became a popular fixture, and led to appearances on national variety shows. Henson's commercials for a local coffee company, Wilkins Coffee, were so popular that he was hired to create similar commercials around the country. In the early 1960s, Henson moved to New York City to work on a variety of projects, including a regular guest spot on The Jimmy Dean Show for the first Muppet star, Rowlf the Dog.
In 1969, Henson was invited to participate in a ground-breaking educational show for television, Sesame Street. Initially, the Muppets were meant to be just one element among many on the show -- but the popularity of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Grover, Ernie and Bert soon made the Muppets the core of the show. Over the years, the Muppet cast has grown to include Mr. Snuffleupagus, Count von Count, Telly Monster, Rosita, Baby Bear, Zoe, and of course, the international superstar Elmo, who starred in his own segment, Elmo's World. Sesame Street is now in its 44th season, and the newest stars are host Murray Monster and fairy-in-training Abby Cadabby.
In 1976, Henson created his signature project -- The Muppet Show, a weekly prime-time variety show filled with songs, sketches and talented guest stars. Kermit the Frog is the charming and mostly unflappable host, presiding over a motley crew of performers, including diva Miss Piggy, hopeful comedian Fozzie Bear, daredevil performance artist Gonzo, young eager gofer Scooter, and the house band, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The Muppet Show was a huge international success, making unlikely stars out of the Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker, Sam the Eagle, and the two old cranks in the balcony, Statler and Waldorf.
The Muppet Show cast has continued to entertain audiences for over 30 years, spinning off into a popular series of movies, including The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Muppet Treasure Island.
In the 1980s, Henson created new worlds -- the magical underground civilization of Fraggle Rock, the imagination-filled nursery of Muppet Babies, and the fantasy worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Henson's work has continued to live on beyond his death in 1990, and new productions featuring his creations are always in progress.
This wiki is dedicated to documenting, exploring and enjoying the enormous body of work that Jim Henson has created and inspired.
- 14: Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring - Issue #4 (comic mini-series)
- 16: Sesame Street: The Cookie Thief (TV)
- 3: The Best of Elmo 3 (DVD)
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