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If anyone knows for certain whether he was left- or right-handed, would you please add this to the article? And, did he tend to operate puppets on one hand instead of the other, or was he ambidextrous? - Brian Kendig 17:08, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Photos and footage of Jim performing were all right-handed. I want to say I've seen a few where he was holding up two puppets, as he would have to have done a lot of in the early days, but I can't recall where they were exactly. But yeah, it's pretty well documented that he was right-handed. —Scott (talk) 17:42, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

So glad they got the cause of death correct!

People used to insist that it was pneumonia. So glad you guys got this right! Peace.—MuzikJunky 09:28, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Sesame Street Directing Credits

I've noticed that the directors credits section of this article mentions some of the animated and film segments from Sesame Street. While I know of sources that confirm that Jim Henson worked on those segments, are there any sources that he actually directed them? I know that he wrote some, and I'm sure that he at least produced some. --Minor muppetz 22:00, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, we have sources, which is why they're also in Henson Films, and why they often show up at Henson retrospectives and festivals as examples of films he directed and produced, not just animated segments which were on Sesame Street. We know he did all of the animated ones listed himself (directing and animating, though no there may have been other artists assisting), and there seems to be a source for the number films too (though that one might need better citing). The only one in question is Doll House, where it's an assumption based on the DVD details. I think it's a fairly safe one under the circumstances (i.e. it's fairly unlikely for him to hire some outside director to come over and make a film with his kids' dollhouse), but that can be examined on an individual level. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 22:31, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I'm just checking. Unlike most of the other credits, the individual Sesame Street segments don't have credits. I don't think Jim Henson was ever credited as a dirctor on the show (though Jim Henson has received a directors credit for classic material on some Sesame Street videos, including videos where the only inserts are Muppet inserts), and even if he was I doubt the credits would have specified which segments he directed. But maybe the CTW archives has a box of files somewhere that lists the crew of each individual insert (I guess I should keep dreaming). --Minor muppetz 02:51, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
Like I said, the info comes from festival playbills, website descriptions, and the like, which included the films in question. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 03:43, 20 October 2007 (UTC)


Was this ever aired on PBS? There's claim it drew millions of viewers. I know there was the special with the Muppets, but I've never heard about the memorial itself being broadcast. -- Zanimum 21:38, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I know that a number of documentaries featured footage from the memorial, but I don't know if it ever aired as a full, stand-alone production. --Minor muppetz 05:13, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The Wikipedia claim is mistaken. I've checked thoroughly, and have found absolutely no evidence to suggest it was televised in full, on PBS or anywhere else. None of the several articles on the memorial (and in fact, the "memorial" was two events, one in New York and one in London, mostly the same program thought) indicate anything about it being televised; this may have been an assumption based on the fact that bootleg VHS of the event have been floating around. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 22:26, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

The Bear

This article and Don Austen mention a movie called The Bear. I can't find information on that movie anywhere. Is there such a thing? -- Danny (talk) 04:24, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

There is. It's just because, for some reason, IMDB refers to it by the French title, L'Ours, apparently because the director is French. Anyway, it's this movie. Creature Shop provided an animatronic bear to fill in certain scenes, and No Strings Attached, which I don't have access to right now, discussed it at length, as an attempt by the Creature Shop to establish itself as a visual effects shop which could do work for other companies, but it was rushed and certain creatives felt unhappy with the results. It's on my unwritten to-do list. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:32, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Yeah the Creature Shop is credited for doing effects for it. [1] There's probably more in No Strings Attached (which I don't own). — Scott (talk) 04:29, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Synchronicity! Anyway, yes, there is. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:32, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Ooh, that means we get a couple more animal actors. -- Danny (talk) 04:34, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm excited about getting to this one, since it starred Bart the Bear, the most critically acclaimed bear actor of all time. Forget Gentle Ben, Bart starred in Legends of the Fall, The Edge, White Fang'... He even received screen credit! He was beardom's answer to Jack Warden, a versatile, gruff character player who filled any need. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:36, 5 November 2006 (UTC)


Seven months in, and our Jim Henson article is a crying shame. This article has two sentences about Sesame Street and two sentences about Fraggle Rock. Lame. There's lots of material -- in books, on the web, and in other wiki articles -- to fill this article out to the size and depth that it deserves. -- Danny (talk) 02:11, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Needs work...

  • I copied most of the text for this article from Wikipedia. It's a very good article, but it's clearly written for a non-Muppet fan audience, and it doesn't quite sound right as part of Muppet Wiki. Obviously, we ought to have a really good article on Henson. Can people take a look at this, and fix it up a bit more? -- Toughpigs 16:42, 21 Dec 2005 (UTC)
  • Not sure if it's exactly what you're looking for, but I took a crack at it. Feel free to edit as you see fit. -- TomH 03:22, 30 Dec 2005 (UTC)

'''''Although from an odd source, here is a concise biography that I found, a gift of the United States Postal Service at'''''

'''Jim Henson Biography''' Jim Henson, an extraordinary artist and visionary, invented unique worlds and characters that remain just as vivid, original and fresh today as when they were created. A television pioneer, an innovator in puppetry, technology and visual arts, and a performer who literally brought to life some of the most memorable characters ever-including the world's most famous frog, KermitTM, Jim Henson's impact on entertainment, education and culture continues to this day.

Born September 24, 1936 in Greenville, Mississippi, Jim was the second son of Paul and Betty Henson. Jim spent his early years in Leland, MS where his father worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Throughout his youth, Jim had an interest in art and, later, television. He was particularly close to his maternal grandmother, an avid painter, quilter, and needleworker, and he visited her often. She was supportive of Jim's artistic efforts and encouraged him to use his imagination and to take delight in the world around him.

When Jim was in the fifth grade, the Henson family moved to Maryland. There Jim, often with his older brother Paul, experimented with a variety of artistic techniques- experiments which eventually led Jim to the very latest visual media, television. In 1954, while still in high school, Jim began his television career with performing puppets on a local Washington, DC Saturday morning program on WTOP-TV. The following year, as a freshman at the University of Maryland, he was given his own twice-daily, five-minute show, Sam and Friends, on the local NBC affiliate, WRC-TV. Jim along with his assistant, fellow University of Maryland student and future wife, Jane Nebel, introduced many Muppet mainstays-music, snarky humor and innovative technical tricks (such as eliminating the puppet stage and using the television itself as the proscenium). Perhaps most memorably, the show featured an early version of Kermit the Frog.

The success of Sam and Friends led to guest appearances on such national network programs as The Steve Allen Show, The Jack Paar Show and Today. Jim also began making hundreds of humorous commercials for sponsors throughout the country. In 1961, as Muppets, Inc. grew, Jim and Jane brought on puppeteer and writer Jerry Juhl, who would become one of Jim's major collaborators. The demands of national television appearances brought Jim and his family to New York in 1963. With weekly appearances on Today and an ever-growing list of commercial clients, Jim sought out the talents of master puppet builder, Don Sahlin and young puppeteer, Frank Oz. Together, they helped develop the Muppets' first nationally known character, Rowlf the Dog, who appeared regularly on The Jimmy Dean Show from 1963 to 1966. Having established a group of talented collaborators, including producer David Lazer, Jim continued to pursue his career in puppetry and filmmaking. Between 1964 and 1969, Jim produced several experimental films including the award-winning Time Piece, Youth '68, and The Cube. These projects expanded Jim's knowledge of film techniques, leading to greater innovations with the Muppets.

In 1966, a public television producer named Joan Ganz Cooney, began work on a ground-breaking educational children's television show called Sesame Street that would premiere in 1969. Based on Jim's creative reputation, Cooney asked him to create a family of characters to populate Sesame Street. These characters-Ernie and Bert, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Cookie Monster, and of course the 8-foot-2 Big Bird-continue to entertain and educate today, more than 35 years later. Working with Children's Television Workshop (later renamed Sesame Workshop) on Sesame Street, Jim also had the opportunity to continue experimenting with film techniques. Together with his talented team, Jim produced more than two dozen live action and animated shorts that are still teaching children how to count, learn the alphabet and master other educational concepts.

Sesame Street demonstrated the Muppets' undeniable appeal to children, but Jim strongly believed these characters could entertain a much wider family audience. After years of trying to sell the idea for The Muppet Show in the U.S., Jim finally received backing from a London-based television producer, Lord Lew Grade. In 1975 production began at Grade's ATV Studios, and soon the world was introduced to a new family of unforgettable characters, such as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Animal (performed by Frank Oz); The Great Gonzo (performed by Dave Goelz); Scooter (performed by Richard Hunt); Lew Zealand (performed by Jerry Nelson); and Rizzo the Rat (performed by Steve Whitmire). Hosted by Kermit the Frog, accompanied by the musical meanderings of Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Band, the Muppets were joined each week by an international pantheon of guest stars, from Gene Kelly and Rudolph Nureyev to Steve Martin and John Cleese. The success of The Muppet Show naturally led to Hollywood, where the Muppets starred in six feature films: The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and most recently Muppets From Space.

During the 1980s, in addition to making Muppet movies, Jim brought two remarkably original fantasy films to the big screen, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Inspired by the exquisite and intricate artwork of British illustrator Brian Froud, these films challenged Jim to create new kinds of three-dimensional characters with advanced movement abilities. In development for five years, The Dark Crystal utilized the talents of scores of designers, builders, technicians, and performers from across the globe. The result: a phenomenal showcase of puppetry and animatronics. Jim and Brian Froud collaborated again on the feature film, Labyrinth, which was produced by George Lucas, and starred David Bowie and future Oscar®-winner Jennifer Connelly. Like The Dark Crystal before it, Labyrinth gave Jim a unique opportunity to take animatronics and performance to a new level. The multi-talented staff that helped create these two films formed the basis for what is now known as Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Founded in 1979, with offices in London and Los Angeles, Jim Henson's Creature Shop continues to set industry standards in animatronics, performance and performance technology.

Throughout the 1980's, Jim also created memorable television series and specials, including: Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, Jim Henson's The Storyteller, and Jim Henson's Greek Myths. Fraggle Rock's Fraggles, Gorgs and Doozers sang songs celebrating friendship, brotherhood and peace, and was one of the world's first international television co-productions. The show continues to have a devoted fan following around the world.

Muppet Babies was awarded four consecutive Emmys® for "Outstanding Animated Program".

Jim Henson's The Storyteller and Jim Henson's Greek Myths were two original series conceived by Jim to convey the metaphoric richness of ancient stories. Based on authentic folk tales and myths, many of the episodes were written by Academy Award®-winning writer/director Anthony Minghella. With strong literary richness and magical visual effects and animatronics by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Jim Henson's The Storyteller and Jim Henson's Greek Myths are a rare combination of ancient tradition and modern technological artistry.

Jim's last project was MuppetVision 3*D, a short multi-media film and interactive attraction, which he directed and which currently runs at custom-made theaters at Disney/MGM Studios theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, California.

On May 16, 1990, after a brief illness, Jim Henson died in New York City. With his keen ability for drawing together a strong team of performers, artists, and collaborators who shared his vision and creativity, Jim ensured that his work and unique creative vision would continue. Through The Jim Henson Company, his work continues to captivate and entertain a global audience. Kermit d frog 05:08, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Sources for Henson quotes?

  • Can we get some sources for the Henson quotes on this page? It feels like an overwhelming list without any sources to break it up. Also, "Simple is Good" doesn't sound like a Henson quote to me, unless it's part of a larger statement. He didn't really talk in slogans like that. -- Toughpigs 21:33, 12 Dec 2005 (UTC)
  • I think that "simple is good" was kind of one of the few rare Henson slogans or rules-of-thumb he would toss out there from time to time. I head it listed in quotes/interviews about him a few times and I found this quote from Jerry Juhl: "We always used to kid Jim that after telling everybody 'simple is good,' he would turn around and try to produce the most complicated work in the world and just about wipe out all of us - him most of all - in the process." -- GregJames 02:39, 13 Dec 2005 (UTC)
  • Fair enough. Do you want to make separate quote pages for these folks? Tom's been adding a bunch of Muppet Quotes pages. Maybe we could make something like that for the production staff. I don't know what to call it, though. Behind the Scenes quotes? Or should we just have one big quotes category for everything? Either way, I think it would be good to source the quotes -- say who the interview was with, what year, etc. -- Toughpigs 02:57, 13 Dec 2005 (UTC)

Awards and Honors page?

Maybe the "Awards and Honors" could go on a separate page? -- Toughpigs 22:02, 12 Dec 2005 (UTC)

Politics of Jim Henson

Just out of curiosity, was Jim Henson a liberal? I know Sesame Street was a pretty progressive project of that time, and I know both Brian Henson and Lisa Henson are advocates for LGBT rights, but I could be wrong.

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