Today would’ve been Jim Henson’s 77th birthday. Here’s something I wrote about him a few years back.
Jim Henson walked into a meeting of executives and financial backers declaring he wanted to create a kid’s show that brought about world peace. I love that story. It was a pitch meeting for Fraggle Rock. Few people can say things like that without sounding naive. He had a way of making people believe anything was possible. I know he made me feel that way -and continues to.
As a kid who grew up obsessed with the Muppets and anything with Henson’s name attached it’d be an understatement to say I’ve been influenced by his work. There’s a shirt the Onion sold that said “I understand the Muppets on a deeper level than you.” I’m embarrassed to say I feel that way. The cool thing is I know I’m not alone. He had the ability to create art that made kids feel as though it was made just for them.
The thing about The Muppets that I loved (and continue to love) is they’re a group of weirdos and chickens and monsters and things all just trying to figure life out together. Kermit is at the center of it all attempting to put on a show, bring them together and stay sane in the process.
They’re a beautiful almost functional family.
This will sound strange and morbid, but did you know you can watch Jim Henson’s funeral on YouTube? One day I found myself watching it. Yeah - I know, but I promise you - it’s not as weird as you’d think. Sure it’s sad, but it’s so much more. Watching it left me inspired -inspired to create, to unite, to bring joy and to live a life that would one day result in a celebration like that.
There’s a line in The Muppet Movie:
Kermit: Yeah, well, I’ve got a dream too - but it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And, well, I’ve found a whole bunch of friends who have the same dream. And, well, it kind of makes us like a family.
Don’t worry. I’ll resume posting idiotic, pointless things on this blog again soon. For some reason though, this week I felt compelled to share people and things that inspire me. If you have something or someone you’d like to share I’ll be posting those later: firstname.lastname@example.org
He promised a show that would bring about world peace. It might not have happened- but I do believe he did give us a glimpse, in his way, of what that might look like.