We remember Jim Henson 1936 – 1990

May 16, 2013


Jim Henson 1936 – 1990

On May 16, 1990, Muppets creator Jim Henson passed away at the age of 53, less than 24 hours after being admitted to the hospital for pneumonia.  A week earlier, he was misdiagnosed, and it is believed that if he had gotten the proper antibiotics, that he would have survived.  Very sad.  At the time of his death, Jim Henson was finishing up his deal with Disney, to have his creations, the Muppets, featured at one of their theme parks.

One year to the day later, in 1991, Disney opens Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 3D at Disney-MGM Studios.  The attraction is a 500 seat media theater, located near the backlot area of the park.  Very fitting that Muppets 3D opens on the anniversary of his passing, it’s a good tribute.  Mr. Henson was a trailblazer in his field, creating these timeless Muppet characters that many of us grew up on, and also grew to love. In addition to creating these wonderful characters, he also was the voice for some, including Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, and Ernie from Sesame Street.  I know for me, growing up, the Muppet Show was a staple in our house.  We watched it all the time.

The Muppet Show was so successful that it spawned three movies during Henson’s lifetime (and more since): The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Muppets Take Manhattan. Each film provided Henson with further opportunities to break technological barriers, including allowing Kermit to ride a bike. Gosh, remember Kermit on the bike?  Awesome for those times, I was always impressed!  Let’s not forget Sesame Street.  Most kids, or adults I should say, my age also remember learning our numbers and colors with the help of Bert, Ernie, Grover, and Cookie Monster.  Or, the “Count”…… remember “ONE, ah ah ah, TWO, ah ah ah……”

In the 80’s, the HBO series Fraggle Rock was also created by Henson, and was a favorite to a new generation, beyond the Muppet Show.  Speaking of HBO, do you remember the special “Emmit Otter’s Jug Band Christmas?”  I sure do.  Henson also worked on feature films, and his career spanded almost throughout his entire life.   He was so young, and did so much in that short period of time.  Can you imagine what Jim Henson could have done in the future, had he been given the opportunity to?  His talent, combined with working with the people at Disney, could have led to so many great things.

The legacy of Jim Henson carries on through the characters he created.  Characters that are timeless, and will forever be in our hearts.  We get a little reminder every time we go to DHS, and head on over to the Muppet area.  Ms. Piggy’s statue is one of my favorites too.  So, on the anniversary of the passing of this gifted and creative man, we remember all the contributions that Jim Henson made to our childhood memories.  He will continue to live on through his beloved characters, and through the magic of Disney.


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