by SCIFI.radio staff, feat. Susan Macdonald
Today would have been the 86th birthday of the legendary creative madman Jim Henson. The master of imagination, born this day in 1936, was lost to us in May of 1990 from a swiftly fatal bout of pneumonia. The creator of the Muppets, James Maury Henson was an American puppeteer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, screenwriter, songwriter, musician, film director and producer, and founder of a studio which thrives to this day. He was responsible for generations of joy and laughter, and continues to inspire artists, writers and performers – and probably will for generations to come.
James Maury Henson was born September 24, 1936 in Greenville, Mississippi. He was lost to us on May 16, 1990, in New York City at the comparitively young age of 53, but in only half a century, Jim Henson managed to touch the world. He was a dreamer and entertainer who encouraged other people to dream. He was an entertainer and educator who believed making people smile was a worthy goal in its own right.
The late great Stan Lee said, “I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic book writer while other people were building bridges and going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end.”
Stan Lee and Jim Henson had a lot in common. Both were dreamers who helped shape modern American culture. Both were named Disney Legends, Jim Henson posthumously, Stan Lee only a few months before his death. Both inspired artists and writers around the world, both during their lifetimes and still after their deaths. ‘Tis likely that both will continue to inspire generations yet unborn for centuries to come.
We have found this sweet tribute to the late magic maker, created by James Pollit. In his own words:
As a tribute I made a stop-motion Jim Henson from wine-corks, wood and paper. I was inspired by my friend and puppet maker Jamie Marks (jmpuppets.com) who is The Muppets biggest fan, so I asked him to make a ‘mini Kermit’ and add the vocals. The excellent Danny Ryan (dannyryansound.com) arranged and performed some music based on the Muppets most famous song. The bench and the pose are based on a memorial statue at the University of Maryland. The shirt he is wearing is a copy of one Jim wore in one of his earliest publicity shots. We miss you Jim, but you still inspire us to ‘keep believing and keep pretending’.
You may no longer be with us to fan that creative fire, Jim, but don’t worry. We’ll all keep the flame alive together.
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