The celebrity gallery - Jim Henson

Jim Henson Time of birth:
24.09.1936 00:10:00
Time zone: -4
Jim Henson (1936 – 1990) – an American puppeteer, actor, director, screenwriter, producer and creator of the television program "The Muppets".

Interesting facts

The Boss (The White Mercury, The White Saturn, The Black (Grey) Jupiter)
Jim Henson is remembered as the artist-creator and the ideologist of the Muppets, but he was also the boss of hundreds of employees, who called him "the fearless leader" and said that they had "the best job ever". Brian Henson said about his father: "He taught me to determine the human talent, to develop it, and to encourage the search of self-realization". Jim was a good boss and a good boss, as a good teacher, gives the employees numerous opportunities. He was not afraid to hurt his own ego and developed a very liberal style of management. His wife, Jane Henson, said that he "was always so calm that sometimes there appeared a desire to kick him". Christopher Finch sais: "Henson was a good listener, and if someone had a better idea than ​​his own, he accepted it without hesitation. If the idea was not good, Jim, of course, knew it, but he tried not to offend anyone. Duncan Kenworthy said: "If he felt that something was not done well, he said: "I think we could just try..." and found something positive in everything". Jim did not manage "turning the boss on" or humiliating anyone. He set the tone with his behavior: fearless, hard-working, generous and calm, and his attitude was easily extended to other people.

The Criticism (The White Saturn, The Black Moon)
In order to attract the adult audience to Muppets, Henson shot the first test episode of "The Muppets" titled The Muppets Valentine Show, and a year later - Muppet Show: Sex and Violence. Henson’s puppets also became the guests in the first programs of the popular Saturday Night Live, where his characters were talking about sex and drugs for eleven consecutive episodes. However, nobody expected these topics and jokes from Jim’s puppets. That is why only a few appreciated the performances on Saturday night. It addition to this, the pilot episodes were not clear for everyone. A big fish on the television even joked calling Henson’s creations "Mucking Fuppets". It might seem that after numerous unsuccessful attempts to expand the circle of the viewers, the legendary puppeteer should have returned to loving young spectators and children's jokes, but it did not stop Jim. He decided that he needed to create his own Muppet show, not only with childish jokes, and began looking for financial support, finding it in Britain from Lew Grand. After a long road to the realization of his dream, Jim launched his own program, where both, old and brand new characters took part.

The Attention (The Black (Grey) Venus)
In the first year of the study at the university, Jim was invited to a puppet sketch show "Sam and Friends". Heroes of the show were Sam himself - a bald man with big eyes, ears and nose, Yorick, eccentric Harry and lizard Kermit, which was later opened to the public as a frog. Stitched from the old green female coat character appeared only in some episodes at first, but quickly began to gain more popularity and demand more airtime. What's strange - the show, each episode of which lasted for five minutes, was shown closer to the midnight, but it managed to attract the attention of the viewers of different ages. Even small children begged their parents to allow them not go to bed and see with what Sam and his friends would surprise the spectators in the new episode.

The Professional (The White Mars)
Today, when the movie industry was moved to digital, Jim Henson’s fairy tales seem pretty anachronistic. But in those days, when the main puppeteer’s instrument was animatronics, to shoot a puppet movie, perhaps, could only he and his team. The movie was worked through to the last detail - the team drew thousands of the storyboards. The dolls had a lot of restrictions, so the directors had problems with the movements of the characters. In many cases they had to redo the scenes completely, to redraw the storyboards because dolls could not make a move. "When you're shooting a movie some life forms that inhabit this world in the background get in a frame. We can not see them well, but they are there, we can see the traces of their activities. It gives the world the depth and the naturalness. To create this depth for artificially created fantastic world you need to create all these living things in the background – the birds, insects and alien plants, so we had a lot more work than it was necessary for a movie, but not everything was used. However, the feeling of the world and that there is something behind the scenes exists", - says Henson. Jim had to create all the small things: the dragonflies, grasshoppers, small river creatures. They also created carnivorous plants, living in the swamps. Jim and his colleagues also drew a map of the world recreated in the movie, painted it in different colors, according to the climatic zones and habitats of different animals, but unfortunately, only a small part of the planned appeared in the movie.

Numerous initiative (The White Sun, The Black Jupiter)
Jim took a shot at documentaries, experimental movies, animation, acting, music, corporate promotional video, and even owned a nightclub with varying degrees of success throughout his life. Henson may be called proactive inventive artist whose career path could go different roads. Even if these initiatives fade in the line with the masterpieces of the next decades, the large-scale projects, which were developed by Hanson in the 60s, emphasize the temper and the creative nature of a genius. Recalling those years, Henson divides his work into two areas: "It seemed to me that I had two careers. One of them was accepted by the audience and was successful, and it was the Muppets. The other [experimental films] was what I was really interested in and what I enjoyed. This career did not have much commercial success, but it did not bother me, because I enjoyed it". Henson remained an artist who was constantly in motion, starting, maintaining and managing multiple projects simultaneously throughout his life. Henson himself admitted that at the time when he tried to convince skeptical leaders that the project should be given a "green light", his creative nature was looking for something else: "When I intimately doing something, a part of me longs to do something else, something new".

The Cooperation (The Black Moon)
Jim Henson was very creative, but he showed the best results cooperating with someone. The earliest Henson's appearance on television with puppets was with a friend and a partner-puppeteer Russell Wall. He collaborated with his wife, Jane, a writer Jerry Juhl, who was writing for the Muppets for over 35 years, and a puppeteer Frank Oz. Hiring Oz, Henson had no idea that their cooperation is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. They were working together for 27 years and their cordial relations were regularly disclosed on the stage in the relationship of their characters - the Frog Kermit and the Bear Fozzie. Having united with the most talented staff, Jim was building a career in the film and a puppet industry.