Jim Henson in two words: remarkable visionary.
About his dad, Brian Henson wrote in a blog post, “One of his life philosophies was that we should love people not for their similarities, but for their differences.”
This single statement beautifully sums up the essence that is collectively, the Muppets. The lesson the Muppets continue to pass on about embracing diversity is Jim Henson’s legacy.
Life through the Eyes of Puppets
Jim Henson said, “The most sophisticated people I’ve ever known had just one thing in common: they were all in touch with their inner children.”
The Muppets, unmistakably born from Jim Henson’s inner child, are not just mere puppets: These outlandish, lovable characters symbolize life with all its multifaceted emotions.
Clearly, Henson was ahead of his time when it came to principled ideas using his imagination.
Through puppets, he used his unmatched creative ability to draw attention to the melting pot of characteristics which make us human.
He achieved this feat through the human-like behavior of his family of puppets.
Realism of Muppets’ Characters
Each Muppet is an individual … their appearance distinct; just like people differ enormously in looks.
Jim Henson, who passed over in 1990, cleverly infused his beloved characters with wide-ranging qualities which children and adults easily recognize.
Who doesn’t know someone with a personality like Oscar the Grouch? I know many.
Oscar reigns supreme in cranky. He despises anyone or anything that represents “nice.” He only reveals the compassionate side of his personality to children.
Except for making his home in a trash can, Oscar’s temperament is something nearly every person can connect with at times.
In a style that can only be Jim Henson, he makes us chuckle over Oscar’s nasty disposition.
How great it’d be to just snicker at the genuine Oscars of the world instead of letting them get under our skin.
The intelligence behind Jim Henson’s creativity includes the positive messages he provided through puppetry. He was brilliant when it came to highlighting the effects of a good or bad decision.
The Muppets always encourage children to aim for their dreams. They’re progressive in promoting a healthy self-esteem, as well.
It’s probably no surprise one of Henson’s favorite movies was the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, of course, learned the lesson: there’s no place like home.
Maybe the movie’s emotional moral ending inspired Henson’s overall creative values.
It’s impossible to gauge accurately, the educational influence Jim Henson’s had on children. His contribution is significant, though. PBS’ Sesame Street is a children’s programming marvel.
Sesame Street aired in November, 1969. With Jim Henson’s puppets as guides, learning became fun and dare I say, perhaps, even addictive.
Often tedious; reading, writing, and counting morphed into something kids looked forward to learning. Forty-five years later, Sesame Street’s innovative learning style remain valuable.
Through puppetry, Henson sometimes introduced children to unpleasant real-life problems. A big problem many children face is bullying.
When my daughters were young, I recall watching an early Sesame Street episode in which Bert and Ernie were enjoying a day at the beach.
A bully comes along and destroys their sand castle. It just figures.
My daughters were ultra-sensitive little girls. They were nearly in tears when bully boy wrecked the sand castle.
Luckily, and typical of Jim Henson’s message, the bully embraced the error of his ways. To make up for his bullying, he returned with an ice cream for Bert.
These days, it’s not quite that simple because sadly, bullying has escalated to an atrocious level.
Jim Henson Standout
Each of Jim Henson’s puppets is a star: Miss Piggy, Elmo, The Count, Grover, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird; they’re some of the many intriguing characters Henson created.
For me, however, Kermit the Frog, stands apart from the rest. Since the birth of his character beginning, Kermit has been a runaway success.
I believe Kermit is Jim Henson. Or, maybe Jim Henson is Kermit. Possibly, it’s because Kermit’s birthplace was on the banks of Deer Creek in Leland, Mississippi.
Henson, too, spent his enlightening years on the banks of Deer Creek. There, he nurtured his creativity and a passion he had for nature.
By the way; Kermit takes his name from a childhood friend of his creator.
Kermit on the Walk of Fame
In 2002, Kermit earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s a well-deserved honor for the celebrity who began his natural life on a muddy bank in the Mississippi Delta.
The beloved frog took his place among other greats like Woody Woodpecker, Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. Now those were the days, right?
The celebrated sweet-voiced frog is little in size but larger than life in all he brings to the world. He’s just one more extraordinary legacy that is, indeed, Jim Henson.
Google Blogspot – “Remembering my dad Jim Henson,” Posted by Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company – September 23, 2011
Sesamestreet.org - Video on right, third down – Standing Up to a Bully
Muppetcentral.com – News -“Kermit Honored at Hollywood Walk of Fame,” Courtesy of Yahoo News – November 25, 2002