Sunday 16 May 2010

Jim Henson - 20 years ago today

20 years ago today (May 16th) Jim Henson died. His death at the age of 53 shocked the world, a realisation that we had lost one of the great creators the world had ever seen. Not only had he done so much for puppetry, television and film but everyone wondered just how much he had left to give. Given today's technology and the developments towards 3D that Jim had already developed (think of Waldo in the Muppets 3D movie at Disney World filmed 21 years ago) we can barley imagine what we would have seen from him with so much available to his imagination.

I met Jim in 1986, when I was 7, I interviewed him and Kermit on Breakfast TV here in the UK. He was a tremendously generous man, not just in the gifts he gave but more importantly in his time that he would give up to you. We spoke several times since meeting and the last letter I received from him was just a couple of months before he died. He wrote to me telling me not worry about the deal with Disney (which was happening at the time) and that it would be good for The Muppet's - listing the various projects that were on the go and planned for the future. I had written concerned about the deal and that the Muppet's would disappear amongst the huge Disney base of characters. Although the deal did end quite abruptly after Jim Henson's death in 1990, Disney did eventually acquire the Muppet's a few years ago.

My own interest in puppetry, animation and illustration is all down to the influences Jim Henson and the Muppet's made upon me when I was young. The meeting and correspondence with him in the late 1980's gave me a link to a genius which I feel completely blessed to have had. Thank you Jim.

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