Jim Henson: The Biography

By Brian Jay Jones


For the 1st time ever—a accomplished biography of 1 of the 20th century’s so much cutting edge inventive artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson
He was once a steady dreamer whose genial bearded visage used to be well-known around the globe, yet most folk obtained to understand him in basic terms during the iconic characters born of his fertile mind's eye: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, omit Piggy, sizeable poultry. The Muppets made Jim Henson a loved ones identify, yet they have been simply a part of his impressive story.
This striking biography—written with the beneficiant cooperation of the Henson family—covers the complete arc of Henson’s all-too-brief lifestyles: from his adolescence in Leland, Mississippi, over the years of burgeoning status in the USA, to the last decade of overseas superstar that preceded his premature loss of life at age fifty-three. Drawing on 1000's of hours of recent interviews with Henson's relations, buddies, and closest collaborators, in addition to unparalleled entry to personal kinfolk and corporate information, Brian Jay Jones explores the production of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame road and Saturday evening stay, and his approximately ten-year crusade to carry The Muppet Show to tv. Jones presents the ingenious context for Henson’s non-Muppet initiatives, together with the richly imagined worlds of The darkish Crystal and Labyrinth—as good as interesting misfires like Henson’s dream of beginning an inflatable psychedelic nightclub.
An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all of the points of this American unique: the grasp craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on tv, the savvy businessman whose dealmaking prowess received him a name as “the new Walt Disney,” and the inventive staff chief whose collaborative ethos earned him the timeless loyalty of every body who labored for him. the following is also perception into Henson’s intensely inner most own existence: his Christian technological know-how upbringing, his love of quick automobiles and dear paintings, and his weak spot for girls. even though an optimist by way of nature, Henson used to be haunted through the concept that he do not need time to do the whole lot he desired to do in life—a worry that his heartbreaking ultimate hours may end up all too good founded.
An up-close examine the charmed lifetime of a legend, Jim Henson provides the whole degree to a guy whose pleased genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture—and maintains to beguile audiences worldwide.
Praise for Jim Henson
Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the exceptional guy and his Muppet tools: It’s an absolute must-read!”—Neil Patrick Harris
“An exhaustive paintings that's by no means laborious, a credits either to Jones’s brisk kind and to Henson’s unparalleled life.”The New York Times
“[A] sweeping portrait that could be a mixture of humor, mirth and poignancy.”—Washington self sufficient evaluation of Books

“A meticulously researched tome chock-full of gem stones concerning the Muppets and the main thorough portrait in their writer ever crafted.”—Associated Press

“Jim used to be one among my closest associates. And but i discovered out issues approximately him in Jim Henson that have been new to me. Brian Jay Jones has captured the layers of Jim’s genius and humanity, in addition to the failings that made Jim, like every folks, so delightfully imperfect. I thank Brian for giving Jim existence back. This publication has captured the spirit of Jim Henson.”—Frank Oz

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But when he felt strongly approximately anything, it was once tricky to get him to backpedal. an individual may perhaps say no to Jim, yet you needed to do it in a definite approach, and also you couldn’t argue an excessive amount of. You needed to be aware of whilst to step again. ” Stepping again, even though, was once now not Birkenfield’s type. a faithful and savvy manufacturer with a pointy eye for caliber, Birkenfield took her activity because the first defensive line opposed to unworthy tasks virtually in my view. If she felt Jim was once contemplating tasks that have been unworthy of his identify or attractiveness, she might “stand as much as him and get offended at him and never seek advice from him for a while,” recalled Gottesman.

Its element of origin—near the little city of Scott, in Bolivar County—lies approximately 90 miles north of its terminal element on the Yazoo River 3 counties away. yet Deer Creek takes its time getting there, looping and whorling backward and forward in a two-hundred-mile-long amble, taking a look like a child’s cursive scrawled around the map. town of Leland, Mississippi, straddles Deer Creek simply because it twists into one among its first tight hairpin turns, approximately ten miles east of Greenville. proven sooner than the Civil battle, the sleepy cost, sprawled out throughout a number of former plantations, had taken good thing about fertile soil and general steamboat site visitors on Deer Creek to turn into one of many wealthiest within the Delta area.

Sixty two “We have so few neighborhood indicates” “Televue Mailbag,” Sunday celebrity (Washington, D. C. ), September 22, 1957. sixty three “This is one case the place I’m convinced” Ibid. sixty four The Huntley-Brinkley document Barbara Matusow, The night Stars: The Making of the community information Anchor (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983), 69–73. sixty five “We received the Huntley-Brinkley viewers” Jane Henson, feedback at MuppetFest 2001. sixty six “very shy, a retiring kind of individual” Naughton, “Jim Henson and pals: the place all of it started. ” sixty seven Jane designed such a lot of her personal outfits Elson, “For Jane and Jim, Muppets Set a Merry speed.

You by no means stand within the approach of someone. ” Jim—who additionally knew the Muppets’ days on SNL have been numbered—was both magnanimous in his compliment of Michaels. “I quite appreciate Lorne,” he acknowledged later, “[and] at no time did I ever lose my recognize for the express. I continually loved what they have been doing. We parted on first-class phrases. ” good, ordinarily. Years later, Jim took nice excitement in showing a duplicate of a postcard the Muppet crew had despatched from London to the forged of Saturday evening stay, pasting it to a section of paper less than block letters asking the place ARE THE MUCKING FUPPETS?

138 “a few greater projects,” “attempt a function movie” Barry Clark to David Granahan, may possibly 7, 1968 (JHCA 14-0882). 139 “a bizarre form of darkish ritual glance” JJ, archival interview. one hundred forty “original, surrealistic comedy” See JH, JJ unique screenplay for The dice. additionally “ ‘The Cube,’ unique Surrealistic Comedy by means of Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl, Set for ‘NBC scan in Television,’ ” NBC Press liberate, January 21, 1969 (JHCA dice construction box). 141 “I see no desire for it” Tom Egan to BB, November four, 1966 (JHCA dice creation box).

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