Shop Etsy

Jim Henson’s Fantastic World

Jul 22, 2011

by Chappell Ellison handmade and vintage goods

There aren’t many things I am sure of these days, but one thing is certain: the world needs more puppets. Such an affirmation became apparent to me when I had the incredible opportunity to tour the set of Sesame Street. As you can imagine, I was beyond thrilled, talking my mom’s ear off about how I would get to see Oscar’s trashcan and Grover’s stoop. The tour went smoothly, until two security guards politely asked me to remove myself from Big Bird’s nest. I know what you’re thinking: “What an unruly child.” Actually, I was 27 years old, thank you very much.

There’s no shame space here. If you’re like me — someone who attends screenings of Pixar cartoons with an entire box of Kleenex, recognizing you may need therapy for empathizing more with animated animals than humans — there is probably some corner of your heart reserved for the adoration of Jim Henson’s Muppets. Fortunately, to satiate the fans of tooled felt and beady eyeballs, The Smithsonian has curated a touring retrospective entitled Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, currently stationed at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.

The Smithsonian Institution

The retrospective begins in Jim Henson’s days as a young boy with a creative clan. “When I was a child, my mother’s family would gather at my grandmother’s house,” he explained. “They would tell a tale, and somebody would try to top it.” Dozens of Henson’s sketches show his evolution in style and subject matter, beginning with tame landscapes and portraits that eventually developed into a taste for the wild, wacky and macabre. Yet it was his break into local television in 1954 when he discovered and cultivated his love for puppetry. In subsequent years, he created the first iteration of Kermit, cut from his mother’s old coat. Had the coat not been green, Henson admitted that a frog might not have been the creature that is now considered the leader of The Muppets.

The exhibition reveals several facts that even I, a self-proclaimed Muppet fanatic, did not know. For instance, a single piece of paper bearing an architectural rendering is the only proof of Henson’s interest in building a night club. With the name Cyclia, Henson’s night club was infused with his love for psychedelic art in the late ’60s. Had it been built, it would’ve been the trippiest place on the planet. Other stand-outs in the exhibition are the early drawings of Big Bird. Henson initially struggled with building puppets that could be operated by a person from within. In Big Bird, he found the answer — the puppet operator’s right arm extends up into the neck of the bird, with the right hand controlling the mouth movements. A small TV screen is mounted within Big Bird’s belly, allowing the operator to see what he’s doing from the audience’s perspective. Henson desperately tried to build a version of the puppet where Big Bird’s knees bent backwards, much like a real bird. Though he gave up such aspirations, his sketches in the exhibition are proof of his wild determination.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Jim Henson’s Fantastic World is seeing the early days of Henson’s career when he created television advertisements. It was a time when commercials were just plain fun — coffee companies had no problem being represented by a pistol wielding fluff ball, as seen in Henson’s work for Wilkins Coffee. Yet a personal favorite would have to be a spot for La Choy Chow Mein, featuring a delightfully destructive dragon (above). “We tried to sell things by making people laugh,” Henson explained.

The biggest compliment I can give to the exhibition and its curators is that I walked away feeling like I’d just had a conversation with Jim Henson himself. I understood why Frank Oz, Henson’s long-time collaborator responsible for creating and originating Miss Piggy, Cookie Monster, Fozzie and others, recently described The Muppets as “affectionate anarchy.” I also felt inspired to run out and build puppets, maybe even sketch my own fur-ball creatures with googly eyeballs. Now, with the exhibition situated in Astoria, Queens, possibly the most culturally diverse pocket in the U.S., never has there been more proof of Henson’s lasting influence. Multiple languages may swirl around you as you tour the museum gallery, but the laughter is universal.

More Noted Posts | Puppet Category


  • siennaorlando

    siennaorlando said 5 years ago

    Brilliant! One of my all-time favorite artists!

  • dianecostanza

    dianecostanza said 5 years ago

    I remember my brother's graduation from Fordham. Jim Henson gave a speech after he received an honorary doctorate from Fordham. He was a great man and a pioneer for children's television. I raised my son on Sesame Street.

  • whichgoose

    whichgoose said 5 years ago

    SO AWESOME!!! That commercial is hilarious!

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 5 years ago

    absolutely love jim henson and the muppets! so brilliant and such an inspiration... and i learned how to write watching sesame street. i still remember frantically searching for a crayon and writing out my first word on the first surface i could find, my mom's sewing machine. i wrote on a lot of surfaces that day. :D

  • BookGlassesBlue

    BookGlassesBlue said 5 years ago

    Got to see part of a traveling show in Seattle at the Sci-Fi museum that had so many sketches and props from the muppets, dark crystal, and others. It was packed but so fun. There were some small walls in the exhibit that had been "papered" with fluffy, muppet fur-like material. Wonderful to see :)

  • Aquanetta

    Aquanetta said 5 years ago

    love all the character design sketches. Jim Henson is such an innovator.

  • proteales

    proteales said 5 years ago

    I am so excited to see Gobo on the Etsy front page!

  • bluedogrose

    bluedogrose said 5 years ago

    Wonderful, I ♥ Henson.

  • SeptemberHouse

    SeptemberHouse said 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this tribute. Jim Henson was truly an artist who changed the world and who will always be an inspiration. And YES, I agree - more puppets please! :)

  • playmemamacrafts

    playmemamacrafts said 5 years ago

    Proud to be raising a second generation of Sesame Street fans, and am very curious to see the new Muppet movie coming out this fall...great article, I'm thinking a road trip to New York is in my future! Thank you...

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 5 years ago

    A world without puppets. Are you kidding? And I remember Dark Crystal. What a great movie of our times, then! Thanks for posting. This was great.

  • RedorGrayArt

    RedorGrayArt said 5 years ago

    he was ahead of his time .. a true artist and lover of fun! thanks for this lovely article, I use puppets at my "day job" , they trans form like no other medium can ~

  • GypsymoonChain

    GypsymoonChain said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson and Fraggle Rock were the most awesome influences on childhood ever.

  • VivisEnchantedCorner

    VivisEnchantedCorner said 5 years ago

    How wonderful, it kind of brought tears to my eyes, such a magic street, love sesame street, I grow up with them in Colombia (Sesame Street in Espanol) so cool, such a bright and wild imagination!

  • bjhissong

    bjhissong said 5 years ago

    Thanks for posting about this! We will definitely visit! I can't imagine my childhood without Sesame Street and the Muppets... my sister and I even secretly watched it in college because of the adult humor and band guests! When I became an art teacher, I always included Jim Henson as an influence and he passed away during my first year of teaching. My kids grew up watching them too. To this day I covet my sister's Muppet Puppet and wish she still had it!

  • SuburbanYeti

    SuburbanYeti said 5 years ago

    Holy Cow!!! I have to see this exhibit! I don't know who would love it more, me or my 21 month old daughter. "Emitt Otter's Jug Band Christmas" may be THE best Henson work ever. Easily the best Christmas special you'll ever see. Even better than Charlie Brown's.

  • SudsNSuch

    SudsNSuch said 5 years ago

    I LOVE the Muppets and Fraggles! I just went to see some of the Muppets on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. We're taking a trip to NY sometime soon. I'll have to add that exhibit to my list of places to see!

  • kawaiifriendscafe

    kawaiifriendscafe said 5 years ago

    I can't imagine growing up without watching the creations of Jim Henson! I was even more influenced by his work as an adult and can't wait to pass the love to my own children! Thanks for this amusing post. brought back so many memories!

  • PearlAmourJewels

    PearlAmourJewels said 5 years ago

    Brings back childhood memories!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 5 years ago

    The Muppets & Fraggle Rock have been a couple of my all-time fave TV shows, & I loved The Dark Crystal too. Many happy childhood memories of the whole family watching the Muppets together & falling about laughing. And the famous guests... everyone who was anyone HAD to get on the Muppets to be overwhelmed with their own special brand of anarchy. Love it!

  • jadeflower

    jadeflower said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson is one of my heros! I got to visit the exhibit when it was in Seattle at the EMP, and it was just wonderful! He had such a creative mind. My favorite part was being in a "music video" set where you could be a muppeteer, So fun!

  • ruthnore

    ruthnore said 5 years ago

    Love it! I grew up with a puppet maker! My mother has always loved Jim Henson! I remember her crying when he died. She still has the muppet theme song as her ring tone. Great article! Great memories. ^_^

  • zenceramics

    zenceramics said 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing. We do need more puppets! Jim Henson was a great artist.

  • studiotuesday

    studiotuesday said 5 years ago

    Really interesting to see his sketches. And love the commercial!

  • JillMariesPuppets

    JillMariesPuppets said 5 years ago

    I went to the University of Connecticut and got my BFA in puppetry! For all those who are eager for the greatest four year college experience thinkable, consider UConn. Jim Henson saw that the world of puppetry could take entertainment to fabulous places. Let's keep the momentum going!

  • windywinona

    windywinona said 5 years ago

    I grew up on Sesame Street, and raised my kids on it too. Would love to be close enough to see this exhibit. What a wonderful guy!

  • ThePolkadotMagpie

    ThePolkadotMagpie said 5 years ago

    I agree....MORE puppets!

  • HaroldandMod

    HaroldandMod said 5 years ago

    Oh, Jim. My...... end...less. Loooovve!

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 5 years ago

    i love jim henson. such a foward, abstract thinker!

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 5 years ago

    definitely more puppets.............& so thankful for Jim Henson!

  • JulieBinmore

    JulieBinmore said 5 years ago

    I recommend Street Gang, a great book about Jim Henson and the muppets! What innovation! So great!

  • CardsandHeartsbyJane

    CardsandHeartsbyJane said 5 years ago

    Absolutely Love Jim Henson and The Muppet Show - I watched the show as a child and still watch it today as an adult. It's full of chaos and anarchy, but also thoughtfulnessand a wish to create a better world. Harry Belafontes number "Turn the World Around" with the African Masks is a perfect example.

  • echoartworks

    echoartworks said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson got me into college...I wrote my personal statement about how he instilled in me the sense of wonder...miss him alot!

  • RitaVanTassel

    RitaVanTassel said 5 years ago

    I almost died when I saw this post!!! I am a MAD fan for Jim Henson and especially The Muppet Show! I have a grand collection of vintage Muppet items and expose my nephews and students to his work whenever possible. Henson was a genius and will always be a personal creative inspiration. Well done!

  • Corkycrafts

    Corkycrafts said 5 years ago

    Brings back childhood memories! I can't help but sing Mah-Na Mah-Na song!

  • paulofnavarone

    paulofnavarone said 5 years ago

    dont puppets just make you feel good?


    DUEALBERI said 5 years ago

    mana mana :)

  • loonarfox

    loonarfox said 5 years ago

    I love Boober!

  • chopperandbubbles

    chopperandbubbles said 5 years ago

    Love watching Sesame Street with my 2 year old son. I don't know who was more excited to see Sesame Street Live, me or him! You can't find great programming like that anymore.

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson, awesome! I was obsessed with Fraggle Rock as a child of the 80s :D

  • VivekaVee

    VivekaVee said 5 years ago

    The Dark Crystal was my earliest inspiration.

  • LittleLadyIrish

    LittleLadyIrish said 5 years ago

    He has always been an inspiration in my life, and adored by all in my home! Monsters Are People Too!

  • FancifulRelics

    FancifulRelics said 5 years ago

    One of my favorite things is (original) Sesame Street! This had some great links and commercials, thanks!

  • squirrelonaledgetop

    squirrelonaledgetop said 5 years ago

    I remember being a really little kid and getting excited when the Muppet show would come on. I may be in my early 30's, but I don't think I'll ever out grow them!

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 5 years ago

    Wohoo Muppet show ! He is awesome ! Thanks so much or great post and your time ! Paris:02:00

  • wearethemonkeez

    wearethemonkeez said 5 years ago

    Interesting...I love Beaker the muppet. :)

  • FreshCrayons

    FreshCrayons said 5 years ago

    I saw this exhibit while in Pennsylvania (USA) I am a big time fan of Jim Henson! He's my hero :)

  • IcingOnTheCupcake

    IcingOnTheCupcake said 5 years ago

    Love this article and the point that laughter is universal :)

  • SophieJoes

    SophieJoes said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson ROCKS!

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 5 years ago

    it really is fantastic

  • twinkbeauty

    twinkbeauty said 5 years ago

    Truly one of the best this world has ever seen. His appeal was and is universal, and his work has the ability to seem both thoughtful and effortless at the same time. We will always love you Jim!

  • JulieAbrams

    JulieAbrams said 5 years ago

    What a lovely article! Thank you so much. I will plan on making the trip to Queens!

  • jungledread

    jungledread said 5 years ago

    One of my biggest creative inspirations! Jim Henson is the bomb. There was a radio show that did a program "Muppet show, or performance art" The radio hosts would describe a scenario and listeners had to guess if it was art or if it was from the muppet show. It was much harder than you'd think. Henson has such a mix of surreal & dadaism in his work and characters. Love you Jim!!

  • rejive

    rejive said 5 years ago


  • SewMuchMoreDecor

    SewMuchMoreDecor said 5 years ago

    I love Fraggle Rock! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  • actionjackson

    actionjackson said 5 years ago

    I grew up on Jim Henson, Fraggle Rock included. This warms my heart. Thank you for posting this.

  • tripperdungan

    tripperdungan said 5 years ago

    Awe I love love love Fraggle Rock. RIP Jim. Make 'em talk in the sky.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 5 years ago


  • poorlittlelamb

    poorlittlelamb said 5 years ago

    The Smithsonian did a road show tour to California a bunch of years back. When I came to the Kermit the Frog display case I teared upand just about lost it completley. Thinking I was being silly I looked around and noticed several other people my age with tears rolling down their face at the site of the frog. I hope Jim Henson knew how much he touched people.

  • val912

    val912 said 5 years ago

    I absolutely love the Muppets!! I miss Jim Henson. :(

  • TokyoTomo

    TokyoTomo said 5 years ago

    Awww I love Jim Henson and Fraggle Rock! Wish I could go to this exhibit. Thanks for posting this!

  • FranceGallery

    FranceGallery said 5 years ago

    The old Dragon clip is just great!

  • PointsArt

    PointsArt said 5 years ago

    Oh how I love the muppets so much. I walked down the aisle in my wedding to Kermit's "Rainbow Connection!" And I so relate to empathizing more with animated animals (or real animals for that matter) than humans. My husband thinks I'm a crazy person.

  • fbstudiovt

    fbstudiovt said 5 years ago

    Ok, as someone who studied puppetry in college (theater majors of the world unite!) I NEED to see this exhibit! Thanks for posting about this!!!

  • GlitzandPaper

    GlitzandPaper said 5 years ago

    I love the muppet show! It still makes me laugh hysterically! Jim Henson was a genius, there were joke I didn't get when I was a kid on that show that I get now! Can't forget fraggle rock!

  • ToBeLovely1

    ToBeLovely1 said 5 years ago

    I love the Muppets!

  • MarianneCollinsArt

    MarianneCollinsArt said 5 years ago

    Wonderful Great artist

  • Jashme

    Jashme said 5 years ago

    Love love love.

  • WalterSilva

    WalterSilva said 5 years ago

    Love this Blog post! so sweet!

  • MargaretMeyer

    MargaretMeyer said 5 years ago

    He is and will always be my hero.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 5 years ago

    Great! Graduated from RISD 1991 and wife was speaker! Such a wonderful, creative person! 1969 born along with Sesame Street!

  • baublesnfripperies

    baublesnfripperies said 5 years ago

    Wow! I want to see this exhibit!

  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads said 5 years ago

    I grew up with Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and Fraggles. I'm so grateful, that with DVD's and YouTube, and great vintage finds on Etsy, I can share his fantastic imagination with my daughters.

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 5 years ago

    I really liked reading the background of Jim Henderson and your view of his exhibition. I especially enjoyed the part where you were found in "Big Bird's" nest at 27 years old (when you went on the Sesame Street tour)! Hilarious! Thanks for sharing!

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana said 5 years ago

    His work is so amazing. He reached kids all around the world.

  • BeaumontStudio

    BeaumontStudio said 5 years ago

    More puppets, Where do I sign!? The opening song to Fraggle Rock sends a blast of puppet euphoria down my spine!

  • chewytulip

    chewytulip said 5 years ago

    MUPPETS! I am so excited. I think I just figured out what I want to do on my birthday this year! Thanks for posting this! :)

  • KrauseHaus

    KrauseHaus said 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I always loved and still do LOVE The Muppets. Miss Piggy was the original Diva ;o) Hi-Yaaaaa!

  • thesleepingdog

    thesleepingdog said 5 years ago

    warm fuzzy memories. ...

  • yourinnerpeacock

    yourinnerpeacock said 5 years ago

    All I ever wanted to be was a Muppiteer.....

  • yourinnerpeacock

    yourinnerpeacock said 5 years ago

    also I've made my dad cry twice in my life... When we danced to Rainbow Connection at my wedding, and this christmas... I gave him the first season of the Muppetshow and my entire extended family sat down and watched it.

  • MarshaNealStudio

    MarshaNealStudio said 5 years ago

    Love this!!!

  • beliz82

    beliz82 said 5 years ago

    I grow up watching Sesame Street !! Great article !!!

  • lemleonard

    lemleonard said 5 years ago

    I am MAD about all things Jim Henson and always dreamed of becoming a puppeteer as a child. My artwork is deeply influenced by the wild, feathered and brilliantly coloured creatures seen on the Muppet Show. I would love to one day, meet Jim Henson! It would be absolutely brilliant if the exhibition went global!!

  • tinyoyster

    tinyoyster said 5 years ago

    I am one seriously BIG Henson fan! This is such a good article, I would love to see the exhibition, bring it to England! Amazing work from an amazing man who has a huge influence on my work and inspired me from the age of about 2! :D

  • stephaniemonroe

    stephaniemonroe said 5 years ago

    What can I say about Jim Henson? He put the joy of childhood somewhere in my heart that will never die. Growing up with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and the rest of the gang, Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street of course, I felt as free as any child would to express myself without limit. It was okay to be different and not follow the norm. Creativity was a forefront and laughter right beside it. To this day I get super excited everytime I see or hear anything Jim Henson and love the fact that I can travel down memory lane with my daughter too.

  • TheWindowArtisan

    TheWindowArtisan said 5 years ago

    Great posts. Most people say Jim Henson made puppets. Sorry but to me he created personalities beautifully, textiles a medium.

  • BrooklynDigs

    BrooklynDigs said 5 years ago

    I love this blog entry! As a life-long Fraggle Rock and Emmett Otter fan, i am Making it a priority to go to the museum next week and check it out. RIP Jim Henson.

  • ericawalker

    ericawalker said 5 years ago

    Thanks for this. I too am a huge Henson admirer. I may just have to make the trip before the show leaves NY.

  • reinojacheguei

    reinojacheguei said 5 years ago

    I've always been a great fan of Henson work. Thanks for this post

  • wolfmansmummy

    wolfmansmummy said 5 years ago

    What a beautiful, gentle man he was. I always admired his work and ethics and still buy, sell and covet tiny muppets. They ALWAYS make me smile. Thank you!

  • KimsVintageDesigns

    KimsVintageDesigns said 5 years ago

    Growing up my favorites were Fraggle Rock, Emmet Otter & the Jugband Christmas and the Labyrinth. My children loved watching Sesame St. in the late 90's, as well. I'm not able to make it to the exhibit, but am thankful to Jim Henson for some great childhood memories and the ability to pass these on to my children and most likely, theirs.

  • TreasuryShop

    TreasuryShop said 5 years ago

    Great article, if anyone is interested I have a wonderful Big Bird cup in my shop. It is from Gorham Fine China produced a line of six Sesame Street cups.

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 5 years ago

    LOVE puppets and the muppets when I was a kid. I still love them. Great article.

  • Funklicious

    Funklicious said 5 years ago

    I have all seasons of the Muppets and Fraggle Rock on DVD. LOVE.

  • BoondockG

    BoondockG said 5 years ago

    Great read on a great artist.

  • tripperdungan

    tripperdungan said 5 years ago

    I watched a video of Bigbird speaking at his memorial and I cried. Jim Henson was so inventive I'm sure I underestimate his influence not only on my art but on my humor and morality. A beautiful person indeed.

  • unflappableproducts

    unflappableproducts said 5 years ago

    Excellent review and story-I am there! I am a big big Henson fan-you and I have a lot in common- (the tissues at animated movies!) I sometimes lose faith in our society's future but when I see this I still have hope..... Because his work is still loved and supported by so many and will live on.... hopefully forever!

  • mamif

    mamif said 5 years ago

    pure awesomeness

  • bittersweetz

    bittersweetz said 5 years ago

    In 8th grade we were given a year-long project to research a successful figure in a career that we would ultimately like to pursue. I chose Jim Henson, and 15 years later I still proudly stand by that choice. He is a master of creativity who has educated children and entertained adults alike (and has obviously inspired countless artists as well!) Thanks so much for the wonderful review. Now I just have to get myself to Queens! :)

  • designlab443

    designlab443 said 5 years ago

    I love JIm Henson, his work will last forever!

  • NowInTechnicolor

    NowInTechnicolor said 5 years ago

    What a fantastic article! I'm a big squid when it comes to all things Henson. Not only did I grow up watching a ton of their of tv shows/movies but have had family and friends that have worked for them as well! Heck, one of my friends is friends with one of Henson's daughters. Even with as jaded some people in the film industry can be I still know so many in the business (myself totally included) that still get giddy for Henson's characters. : D

  • BirdiesCozyNest

    BirdiesCozyNest said 5 years ago

    Fantastic! Thank you! :)

  • TheHookery

    TheHookery said 5 years ago

    My inspiration! Puppets and Muppets alike!

  • kirabiggs

    kirabiggs said 5 years ago

    All of his work is creative and unique but I particularly love Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. Those actually scared me a bit as a kid but I still loved them even then. Besides, I was named after the Gelfling - Kira. How awesome is that? =)

  • meowmrmanners

    meowmrmanners said 5 years ago

    I love this post! Thanks for writing about one of my favorite people. Love that man. I just finished my first polyfoam, muppet-style puppet back in March. I have no formal training, but I think he came out pretty good regardless! I understand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making one of these little guys...

  • Vikinglord

    Vikinglord said 5 years ago

    I was greatly influenced by his later work. When he started experimenting with dark folklore and mythology like in The Storyteller and Labyrinth. Jim Henson is still one of my heroes and his work will always be an inspiration to us all.

  • orleansapothecary

    orleansapothecary said 5 years ago

    what an endearing article! i have always adored jim henson and his muppets. my favourite is emmett otter's jugband christmas. it's like the gift of the magi, but set in the country with bluegrass music. the "outtakes" in the bonus features area are so funny. it really shows how much fun they all had doing their jobs. something that is very inspiring to a house full of artists. cheers, friends!

  • Vikinglord

    Vikinglord said 5 years ago

    As you can see, his influence still stands today. In this image from Jim Henson's workshop. The Halosians from the hit series Farscape are basically the same thing as the Skeksis from the Dark Crystal.

  • Vikinglord

    Vikinglord said 5 years ago

    Oops, forgot the pic...

  • timssally

    timssally said 5 years ago

    i saw this exhibit when it came to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock a few years ago. my favorite exhibit to date!! love this article.

  • midsummereve

    midsummereve said 5 years ago

    Watched the first Sesame Street when I was 4 years old, been hooked ever since. Jim Henson was a genius!!!

  • ShirlBCreations

    ShirlBCreations said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson was one of the greatest! I won't miss this exhibit.

  • andijoy10

    andijoy10 said 5 years ago

    I saw this exhibit twice when it was in Atlanta, I wish it could have stayed forever. His college posters and the short film made the biggest impact on me. I loved Kermit and company already, but I realized that my love of Kermit was actually a crush on Jim after seeing the exhibit.

  • RobotsAreAwesome

    RobotsAreAwesome said 5 years ago

    I saw the touring exhibit when it was here in Orlando, FL. Sad it didn't have more actual original muppets on display, but I was surprised at how big they were and all his graphic design work.

  • artworksbycarol

    artworksbycarol said 5 years ago

    Loved the MUPPET show evey week! Henson is so very creative.

  • bloodsweatandthread

    bloodsweatandthread said 5 years ago

    Visited the Kermit the frog museum in Leland, Mississippi. Very cool little place... Looks like somewhere Kermit would live(guess tha'ts why it's known as his birth place) and Jim's. Henson was and still is the man.

  • DixSterling

    DixSterling said 5 years ago

    Love the muppets. I had the extreme pleasure of working with Jim Henson's daughter several years ago - terrific lady. Duh, of course.

  • VintageZen

    VintageZen said 5 years ago

    what a great article. & what a genius he was!

  • peachlandvintage

    peachlandvintage said 5 years ago

    The love of my life.

  • StringUsAlong

    StringUsAlong said 5 years ago

    As a Wimbly groupie my heart jumped at seeing the fraggles on the front page. Oh to be in Queens! With two new grandbabies I can't wait to share my old video tapes of the fraggles!

  • TheGraveyardGirls

    TheGraveyardGirls said 5 years ago

    I'm such a fan <3 i grew up watching all of his shows! I really enjoyed seeing the sketches!

  • Ragsoul

    Ragsoul said 5 years ago

    Fraggle all the way

  • inthewineroom

    inthewineroom said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article and I agree the man was genius. So sad that I missed this exhibit when it was in Chicago

  • YourlittleCupcake

    YourlittleCupcake said 5 years ago

    The muppets are an inspiration fo my life. Thank you for posting this. I love the video too!

  • AdornmentsNYC

    AdornmentsNYC said 5 years ago

    This is in my neighborhood - can't wait to see it!

  • terribleterrier

    terribleterrier said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson - My Hero! Everyone should read the book, "It's Not Easy Being Green" -- it's just filled with his wisdom and inspiring ideas on creativity and . . . life!

  • haroldluvsmaude

    haroldluvsmaude said 5 years ago

    Thank you Jim, for contributing to the greatest childhood!!! I love you forever!!!

  • baublesandbeadles

    baublesandbeadles said 5 years ago

    Great article. I have loved Jim Henson's creative brilliance forever! So inspiring! His early death was a tremendous loss--we might have had another thirty years of his marvelous imaginings. I SO hope this exhibit makes its way to Toronto! P.S. Loved the videos!!!

  • acuriousbrood

    acuriousbrood said 5 years ago

    Henson is one of my heroes and I still want to marry Kermit.

  • fairycardmaker

    fairycardmaker said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson was brilliant. "... recognizing you may need therapy for empathizing more with animated animals than humans — there is probably some corner of your heart reserved for the adoration of Jim Henson’s Muppets." YOU SAID IT, SISTER!

  • MEtalTALent

    MEtalTALent said 5 years ago

    WOW...being so close to NY (PA) I can't wait to visit. Puppetry and animation teaches you so much without one even realizing it. It brings out emotions, inspiration,'s nice to see Jim's legacy lives on!

  • FunkyFriendsFactory

    FunkyFriendsFactory said 5 years ago

    awesome post - thanks. : )

  • quiltsource

    quiltsource said 5 years ago

    I know I loved Sesame Street as much or more than my little ones did! I asked "Why can't you watch Sesame Street, you're only 16!!!!!! " Hope the Jim Hensen exhibit comes to Michigan!!!! Loved loved loved the Muppets show and movies - my favorite character (other than Grover) is the Swedish Chef!!!

  • WiddenDream

    WiddenDream said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson is my hero!!!!!!! A truly inspirational man! His puppets shaped my childhood (and possibly most of my adulthood;). You are immortal to us Jim!!!!!!!

  • JewelsbyJasmin

    JewelsbyJasmin said 5 years ago

    Love this! Jim Henson was a genius and I miss him and his magic immensely!

  • Polyester10

    Polyester10 said 5 years ago

    LMAOOOOO i just watched the cheeps come out of the cheap coffee can in the old ads LMAOOOOOOO

  • Polyester10

    Polyester10 said 5 years ago

    i just watched the Cheeps come out of the Cheap coffee in the wilkins commercial! LMAOOOO

  • Polyester10

    Polyester10 said 5 years ago haha this is a continuation of the wilkins ads..theres a great one with ready set bang. lmaooo

  • DreamCake

    DreamCake said 5 years ago

    Oh how I wish that nightclub had been built. I'd have been a regular there! :D So much of my work is inspired by nostalgia from my childhood and the Muppets have a special little spot in my inspiration box.

  • teddydesigner58

    teddydesigner58 said 5 years ago

    What a wonderful gift he had for imagination. I grew up with Sesame Street with my daughters and now I have another chance with my grand daughter. She hasn't watched Fraggle Rock yet! I am a great fan of all the Muppet movies and so is my grand daughter. Kermit is our favorite. We, my grand daughter and I, are glad that the Henson legacy and inspiration for imagination continues. Long Live…lets pretend!!!

  • LaBellaJoya

    LaBellaJoya said 5 years ago

    You had me at Fraggle Rock...

  • SaffyPig2

    SaffyPig2 said 5 years ago

    Brilliant! Thanks for bringing back fond memories. Muppets Take Manhattan! "Together Again....."

  • FullMoonHarvestGifts

    FullMoonHarvestGifts said 5 years ago

    THE ONE AND ONLY!!!!!!

  • kamooki

    kamooki said 5 years ago

    Jim hanson is my favourite... I would have LOVED to get a tour in the jim hanson studios (a dream of mine). My favorite Movie is Labyrinth :) I just wished they had the "fantastic world" around california!

  • OraclesForest

    OraclesForest said 5 years ago

    I miss you Jim, Thanks for the cool tour.

  • Sublimations

    Sublimations said 5 years ago

    All hail The Muppets and Jim Henson! It is my personal mission to turn as many people into Muppets as I can, and I am VERY dedicated. This looks like the best reason I've ever had to go to Queens. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

  • beadparty

    beadparty said 5 years ago

    I LOVE the Muppets! Been a fan for a long ultimate favorite is Sesame Street's "Shiny Happy Monsters" with REM - totally awesome! Thanks for such a fun post -- I NEED to go visit Queens :)

  • staceyrebecca

    staceyrebecca said 5 years ago

    This was the first summer in a long line of summers that I've not been able to spend at least one week at a puppetry festival somewhere in the US. This exhibit came through Phoenix a few years ago and I had the honor of being guided through it by Dave Goelz. Glad you had a good experience and, YES! The world needs more puppets! If you can't visit the exhibit in Queens (or get out to Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts)--or even if you can, you likely have a lovely local puppet theater run by struggling puppeteers near you. Puppet theaters all over the US are suffering under the economy. Spend a morning watching a puppet show. There are even puppet shows for grown ups! Find a puppet slam near you & share in the joy of puppetry! :) *this has been a public service announcement paid for by the public service announcementville for puppetry awesomeness of love and glory forever amen*

  • lavenderlemon

    lavenderlemon said 5 years ago

    <3 thankyou

  • teetoo

    teetoo said 5 years ago

    How fortunate you were to see the show! I sure do hope it makes it to Canada! Thanks for a great article Chappell. Oh and in regards to the Sesame Street tour, who could resist jumping into Big Bird's nest? It seems to me, the natural thing to do :)

  • pouch

    pouch said 5 years ago

    you've got to love the Muppets!! I went to the Teddy Bear Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon when I was a kid and they had a Fozzie Bear puppet on display, he had a sign round his neck saying 'please do no touch' - I was 8 years old, he was one of my idols, so I touched his ear - who wouldn't??!

  • StampersCraftsGifts

    StampersCraftsGifts said 5 years ago

    Thanks so much for posting this, I love Jim Henson's work!

  • irishandmore

    irishandmore said 5 years ago

    This exhibit was here in our town for about 3 months, and it was fantastic! Truly it crosses all age and cultural barriers. See it if you can!

  • lilinspirations

    lilinspirations said 5 years ago

    Love it! I remember watching the muppets growing up. (does that date me?)

  • peacebird

    peacebird said 5 years ago

    Who knew Kermit was a coat frog :) The Muppets was my favorite show as a kid! I love all things Jim Henson including my favorite childhood movie The Dark Crystal!

  • RustBeltThreads

    RustBeltThreads said 5 years ago

    This is awesome! Thanks for posting.

  • SariJ

    SariJ said 5 years ago

    Thank you of reminding me of this exhibit! I saw it when it was in DC and it was wonderful. It was really inspiring and fun to look at all of his work.

  • DaveHulteenDesign

    DaveHulteenDesign said 5 years ago

    I am so excited to go....i can't wait, i consider myself the biggest Muppet fan ever.

  • skotkincreations

    skotkincreations said 5 years ago

    I saw the exhibition when it came to Orlando and it really was awesome. If you are in any way a Jim Henson fan, you should definitely check it out. And the new Muppet movie is coming out on my birthday!

  • Steampunkitis

    Steampunkitis said 5 years ago

    Yhea muppets! My kids were weaned on 'Fraggle Rock.'

  • EmuArtTile

    EmuArtTile said 5 years ago

    Excellent post! Who does not love muppets!

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 5 years ago

    Right here in Queens! I gotta go!

  • CharsPlainandFancy

    CharsPlainandFancy said 5 years ago

    When I was younger I crocheted some fingerpuppets of Sesame Street puppets I think they were pretty cute.

  • FatCatCrafts

    FatCatCrafts said 5 years ago

    I can't say enough great things about Jim Henson. Love him so much!! Such an inspiring person. Thanks for posting this!

  • Sylly

    Sylly said 5 years ago

    so I saw the exhibit when it was in boston. and I loved it I didnt like that i couldnt take pictures and there wasnt a exhibit book but it was amazing to see jim hensons evolution

  • mayasideas

    mayasideas said 5 years ago

    This is so fascinating! =)

  • loneindy

    loneindy said 5 years ago

    I miss Jim Henson. He added so much to this world.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    Ha ha thats great! I always loved Sesame Street when I was a kid, I hope this exhibition comes to the UK! :)

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading said 5 years ago

    very cool... thanks for sharing!

  • YellowBugBoutique

    YellowBugBoutique said 5 years ago

    Thanks so much for this wonderful article. I have loved Henson's work ever since I fell in love with Rowlf...I know that really dates me. I often wonderful if he had lived longer, what other great creations he would have given us. Such an incredibly talented man!

  • ChereneZ

    ChereneZ said 5 years ago


  • JennyBaio

    JennyBaio said 5 years ago

    I adore Jim Henson. I remember where I was when I heard on the radio he had died. So sad! :( I too grew up watching Sesame Street and The Muppets. Wish I could see the exhibit. This was a wonderful post! Thank you!!

  • MyBirdieDesigns

    MyBirdieDesigns said 5 years ago

    Looking forward to taking my daughter who is almost five to the exhibit!

  • JakeFSullivan

    JakeFSullivan said 5 years ago

    Great post, I love the sketches!

  • 425sqftart

    425sqftart said 5 years ago

    i love this article!! i've recently been revisiting sesame street with my 22 month old daughter (& i think i watched it with my mom even in high school!!)'s the best! also memories of the muppet show and fraggle rock are deep in my heart! yea! gotta add this exhibit to my list of things to see!:)

  • poba

    poba said 5 years ago

    Henson brought such a magical world to life with his puppets. I can't wait to introduce my son to them when he is old enough. Thanks for putting this article together!

  • afternoontees

    afternoontees said 5 years ago

    Moving to NYC in a week and now I can't wait to visit this museum!!

  • JoMacJewels

    JoMacJewels said 5 years ago

    What a talent Jim Henson had. He added so much fun and excitement to all of our worlds. He will be sadly missed by so many , but what a legacy he left behind. If you love puppets and "make believe" don't miss this exhibit.

  • GenniandGina

    GenniandGina said 5 years ago

    I saw a small exhibit of his original Muppets in the Smithsonian in DC in June that I was so excited to see. Looking at this tour schedule, it doesn't seem to be the same show, but it was nice all the same.

  • StrayNabeeVintage

    StrayNabeeVintage said 5 years ago

    oh my goodness, that video is great..although I am not so sure using scare tactics to sell La Choy is the best idea. It sure is funny thought.

  • JonEicher

    JonEicher said 5 years ago

    I used to work with Barbra Davis who was Jim Henson's costume designer. She did Miss Piggy's outfits and Kermits and really everybody in the Muppet's. Also, she designed the costumes for The Dark Crystal and the other movies too. I got to have long talks with her about her experiences working with the Muppets and her affection for Jim Hensons vision and him and his family. She was an incredibly talented individual who worked for Jim Henson for nearly 30 years. Sadly she passed away a few years ago. A very sweet individual who has been missed along with Jim Henson. So whenever you see a Muppet show or film or character remember Barbra Davis as the genuis behind all those amazing puppet outfits, costumes and clothes.

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 5 years ago

    I love Jim Henson! I grew up on Sesame Street, my favorite character was Snuffy. And I absolutely love Fraggle Rock and still watch it! (Thank you to the Hub on Charter cable!). And who could forget the Muppets! Kermit and Miss Piggy - amazing! Did you know that there's a new Muppet's movie coming out? The Muppets take Manhattan is one of my all time favorite movies, so I cannot wait for this new film! Trailer time!

  • thestapeliacompany

    thestapeliacompany said 5 years ago

    That Chow Mein dragon ad gets me every time. Bahaha. Nice.

  • amysoldschool

    amysoldschool said 5 years ago

    Fabulous post! My son loves watching to old Muppet Show! One morning first thing he needed a Fozzy Bear made that second! Luckily my mom was watching him that day and took over the task! Jim Henson is a fabulous inspiration for my 8 year old story teller extraordinaire!

  • ShawnBoenArt

    ShawnBoenArt said 5 years ago

    I love puppets .... especially sock puppets. Let your imagination go. But Mr. Henson was at the top of his game. And look at all that he created and the legacy he has left behind. Simply amazing.

  • LetThemEatPie

    LetThemEatPie said 5 years ago

    I love this and am so glad you made a post about it. His innovative ability was really second to none and it was sad we had to lose him so early. Many things are now lost to the abilities that computers have. The labyrinth will forever be my favorite movie, I could watch it at least one a month for life.

  • feltingdreams

    feltingdreams said 5 years ago

    haha I love tihis!! great Jim!

  • MidnightMoonCeltic

    MidnightMoonCeltic said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson was genius! Fraggle Rock was our daughter's and grandaughter's favorite show!

  • MomMind

    MomMind said 5 years ago

    Thank you

  • jdfootloose

    jdfootloose said 5 years ago

    Awesome story, Thank you!

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 5 years ago


  • TheRavensDaughter

    TheRavensDaughter said 5 years ago

    Jim Henson made the world a better place :)

  • spanishbelle

    spanishbelle said 5 years ago

    I'm so glad you blogged about this - I now will book a flight to get there (not using Delta, though) to see the exhibition. I as well raised my little ones on Sesame Street and was thrilled when my grandson was 3 and used the opportunity to dance and twirl to the Count's number song "Doing the Batty Bat" so that he could count with me and have fun at the same time. I have a collectible Kermit Bank which sits near my computer that I look at from time to time that my adult friends just love. The thrills that Jim and Frank offered us, the opportunities to dreamscape with them and just making cookies in the shape of Cookie Monster for my grandchilren allows the child in my to relive those wonderful, awesome days! Just recently, someone posted a want it ad for several Sesame Street characters so that she could make a groomsman cake as several of those men were puppeteers and she wanted as many characters as possible to put on each layer of the cake! Whimsy as an adult is the best medicine! I so enjoyed this article!!!!!!

  • amystreasuresattic

    amystreasuresattic said 5 years ago

    I just ran across this. I saw it when it was still in Chicago last year, went to the Museum of Science and Industry on their last free admission day of the year, which happened to be my birthday. this exhibit was well worth the extra admission because it was so fantastic! It was great strolling down memory lane with my friends, all my age (which was late 30s and early 40s). The exhibit was simply wonderful! Everyone needs to see it when it comes to their town.

  • icenidesign

    Andrew from DrewsNiceART said 3 years ago

    Perhaps you would like to see how an Etsy artist makes his own puppets for virtually nothing? Try Great for kids and grownups . . . just make up a play too. Let me know how it goes at my shop . . . DrewsniceART

Sign in to add your own