Okay, so technically I’m a day late. And it took Google to tell me. But yesterday was Jim Henson’s 75th birthday.
In case you don’t know me, I deeply love the Muppets. I spent my childhood watching Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, and I sincerely credit a lot of my sense of humor to watching the peculiar, clever, slightly twisted humor that was the hallmark of the Muppets (also, they forever ruined some great classic songs for me – never again will I be able to hear ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ without thinking of a big monster singing it to the little Muppet he just ate.) I have also never found a better description of myself than “a Gonzo with Miss Piggy envy.”
Jim Henson, to me, is one of those people whose work is interwoven so deeply with my own life I am quite simply unable to imagine what I would have turned out like without it. He died far younger than seems fair, with already such a breadth of incredibly creative output it’s impossible not to wonder what he would have continued to create.
Luckily, I am not the only one who is a major Jim Henson fan – the fine creative folk over at Google apparently are as well. And, as they are fine creative folk indeed, they created a doodle in Jim Henson’s honor that was pretty frickin’ awesome. Together with the folks at the Jim Henson creature lab, they made an animated google doodle that you could puppeteer yourself. Of course, me being an appreciator of creative things and people more than a creative person myself, I played around with it for a while, googled some of my favorite Pepe The Prawn moments, looked at a sad photo of Kermit looking at a photo of Jim Henson (I’ll put it at the bottom of the post – it will make you cry, I warn you), and generally sulked for a while, pitying myself and the world for no longer having Jim Henson around. But luckily for me and the world, there are more creative people still out there, who saw the doodle and made super-clever little videos like this:
And it seems to me like the continuing presence of creative people being inspired by the work of Jim Henson is ultimately the best possible tribute. So happy birthday, Jim Henson. You are missed.
P.S. The Museum of the Moving Image has a great exhibit on Jim Henson happening right now – info is here. It’s so much more than the Muppets (although they’re in there too) and well worth a visit.