Friday, September 23, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Henson

Jim Henson would have been 75 this weekend.  My sister and I had really strict bedtimes up through high school.  But we were allowed to watch "The Muppet Show".  We watched it, usually as a family, in the family room on a black and white TV.  (No, I am not that old, we had a color TV, it just lived in my parents room.  I thought Big Bird was grey when I was a kid. My mother thinks this is hilarious.)  One of the first things we did when we got a VCR (okay, I am that old) was tape episodes of "The Muppet Show").  My sister and I watched them over and over. 
We went to see "The Muppet Movie" and "The Dark Crystal" both of which I loved.  (I did not run across "Labyrinth" until some kids I was babysitting discovered I had never seen it and made me watch.  Thanks, guys!) When my sister and I began taping other shows of interest to us, many of "The Muppet Show" episodes got taped over.  (We had permission, but my mother immediately regretted granting it.  Yes, she has the DVD now.)
We also watched "Fraggle Rock" and "Muppet Babies".
I remember reading an article once, where he said that kids were like garbage disposals, they take whatever you give them.  But he didn't mean that as an insult, more, I think he meant that kids take time to develop taste, and using "the kids seem to like it" as an excuse to give them mediocre shows is silly.
My mother was particularly heartbroken when he died, and watched the celebration of his life that was televised, but confessed if they had Big Bird read anything sad, she might not be able to take it.  (I don't believe Big Bird did.  Although Brian reading the letter was pretty affecting.) 
Legacies come in all shapes and sizes, but I think by any measure we can agree that Mr. Henson gave us a good bit of entertainment.

"The most sophisticated people I know - inside they are all children." - Jim Henson