Jim Henson Died 22 Years Ago Today

Today is the anniversary of Jim Henson’s death. As odd as it sounds, its one of those childhood events that I still remember very clearly. I came home from the second grade and my mother told me; the news devastated me. To this day, I still find it upsetting. For today’s post, I’m going to share some interesting things about Henson and his legacy.

  1. One of the most interesting parts of Henson’s legacy is the “Red Book”, a journal that he recorded single-line entries about his life from 1965 through 1988. The Jim Henson Company regularly shares entries that give a glimpse into that area where his personal and professional life intersected.
  2. The Walt Disney Company announced on February 17, 2004 that it was buying the Muppets from JHC, but did you know that in the early 1980s there were reports that Henson was investigating purchasing WDC? I’ve read several mentions of this in books about Disney. It’s amazing to consider what direction that company would have went under Henson’s control.
  3. Kermit may be synonymous with the Muppets, but it was actually Rowlf the Dog who was the first Muppet, debuting on the September 19, 1963 episode of the Jimmy Dean Show.
  4. Henson made several training films/videos for companies over the years. Cookie Monster debuted in this clip that was made specifically for an IBM presentation.
  5. Have you ever wondered what kind of stationary Jim Henson used? Letterheady has collected the various letterheads that Henson used over the years.
  6. The television show Dinosaurs came from an idea that Henson had worked on and off over the years.

Great Covers #1

I kind of got bored doing the Splash Page Saturdays feature, but was looking for quick things to blog about on Saturdays, so how about cool covers? Check out the alternate cover of Archaia’s Fraggle Rock #1 by Jeremy Brown.

This cover has Uncle Traveling Matt, a Fraggle who ventured outside of their caves to explore “outer space”, which is what Fraggles consider the human world. Occasionally he would come to visit, but mostly he was featured in segments like the following  where he would send back postcards to the Fraggles about what he had discovered.

So its only fitting that his comic book cover has him exploring the outer space social construct known as the comic book store. I can only imagine the remarks he would have had, like the people who buy the books but never read them, or the fans who go online to complain about everything.

Uncle Traveling Matt was one of my favorite Fraggles, due in part to the ridiculousness of his scenes and that I had a really awesome stuffed toy of him that went on many adventures with me as a child. He may have been a stuffed animal, but he came with a functioning backpack and a plastic safari hat.

Now that’s awesome.

Jim Henson’s Time Piece

Have you ever seen this? It’s a clip of Jim Henson’s short film Time Piece from way back in 1966. This Academy Award nominated film was Henson’s attempt at experimental film-making. Although its intentionally disjointed in its visual collage format, you can see that there is a narrative being told. To this day, I still have no idea what’s going on, but I know its surreal. And clearly there is a message about the passing of time in it.

I think I first saw this film in its entirety as a kid on PBS and I was really freaked out, especially the scenes of them painting the elephant.

Here’s some really cool behind-the-scenes footage on the project and its impact.

The Jim Henson Company has made Time Piece available for purchase on iTunes. It’s worth checking out. Henson and MuppetWiki have a bunch of information, production shots and promotional materials from the project as well.

So how does this work its way into comics?

Well in the late 1960s, Henson and longtime head writer Jerry Juhl worked on adapting an idea Henson had written a screenplay called A Tale of Sand that was never produced.

This story has been unearthed and is going to be published as a graphic novel, A Tale of Sand is being released by Archaia Comics as an original graphic novel with art by Ramón Pérez.

So what’s it about? According to Archaia’s press release

A Tale of Sand follows scruffy everyman Mac, who wakes up in an unfamiliar town, and is chased across the desert of the American Southwest by all manners of man and beast of unimaginable proportions.


Well that sounds like fun. Count me in! This will be available this fall.