Tag Archives: Jim Henson

Thoughts On the 40th anniversary of The Muppet Movie

There are certain movies that no matter how old you get, they instantly take you back to childhood.

One of those films is The Muppet Movie. This year is the film’s 40th anniversary.

Kermit the Frog (voiced by the late Jim Henson) is happily living in his swamp, dreaming of the day when he is a star in Hollywood. While playing on his banjo and singing his signature song “Rainbow Connection“, an agent approaches Kermit about pursuing a career in show business. Intrigued by the idea, he leaves his swamp and heads to Los Angeles.

On route to California, Kermit meets his soon to be best friends: Miss Piggy (voiced by Frank Oz), Fozzie Bear (also voiced by Frank Oz) and The Great Gonzo (Dave Goelz). He also meets Doc Hopper (the late Charles Durning), who will do anything to convince Kermit to be the spokes-frog for his Frog Legs chain restaurant.

This movie has humor, heart, nostalgia and of course, one of greatest final numbers of any movie musical.

I think it says something that decades after a film is released, it is remembered as fondly as The Muppet Movie is. It has entertained four decades of young audiences; I hope that it entertains young audiences for decades to come.

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Throwback Thursday-Fraggle Rock (1983-1987)

Many of us associate our childhood memories with Jim Henson productions.

In the early 1980’s, he broke away from his well known characters, The Muppets, to create a new world and a new group of characters. Fraggle Rock was on the air from 1983-1987.

Fraggle Rock is about creatures who live in a wall behind the home of Doc and his dog, Sprocket called Fraggles. Living with the Fraggles are Doozers. They all go to the Trash Heap for guidance while one of the Fraggles is exploring the world of humans and writes back to his family.

This show is an integral part of my early years. It was educational without the young audience knowing it (which is the point of this type of programming). It was also fun to watch.

I recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday-Labyrinth (1986)

Babysitting from the outside looking in, appears to be simple. But it is not so simple, especially when the baby one is baby sitting will not stop crying.

In the 1986 movie, Labyrinth, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is not happy about being forced to babysit her baby brother. When the baby is unable to stop crying, she makes a wish to the Goblin King, Jareth (the late David Bowie) to take away her brother, her wish is granted. Sarah quickly regrets her decision and asks Jareth to return her brother. But Jareth refuses and Sarah has until midnight to rescue her brother. If she does not, he will become a goblin. Teaming up with fantastical creatures, can Sarah rescue her brother?

What makes this movie stand out for me is not just the fact that it is Jim Henson film, but that David Bowie, as both an actor and a musician has a unique take on his role. If he was just an actor and not a musician, the role would have come across differently on-screen. I also appreciate that the female lead is not the typical female lead who follows the typical narrative.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Muppet Triple Feature-The Muppet Show (1976-1981), Muppet Treasure Island (1996) & Muppet Babies (1984-1991)

The Muppets, created by the late Jim Henson, have been in our lives since 1955.

The first incarnation of the Muppets I am going to talk about tonight is The Muppet Show (1976-1981). Setup in a variety format that was popular with audiences of the era, the show mixed skits, the various muppet personalities and the featured celebrity guest of the week.

For it’s time, the show was entertaining, well made and kept audiences coming back for five years. Not bad for a show where the main characters are made of cloth and string.

In 1996, in an attempt to mix classic literature with the muppets, Muppet Treasure Island was born.

Sometimes in an attempt to educate and simultaneously entertain, one or both elements are lost in the mix. In the case, both are lost.

Finally, for  those of us who remember the 80’s through the fog of childhood, Muppet Babies (1984-1991) brings back fond memories.

Taking the muppets and shrinking their world to the size of pre-schoolers, this show was part of the lexicon of the then very young generation.

Do I recommend all three? The first and third for nostalgia’s sake, yes. The second, I could easily pass on.

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