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If Jim hadn't died in 1990

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by Quesal, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. Quesal

    Quesal Active Member

    Hey Gang! I just thought of somethng so...well...I can't really think of the word for it, but here goes.

    Has anyone ever stopped and wondered how different the Muppets' world would be if Jim hadn't died in 1990?
    Would Christmas Carol or Treasure Island have been made?
    Would Muppets Tonight have even existed?
    Would Pepe still be here?
    All these new projects and characters that came into existance after Jim's death...

    Can you imagine them still happening if Jim were still alive or do you think The Muppets would ahve gone down a completely different road with the big boss still in charge? Think about it. Awkward, isn't it...
  2. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    The only thing that comes to my mind is Disney...

    My thinking that if he were still with us (assuming everything still happened like the titles you mentioned), then I'm thinking he might sue Disney for breach of contract for being "all talk and no do", similar to what Ross Bagdasarian Jr. did when he sold The Chipmunks to Universal after they promised him they'd make them bigger than they ever were before, and all they did was make two monster-themed movies.

    Meanwhile, look at what all Disney claimed they were going to do with the muppets... they told us new TV shows, specials, things like that, and what have we gotten? Just The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, and that's it. I still don't believe this new movie they're talking about making, I still say it's another empty promise.
  3. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    One Frogboy's Opinion (and it is just an opinion)

    After many successes, Jim Henson had finally started to lose some of his touch before he died. The Henson Hour just didn't work to the benefit of fans, the material, the Muppets, the network or even Jim it appears. Labyrinth underperformed and he just couldn't wrap his mind around why that happened. :sympathy:

    American and global tastes were changing and he was figuring that out. I think Jim would have his fingerprints all over the internet, technology and...I think he would have had some deals with Pixar. Jim was very interested in animation toward the end of his life including Muppet Show characters (not as babies) in an animated feature.

    He just wanted to create, and create things away from the Muppets. He wanted Disney to handle the property and just pop back in when a project rolled around, make his tweaks, perform and move on to non puppet or fantasy projects. :scary:

    Muppet Christmas Carol would have happened, but it would likely have been a little lighter and different. Treasure Island is anyone's guess. I think Jim would have liked the idea, but not to follow Carol. It would have probably come later. Muppets From Space either wouldn't have happened or it would have been an entirely different film. We all know that he'd have respected Jerry's script.

    Muppets Tonight could have happened. I think it would have played very much like the Henson Hour with Kermit in the background and I still think it would have had some trouble. Pepe would be around. Bill Barretta was a friend of Brian's so I'm certain he'd be working with Jim and the Muppets and have his Pepe character, but he'd be reeled in a little bit more.

    Jim and Eisner got along. Who knows if it would have lasted, but Jim had a way with people. Remember that Jim Henson would be turning 72 this September. His pace would have naturally slowed down a little. He would basically have had his own production company under Disney's banner to do with what he pleased. This would have likely included:

    Numerous fantasy films and TV projects
    Attempts at live action/non puppet fare
    Muppet TV projects and films
    A Muppet animated film
    Internet technology projects
    Theme park attractions with the Muppets and Fraggles
    Likely Fraggle and other cable projects for Disney Channel

    Sesame Street, as a separate entity from Disney, would have Elmo and many of the newer characters of today but it would remain an ensemble. There would be no Elmo's World. Frank would have likely left Sesame and the Muppets anyway (first in dubbing performances then eventually like today).

    Anyway, from the bits and scraps I have learned over the years this is where he seemed to be going. The Muppets would always be around, but Disney would maintain them so he could do everything he'd always wanted with his own healthily funded production company. :zany:
  4. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    It seems to me that the Jim was trying to figure out what would work with the Muppets characters by the late years. I think that the Dark crystal really affected how he felt a whole lot. But it seems like he had simply had just lost as much interest in doing the Muppet's as much he used too and was looking towards doing other kinds of things. I think that a lot of new talent would have come about like it did just as it had during the Jim Henson hour. I defiantly agree that he would have that he would have taken advantage of technology and had a major interest in it.
  5. matleo

    matleo Active Member

    you know somebody posted the pitch tape for JHH on youtube the other day and watching it, it struck me just how ambitious Jim was and how many ideas he had. I know it's a term that gets thrown around a lot but Jim really was a visionary and the Muppets were just a small part of that vision. if you look at his career everything was a springboard to what was next. there really is a logical progression from the commercials to sesame, to the Muppets, to DC, to Fraggles, to JHH.

    Jim was always looking to the future and I think what gets lost in looking at his legacy is exactly how far ahead of the game he was. Look at Waldo in JHH and Muppetvision. he was created in '88 and then about five years later you have films like Jurassic Park and toy Story and whatever else and there's this fear that computer animation was going to replace practical effects (Yoda for example). I think Jim saw that and was preparing for it. He was finding his place.

    I don't think Jim would have sued Disney because I think Disney (then) would have done more with the characters and I think Jim would have more a part of it. I think that was really what Disney was looking for. I don't think they really wanted the Muppets as much as they wanted Jim. I don't think (more recently) they wanted Pixar as much as they wanted John Lasseter.

    As for projects like MCC, MTI, and Muppets Tonight...I dunno. I think they would have happened in some form, but they would certainly be very different.

    --Matt
  6. Speed Tracer

    Speed Tracer Well-Known Member

    It's interesting to think of whether or not Jim would ever direct a movie at Pixar. That would be one heck of a movie.
  7. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Hmm, these are really interesting, though a bit morbid. ;) Personally, I wonder if he didn't die in 1990, would he have already passed away by now, or would he still be alive?
  8. SSLFan

    SSLFan Well-Known Member

    Hmmm...I think he'd still be alive. He would probably live to be 86 or something.
  9. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    Well he was 53 when he died so he could of been still around today.
  10. bobhopesite

    bobhopesite Active Member

    If Jim was still alive he'd be 71.
  11. Bill Bubble Guy

    Bill Bubble Guy Active Member

    Yes he certainly could possibly still have been with us today.
  12. Xerus

    Xerus Active Member

    I also wondered if Jim hadn't died, would he have organized an honorable funeral for Richard Hunt?
  13. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member


    It's awkward, but you could say the same thing about most pop cultural geniuses who have passed on too young. Perfect example: what if John Lennon and George Harrison were still alive? Would the Beatles ever reunite, what kind of music would they be making today and so forth.

    I have been happy with many efforts from the Muppets/Henson company since Jim's passing and I've also been as equally disappointed too.

    The sad fact is, I don't know if it's so much that a great icon like Jim isn't with us anymore more than it is that how much has the WORLD and especially the pop culture/media world changed since? I think if Jim were alive today though he would've probably been fascinated with current technology and still would incorporate the old with the new styles of puppetry.

    It reminds me of something I heard about Lou Costello of Abbott & Costello fame. His daughter was interviewed awhile back about what her father would've thought of the state of Hollywood and the movies today. She said he would've been fascinated with DVD technology that you could own these movies and watch them over and over. Something we take for granted now but back then it would've been a HUGE breakthrough.
  14. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    I agree. I've always been very interested in Jim's early work and everytime I attend these retrospective things at the local museums in NYC and even the Huntington event last summer, I am AWED by how much his mind was always going creatively and like you said was looking towards the future.

    I recently obtained a copy of his early film "The Cube" and it is one of the most brilliant projects I've seen him do. No puppetry, no Muppet characters, and yet the story and the characters were top notch and it reminded me very much of the original Twilight Zone episodes. Like Rod Serling (another true creative genius), Jim saw a new medium of entertainment (television) and took it to the next level and ran with wild ideas that made for great viewing.

    YET, in this particular film you still saw his wacky humor step through and things you would see used on the Muppet Show later on. I think if Jim were around today he'd be not only trying to produce different kinds of feature films but would be producing very interesting independent projects, like someone here said, internet projects and the possibilities are endless.

    That's why I get so annoyed when people TO THIS DAY only associate Jim with Kermit and Sesame Street and cutesy kids stuff. Jim had so much other creative energies to give and it's sad we'll never see the results of that.
  15. Kuriboh Man

    Kuriboh Man Active Member

    If Jim was still alive he would still be active with the muppets like Carol Spinney.
  16. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    Could you imagine the Muppets in Pixar form. I think that is the kind of stuff we would be looking at.

    I will tell you one thing for sure. If Jim was still with us the Muppets would have never faded from the public eye. They would still be as popular today as they were during thier glory years.
  17. Kuriboh Man

    Kuriboh Man Active Member

    Mickey Mouse wasn't like this when Walt Disney Died.
  18. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    You are absolutely right. But Disney has found a way to keep Mickey in the spotlight which they could do with Kermit too if they really wanted to.
  19. Kuriboh Man

    Kuriboh Man Active Member

    I just hope they do.......
  20. unclematt

    unclematt Active Member

    Hopefully the new movie will pull them out of thier trunks and they will rise to above thier performers heads once again and stay where they belong


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