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Jim Henson's Early years of success

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by mupcollector1, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    I was just curious about a couple of things. When Jim went to college at The University of Maryland, was Jim a business major? How did Sam & Friends happen? Some sort of project for Home Makers, what was this? I think I remember this from the People Magazine Documentry from 1999 or 2000s. Was Sam & Friends only seen in the Washington DC area or was it also shown in New York? If S&F was shown in NY, was that how The Muppets got the deal with regular appearances with The Today Show? And how did Jim get into commercials and start Muppets Inc?
  2. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Sam and Friends was only seen in the Washington, D.C. area. The Muppets' first national television appearance was on The Tonight Show. Not sure how they got to become national. Maybe it was word-of-mouth popularity from Washington, D.C.

    I don't know what led to Jim being offered his own five-minute timeslot. He had been performing in the Washington, D.C. area for a year when Sam and Friends began, on the short-lived Junior Good Morning Show and such local programs as Footlight Theater and Afternoon. Perhaps the puppet segments on those shows were popular enough to justify giving Jim his own show (I doubt he pitched Sam and Friends; he only got into puppetry in the first place to be on TV).
  3. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    So was Footlight Theater and Afternoon before Sam & Friends? I always figured that after The Junior Good Morning Show Jim put things on hold for awhile when he went to College, well except for his projects within his Puppetry class where he meet Jane of course. Also was he a Business major? I knew that Jim wanted to figure out art and business for awhile before looking into the TV medium like cartooning in his College paper and having a small poster business I believe within either his high school or college years. Because I remember seeing in the book "Jim Henson: The Works" there was an advert poster with Jim's old number on it.

    I always figured that if Jim never did puppetry, he would still create some sort of art within film and television and if those mediums didn't exist, he would still be an artist either way. I always had this theory on the back of my mind for some reason. Plus Jim was going to quit The Muppets near the middle of Sam & Friend's success to figure out what to do for business in his adulthood. Because at first he didn't see it would be likely to do puppetry since no one did it before him except for maybe Edger Berdan and Bob Clampett within the television medium. So I guess he went to Europe for awhile to get away from everything and that's when he discovered adult puppetry for the very first time and realized here's adults doing this for a living and the rest is history.

    It seems that whenever Jim needed a rest from the busy world around him, Jim would travel to clear his mind. Perhaps that was an interest of his. And of course within his success, he could easily afford it. I remember reading something about when he moved out of his Connecticut home in the early 1970s and I think it was shown on Jim's Red Book blog on Henson.com and what amazed me was this house was like luxury and big. So he must have really succeed financially a great deal with the commercials and TV spots as well as Sesame Street which was just blooming into a huge success within it's own right.

    I remember hearing Jerry Juhl saying that Jim succeed big within his early years unlike most artists stories coining the ol' frase "starving artist" and Jim was the total opposite when he started out. It's amazing. I think Jim was just in the right place and at the right time, because certainly in this generation, it's harder to an artist to get something original off the ground but in the 50s there was so much comedy and pop culture that was around. Looney Tunes was still in the theaters, TV just came out not long ago and was nation wide as how ipods are in this generation perhaps, I Love Lucy was big, and the whole artsy beatnik counter culture coming about as well.

    And didn't Jim already have a royals voice, some sort of expensive car, he had a few didn't he in his college years alone? I remember hearing Jim having a strong interest in cars, even in the 70s he had a Kermit car and I guess it got stolen as a get away car but he got it back shortly after. I don't remember where I read that one, but I think Jim's Red Book blog has the pictures. It's a cool car. :) And I'm sure most of us would love to own something similar. :) lol


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