- Aug 13, 2014
- Reaction score
I don't Think It was just about money with Henson's Kids there points about Whitmire thinking he owned the Character and only he could be Kermit were valid. let me point something out, we all Love the people who are behind the Muppets they are more then just puppets they are a big emotional part of our lives, but We really don't know Whitmire Personally or any Muppeteer for that matter. For all we know Whitmire really is a Jerk. Henson's kids do know him personally they would know way better then us...You know, I've heard just about all I can stomach.
First of all, I stand by Steve Whitmire in all of this.
Like it or not, he was chosen to take over Kermit The Frog. According to Jane Henson via TV Guide's issue from November 1990:
"When Jim was alive, he said if anything happened to him, Kermit must go on right away. Because of Kermit's significant place, Jim had essentially chosen who he thought could do it (Steve Whitmire). But we don't want to say who it is before the show (The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson). The performer needs time. Kermit won't come back so strong at first. Then little by little, he will get his whole personality back."
Jim Henson was an excellent judge of both character and talent. He knew what he was doing. By entrusting Kermit into Steve's hands, Jim was basically saying, 'Steve's a great, talented guy. There is no one I trust more to take care of Kermit than Steve.'
So all of this vitriol and slander by the Henson children and Disney executives is completely unbelievable, and I can't believe there are those in the fan community who would doubt Steve Whitmire's character when stamped with Jim Henson's glowing approval. Even after Cheryl's vicious Facebook comments, for instance, Steve took the moral high ground, told his fans not to judge her harshly, and refused to sling out any choice insults of his own.
Brian Henson has said that he wanted to replace Steve as early as the mid-1990's, but didn't. Why? Maybe it was because there truly was no action on Steve's part to warrant it, besides for sour grapes on Brian's part that his father chose Steve to carry on with Kermit and not him. Also, maybe it had to do with the fact that Brian's mother, Jane Henson, stood in the way for she would stand behind Jim's decision and Steve. When she passed away in April 2013, it was only a matter of time...
They may bear the surname of Henson and have been raised by Jim, but that does NOT make the Henson children the topmost authority on The Muppets and what their father would have wanted, and they certainly aren't behaving like they were raised by Jim Henson. Jim never would have allowed greed to cloud his mind so that he'd throw a longstanding colleague and friend under the bus, or to slander said friend from high heaven to low ****. Would he?
They may have worked with their father on various projects in the past, but they would always end up going off to do their own things while people like Steve Whitmire remained constant and worked long hours beside Jim in the trenches. Who better than one like Steve to fully know Jim's vision and wishes for his creations?
By Steve's own admission,
"For me the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life. This is my life’s work since I was 19 years old. I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit or any of the others because to do so would be to forsake the assignment entrusted to me by Jim Henson, my friend and mentor, but even more, my hero."
The Muppets weren't just money signs to Steve Whitmire as they seem to certainly have been for the Henson children. Jim died and his legacy fell into their hands, and... they didn't want to be bothered protecting it, nurturing it as their father had, but to hack it to pieces, take a chunk for themselves and then sell the classic Muppets (and other parts) to the highest bidder regardless if they had The Muppets' best interest at heart or not. For someone like their father who had been so careful in his negotiations with Disney before his death, and then for his children to do what they did after was so disrespectful, akin to spitting on his legacy. But through ALL of it, Steve Whitmire and others like him stuck with the Muppets and looked after them as best as they could. While the Henson children disconnected themselves from The Muppets, Steve Whitmire couldn't have been more connected. He took his role as Kermit's protector and defender of Jim's legacy very seriously -- and while being in the thick of it and with eyes to see what Disney wanted to do with The Muppets, to make them say and do things so unbelievably out-of-character, he defended them. After so many years and with a dwindling force behind him (the death of Jerry Nelson, Jerry Juhl, Jane Henson, etc. -- ALL who could vouch for Jim's vision like he and fight beside him), frustration on Steve's part wouldn't be unwarranted. He truly did fall like a samurai, wielding his sword with every ounce of strength he possessed.
Where were the Henson children during this? While Steve and those like him within the maelstrom were fighting to keep The Muppets intact, the Henson children truly didn't seem to care. Would Jim have behaved the same way? Ask yourself that.
Steve Whitmire defended Jim's vision and Jim's legacy not just for Jim or himself, but for US. This in mind, I have been reading comments all over the internet regarding his dismissal and for the most part, the comments seem unappreciative and selfish. 'As long as Kermit sounds the same...' 'It's the Muppets who are most important...' 'Well, I never really liked Steve's portrayal anyway...' As long as there's no perceived difference in your bubble of Muppetdom... No matter that someone has dedicated his life to and sacrificed his livelihood for the sake of Jim and his creation... But, sure, go ahead and be dismissive and disloyal to Steve who has been nothing but loyal to us and Jim. Were it Jim Henson who Disney execs had fired for fighting for the integrity of the Muppets, would all of you be reacting the same way? Would a petition struggle to even reach 1500 signatures, or would it be filled with millions? Would you all be waiting to reserve judgment until the next "Muppet Thought of The Week" -- "Meh, that's just business" if the new performer does well in your eyes, or "Oh, no! I don't like it and my Muppet world is imploded! We need Jim back!" if he doesn't? That's self-serving.
I have no ill will towards Matt Vogel and know that he's a wonderful puppeteer and wishes to do right by Jim Henson. But this is NOT his time.
I also understand that money is a factor and puppeteers need it to pay their bills, keep food in their bellies and a roof over their heads... I don't blame the puppeteers in this whole mess. But were it a perfect world, even Jim Henson's world, the entire puppeteer community would honour Jim's wishes and flatly refuse to take over The Frog and insist that Steve Whitmire be reinstated.
Did you think the Muppets seemed out-of-character in the latest TV show? Well, with another one of Jim's men down and out of Disney's way, expect to see A LOT worse.