Your Thoughts: "Jim Henson: The Biography" by Brian Jay Jones

minor muppetz

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I've only read this part once, but it seems the book says that David Lazer talked Jim Henson into doing The Great Muppet Caper before The Dark Crystal, by convincing ITC to agree to fund The Dark Crystal if they did another Muppet movie.

This gets me wondering if Jim Henson let Tri-Star distribute The Muppets Take Manhattan under similar terms. Though as I've said before, Tri-Star is only briefly mentioned in the book (as distributor for Labyrinth). And Warner Bros. distributed both Follow That Bird (though that film's not mentioned in the book) and The Witches, though I don't know whether Jim would have had any say in whether a Sesame Street movie was produced, and doubt that Jim would have had the power to only do that movie if the distributor agreed to distribute a fantasy film of Jim's (and maybe The Witches was a better sell than Dark Crystal or Labyrinth since it was based on an existing book).
 

MJTaylor

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Well it took me long enough but I finally finished reading the book last Sunday. And what a great read! Jim may well have had feet of clay but I think we can all agree he did indeed leave the world a better place. Which is what he always wanted to do.
 

minor muppetz

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One thing I find interesting: It says that Jim Henson had problems with the first script for The Great Muppet Caper, which longtime Muppet writer Jerry Juhl wrote, and hired Tom Patchet and Jay Tarse to rewrite the script. And then those two wrote the first draft of The Muppets Take Manhattan, while Juhl didn't work on the films writing at all, and yet Frank Oz had problems with that first script.

That's a bit interesting to think about. I wonder if Frank would have had a problem with MTM script if Jerry Juhl had written it. Of course I assume the reason Juhl didn't write it was because he was busy with Fraggle Rock and not because of his original GMC script (and he did help write The Cheapest Muppet Movie script later on).
 

minor muppetz

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It's interesting that Jim Henson chose not to be a director on Sesame Street because he thought it'd slow him down as a performer, because he had directed a lot of productions he performed in, both before and after.

Jim surely must have done some directing on SST; if you look at some of these old home videos (The Best of Ernie and Bert, for example), you'll see his name listed under the directed by credits.
I meant that the book said he chose not to be a director on The Muppet Show. I listed the wrong series.

It's interesting how sales of Muppet merchandise helped fund bigger projects like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, and kept the company in business when it was struggling. In fact it was sales from Muppet merchandise that helped Jim get the distribution rights to The Dark Crystal. I wonder if sales of merchandise would have allowed Jim to distribute later films himself. Or was the company not a big enough company to distribute movies? Not sure whether that would have mattered or not, but years ago I read an autobiography by Hulk Hogan which said that No Holds Barred was originally going to be independently released, until they learned that the theaters wouldn't release it without a major distributor (not sure if that was a union thing or if the major distributors would have refused to let the theaters show their movies).
 

SpookyMania

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I bought the book on the day it was released (working at a bookstore, I get great discounts). It came out a month before I was going on a trip to California, so I told myself I'd save it for the flight.
Except that didn't happen and I practically devoured the book in about a week or two.
I can't express enough how much I was moved by this biography. I've looked up to Jim Henson and his works since childhood, but the man himself had always been a mystery to me. And I never realized that there really hadn't been a biography about him in all these years. As another poster said, it was like you got to know Henson as a friend, and I really loved it. A great book. Can't wait to re-read it.
 

Muppet Master

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Sorry for not posting earlier, but I got the book on its release date, and I didn't come around to read it until like a bit after Halloween, but man was it good. Even though for me the first 50ish pages not about Jim is a bit slow, but after that the book is so good that really it didn't feel like a biography, it felt like a genius fictional novel. I learned so much I never knew! I finished it early-January (I didn't have time to read it everyday) and I loved it so much. I swear I was literally in TEARS after reading the last chapter, seriously, there have only been like 4 out of the millions of books I've read where I've cried, but it was so in-depth! My only complaints are
1. slow beginning, but after passing pg 50 it's great
2. no FTB mention (I know Jim wasn't that involved, but come on they could've put just a paragraph

That basically it! I recommend this to anyone and everyone, and hey there's a Richard Hunt biography in the works so there's even more fun coming up.

Question: Who was the TMS guest star Richard Hunt badmouthed?
 

cjd874

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Bumping this thread after 2 months.

I read this book at the beginning of my summer break, and I could not have asked for a better, more detailed, more poignant, more AMAZING biography of Jim Henson and his legacy. Brian Jay Jones has done a superb job with this one.
 

Muppet Master

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I learned that Brian Jay Jones is a member here. And it's his birthday.
Come on, that could be anyone, I could make an account with Dave Goelz's name, and make my avatar a picture of him, as much as someone could do the same with brianjayjones.
 
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