The Muppets’ Jane Henson Has Died

Jane Henson

Jane Nebel Henson, former wife and creative partner of Muppets creator Jim Henson, has died, as announced by the Jim Henson Co. She was 78.

While a student at the University of Maryland, Henson teamed with her future husband to create the WRC-TV show Sam and Friends, which featured the first appearance of a Kermit prototype. In later years, she served on the board of the Jim Henson Foundation, and created the Jim Henson Legacy to promote her late husband’s work following his death in 1990.

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Jim Henson‘s Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie, is one of those movies many of us loved as kids, but now tends to get lost in the shuffle. Connelly went on to win an Oscar, Bowie was already a musical legend and Henson had one or two other things going on as well. Not to mention, 1986 also saw the release of Aliens, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Transformers The Movie, Top Gun and more. Labyrinth has tons of competition for our nostalgic feelings. Still, the film remains an incredibly beautiful fantasy and it’s nice to see it finally getting some love in the pop art world.

After the jump, check out several differerent posters for Labyrinth by Paul Shipper, Criterion Collection regular Sam Smith and distinctive fan favorite Max Dalton. And we’ll throw in a Kill Bill poster too. Read More »

‘Sesame Street’ Headed to Big Screen

After Kermit and his gang (re)took Hollywood by storm last year, the town suddenly and predictably rediscovered a love for Jim Henson. A second Muppets movie quickly got underway, NBC picked up a new puppet sitcom, The Happytime Murders got a kickstart with the casting of Katherine Heigl, Fraggle Rock hired new writers, and earlier this week, the BBC announced the Muppet Show-esque No Strings Attached.

So it was only a matter of time before studios began eyeing one of Henson’s most famous creations, Sesame Street. And indeed, it now appears that Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and company are set to follow their Muppet pals to the big screen. More details after the jump.

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Jim Henson Died 22 Years Ago Today

Jim Henson died 22 years ago today. Feel free to leave your memories of Henson’s legacy after the jump. I’ve also included the awesome 1994 documentary The World of Jim Henson.

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This is hardly new, but now that The Muppets have a good many new fans thanks to last year’s film, it is worth going back to. Jim Henson‘s early video pitch for the original incarnation of The Muppet Show has been floating around for quite a while, and can be found in at least one or two DVD releases.

But for those who haven’t seen the pitch, and therefore may not quite have a handle on Jim Henson’s irreverent spirit, this two minutes is very much worth watching. And those who have seen it will probably want to watch again, because as the Henson-voiced Muppet pitchman escalates in intensity, he hits notes comic notes that are irresistible. Read More »

Jim Henson‘s short film Robot was recently discovered in the AT&T Archives. In 1963, a then-27-year-old Henson was commissioned to create the film for a Bell System seminar for business owners on the then-brand-new topic of Data Communications. According to AT&T:

The seminar itself involved a lot of films and multimedia presentations, and took place in Chicago. … The organizers of the seminar, Inpro, actually set the tone for the film in a three-page memo from one of Inpro’s principals, Ted Mills to Henson. Mills outlined the nascent, but growing relationship between man and machine: a relationship not without tension and resentment: “He [the robot] is sure that All Men Basically Want to Play Golf, and not run businesses — if he can do it better.” (Mills also later designed the ride for the Bell System at the 1964 World’s Fair.) Henson’s execution is not only true to Mills’ vision, but he also puts his own unique, irreverent spin on the material. The robot narrator used in this film had previously starred in a skit for a food fair in Germany, in 1961. It also may be the same robot that appeared on the Mike Douglas Show in 1966. Henson created a different — but similar — robot for the SKF Industries pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair.

Watch it now embedded after the jump.
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There’s nothing earth-shattering in this edition of Sequel Bits, but hey, that’s why they’re Bits and not separate stories. At least it seems like mostly good news. After the jump:

  • Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is getting a prequel — but not in movie form
  • Now Bridesmaids star Wendi McLendon-Covey says Wiig isn’t entirely out of the sequel after all
  • Alice Eve talks about working with Benedict Cumberbatch and not disappointing Star Trek fans

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NBC Buys Puppet Sitcom from Jim Henson Co.

The upcoming film The Muppets unfolds around a world that’s moved on and forgotten all about the once-famous gang — but between that film, the documentary Being Elmo, and the enduring popularity of Sesame Street‘s parodies, it’s clear that puppets in the real world are actually coming back in a big way.

The latest company to jump on the trend is NBC, which has just closed a deal on a human-puppet hybrid script from the Jim Henson Co. called The New Nabors. While it won’t feature Kermit and his pals, with the Jim Henson Co. on board it seems like a project worth keeping an eye on all the same. More details after the jump.

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