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Muppets Run Amok at the Library


Jim Henson bio cover

In honor of the Sesame Street exhibition at the Library for the Performing Arts, I thought I'd write a bit about some other Jim Henson productions that have stayed with me. In 2013, Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones came out. According to the NYT review, it focused a lot on the business side of Jim Henson, a side that most casual viewers of his work are not familiar with. The reviewer suggests that, for Henson, work and play were inextricably linked. This is especially interesting to me in how it relates to the more recent studies of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, of "flow" and how it inspires happiness and creativity. A quick perusal of the delightful Muppet Wiki makes it easy to reminisce about favorite Muppet Show episodes and movie numbers, and just looking at all the brightly colored muppets makes me happy. It's also a great reminder of all the guest stars who have cameoed in Muppet and Sesame Street productions, that one may have missed or forgotten, from Alice Cooper to Lady Gaga to Kurt Cobain. For a more comprehensive list, see the Wikia page here.

Jim Henson's family has continued the Muppet legacy. The Jim Henson Foundation supports puppetry in New York and elsewhere. His daughter, Lisa Henson, continues the Muppet alliance with educational programming as Executive Producer of shows like Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Jim Henson's Pajanimals. Brian Henson has delighted older muppet fans with his work on the TV series Dinosaurs and Farscape. Siblings Cheryl, Heather, and John all contribute their talents to The Jim Henson Company.

Every time I see the introduction to The Muppet Show, with all the muppets in their respective light bulbed arches, my eyes light up. The "Rainbow Connection" song at the end of The Muppet Movie always makes me teary. The forest animal cover of "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield had such a profound impact on me, yet I never knew the real title until I wrote this post. To me, it will always be entitled " Stop, Children, What's that Sound?"


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Muppets and Flow

Hi, Jenny! I love this post. I'm a teacher who has been very much delving into Csikszentmihalyi and flow in an attempt to integrate it into my classroom. Toward that end, I've used many hands-on projects, multimedia and yes, puppetry to create flow learning experiences for my students. That work and play were intertwined for Jim Henson isn't too surprising to me, but it's nice to hear of a book that really delves into that side of Jim. It would be great if NYPL would consider muppet/puppet workshops for adults as well as children to celebrate Sesame Street. The idea is that adults can walk away with a skill to help engage children, and children can become more actively involved in their learning by creating their own puppets to function as a means of expressing themselves. Having a puppet can help the shyest child communicate more effectively, and works as a therapeutic device to help them become more actively involved in class activities. Just my two cents. - Lee

Hi Lee!

Hi Lee! Wonderful feedback! I would like to see a program like you describe as well. Puppetry works on so many levels!

I just wanted to say how much

I just wanted to say how much I love sesame street. I watched as a child I even was on it once many years ago when I lived in queens on 202st I will never forget it one of the best childhood memories :)

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