Jim Henson (1979)

To the Lovers, the Dreamers, and You… Keep believing.

Rainbow Connection is a song from the 1979 film The Muppet Movie performed by Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog. Rainbow Connection reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, with the song remaining in the Top 40 for seven weeks total. Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song at the 52nd Academy Awards.

In 2020, “Rainbow Connection” was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry.

Rainbow Connection was written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher to be the first number in The Muppet Movie by Jim Henson. Williams describes it as “that down-home Americana comfort sound”.

“It’s the one that establishes [Kermit as] the lead character. We find Kermit sitting in the middle of the swamp. Kenny Ascher and I sat down to write these songs, and we thought… Kermit is like ‘every frog.’ He’s the Jimmy Stewart of frogs. So how do we show that he’s a thinking frog, and that he has an introspective soul, and all that good stuff? We looked at his environment, and his environment is water and air… and light. And it just seemed like it would be a place where he would see a rainbow. But we also wanted to show that he would be on this spiritual path, examining life, and the meaning of life.”

Paul Williams

“Life’s like a movie. Write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”

Jim Henson

Brian Henson (2022)

Welcome to the town of Bland, where a not-so-little girl is about to change the way we see ambition forever.

Tall Poppy is a 10-minute short film produced by the Jim Henson Company and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop for Australian company CGU Insurance. The short was directed by Brian Henson.

CGU Insurance partnered with the Henson Company to develop a short to address the cultural phenomenon wherein people hold back, criticize, or sabotage those who achieved notable success — commonly referred to as tall poppy syndrome. A 2021 CGU Insurance study found that “one in five Australians have either passed up an opportunity for fear of being seen as a ‘tall poppy’ or been a victim of the tall poppy syndrome.”

The main character is Poppy, who represents the positive aspects of ambition and retains and shares it. Tabletop puppetry (using dozens of puppets) was combined with visual effects, provided by Stargate Studios.

Tall Poppy is about celebrating ambition and facing the feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability that can get in the way of living to your fullest potential. The ambitious team that came together to create this film, brought together by our incredible partners at CGU Insurance, definitely saw the magic and innovation that can happen when everyone feels free to share their own unique talents. We hope that Poppy’s story will inspire Australians to celebrate their own tall poppies.

Brian Henson

Watch the Sesame Street Muppets play a Tiny Desk Concert.

The news has stopped! Count von Count and the NPR kids count us down: 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1!

And there they are at the Tiny Desk: Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Rosita, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster, all singing about a sunny day and how everything is A-OK. The Sesame Street crew, including Elmo, Grover and other surprise guests, visited NPR’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., to celebrate Sesame Street’s 50 years of teaching the world its A-B-Cs, its 1-2-3s, how to be kind and how to be proud, all while spreading love and joy. Sesame Street has won more major awards than any other group to play the Tiny Desk, including 11 Grammys and 192 Emmys. There was a lot of love as the cast of Sesame Street got to meet NPR hosts and newscasters, who in turn got to geek out meeting their favorite Muppets and the creators behind the felt and fur. These folks include Matt Vogel, Sesame Street’s puppet captain and performer, and music director Bill Sherman.

I even got to sing with Grover. And I’ll also say, on a personal note, that this may well have been the hardest-working, most dedicated group of performers I’ve ever worked with. I’m so proud of these Muppets and so happy to celebrate all that they’ve meant to the world for these 50 years.

MUSICIANS — Leslie Carrara-Rudolph: Abby Cadabby, Penguin; Ryan Dillon: Elmo; Eric Jacobson: Bert, Grover, Oscar the Grouch; Peter Linz: Ernie, Herry Monster; Carmen Osbahr: Rosita; David Rudman: Cookie Monster; Matt Vogel: Big Bird, Count von Count, Mr. Johnson; John Deley: keys; Rob Jost: bass; Michael Croiter: drums

Kirk Thatcher (2021)

Muppets Haunted Mansion is an upcoming American puppet comedy film based on The Muppets and the ghost train attracion at Disneyland The Haunted Mansion. The film is set to be released on October 8, 2021, via Disney+. This was one of Ed Asner’s final works before passing away from natural causes.

Having survived every one of his daredevil performances, Gonzo takes on his biggest challenge yet at The Haunted Mansion where he must spend one night there.

Garfunkel & Oates (2014)

Happy Pride Month!

The adorable duo Garfunkel and Oates recently released Rainbow Connections, a same-sex marriage anthem that comes at a perfect time in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear gay marriage appeals from five states.

The heartwarming track tells opponents of marriage equality that “you’ve lost the fight” and “love might be a privilege but marriage is a right.”

The video for Rainbow Connections also makes use of puppets in order to illustrate the words of Garfunkel and Oates. Check out the video above.

Los Yesterdays (2021)

I was just a puppet on your string, until you cut me down.

Los Yesterdays is a “Souldies” project featuring Gabe Rowland, Vic Benavides, Gabe Roth, and Tommy Brenneck.

Founded by producer/drummer, Gabriel Rowland and singer/songwriter, Victor Benavides in Pasadena, CA in 2017, Los Yesterdays wanted to create music that recalled their childhood days as young chicanos. “Souldies” is how they describe their contemporary take on the deep soul tracks they modeled their sound after. R & B greats such as Little Anthony, Gene Chandler, and James & Bobby Purify to name a few. After writing and recording a few tracks, the songs eventually ended up in the hands of acclaimed producer/guitarist, Tom Brenneck who was working with the late Charles Bradley amongst other projects. Tommy was a fan of the songs but finding out Los Yesterdays were only a duo, he decided to see if his friend Gabe Roth would be interested in starting a project. Roth, being best known as producer/bass player/bandleader for the late Sharon Jones, as well as the co-founder of Daptone Records. After a few barbecues and meetings with Roth and Tommy, they decided to have a jam session and, in the summer of 2018, a band was formed. And so, we give you, Los Yesterdays

Judy Kinberg (1994)

The World of Jim Henson is an episode of the PBS series Great Performances produced in 1994.

I’ve been away for quite some time due to an increase of production at work. I am pleased to say that now that Christmas is finally over things have gotten back to normal and I can return to life as usual (Well, my usual anyway). I hope this fun and interesting documentary makes up for my lost time. Thanks for watching.

This documentary includes interviews with Frank Oz, Jane Henson, Jerry Juhl, Brian Henson, Jon Stone, Harry Belafonte, Francis Ford Coppola, Ted Koppel, Maurice Sendak, and others.

Topics discussed in this documentary include Sam and Friends, some of Jim Henson’s other early works, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and Muppet movies, Fraggle Rock, and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Jan Švankmajer (1964)

The Last Trick of Mr. Schwarcewallde and Mr. Edgar is a 1964 Czechoslovak animated short film by Jan Švankmajer. It was Švankmajer’s first film.

Two magicians, Mr. Schwarzwald and Mr. Edgar, try to outdo each other in performing elaborate magic tricks, leading to a violent ending.

During the title sequence, the cast and crew are seen backstage preparing for their performance. The play depicts two mime-like magicians (who are portrayed by both costumed actors and Kuroko style puppets) named Mr. Edgar and Mr. Schwarzwald, trying to outdo each other by performing various stage tricks for the pleasure of an unseen audience. After each act, the two performers congratulate each other with a handshake. However, as tensions rise, the handshakes become less friendly and even violent. For his first trick, Edgar skins a fish by placing it inside his papier mache head; Schwarzwald one ups him by making a dog puppet perform various tricks on a tightrope; Edgar in turn grows several arms and begins playing various instruments simultaneously; Schwarzwald imitates this trick by growing several heads and juggling them; and Edgar causes several chairs to come alive and perform tricks at the crack of a whip. For the magicians’ last trick, Edgar and Schwarzwald make themselves disappear by tearing each other to pieces.

Brian Henson (1996)

Stuck at home during the Coronavirus pandemic? The Muppets know how you feel. Forget your troubles with this Muppet sing along Cabin Fever from the movie Muppet Treasure Island.

Muppet Treasure Island is a 1996 American musical adventure comedy film directed by Brian Henson, produced by Jim Henson Productions, and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the fifth feature film to star the Muppets and is based on the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Brothers Quay (1980)

Following Punch and Judy from their malevolent medieval personas through their much-mollified assimilation into English folklore, this film finally restores the odd couple to their rightful roles as hair-raising anarchists. It is a stunning mixture of mime, mask, painting, crudely animated documents and mischievously reanimated newsreels, as well as the demonic atonalities of a modernist opera by Harrison Britwistle brought to “life” in a puppet fantasy/nightmare.