Jim Henson (1969)

Here’s the original Muppet performance of Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ , composed by Piero Umiliani.
The song was first written for use in the Italian film Sweden: Heaven and Hell.

Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ  is a popular song by Italian composer Piero Umiliani. It originally appeared in the Italian film Sweden: Heaven and Hell. It was a minor radio hit in the U.S. and in Britain, but became better known internationally for its use by The Muppets and on The Benny Hill Show.

“Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ ” first gained popularity in English-speaking countries from its use in a recurring blackout sketch for the 1969-70 season of The Red Skelton Show first airing in October 1969.

Sesame Street producer Joan Ganz Cooney heard the track on the radio and decided it would be a perfect addition to the show. It was first performed by Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Loretta Long on the fourteenth episode of the show, broadcast on November 27, 1969. The following Sunday, Henson and His Muppets performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show. Seven years later the song was part of the premiere episode of The Muppet Show in 1976.

Starting in 1971, The Benny Hill Show implemented Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ  as part of a comic background music medley that would run during their often filmed slapstick sketches. The medley became a Benny Hill Show tradition for the rest of its run.

Do do do do do de do do do do do do do do do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do doo be-do-do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do do-do do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do doo de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!

Do do do do do de do do do do do do do do do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do doo be-do-do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do do-do do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do doo de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!

Do do do do do de do do do do do do do do do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do doo be-do-do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do do-do do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do doo de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!

Do do do do do de do do do do do do do do do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do doo be-do-do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do do-do do
Mah NĂ  Mah NĂ 
Do doo de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do de-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!!!

In Memory of

David Bowie & Jim Henson (1986)

I really should have posted this yesterday and the Jim Henson documentary today. Nonetheless, in honor of David Bowie’s birthday yesterday and to follow up with the Jim Henson documentary here is a tasty tidbit from the legendary Labyrinth. Please enjoy.

Labyrinth is a 1986 musical fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, with George Lucas as executive producer, based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. It revolves around 16-year-old Sarah’s quest to reach the center of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, whom Sarah wished away to Jareth, the Goblin King. Most of the film’s significant characters, apart from Bowie and Connelly, are played by puppets produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

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.

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.

Jim Henson (1961)

Drums West is a cut-paper animated film produced by Jim Henson. The film was created in Henson’s home studio in Bethesda, MD around 1961. It is one of several experimental shorts inspired by the music of jazz musician Chico Hamilton.

The film was recently rediscovered by the Henson Archives and released in 2013 on the Henson Company’s YouTube channel. At the end, in footage probably shot by Jerry Juhl, Henson demonstrates his working method.

Judging by behind-the-scenes footage of a beardless Jim Henson animating “Drums West,” a 1961 homage to jazz drummer Chico Hamilton, one good sneeze and the party would’ve been over.

Animation is always a painstaking proposition, but the hundreds of tiny paper scraps Henson was contending with in an extremely cramped working space seem downright oppressive compared to the expansive visuals to which they gave rise.