I AM JIM HENSON
The power of your mind and the resourcefulness of your mental capacities is astounding at times. Forming special mental images and sensing or perceiving things in your own reality is amazing. Being able to create, construct and using your imagination to solve a problem or be able to create and unlock your amazing creativity when doing a project. You can even get away from everyday life by using your imagination to help you relax in the middle of a difficult and hectic day.
Some people love to laugh; others telling jokes and some enjoy playing practical jokes. Jim Henson loved doing all of these things with his mother and brother. At age 8 he loved movie theaters and not only watching them but imagine getting popcorn for 15 cents and spending the day watching cartoons, newsreels, action movies and comedies. Jim really loved the movies with wild clothing and far-off locations. Sounds like fun to me! Imaginations are great as Jim and his friends would make costumes and recreate using homemade props some of the scenes from the movies they watched. His grandparents were really cool they loved laughing, not making fun of anyone and painting, drawing, gluing and creating pictures that had happy monsters and birds with big eyes. How cool is that!
Grandparents are the greatest and grandmother encouraged him to tell stories and really supported his love of reading. Using her needle and thread she could make anything. Jim loved to perform and he and his Cub Scout troop using stand in front of everyone and create humorous scenes.
Enter Edgar Bergen who did the voice of Charlie McCarthy or other characters that were puppets. He was so convincing Jim thought that they were human. Added in the magic in the real sense and it seemed impossible that’s what magic is! Imagine creating dreams that inspire. Ordinary objects come to life? When Edgar spoke through Charlie something happened. Edgar was not just sharing jokes he was sharing part of ‘himself.”
From the age of 13 his whole world changed when he learned about television at his friend’s house. Seeing the greatest comedians at work like Jack Benny and Milton Berle opened up a whole new world for Jim. He loved variety shows that had huge casts and people that sang, danced and did comedy. He loved Kukla Fran and Ollie where humans talked to people. Hoping his father would get a TV for his house. Research was something that he loved and in high school he went to the library to take out books and understand and learn puppetry. Going to a television station hoping to get a job but his first show was cancelled. Failure was not an option and he and his partner created more puppets and would you believe that got five minutes on The Tonight Show. Calling his characters Muppets and creating dialogue and names for each one. Learning to sew from his grandmother check out how he created Kermit the Frog. Other puppets came next and then they could film the Muppets from far away because on TV there were no walls. Old puppets had frozen expressions their puppets had a more real and visually alive presentation. The same way you can practice for a test, learn spelling words it the way Jim learned how to create the right voices and sense of wonder for all of his characters. Check out the cast of those who played the different roles and learn that they did commercials first. This was just like going on a huge wild adventure as Tow TV producers named Joan Ganz Cooney and Jon Stone gave his him his miracle start. Creating a show that will change the lives of children and help them learn to read: SESAME STREET! Was now born and see Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and the rest. Not only that the show had kids from different races learning and playing together. Taking turns, learning to get along and share how amazing is that. Creating understanding, learning how to get along with people of many different backgrounds and having songwriters like Joe Raposo create the Sesame Street song, helped him soar to the top. Author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos, bring some many characters that we all love to life: Miss Piggy, Kermit, frogs, bears, creatures of all kinds to remind the world that despite the chaos and what is going in the world, despite our differences we can learn to have fun and get along together. He never stopped creating or dreaming and neither should we? Millions watch the Muppets and Sesame Street and millions enjoy the magic he created. Check out the huge cast of characters and to all young people reading this create book about his amazing puppeteer, writer and producer: Keep on believing, know that your dreams can come true and learn his main secret: THERE’S GOOD IN ALL OF US! We are all different, we have different appearances, but goodness lives in all of us. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO BELIEVE IN THE GOOD OF THE WORLD! Stay focused, believe in your dreams never give up. Sesame Street is watched by millions of kids all over the world. Jim Henson even started a Jim Henson Foundation to promote and develop the art of puppetry. From the moment we learn to speak and even when we are kids, teens, young adults and adults we laugh, create, imagine, dream, creating: NEVER STOP BELIEVING AND PRETENDING. This is a book that everyone should read especially with what we hear on the news and see on the streets with so many getting shunned and hurt because they are different. Differences are what makes the world interesting and learning from others about their lives, cultures and customs helps open our eyes to amazing possibilities. Teachers, parents, guidance counselors, group leaders, scout troop leaders, clergy and parents can use this book as a resource to help promote understanding, tolerance, creativity, hope and pursuing your dreams in positive way.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/ MJ MAGAZINE