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Happy 75th Birthday Jim Henson: Early Muppet Show Pitch

I originally saw this pitch for The Muppet Show at a Jim Henson retrospective at Cinefamily in Los Angeles a couple of years ago and it instantly became one of my favorite things ever. The odd part is (if I remember correctly) CBS passed on it. Eventually, Kermit would hop the pond to England and land at ITV. Most people don’t realize that The Muppet Show was actually a British show that was syndicated in the US. This was yet another example of British TV ruling, while American TV was left drooling.

Jim Henson would have been 75 years old today, but even in his short life he managed to change the world forever and make it a better place. The problem with “kids” shows today is that they are too hyper-programmed with crappy market research at children–shows adults cringe to have to watch. The Muppet Show was something that cool parents would LOOK FORWARD to watching with their kids. It just worked for everyone. Schwaaa??? Fun, hilarious, SHARED family comedy? Why that’s just cRaZy!!!

So Happy Birthday, Jim Henson! I’m sorry I never got to thank you in person for your generous contributions in shaping who I am from basic spelling skills to more advanced letter combinations like joke writing.

You are missed but certainly not forgotten…

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13 comments

  • We celebreated Kermit’s Daddy’s Birthday (that’s how I explained it to my 4 year old) by watching the Lynda Carter episode of The Muppet Show. Next year, I will plan something a little bigger.

    Like the other people who have posted previously, the Muppets had a huge impact on me. A couple years back, I fulfilled a life long dream and built my own 7 foot tall puppet ogre. It was even used in a production of the ballet The Sleeping Beauty. You can see a video clip of it here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIiROFHkDW8

    I had the honor of meeting Brian Henson two years ago. And being the nerd that I am, I showed him footage of my ogre. He complimented me on my work and I thanked him for all of the work he and his dad did. I look forward to continue sharing Mr. Henson’s legacy with my own kids.

  • Great video. Am I the only one who thought the Muppet making the pitch could easily be the Hardwick Muppet? Just imagine Big C’s voice talking and it’s spot on.

  • “The problem with “kids” shows today is that they are too hyper-programmed with crappy market research at children–shows adults cringe to have to watch.”

    Avatar – The Last Airbender. Not the movie. The television show. Everyone, regardless of age, should watch this show.

  • My dad did an advertising card using one of Mr. Henson’s original Muppets for Wilkins Coffee in the 60′s. I found it, and the original photo from Del Ankers Photographers (he shot most of Henson’s early advertising stills), after my dad passed away in his portfolio of work.

    http://tinyurl.com/3sd5mg4

    I don’t know if he ever got to meet Mr. Henson, and I didn’t realize until much later that Mr. Henson was even originally from the area, but my dad never made mention of it all those night we used to watch The Muppet Show together as a family. He loved Statler and Waldorf to no end.

    http://tinyurl.com/3lqvt2b

    I need to nab the show on DVD and relive all those old memories….

  • The doozers renovating my closet stopped work this morning for a moment of silence. “Gobo Mokey Wembley Boober Red” – “Amazing Stories” – “FraggleRock” – The gelflings were liberated from the Skexis – “The Dark Crystal” – Muppet News Flash – “The Muppet Show” Celebrational, Invitational “The Rainbow Connection” “The Lovers, the Dreamers & Kermit” #TheMuppetMovie “Pigs In Space” MahNahMahNah!

  • Awh the Muppet Show was soo great.. It was funny exposed you to all sorts of movie stars or musicians… I mean really I probably became more aware of film and music as a child because of them. Surely not from Solid Gold or Bandstand

    *weeping from aged references.. man I am old ;) *

    Seriously the Muppets helped to make comedy one of my favorite things in the world. Thanks Chris for this and see ya in NY in a few weeks!

  • Agreed, Chris. I wish I had the chance to thank him for helping shape who I’ve become as a person (curious, somewhat creative and open minded.) I attribute that to the zany Muppets and the acceptance of everyone’s uniqueness that they embodied.

    Along those lines, I want to thank you for creating an eco-system that celebrates Nerdiness of all kinds. I think Jim would have been proud to have influenced you and what you’ve created.

    Mark C.