A big announcement was made in July of 2007 that the international press soon caught wind of.
The Henson family said publicly that it intended to donate over 500 puppets, in addition to sketches and props, to Atlanta’s Center of Puppetry Arts. The centre was told that for it to receive the collection, it had to raise finance for a wing to exhibit it in. The collection spans over half a century’s worth of Jim Henson’s work in film and TV. If Jim Henson’s name doesn’t sound familiar to you, you might well know one of his more beloved puppets: a small green frog with round eyes, long limbs, and an adorable way of throwing his arms around. He’s been on the small screen for over 50 years and on the big screen for close to 30. Yes, it’s Kermit the Frog and he’s the most famous of Jim Henson’s Muppets. Jim and Kermit were present when the Center of Puppetry Arts first opened in 1978. Henson is often cited as the most influential American puppeteer of all. But what is a Muppet exactly? Some sources, including Henson’s wife, Jane, say that a “Muppet” combines two words? “marionette” and “puppet”. Jim himself, however, always maintained that he chose the word as he just liked how it sounded.
Perfect for television
Muppets come in a number of different sizes, from mere inches to over eight feet tall. They can either be rod puppets, hand puppets, or a combination of the two. Some operators even wear the Muppets. They’re in almost every style, colour, and shape you can think of. They can appear as an imaginary creature, a person, or an animal. They each have a number of things in common, however. They have dynamic and unique personalities, they’re suited for movies and television, and they’re made from flexible and soft materials.
The making of a Muppet
Jim Henson created the very first Muppets on his own. He sketched rough drawings to suggest how he envisioned the Muppet before setting out to build it. The first Kermit was a lizard-like creature with a body made out of cardboard and a green coat that Henson got from his mother. The frog’s eyes were two halves of a toy called Wacky Stax.
Muppeteering in film and in television calls for special measures as the Muppeteer is required to remain hidden in order to create the illusion that the Muppet is doing everything on his own. When the hit TV show Sesame Street started, Henson had the idea of “platforming sets” whenever it was possible. What this means is that the sets are 10 x 8 feet in the air, which allows the Muppeteers to stand at full length with their hands over their heads to operate the Muppets. Some put on built-up shoes in order to stand as tall as their colleagues. Just the Muppets action is framed by the camera, which is set up accordingly, giving the impression that they are moving themselves around on set.