Early television intrigued young Jim Henson and sparked his imagination and creativity. Seeing enormous potential for puppets in this medium, he began his career in Washington, D.C. local television. Sam and Friends, his nightly five-minute show on NBC’s WRC, won Jim an Emmy in 1958 and introduced Kermit to the world.
During the sixties, Jim and the Muppets made many appearances on variety shows and were regulars on The Today Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Jimmy Dean Show. While the Muppets grew in popularity, Jim developed another career as a filmmaker. His experimental short film, Time Piece, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1965.
Jim’s remarkable association with Public Television’s award-winning children’s show, Sesame Street, began in 1969. The humor and whimsy of his characters continue to entertain each new generation.
The introduction of The Muppet Show in 1976 was a phenomenal success, reaching 235 million viewers in more than 100 countries and winning three Emmys in its five-year run. The popularity of the show led to the feature films The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets take Manhattan, as well as the animated television series, Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies.
Throughout the 1980’s, Jim explored new directions in both television and film. The series Fraggle Rock was developed specifically with an international audience in mind. He developed new characters and technologies for the award-winning The Storyteller, The Jim Henson Hour, Dinosaurs and for his groundbreaking fantasy films, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Jim’s final completed project, Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3D, continues to delight thousands daily at the Disney theme parks in Florida and California.
His untimely passing in May 1990 was met with a worldwide outpouring of love and renewed appreciation of his imagination and artistry.