He Changed the World, and You Can Too!

Jim Henson with Bert, 1971 from Gonzague Petit Trabal on Flickr

He Changed the World, and You Can Too!

Blog post by Devo
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
“Sunny Days,
Sweepin’ the clouds away,
On my way to where the air is sweet.
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street?”

You know the tune. This famous theme song starts the day for millions of kids. Sesame Street is a standard at many homes most mornings. Kids plop down, cereal in hand with Kermit, Big Bird and the rest of the crew, and learn while they eat and play.  New research also shows that Sesame Street has boosted school readiness for young children. The master behind this groundbreaking puppet creation, and many others, was Jim Henson.

Jim Henson started his career at the age of 17. While still in high school, he landed his first job as a puppeteer without any training or knowledge of puppets. He headed to the library and read everything he could find on puppetry. You can follow in his footsteps by reading some of the amazing articles in The Puppetry Journal from Puppeteers of America with our database, Hobbies and Crafts Reference center.  Just do a search on “puppetry journal.”

 Jim’s first venture into television was Sam and Friends, a five minute program that aired twice daily from 1955 to 1961. Filled with silly humor and puppets singing, this series won an Emmy in 1959 and is as fun to watch today as it was then. Check out early Kermit footage from Sam and Friends.

Jim Henson also had an interest in experimental film. You may have seen Labyrinth or Dark Crystal, but have you seen Time Piece, his academy award nominated film for adults? Despite Henson’s untimely death in 1990, his legacy lives on in his work; The Muppets and Sesame Street are still on air today.

Literature Live! pays homage to the Muppet legacy with our very own little blue monster, Van, who interviews authors, community leaders, and book lovers, asking the questions kids want answered. Would you like to be interviewed by our mischievous Muppet? Let us know by filling out the form on Van’s page.

Enjoy many of the books and films of Jim Henson at the Austin Public Library with this list! Need more? Hoopla has an array of eBooks, comics, movies and audio about Jim Henson and his creations.