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Goodbyes and Hellos

This past weekend, Derek Jeter played his final major league baseball game.

You might be wondering why a statement like this belongs on a Disney-themed blog, but bear with me.

I’ve been watching Derek Jeter play baseball since I was a little kid, accompanying my family to Sunday home games at the old Yankee Stadium. I learned to keep score, traded high fives with the long-haired rockers who sat in front of us, and religiously ordering a bacon cheeseburger and Shirley Temple for lunch. My fondest memories of watching the team on the field before the game included Derek Jeter noticeably having a blast in the infield with Chuck Knoblauch. The funny thing is I never remember proclaiming him my favorite player or anything. Is it possible I took his dependability for granted? Maybe. But with my return to obsessive baseball watching, I realized more and more how much I appreciated and admired his work ethic, his ability to stay on the straight and narrow, and how much the word “team” meant to him. In a world where TMZ is shoving gossip and debauchery in our faces every day, Jeter steered clear of it all and let his career define how we saw him.

So it’s hard to believe his run as Yankees captain, shortstop, and all-around MLB all-star has come to an end. It wasn’t until the ceremonies and the articles in the last few weeks that I felt how final it all was. His dream had come true, as he said over and over again. He became a Yankee and now that dream was over. Nothing lasts forever; something we are reminded of every single day. Watching him take the field for the last time, step up to bat, run the bases, celebrate with his teammates, it’s difficult not to think about how about how different next year’s team will look. Let’s be real. It will be unrecognizable, and when I try to picture it all in my head, the faces and the results are so blurry. I was barely able to remember the names of the new guys this year. Without Jeter as the glue, what will we see on that field?

Jeter represents a lot more about my childhood than I realized. Those afternoon baseball games with my parents and sister are long gone. So are the years that we were dominating in the World Series and the days I had my own personalized scorecard (made by our seatmates) and plowed through a school-assigned book during the slower parts of the game. We cannot control when these things end, just as we can’t decide when Jeter would hang up his hat. It just happens and we are forced to move forward. For better or for worse.

With all the changes happening in Walt Disney World lately — the emotional snapshots of the long-employed performers leaving Epcot, the excitement of a new animated hit altering the purpose of World Showcase, and even a final nail in the coffin for Backlot Tour at DHS — I couldn’t help but realize how it was strangely connected to Jeter leaving. For so long, we have grasped these constants. We understand our surroundings because they exist and they are stationary. Whether it’s an object, a person, or an ensemble, we feel connected to it because of our memories and we don’t want to see them ever disappear (disappear, disappear).

But these are just the realities we have been dealt. Athletes get tired and want to go to summer BBQs on weekends, and a company must make changes to keep things fresh, to keep moving forward. Sure, there’s a big difference with Jeter because we had a year to prepare for his departure. It wasn’t sudden. We could catch him on TV during any one of his final 162 games. (Or at least, catch the highlights.) It’s not as easy to book a last minute trip to give a final farewell to the trolls at Maelstrom or escape Catastrophe Canyon one last time.

Like anyone else, I fear the unknown. Can any Yankees team replicate the magic they had with Jeter? Can anyone in baseball fill his shoes? No. Probably not. Just like Frozen’s new dark ride will always be the start of a new chapter for World Showcase and we might think fondly about Backlot Tour while walking around DHS (at least, back when a real cast member served as the tour guide and Residential Street was still a thing). While I still need time to mourn and next season will undoubtably be difficult, different does not necessarily have to mean worse either. It could mean falling in love all over again.

MomSeptember 30, 2014 - 8:31 pm

Well said. I will mourn the past, but look forward to forging new memories.

Muppet Monday: Everything is Possible (Lesley Ann Warren)

If only I had done my research days ago.

It wasn’t until Melissa from Mouse on the Mind texted me yesterday afternoon to inform me that Lesley Ann Warren had been a guest star on The Muppet Show back in Season 3. Why does this matter? Well, first, I’m obviously not watching these episodes fast enough. (I can’t help it! I don’t want to rush it!) And, second, Melissa and I attended an event at Barnes and Noble last Wednesday for Lesley Ann Warren, who was there to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rodger + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

I have never been quiet about my affection for this woman and this movie. Last February, I even wrote about it in this triple-feature Cinderella post. To see her in person, was a whole different story. She sang three songs from the film (“Ten Minutes Ago”, “My Own Little Corner” and “A Lovely Night”) for the first time in public and I couldn’t help but wipe away tears. Melissa and I were probably two of the youngest people in the audience, but still — those songs meant so much to my childhood and continue to delight me today.

Lesley Ann Warren at Barnes and Noble

During a short but enthusiastic sit-down interview with Richard Skipper, Lesley Ann reminisced about how she really felt like Cinderella on that set, intimidated to be working with such huge stars like Ginger Rogers and Celeste Holm. The long hours, how the dress she wore was so heavy she had to get shots in her shoulders, the incredible outpouring of love she’s felt like viewers and people in the industry over the years, her time with Richard Rodgers and how she didn’t do well during her first audition. It was wonderful to hear her talk about the experience with such love and to hear her talk about how easily she is transported back to that place in her life when she hears the score.

She was pretty darn adorable, and (shh!) might be gracing Broadway in the spring. Exciting, exciting news.

But, for now, how about a great clip for her time on The Muppet Show? James and I skipped ahead in the name of Lesley Ann and I am so glad we did. My love for this lady aside, this is probably one of the best shows I’ve seen in awhile. Kermit is a little upset that Leslie and Warren didn’t show up but hey, Lesley Ann is pretty and can sing and dance with the best of them.

Isn’t this magnificent?

So today’s a little hooray to Lesley Ann Warren for being so magical and giving me so many happy memories: past and present. Hopefully, you are all inspired for your own R+H Cinderella rewatch!

…a lovely night, a lovely night…

Weekly Round Up: September 30September 30, 2014 - 5:01 am

[…] connects Cinderella with The Muppets (and a date with me!) on This Happy Place […]

Happy Reads + Recap: 9/28/2014

Where did September go? I can’t believe  that October is popping up this week — not even a little bit. What’s even weirder is we are having some very summery-y weather this weekend. One last summary hurrah, I guess. Hey, I’m not complaining! Hope you all had a great week and are enjoying your weekend as well. It was a very exciting week at This Happy Place Blog when this popped up on the Henson Company social media accounts:

Henson Company This Happy Place Tweet

I was so psyched to share my interview with biographer Brian Jay Jones in celebration of Jim Henson’s birthday, but this was beyond what I imagined. So many sweet comments about Jim came rolling in on Wednesday and it made it a very special day for me. There’s still time for you to win an eBook of Jim Henson: The Biography or a signed audiobook from Brian so be sure to enter! (Link above.)

Now onto some even more awesome stuff:

I declare Emma at Pinch of Pixie Dust my favorite Disney vlogger because she can always make me smile + shares great info at the same time. Her latest is about merchandise she purchased in DL + WDW recently. So fun!

With my trip to Food & Wine right around the corner, I am going to be depending on this Beers & Ears beer survival guide for sure.

Levelheaded post from David at futureprobe about changes in Frozen infiltrating Norway, and the status of Epcot and World Showcase.

Taste-tested and approved 2014 Food & Wine favorites from Ryan at Main Street Gazette including some vegetarian/gluten-free options.

Did you ever have a truly terrible day in Walt Disney World? Melissa shares her at Mouse on the Mind but don’t worry — there is a happy ending!

Like New York City, people watching is a great activity to partake in while vacationing at Walt Disney World. World of Deej lists some of his most coveted spots around WDW for just that.

On the blog lately:

For THP’s Simple Moments series:

The start of my High School Musical rewatch with facts, observations, and videos!

Who is more diva-licious? Sharpay from High School Musical or THE Miss Piggy?

Thanks for visiting! See you real soon!

Simple Moments: “No. Ice Cream.”

If you’ve been following for the past few months, you might know that Katherine was part of the inspiration for me to start this series in the first place. I’m so happy that everything has come full circle as she shares a story of returning to her Disney roots, an overplanned family vacation, and realizing what matters most. Enjoy! -e

Simple Moments Banner at This Happy Place Blog

My simple moment actually arose from a bit of a turmoil and ended in an epiphany, so I’m not sure if it is truly an organic simple moment, but I keep going back to it, so…

My parents started taking me to Walt Disney World before I can remember, and my earliest memories of the place actually involve me poring over Birnbaum’s WDW guidebooks and telling my family all the places we should stay, swim and eat while we were there. I was a meticulous planner before the age of spreadsheets and Google docs. I wanted to make sure not a minute of time was wasted at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Our annual family visits tapered off as my little sister and I aged, but when my interest in the parks was piqued again as an adult, I immediately reverted to that mindset. Guidebooks were replaced by websites and personal blogs, but I still planned out every part of the trip in a wild-eyed frenzy. EVERY SECOND WOULD BE ACTION-PACKED AND MAGICAL.

In the midst of my full-blown Adult Disney Renaissance, I was trying to plan a return visit to WDW around Christmastime, but couldn’t figure out how to balance a few days at Disney with my boyfriend with seeing my family for the holidays. Then I realized that my family probably hadn’t been to WDW in years and they’d probably want to go again, right? As a family, just like we always used to?

I talked them into it, and a few days after Dec. 25, 2011, I touched down in MCO with my mom, dad, sister and boyfriend for a weeklong trip to WDW. I took care of everything, from booking the flights and hotel and Magical Express to planning out what park we’d hit each day, where we’d eat and which attractions we’d go on. I was beyond thrilled to do it and I wanted to make sure everyone had an amazing time and didn’t have to worry about anything.

Main Street USA Disney World at Christmastime

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It never crossed my mind that my idea of a good time wouldn’t exactly align with my family members’ ideas of a good time. Through a mix of overscheduling and miscommunications, I found myself getting yelled at in the Main Street Confectionery by my overtired, worn-out parents. I stared blankly at a row of oversized lollipops as tears pricked my eyes. How did I manage to ruin everything?

I can’t be sure what was all said in the candy store, but before too long I remember a gentle hand slipping in mine and guiding me out of the store, away from the rancor. My boyfriend led me out to Main Street, where the Dapper Dans were performing.

We stood and watched them for a few minutes, then he leaned over and whispered, “It’s OK, we’ll meet up with them later. They just need to relax a little bit and so do you. Let’s get you some ice cream.”

I immediately started protesting, saying we had FastPasses for this and that and we would be wasting time by not visiting attractions. He looked at me firmly. “No. Ice cream.”

So we walked down the street to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and he bought me a cookies and cream kid’s cone, which comes adorned with two chocolate discs to make Mickey ears. And we snagged a table outside and sat and watched the mayor greet guests and trolleys going by and kids buying balloons.

IMG_4799

And for the first time, it really sunk in how wonderful it was just to BE on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom instead of racing down it and ignoring the details so I could ride Space Mountain five times in a row. I realized every moment in Walt Disney World counted, not just the ones where I was on an attraction. This was the reason I valued this place so highly above any other amusement park … this moment, with the boyfriend and the ice cream cone with Mickey ears and the Dapper Dans’ voices in the background.

IMG_4797

Ever since then, I’ve given up on meticulous planning and spreadsheets. I know that if I miss out on an attraction on a particular trip, there’s nothing to worry about. Because sometimes a moment with a loved one and a frozen treat or an hour in a well-scented lobby or another loop on the resort monorail will be a better memory than a Fastpass for Splash Mountain or another ride on Pirates. And besides, it certainly won’t be my last visit. Not by a long shot.

Odds and Ends | FOOD · FITNESS · FANTASYSeptember 24, 2014 - 5:08 pm

[…] yeah. Things are all over the place. Things often are. I have a guest post over at my dear friend Estelle’s blog today. It kinda touches on those themes. […]

Muppet Monday: Brian Jay on Jim Henson

Happy Monday! This Wednesday, Jim Henson would have turned 78. In the 3 years I’ve been working on THP, one of the highlights has always been learning and discovering more about Jim and the Muppets that I love. If you’ve been following since last year, you might remember I was SUPER excited for the release of the first grown-up biography of Jim. Author Brian Jay Jones created a fantastic portrait of a complex man who had a hand (ha) in so many of the movies, television shows, and characters we still love today. So I’m beyond thrilled to have Brian on the blog to answer a few questions as we celebrate Jim’s birthday. I hope you enjoy this Q&A and be sure to enter the awesome giveaway at the end. Psst. I know what Brian’s new book is about and he’ll be announcing it soon but oh gee, you guys are going to be all over it.

And, of course, happy Birthday, Jim.

I can’t believe it’s been just about a year since your biography on Jim released! Congrats on all the success; it makes me so happy to see people enjoying it. So this is kind of a two-part question. What was the most memorable part of putting the book together? Did you learn anything exciting about Jim from those you met at signings or event after you published the book?

Part the First: The most memorable part of putting the book together was meeting and talking with all the really extraordinary people in Jim’s life, from his family to his coworkers to his childhood friends. I got to see, do, and talk about so many fun and interesting things. I watched Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire film an OKGo music video in a studio in Burbank — with Kirk Thatcher directing, no less. I had brunch with Steve Whitmire and breakfast with Frank Oz, and I got to see the Burt sculpture that Jim gave Oz as a gift — the one Oz talked so movingly of at Jim’s Memorial Service. Lisa Henson showed me the dollhouse she and Jim built together. Jerry Nelson–that voice!–and I ate bagels in his kitchen in Truro while snow fell outside. Cheryl Henson sat me down in her apartment with Brian and Wendy Froud — at which I point all I could do was sit and listen to them laugh and tell stories and gossip like the old friends they are. I sat with Karen Falk for weeks, exploring the Henson Archives like two archaeologists. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. It was a privilege to touch that world, if only for a moment.

Part the Second: What I learned from meeting people is just how deeply loved and appreciated he and his work are, even to this day. I mean, I suspected it intuitively, sure, but until I got out there, I really had no idea the true extent of it. Muppet and Jim fans are some of the most passionate out there–and they’re really well-versed in the life and work, so you get really good questions and great conversations. And every piece of Jim’s work has its devoted fans. There are people who live and breathe Muppets, while others live and breathe The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth or Sesame Street or Emmet Otter or Muppet Babies or . . . .again, I can go on and on. It’s such a deep and wide breadth of work that appeals across age groups, gender, or culture that I get to meet these really great, diverse groups of people. And usually, when I get to the end of a talk, instead of questions, more often than not I find that people in the audience want to raise their hands and tell me what Jim means to them. I love that.

Plus, I give probably the only book talks where there are puppets in the audience, nodding knowingly and reacting as I speak. Well done, all you talented puppeteers out there.

What was one of the rumors or stories you hoped to squash in the writing and researching of the biography?

That Jim died because his Christian Science faith wouldn’t let him seek medical attention. It’s a compelling narrative, but it’s just not true. At that point in his life, Jim hadn’t been a practicing Christian Scientist for decades, and he wasn’t averse to seeing doctors. Sure, he wasn’t great about having regular checkups with a doctor, but then you can probably say that about most people–and in fact, he would have had regular medical examinations in order to be insured for his TV and film projects. So, again, Jim didn’t have a problem with doctors or with medication. He took good care of himself, and rarely got sick–so rarely, in fact, that when he did get sick, he’d make a note of it in his journal.

I think there were two things going on during Jim’s final illness. First, Jim likely didn’t think he was critically ill. He thought he had a severe case of the flu, and his symptoms were very flu-like. For the most part, he had no reason to believe there was anything serious going on–unless you’re a hypochondriac, most people just don’t believe they’re critically ill. So, I think Jim thought if he just rode it out–and after that rough weekend at his parents’ place in North Carolina, if he just went back home to New York and went to bed–he’d get over it. And really, I can relate. In 2009, while I was researching the book, I was in London when swine flu was raging and — of course — I got it. I was flat on my back for days, shivering one moment, burning up the next, really convinced that I might die . . . and I still did nothing about it. I took Advil, and went to bed and rode it out. And I got better. And I really think that’s what Jim thought would happen.

The second thing: Jim didn’t like to inconvenience or bother people. Only Jim Henson would think going to a doctor was somehow “inconveniencing” the doctor. And even when the driver of car that Arthur Novell had hired to take Jim to the hospital pulled up at the wrong entrance–he stopped up to the main entrance instead of the emergency entrance around the corner–only Jim would tell the driver not to worry about it and walk around the corner himself. That was Jim. Being sick, in his mind, didn’t just inconvenience him, it inconvenienced anyone else around him. And he hated that.

Anyway, that was the big one. Then there were two other smaller ones I want to mention—and I’m probably not going to change the mythology on either one of these anyway, but here we go: One, Muppet really is not a combination of the words “marionette” and “puppet.” That legend has been debunked before–Jim himself even says it’s not true–and I talked about it in the book as well, but that one is probably never going to go away, despite the fact that it’s sort of Flat Earth Theory. I see people tweeting it constantly, so there you go. The second one — and this one surprised me — was that Jim really disliked the term “Muppeteer.” He always called them “Muppet performers,” and thought “Muppeteer” was far too cutesy. But again, that’s one that’s probably never going to go away, either.

Were there any interesting stories that didn’t make it into the book?

As you can probably imagine, with hundreds and hundreds of hours of interviews, there are bound to be LOTS of stories and details that are fun or interesting that ultimately can’t make it into a book, or it would have been 5,000 pages long–and it’s already a pretty long book as it is. I had to cut the story of Jim and the Muppet team meeting the Queen of England during the jubilee, for instance — it was a story I thought was really funny, and there were great photos of it in the newspapers, with Sweetums looming up in the background behind this well-dressed group of royals. I liked it so much, I even opened a chapter with it. But it didn’t quite work, so it had to hit the cutting room floor in the name of space. I think it gets about three lines now. That’s what happens.

One of my biggest disappointments is that there’s just no way to devote space to every single project Jim touched — and that means someone’s favorite project is bound to get left out, and I can only say I’m sorry if that happened to a project that you love. I’ve gotten e-mails from people who love Follow That Bird, for instance, asking why it doesn’t get a mention, or why something like The Ghosts of Faffner Hall gets only a passing glance. A project’s absence or brief mention is never a reflection on the quality of the project. Rather, what I had to do early on was make a judgment call about how “Jim-centric” a particular project was in order to rank its likelihood it might make it into the final draft. If it’s any solace to those who’s favorite project didn’t make it in, one of my favorites isn’t in there, either, actually. I love the work Jim and the Muppet team did for Wilson’s Meats, and I don’t think we ended up with even a mention of it in the final. And that’s a very Jim-centric production. You win some, you lose some.

One of my biggest takeaways from the book was Jim’s ridiculous work ethic and how he was constantly moving on to something new when the original project wasn’t even finished yet. Then there was how much his employees meant to him, and how he always tried to inject fun into what he was doing. Since immersing yourself in his world, did you find yourself adopting any of Jim’s practices into how you approach your own work?

Jim didn’t understand why more people didn’t love working; he thought it was one of the great pleasures in life. Now, of course, we aren’t all lucky enough to be working with Muppets–or building a world like Dark Crystal or Fraggle Rock–every day, so he had a slightly different work day than most of us. But his point, I think, is to do your best to love what you do–and if you’re not doing what you love, try to find a way that you get to do it. It’s not always possible, but Jim was, as he once said, a ridiculous optimist. He genuinely believed hard work paid off, and that being positive about what you were doing–even if it wasn’t yet what you wanted to do for a living–would make the world a better place. He was certain that by staying positive and focused that you would eventually get to do what you love for a living. That kind of optimism is infectious.

On top of that, Jim, as Frank Oz put it, was also a great appreciator. He appreciated people, he appreciated things, and he appreciated hard work. Taken altogether, then, that’s an irresistible message about life and work. I’m very lucky that doing something I love is part of the way I make a living. That’s a great place to be–and, as Jim would want me to do, I appreciate that. But even more, Jim wanted there to be a conscious joy in work. When The Muppet Show was at the top of its game, Jim really wanted his performers to take a moment to not just appreciate, but to enjoy the fact that their work had paid off. So, Jim reinforced for me to never take anything, but especially the good things, for granted. I really work to make sure I have an awareness that I’m enjoying what I do when I’m doing it–to take a moment and say, “Wow, this is really great. I’m really lucky.” Because I really am.

With Jim’s birthday this week, it’s hard not to discuss legacy. Even in this internet age, I’m glad to see that his work is still so appreciated. Other than reading your fantastic biography, how can we ensure that his work is remembered?

As they used to say in the closing credits of every episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, “Keep circulating the tapes!” One of the things I hear from a lot of readers is that as they were reading Jim’s biography, they kept diving into YouTube to watch commercials, clips, or other bits talked about in the book. And I love that. The internet age is actually making it easier for people to see Jim’s old work — before, you had to wait for it to show up in a television retrospective, or as part of a museum exhibit; now it’s a mere Google away. So keep posting links and pointing people toward Jim’s work.

Also: please keep talking about Jim when you talk about the Muppets. I know Disney owns them now, and it’s their prerogative to do with them as they will, but–and this is going to sound really cranky–it really busts me up that they’re now marketed as “Disney’s The Muppets.” We don’t see them marketing “Disney’s The Avengers,” or “Disney’s The Amazing Spider-Man.” It says MARVEL right on the poster, for crying out loud. Now, understand, I don’t pretend to know any of the legalities here; I just wish it said somewhere “Jim Henson’s Muppets.” I don’t think that would be a disservice to the Disney brand at all. But then, what do I know?

So: Keep watching. Keep talking. Keep believing. Keep pretending.

A birthday giveaway: Brian was generous enough to offer a signed copy of the audiobook of Jim Henson: The Biography for a lucky reader. In addition, I am offering a Nook or Kindle copy of the book to a second winner. Must be a U.S. resident to enter and over the age of 13. Good luck! Details below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Big thanks to Brian for visiting This Happy Place Blog! Can’t wait for more of your work!

What’s Up This Week | Brian Jay JonesSeptember 22, 2014 - 12:11 pm

[…] Hallick, one of the biggest Muppets/Jim Henson/Disney fans anywhere. You can see our conversation right here. As an added bonus, we’re also giving away an e-book, as well as a complete and unabridged […]

Ria ESeptember 22, 2014 - 12:47 pm

So much of Jim Henson’s work has had such a profound impact on my life, but I think The Muppet Show has the most memories for me. I used to watch it on the Disney Channel with my dad, my sister, and my cousins. I watched it on YouTube at college when I was having a rough day. My now husband and I watched it while we were dating (we did a lot of bonding over Muppets, including singing “Moving Right Along” approximately 30 times on our first road trip), and even as recently as last night when I was having a sad day we watched some season 1 episodes to cheer me up. It still makes me laugh so hard I cry, it still has moments that just make me sob, but it always just fills my heart with warmth and joy.

KennySeptember 22, 2014 - 1:55 pm

Good interview. GREAT book. Buy it, America!

Although, I must defend the use of “Disney The Muppets” as opposed to “Jim Henson’s Muppets” for one important reason: Disney didn’t buy the “Jim Henson” brand. They just bought “The Muppets.” If they bought Henson outright (like they did with Marvel) and were creating Muppet stuff under the Jim Henson unit of The Walt Disney Company…maybe it’d be a different story.

ASSeptember 22, 2014 - 2:41 pm

My favorite Henson work will always be The Muppet Show.

Chris StulzSeptember 22, 2014 - 5:07 pm

Great interview! “Disney’s The Muppets” really bums me out too, though I’ve heard the rationale is that the “Jim Henson” brand and his signature are owned by the Henson Company. Disney has to get approval from Henson anytime they wish to use his name in a marketing capacity. Where’s as with The Avengers or Spider-Man, Disney bought the whole Marvel band, so they can use “Marvel” without incurring any legal trouble, plus it keeps all those titles linked together even if the movies are distributed by other studios (Iron Man – Paramount, The Avengers – Disney Spider-Man – Sony).

Connor BurkeSeptember 22, 2014 - 6:39 pm

The part of Jim’s work that is most memorable is the heart that all of the works had. While the humor and magic was always there, everything had a large element of heart that showed how much he truly cared.

Jason BornsteinSeptember 23, 2014 - 7:50 pm

Great Q&A here. I’d actually love to see Jim’s life as a movie. It’s just amazing the imagination and creativity that as in the man’s head. I could only imagine what the world missed out on because he had died so young.

The Muppet Show was probably the most memorable. But I’ve got a window open to the video player on Sesame Street’s website to watch old clips of the Sesame Street Muppets.

ZacSeptember 24, 2014 - 1:18 pm

Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal and labyrinth were two of my favorite movies growing up.

StacySeptember 24, 2014 - 1:38 pm

My husband and I admire Jim and his work so much that we named our son Henson, after him. We wanted to name him after someone who did something good for the world, and interviews like make it so clear that we made the right choice.

There isn’t really a specific project that we don’t love, but I think we are most fond of the Muppets and the Dark Crystal.

SallySeptember 24, 2014 - 1:41 pm

My favorite thing about Jim Henson’s work is that no matter the project, there’s always a theme of hope, a small glimpse of something we could all do to make the world a slightly better place. Think of what this world could be if we were all a little nicer, if we treated every stranger as a new friend? From Sesame Street to the Muppet Show, to Labyrinth, there’s always the possibility of lightening each other’s loads by small acts of kindness – they add up quickly!He worked so many life lessons into everything he did, and it seems like even when I rewatch something of his for the hundredth time, I still get something new from it, even if it’s a joke I somehow missed. Happy Birthday, Jim Henson, wherever you are. You were one in a trillion, and you’ll always be missed.

JaniceSeptember 24, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Jim Henson was a legend that has affected so many of us forever. Kermit was always my favorite, and I even refer to my favorite color as ‘Kermit Green’ Happy birthday Jim.

EliSeptember 24, 2014 - 4:49 pm

Jim Henson’s Muppets were a large part of my childhood, and continue to be part of my adult life. I was so happy to get the peek inside his mind and life that the biography offered. Thanks for posting this interview.

JohnnyWSeptember 25, 2014 - 4:55 am

Jim’s outlook on life is what informed his work and made it special. I agree that it should be Jim Henson’s THE MUPPETS. Annoying that Disney owns everything now.

CarolynSeptember 25, 2014 - 7:09 pm

Thanks so much for the lovely interview. I agree it’s a shame that Disney has placed the Muppets in a weird bubble apart not only from their creator/father figure Jim, but from all the amazing people who currently perform them. Jim loved showing us what happened behind the scenes, and often appeared alongside Kermit.

[…] was so psyched to share my interview with biographer Brian Jay Jones in celebration of Jim Henson’s birthday, but this was beyond what I imagined. So many sweet […]

[…] Brian Jay Jones remembers Jim Henson on what would have been his 78th […]