Jarrod Fairclough – May 16th 2016 marks 26 years since Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets and creative visionary, passed away from a short, but aggressive illness. A lot has happened to the characters he helped envision since that Wednesday morning in 1990, some of it great, some of lacking in that spark that made the characters work in the first place. Yet all these productions still have that underlying zaniness, however how small, in their DNA, which all comes from Jim.
When I was fortunate enough to meet Dave Goelz in December we had a great chat about what it’s actually like the work with The Muppets, and how Jim’s spirit is still in what they do. He told me that before every single scene he asks himself ‘How would Jim have done this?’ I remember him distinctly saying that Jim encouraged input from everyone, no matter if they were a network executive or the person sweeping the floors. Jim saw potential in everyone he met, and he collected the best of those, who still work tirelessly to this day to bring us the joy that Jim worked so hard to create.
Yes, it’s disappointing that the new series has been cancelled, but these same people that Jim gathered are still dedicated to bringing us the best possible product they can. Jim believed in these people, and so do I. Perhaps it’s that ‘ridiculous optimism’ that Jim so often promoted, but that’s what made him so open to everything, and it’s just one of the lessons that Jim, my hero, has taught me.