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Today Is Jim Henson’s Birthday!

it's time to play the music

Today marks what would have been the 75th birthday of Jim Henson, master puppeteer, storyteller, and entertainer to a diverse, global audience of people who loved the characters he created. It’s an exciting year to be a Muppet fan, with the opening of the newest Muppet movie in over a decade, so let’s take some time to celebrate Henson’s legacy. First stop: Google, and their interactive digital puppet graphic!

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Now, it’s a little odd for a web site to tell you to leave and go play with someone else’s digital puppets, but this is the one time we’re going to tell you to do that. Here is a non-interactive preview of the graphic:

See that little yellow guy, looking in a different direction? He’s doing that because he was following me. If you select the button underneath each Muppet, they’ll follow you around the screen. They also do more adorable, Muppety things when you click on their faces or double-click. So, please! Go play, and then come right back. We’ll wait.

Oh, you’re back! Google also has a guest post from Henson’s son, Brian, as well as a video about how the graphic came to be.

The Muppet fan site, Tough Pigs, also has a rundown of several tributes taking place off-line in New York City, Leland, Mississippi, San Diego, Washington, DC, and other cities.

If you’re having your own little celebration for Jim Henson, we’d love to hear about it in the comments, as well as any Henson- or Muppet-related remembrances or experiences you’d like to share. Here is one from me:

First, to get a sense of just how old I am, Bird Bird in China was the first movie I ever saw in the theater. I have vague memories of being in a dark theater, watching a gigantic Big Bird on a gigantic screen. My brother fell asleep (him being a baby and all). For some reason (possibly because I was a four-year-old aka “an impossible human being to deal with”), we did not see The Muppets Take Manhattan in the theater, but my brother and I watched it over and over and over again once it was on video, and the scene where Kermit is hit by a car greatly upset me. And yet I watched that video several times a day, like some kind of sicko. I’m pretty sure this is why a feel a great urge to give Kermit a hug every time I see him.

It is also worth mentioning that Managing Editor Susana Polo is also a die-hard Jim Henson fan, and will usually call dibs on any Muppet-related posts, so here is a collection of stories we’ve done since we started:

An Entire Documentary About Jim Henson’s Career on YouTube

The Best Possible Tribute to Jim Henson, By the Muppets Themselves [Ed. note: Only if you really, really, really feel like crying.]

The Muppets Do The Wizard of Id

Backstage on Sesame Street With Elmo and the First Lady (Susana explains how Muppets work)

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