The Jim Henson Company
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008)|
|Founded||1958 (as Muppets, Inc.)|
|Headquarters||Jim Henson Company Lot, Los Angeles, California; offices and production facilities in New York City and London|
|Key people||Brian Henson
(President and COO)
The Jim Henson Company, which is an American entertainment organization, traces its origins to the founding of Muppets, Inc. in 1958 by puppeteer Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. The Muppets helped the company gain worldwide acclaim in family entertainment for more than four decades. The company's units include Jim Henson's Creature Shop, a renowned animatronics and visual-effects workshop.
The Jim Henson Company was previously named: Uppity-Muppets Corp. (1965-1967), Henson Associates, Inc. (1967-1991), Jim Henson Productions, Inc. (1991-1997). As of 2011[update], Jim Henson's children Brian, Lisa, Cheryl, John and Heather run the company: Brian serves as Chairman, while Lisa serves as CEO.
- 1 History
- 2 Filmography
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Aside from Sam and Friends, the majority of work that the company had until 1969 involved creating characters for various commercials, variety-show appearances, and a few meeting films for various companies (the company would produce its own meeting films from 1965 to 1996).
Henson Associates, Inc.
In 1968, the company started creating characters and more than 20 short films for the popular children's show Sesame Street.
One of the company's first characters to appear regularly on television, Rowlf the Dog, originated with commercials for Purina Dog Chow and soon became famous when he became a regular character on The Jimmy Dean Show from 1963 to 1966. During this time the show's host, Jimmy Dean, turned down the opportunity to own forty percent of the company because he didn't feel that he had earned it.
For many years, Jim Henson had tried to sell several different shows to the major American networks, all of which turned them down. Some ideas (such as "Tales of The Tinkerdee") were made as unaired pilots, and some (such as "The Zoocus") were never produced. Then, in 1976, British media-mogul Lew Grade approached Jim Henson to produce a weekly show based in England, which became The Muppet Show broadcast on ATV. The success of The Muppet Show led to many movies, specials, videos, and more. The British company ITC originally owned The Muppet Show, among other Henson productions, but Jim Henson later purchased the rights to all productions originally distributed by ITC.
In the early 1980s, Jim Henson also formed Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which produced characters for shows such as The Storyteller, Farscape, and Dinosaurs; and movies such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. During the 1980s Jim Henson produced new television series such as Fraggle Rock and The Jim Henson Hour.
Disney Negotiations and Henson's Passing
In 1989, Jim Henson started negotiations with The Walt Disney Company regarding a possible purchase of the company. Due to these negotiations, management of Henson International Television distribution unit based in the UK purchased their unit from the company. In 1990, while still negotiating with Disney, Jim Henson died during the week scheduled for signing the contract, and his family decided to have the company keep the rights to the characters.
Jim Henson Productions, Inc.
However, on December 18, 1991, the Walt Disney Company bought the distribution rights to the entire Henson Productions library up to that time.
The Jim Henson Company
In 1999 the Jim Henson Company had partial interests in two cable channels: The Kermit Channel (broadcasting in Asia) and Odyssey Network (broadcasting in the USA). Hallmark also co-owned these networks. Both networks were later renamed to the Hallmark Channel.
In 2000, Jim Henson’s children sold the company to the German media company, EM.TV. In early 2001, after EM.TV subsequently experienced major financial problems, the Jim Henson Company was put up for sale. That year, EM.TV sold the company's ownership of the Sesame Street Muppets to Sesame Workshop and sold the company's ownership of the Odyssey Channel and the Kermit Channel. The Walt Disney Company, HIT Entertainment, Haim Saban, Classic Media, Sesame Workshop, and Sony (among others) all showed interested in owning the company.
In December 2002 a deal was announced in which EM.TV would sell a 49.9% stake in Henson to an investment group led by Dean Valentine, a former executive at Disney and UPN. However in March 2003, the deal fell through, and it was Henson's children who bought back the company in May 2003. In 2004, almost one year after ownership of the Henson company was returned to the family’s hands, the Jim Henson Company sold the rights to The Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House characters to The Walt Disney Company, who control the Muppets through the wholly owned subsidiary The Muppets Studio, LLC. The Walt Disney Company now owns all Muppet-related trademarks, including the word “Muppet”. In the teaser for "Stuffed and Unstrung", the characters of Bobby Vegan and Samson Knight made it clear that they weren't Muppets.
On April 1, 2004, the company and HIT Entertainment agreed to a five-year global distribution and production deal which included distribution of 440 hours of the company's remaining family library include Fraggle Rock, Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas, The Hoobs puppets and the Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories.
Following the sale of the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House franchises, the company started to become involved with computer animated projects, including the direct-to-video Unstable Fables series and the television shows Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train. The company formed Henson Alternative, which made adult puppetry shows, including the live puppet improve shows known alternatively as Puppet Improv, Puppet Up, and Stuffed and Unstrung.
For years the company had been trying to get a Dark Crystal prequel and a Fraggle Rock movie made. In recent years the Fraggles have been making a number of new appearances, usually at special events. The Fraggles appeared with Ben Folds Five in the music video "Do It Anyway", and in 2013, Gobo and Red Fraggle hosted a Fraggle Rock marathon on the Hub Network.
- Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D (1991)
- The Skrumps (2007) (with Yahoo! Kids)
- The Sam Plenty Cavalcade of Action Show Plus Singing! (2008)
- Unstable Fables (2008–2009)
- Time Piece (1965)
- The Cube (1969)
- The Muppet Movie (1979)
- The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
- The Dark Crystal (1982)
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) (with TriStar Pictures)
- Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird (1985) (with Warner Bros.)
- Labyrinth (1986; co-production with Lucasfilm)
- The Witches (1990) (with Warner Bros. and Lorimar Film Entertainment)
- The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) (with Walt Disney Pictures)
- Muppet Treasure Island (1996) (with Walt Disney Pictures)
- Buddy (1997; co-production with American Zoetrope and Columbia Pictures)
- Muppets from Space (1999) (with Columbia Pictures)
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999) (with Columbia Pictures)
- Rat (2000) (with Universal Studios)
- It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002) (with NBC Studios and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
- Good Boy! (2003) (with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
- Five Children and It (2004) puppet work only
- MirrorMask (2005)
- Fraggle Rock: The Movie (2014)
This list excludes pre-2001 Sesame Street co-productions outside the United States. From 1969 to 2001, Jim Henson Productions contracted to create and provide Muppet characters for Sesame Street. With the exception of occasional appearances in The Muppets franchise, the characters were used exclusively for Sesame Workshop, but The Jim Henson Company technically owned the characters they created. In 2001, Sesame Workshop bought the rights to all Muppets used on Sesame Street, except Kermit the Frog. After Jim Henson's death, Kermit rarely featured. Because Henson had not created Kermit for the exclusive use of Sesame Workshop and Kermit was the main character of Muppets as well, his case would have required a special agreement. Sesame Workshop owns all footage of Kermit on Sesame Street, and new and previous episodes of Sesame Street can continue to use that footage. This deal ended any affiliation between the Jim Henson Company and Sesame Street. The deal also ended any direct affiliation between The Muppets and Sesame Street with two exceptions: using many of the same puppeteers, and the agreement that Sesame Street may still use the term "Muppet" from Disney, who holds the trademark to the term. Also, The Jim Henson Company can continue to design and build newer Muppet characters for Sesame Street.
- Sam and Friends (1955-1961)
- Hey, Cinderella! (1969)
- Sesame Street (1969–present)
- The Great Santa Claus Switch (1970)
- The Frog Prince (1971)
- "The Land of Gorch" segments on Saturday Night Live (1975)
- The Muppet Show (1976–1981)
- Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)
- John Denver & the Muppets (1979)
- Rocky Mountain Holiday (1983)
- Fraggle Rock (1983–1987)
- Jim Henson's Muppet Babies (1984–1991)
- Jim Henson's Little Muppet Monsters (1985)
- The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1986)
- The Tale of the Bunny Picnic (1986)
- The Christmas Toy (1986)
- Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series (1987)
- A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
- The Jim Henson Hour (1989–1990)
- The Ghost of Faffner Hall (1989)
- Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories (1990)
- The Muppets at Walt Disney World (1990)
- Dinosaurs (1991–1993) (with Michael Jacobs Productions and Walt Disney Television)
- Dog City (1992-1995)
- CityKids (1993–1994)
- The Secret Life of Toys (1993)
- Jim Henson's Animal Show (1994–1997)
- Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (1995)
- Muppets Tonight (1996–1998)
- The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (1996–1998)
- Big Bag (1996–1998)
- Bear in the Big Blue House (1997-1999; 2002–2003)
- Brats of the Lost Nebula (1998)
- Construction Site (1999–2002)
- Donna's Day (1999–2002)
- Mopatop's Shop (1999–2002)
- Farscape (1999–2003)
- The Fearing Mind (2000-2001)
- The Hoobs (2000–2002)
- Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola (2000-2001)
- Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story (2001) mini-series
- Animal Jam (2002)
- Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (2004)
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005) TV movie (with Touchstone Television, The Muppets Studio and Fox Television Studios)
- Five Minutes More (development) (2006)
- Frances (2006)
- Sid the Science Kid (2008–2013)
- Jim Henson's Pajanimals (2008, as music videos and 2011–present, as a regular series) (with Sixteen South)
- Dinosaur Train (2009–present)
- Jim Henson's The Possibility Shop (2009-present)
- Me and My Monsters (2010)
- Wilson & Ditch: Dinning America (2010)
- The Doozers (2013-present)
- That Puppet Game Show (2013–present)
Direct to video
- "Tales of Muppetland" series with Silver Eagle Records (1983) video VHS, Beta, and also RCA SelectaVision CED discs releases of "Hey Cinderella!", "The Frog Prince", "The Muppet Musicians of Bremen" and "Emmet-Otter's Jug-band Christmas"
- Jim Henson Play-Along Video (1988) with Lorimar
- Hey, You're As Funny as Fozzie Bear: A Comedy Show Starring Fozzie Bear and You.
- Sing-Along, Dance-Along, Do-Along: Rowlf teaches kids about musical styles.
- Wow, You're a Cartoonist!
- Neat Stuff… To Know and Do
- Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories (1987-1990)
- Peek-A-Boo, A Big Surprise for Little People
- Muppet Sing Alongs
- Muppet Classic Theater (1994)
- "Jim Henson's Preschool Collection"
- "Muppets on Wheels" (1995)
- "Yes, I Can Learn" (1995)
- "Yes, I Can Help" (1995)
- Kermit's Swamp Years (2002) (with Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment)
- Wilkins Coffee[disambiguation needed] (1957–1962)
- Faygo commercials (1958–1959)
- Purina Dog Chow (1962)
- Claussen's Bakery (1964)
- Kerns Bread (1965–1967)
- La Choy (1965–1968)
- Wheels, Crowns & Flutes commercial (1966)
- Wilson's Meats[disambiguation needed] commercials (1966–1968)
- Linit Fabric Finish commercial (1967)
- Kenner Easy-Bake Oven commercial (1968)
- Munchos commercials (1969)
- Mirinda (1970s)
- Polaroid (1980)
- National Wildlife Federation PSAs (1980s)
- Croonchy Stars (1988)
- Dominos Pizza (2001)
This list contains the mature projects of The Jim Henson Company under its Henson Alternative banner:
- Puppet Up! (2006–present)
- Late Night Buffet with Augie and Del (2006)
- Tinseltown (2007)
- Alt/Reality (2008)
- Late Night Liars (2010)
- Simian Undercover Detective Squad (2012–present)
- Neil's Puppet Dreams (2012–present)
- No, You Shut Up! (2013–Present)
- Good Morning Today (2013–Present)
- Willman, David (1992-07-26). "Jim Henson's Children Put Together a String of Big Deals to Keep Alive". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Gritten, David (1990-08-19). "The Next Muppetmeister?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Eller, Claudia; Philips, Chuck (1995-05-12). "Sony Nears Deal With Jim Henson Productions". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- The Jim Henson Company Entity Information. Corporation & Business Entity Database. Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code. New York State Department of State. Accessed on November 11, 2013.
- "HIT Entertainment PLC History". Company Profiles. fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Zonana, Victor F. (1991-04-18). "Henson Heirs Allege Disney Is Illegally Using Muppets". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Citron, Alan (1990-12-14). "Miss Piggy and Friends Won't Get Together With Mickey and Minnie". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Stevenson, Richard W. (December 19, 1991). COMPANY NEWS; In Thaw, Henson and Disney Strike Deal on Home Videos. New York Times.
- Hofmeister, Sallie (2000-02-22). "German Firm to Buy Henson for $680 Million". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Verrier, Richard (2003-05-08). "Muppets Returning to Hensons' Hands". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Barnes, Brooks (18 September 2008). "Fuzzy Renaissance". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- Rossingh, Danielle (April 2, 2004). "HIT seals deal for Henson catalogue". Telegraph. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- James, Meg (2004-02-18). "Kermit Is Now Part of Magic Kingdom". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Videos. Muppet Collectibles . Muppet Central.com. Accessed on November 25, 2013.
- Zad, Martie. "Muppet Group Offers Eight New Songs." The Washington Post. 1993. HighBeam Research. (November 25, 2013).
- Maes, Nancy. (March 07, 1996) Tish Hinojosa's Music Bridges Two Cultures. Chicago Tribune. Accessed on November 26, 2013.
- Martie Zad. (July 2, 1995) "Muppets, Kids Join in Series For Preschoolers." The Washington Post. 1995. HighBeam Research. Accessed on November 26, 2013.