The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson

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The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson
Format Television Special
Written by Jerry Juhl
Bill Prady
Sara Luckinson
Directed by Don Mischer
Starring Dave Goelz
Jerry Nelson
Richard Hunt
Steve Whitmire
Kevin Clash
Kathy Mullen
Frank Oz
Composer(s) Larry Grossman
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Executive producer(s) Ritamarie Peruggi
Producer(s) Don Mischer
Martin G. Baker
David J. Goldberg
Editor(s) Girish Bhargava
David Gumpel
Running time 48 minutes
Production company(s) Jim Henson Productions
Walt Disney Television
Don Mischer Productions
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original airing September 11, 1990 (1990-21-11)

The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson is a one-hour special that aired on CBS on November 21, 1990. The program was a tribute to Muppet creator Jim Henson, who had died earlier in 1990 due to toxic shock syndrome caused by a streptococcus infection, and featured characters from The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and Sesame Street.

It marked Jim Henson's first onscreen performance as Kermit the Frog. This was also one of Richard Hunt's final puppetry works before his death in 1992.

Plot[edit]

Kermit the Frog is away traveling, leaving Fozzie Bear and the other Muppets in charge of the week's production number. On the day of the show, the Muppets receive a letter from Kermit informing them the production number is meant to pay tribute to Jim Henson. However, the group is unfamiliar with who Henson is. The rest of the special depicts the Muppets figuring out Jim Henson's relation to them, while simultaneously creating the production number.

Through the course of the special, interviews of several special guests are shown (including Carol Burnett, Ray Charles, John Denver, Steven Spielberg, John Denver, Harry Belafonte and Frank Oz), where each guest recounts their personal experiences with Henson and his contributions to film, television, puppetry and philanthropy.

As the Muppets are nearing the presentation of their tribute number, Fozzie discovers some of Jim Henson's fan mail. One letter addressed to Kermit initially starts out cheerfully, but then turns to sorrow when the letter reveals that Henson has since died. Shocked, the Muppets take turns reading different letters from fans. Finally, Fozzie decides to cancel the production number, deeming it improper for the occasion. Kermit's nephew Robin tries to convince Fozzie otherwise by breaking into "Just One Person", which was composed for "Snoopy: The Musical" in 1975, and featured in an episode of The Muppet Show in 1977. Eventually the song becomes a large musical number.

As the Muppets finish singing, Kermit (Steve Whitmire) arrives and congratulates the group on finding the proper way of honoring Jim Henson. Kermit decides to enact Fozzie's original production number and addresses the audience, ensuring that the Muppets will continue to perform because that what Jim Henson would've wanted.

Singers of "Just One Person"[edit]

The singers in the big musical number of "Just One Person" were:

  • Kermit (watched), Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, Scooter, Lew Zealand, Statler, Waldorf, Sam the Eagle, Beauregard the Janitor, Rowlf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Janice, Animal, Zoot, Floyd Pepper, Camilla the Chiken, and Robin from The Muppet Show
  • Gobo, Wembley, and Mokey Fraggle from Fraggle Rock
  • Clifford and Bean Bunny from The Jim Henson Hour
  • Big Bird, Elmo, Bert, Ernie, Prairie Dawn, Grundgetta the Grouch, and Telly from Sesame Street

Cast[edit]

Muppet Performers[edit]

Additional Muppets performed by Pam Arciero, Jane Carr, Camille Bonora, Jim Martin, Diedrich Bader, Peter MacKennan, Carmen Osbahr, Martin P. Robinson, David Rudman, Cheryl Henson (uncredited), Bill Prady (uncredited)

Production[edit]

  • The set used for this special intentionally combines elements from the backstage set used in The Muppet Show and the control room set used in The Jim Henson Hour.
  • Later syndicated alongside The Muppet Show.
  • This would be the last time Richard Hunt performed Scooter. He died two years after the release of this special.
  • The logo for the special incorporated characters from all three of Henson's most widely known productions, with Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie joined by Gobo Fraggle and Cookie Monster.

External links[edit]