Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jim Henson: The Biography

This biography of Jim Henson was written with the cooperation of his family. Starting with Jim Henson's childhood, we learn how creativity was a huge part of his family's life. The gradual rise of Jim Henson in show business culminating in his success, was a large portion of the biography. There was some information on his personal life, but the focus was mostly on his career.

It was fun to read how the Muppets came to be. It was surprising to learn how some Muppets came to be the main characters. They were often chosen by who was doing which Muppet's voice, and how popular that character was. As Kermit became popular, Rowlf had to be used less as Jim Henson did both of their voices. It would be too difficult to control multiple puppets and do their voices at the same time.

I was also delighted to learn more about the creative efforts Henson put into The Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth. I loved these movies growing up, and I did not know how mixed the reviews had been when they were originally released. It was interesting to learn how many different programs Jim Henson was a part of before the success of Sesame Street and the Muppets. He continued with his creativity and trying to make his work a success despite constant setbacks.

Although there were engaging portions, I thought the biography got too bogged down in the facts. There needed to be some filtering on what was really necessary to tell Henson's life story. Particularly the portions that had to do with his business, there was no distinction between what was important and what was superfluous to our understanding of his life.

If you like Jim Henson's creations, you will find something interesting in this biography.

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