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A Toast to the Puppet Master

There’s only one block in New York City where the birds are 8-feet-tall, the trash cans have permanent residents and bath time is always fun. I’m talking, of course, about Sesame Street.

The longest-running kids’ show on TV turned 45 this year. To celebrate, the New York Public Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center is hosting a special exhibit, called “Somebody Come and Play.” Check it out: http://www.nypl.org/sesamestreet

We dropped by last weekend and it got me thinking…. Did anyone dominate their chosen field more than Jim Henson? The Sesame Street crew of Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Burt & Ernie is just the beginning. Then you’ve got to factor in all of the other Muppets like Kermit, Miss Piggy, and my personal favorite, The Great Gonzo. (Side note: The Muppet Christmas Carol, with Gonzo in the role of Charles Dickens, is a top 10 Christmas movie – “light the wick, not the rat.”)

The Muppet Show was a little before my time, but this one wasn’t:

And, of course, Henson and his long-time collaborator, Frank Oz, were also responsible for the greatest puppet of all time – the Jedi Master, Yoda. He may sound like a cultish Miss Piggy, but the original Empire-era Yoda, like his Sesame Street forbearers, imparted great wisdom on many young minds.

Sadly, Jim Henson passed away in 1990 at just 53-years-old. But, he left us with some pretty amazing characters for generations of kids to enjoy, from Sesame Street to the Dagobah System and back.

October 16, 2014 by Ted Flanagan
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