Inspiration from Jim Henson
Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes
Jim Henson (1936-1990) was more than a puppeteer and creator of the world-famous “Muppets,” he was the person responsible for bringing joy to millions of people of all ages.
Success is fueled by encouragement. Jim was very close to his maternal grandmother who was an avid painter, quilter, and needleworker. She was very supportive of Jim’s artistic efforts and encouraged him to use his imagination.
Success has to start somewhere. In 1954, while Jim was still in high school, he performed puppets on a local TV station. One year later, he was given his own five-minute show called, “Sam and Friends” on a local NBC affiliate station.
Success is often a result of good promotion. The success of “Sam and Friends” led to guest appearances on some of the major network talk shows of the time.
Success is seeking help when you need it. In 1961, Jim brought on puppeteer and writer Jerry Juhl, who became one of Jim’s major collaborators. Later, he brought on Frank Oz, who also made significant contributions to Muppets, Inc.
Success is learning and doing. With his puppeteering well looked after by a group of talented experts, Jim was able to pursue his interests in film-making. Within a few years, he produced several experimental films that would eventually lead to his greatest success.
Success is a result of providing something of value to as many people as possible. Henson’s work on Sesame Street proved to be a huge success that mostly appealed to young children. But Jim had much more grand ideas to appeal to a much wider audience, thus began promotion of the idea of “The Muppet Show.”
Success does not happen overnight. Jim spent years promoting the idea of “The Muppet Show,” which was finally backed by a London-based television producer.
Success is a result of imagination. “The Muppet Show” was a huge success because of Jim’s humor and imagination that was evident in each and every Muppet Show episode.
Success never dies. Even after Jim Henson’s death in 1990, the Muppets continue to entertain and amuse both kids and adults alike.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)