Today is the 30th anniversary of the death of Jim Henson. I was working on Muppetvision 3D at Imagineering when he died. I was so excited that Disney was buying the Muppets and thought that Jim Henson was another Walt Disney and his creativity would take us in many new directions. Of course this was not to happen and Disney would not buy the Muppets until many years later. The original magic was lost. Here are some videos showing the work of a great man.
Jim Henson also used technology to great effect to tell stories, that is technology for storytelling. There are many examples in this episode of the Jim Henson Hour.
This award winning short film, combining live action and animation, played in the main theater at Disney/MGM Studios’ Animation Pavilion. Walter Cronkite, in his familiar role of trusted newscaster, set out to reveal the secrets behind Disney animation. Robin, in the role of Disney World tourist, volunteered to help with Walter’s show-and-tell. With a twinkle in his eye, Walter called on his assistant Tinkerbell to transport them to a magical limbo where anything could happen.
Step by step, Robin was transformed into an animated character – a Little Lost Boy from the classic film Peter Pan. Robin suddenly found himself facing the notorious Captain Hook. Experiencing everything from utter fear, to total joy, Robin learned that strong and believable emotions have always been at the heart of the Disney animation.
Rees, who began his career as a Disney Feature Animator, sums it up this way; “It’s not how you move the drawings, it’s how the drawings move the audience.”