Today is Jim Henson's 75th birthday. And in my mind, there ought to be parades to honor this man's legacy. Because, as a filmmaker and innovator, he did it all. Whether you're a kid or an adult, he touched us all. So celebrations are in order.
Jim Henson's incredible life's work and influence can be seen just about everywhere. I mean, for starters, the Muppets have a sure-to-be-INCREDIBLE movie coming out soon. (Seriously. See that movie.) But he's a landmark. He created probably the single most recognizable form of puppetry we have today. He helped create Sesame Street, the gold standard in children's television. He worked with George Lucas to create Yoda, and with David fucking Bowie in Labyrinth. The man was a giant.
See, Mr. Henson and his work have a special place in my heart because of one Kermit the Frog. Because, in a lot of personal and exceedingly quirky ways, I like to see a lot of Kermit in myself. Fairly straight-laced but given to lots of wild, excited gesticulations in friendly company. But Kermit was my hero.
You'll forgive me if I tear up a little bit here.
Henson passed on May 16th, 1990, and he's been sorely missed ever since. He was and is one of the many individuals who Thought Different. And it cannot be denied. Google is going all out today with a brand new doodle commemorating his work; it's a set of digital muppets that you can toy around with to your heart's content. And Jim's son Brian was gracious enough to write a post honoring his father on Google's official blog.
Now, the obvious thing to do here would be to end with a clip of something like Rainbow Connection, no? Fair enough. You should watch that, too. It's really moving. But I'm going to have you watch the Muppet's rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody instead. Because it's awesome. And so were you, Jim.
You can keep up with Kwame Opam, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, and occasionally Google+.