Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Review: Jim Henson the Biography by Brian Ray Jones

Today, I am throwing convention to the wind and am going to review a book that I have not yet finished reading. I may never read this one totally from cover to cover. But that's okay with me. This one, I am enjoying more by reading it one bit at a time--a randomly selected chapter here, a randomly selected chapter here. Brian Ray Jones biography of Jim Henson is so detailed and comprehensive that, at times, it feels like I am reading an encyclopaedia. An encyclopaedia that flows well perhaps, but certainly a very detailed book.

As a one-time puppeteer (a weird gig I volunteered for back in my uni days, which subsequently made me appreciate the complexity of some of Henson's puppets,) and a long time fan of Henson's work, particularly The Muppets I was interested to read more about Jim Henson and the background story to a man who was absolutely passionate about his work. Henson was a hardworking man who believed passionately in what he did. It is as interesting to read about his interactions with children as Kermit on the set of Sesame Street as it is to read about his efforts at turning The Witches into a feature film despite Roald Dahl's acidic comments about the script and dislike of the films ending. (Chillingly The Witches would be the last film that both Henson and Dahl worked on before their respective deaths in 1990.) There is an entire chapter devoted to The Dark Crystal and another to Labyrinth. Oh, and fans may be interested to know that Henson discovered the nonsensical Ma Nah Ma Mah song after hearing it usds on the soundtrack to an Italian sexploitation film titled Sweden: Heaven and Hell.

This one is a great read for fans of Henson and The Muppets ... though not necessarily in the one sitting.

2 comments:

  1. I loved the Muppets as a child, and have a few of the Muppet movies even now. They really are timeless. I wasn't aware that he created Oscar, Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster and Big Bird. He really was an amazing talent. I might pick up a copy of this one too.

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