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About the Author
Jim Henson first started his career on a local TV show Sam and Friends in Washington D.C in 1958. In 1969, he formed the core of the children's program, Sesame Street, which continues to air today and has been shown in more than a hundred countries around the world. Henson's creations were soon seen on The Muppet Show, which aired in 1976 through 1981 and later on Fraggle Rock, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, and Jim Henson's The Storyteller. The Muppets moved to star in six feature films: The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, and Muppets From Space. In addition to making Muppet movies, Henson also brought two remarkably original fantasy films to the big screen, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Henson died in May of 1990, survived by his wife and five children.
Read an Excerpt
It's Not Easy Being GreenAnd Other Things to Consider
By Jim Henson
HYPERIONCopyright © 2005 The Jim Henson Company, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneListen to Your Heart
I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me. -Jim
The words say, "It's not easy being green," but the song is about knowing who you are. And in it you hear Jim's message most clearly. He believed that people are good and that they want to do their best and that no matter how or why we might be different from anybody else, we should learn to love who we are and be proud of it. -Ray Charles
It's not that easy bein' green Having to spend each day the color of the leaves, When I think it might be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold Or something much more colorful like that
It's not easy bein' green It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things And people tend to pass you over, 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles on the water, or stars in the sky
But green is the color of spring And green can be cool and friendly like And green can be big like an ocean Or important like a mountain Or tall like a tree
When green is all there is to be, It could make you wonder why. But why wonder, why wonder? I am green, and it'll do fine And I think it's what I want to be -Kermit
I don't know exactly where ideas come from, but when I'm working well ideas just appear. I've heard other people say similar things-so it's one of the ways I know there's help and guidance out there. It's just a matter of our figuring out how to receive the ideas or information that are waiting to be heard. -Jim
Listening is the first step and the last step. -Cantus Fraggle
Jim was a dreamer ... but he was pragmatic enough to make the dream happen. He was just absolutely determined to do that. There were certainly elements of both. But a dreamer was what he really was. -Jerry Juhl
Why are there so many songs about rainbows, And what's on the other side? Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, And rainbows have nothing to hide. So we've been told And some choose to believe it. I know they're wrong, wait and see. Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, The lovers, the dreamers, and me.
Who said that every wish would be heard and answered, When wished on the morning star. Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it. Look what it's done so far. What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing, And what do we think we might see? Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, The lovers, the dreamers, and me. -Kermit
A LIST OF GOOD THINGS ABOUT BEING A FROG
Sitting in the sun on a lily pad
Having thousands of brothers and sisters
Going to the hop
Having bears and pigs and dogs and chickens as your friends
Getting kissed by princesses hoping to turn you into a handsome prince -Kermit
Over the years, television has produced a few individuals blessed with the ability to touch our hearts, our minds, and our lives with their vision. It's not so much that these special people march to a different drummer, but that they carry their own orchestras around with them in their heads. And when we allow them to play their tunes, the sound reverberates for generations. They make us think and they make us laugh. -Candice Bergen
Here in the middle of imagination, right in the middle of my head I close my eyes and my room's not my room, and my bed isn't really my bed. I look inside and discover things that are sometimes strange and new And the most remarkable thoughts I think have a way of being true.
Here in the middle of imagination, right in the middle of my mind I close my eyes and the night isn't dark and the things that I lose, I find. Time stands still and the night is clear and the wind is warm and fair. And the nicest place is the middle of imagination when I'm there. -Ernie
As I try to zero in on what's important for the Muppets, I think it's a sense of innocence, naivete -you know, the experience of a simple person meeting life. Even the most worldly of our characters is innocent. Our villains are innocent, really. And it's that innocence that I think is the connection to the audience. -Jim
Simple is good. -Jim
We always used to kid Jim that after telling everybody "simple is good," he would turn around and try to produce the most complicated work in the world and just about wipe out all of us-him most of all-in the process. -Jerry Juhl
Jim inspired people to be better than they thought they could be. To be more creative, more daring, more outrageous, and ultimately more successful. And he did it all without raising his voice. -Bernie Brillstein
If just one person believes in you Deep enough and strong enough Believes in you hard enough and long enough Before you knew it, someone else would think "If he can do it, I can do it" Making it two. Two whole people who believe in you. And maybe even you can believe in you too. -Robin and the Muppet Gang
When I hear the art of puppetry discussed, I often feel frustrated in that it's one of those pure things that somehow becomes much less interesting when it is overdiscussed or analyzed. I feel it does what it does and even is a bit weakened if you know what it is doing. At its best, it is talking to a deeper part of you, and if you know that it's doing that, or you become aware of it, you lessen the ability to go straight in. Fairy tales certainly are in this category, as is a lot of fantasy-maybe everything is. -Jim
I see Jim's life as a very Zen kind of thing. I never heard him say rude or bad things about other people. He lived, I think, by example. To show other people how to be by who you are. -Jerry Nelson
It's in every one of us to be wise Find your heart, open up both your eyes We can all know everything Without ever knowing why It's in every one of us by and by. -John Denver and the Muppets
Jim didn't tell you what to do. He just was. And by him being what he was, he led and he taught. But by not answering, sometimes you answered your own question, and you could do more than you thought you could. -Frank Oz
I think there are lots of ways of leading very good lives and growing spiritually. This process of growth goes on whether we believe in it or not. -Jim
Despite this discussion of things spiritual-I still think of myself as a very "human" being. I have the full complement of weaknesses, fears, problems, ego, and sensuality. But I think this is why we're here-to work our way through all this, and, hopefully, come out a bit wiser and better for having gone through it all. -Jim
Jim had a sense of humor that just sorted out life. And, you know, too much of life for most people is involved in picking what are really fairly petty things and turning them into deep tragedies and horrible melodramas. And Jim always cut through that. -Jerry Juhl
I wish I had a coat of silk the color of the sky. I wish I had a lady fair as any butterfly. I wish I had a house of stone that looks down on the sea. But most of all I wish that I was someone else but me.
Kermit: Hi there Gonzo-what a lovely place this is!
Kermit: What's the matter?
Gonzo: I don't have a coat of silk
Kermit: But still you have the sky.
Gonzo: I don't have a lady
Kermit: But there goes a butterfly.
Now I don't have a house of stone but I can see the sea. Now most of all I guess That I am happy to be me. ... I'm happy to be me. -Gonzo
Music was always an important element in Jim's work. He employed music not only as a means to further his comic purposes, but also as a way of expressing his gentleness and the vulnerability hidden in his heart. -Joan Ganz Cooney
Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep but it's not so bad I don't worry and I don't weep. In fact I'm glad.
Because I get up off my pillow and I flip on the light. I get down and get hip in the still of the night I stretch and I yawn and then I breathe real deep And dance myself to sleep.
I hoof around my beddie just a-tappin' my toes Before I know what's happened I'm a-ready to doze Got some partners I can count on called the boogie-woogie sheep I dance myself to sleep. -Ernie
I spend a few minutes in meditation and prayer each morning. I find that this really helps me to start the day with a good frame of reference. As part of my prayers, I thank whoever is helping me-I'm sure somebody or something is-I express gratitude for all my blessings and I try to forgive the people that I'm feeling negative toward. I try hard not to judge anyone, and I try to bless everyone who is a part of my life, particularly anyone with whom I am having any problems. -Jim
We see with our eyes. We know with our hearts. Outside ... Inside. - Cantus Fraggle
There are places that contain you, There are corners in your soul, There are plastic laminations In your life. But when you're on the inside Of the outside of your thought, Do they restrain, Or do you stay yourself?
Now the inside of the near place is outside of the far, But you can only face your space one way. You're really in the middle Of the inside of yourself. -Guitarist from "The Cube," 1969
But, you've heard enough. Now, it's time for you to listen. Go and find your songs. -Cantus Fraggle
Excerpted from It's Not Easy Being Green by Jim Henson Copyright © 2005 by The Jim Henson Company, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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