Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Jim Henson Exhibition Puppet Party

by Jonathan Bilski

Time to explore the history and life of the late great Jim Henson. Thanks to the Skirball, we have a new exhibition for kids young and old about the man who gave us The Muppets. The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is going on now and will be gone by the end of Summer. It takes us through the early years of Jim Henson's life creating what one day would be The Muppets to his later years still making movies and television programs. With multiple interactive booths, footage from Henson's career and plenty of puppets to take pictures with you"ll want to wander through and maybe find your rainbow connection.

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited
Now–September 2, 2018
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
$ Museum admission
Free Parking

Special related events
Tuesday, July 24, 8:00 p.m. 
Tuesday, August 7, 7:30 p.m.

You're, of course, greeted by a friendly green frog as you enter the exhibit. I could hear a father coxing his son to come in by doing the Kermit the Frog voice. As soon as you"ll enter, you"ll see a life time of work. Early odd commercials of brands of breads and milk you haven't heard of being sold by puppets. A puppet play station, where you can try an act out a scene. Older puppets from well before they were called Muppets.

You"ll learn about Jim Henson working on an early puppet show to starting his own puppet career and in the blink of an eye or really a turn to the next exhibit you"ll see him off creating his own work.

Slowly you"ll see the draw between the professional work that Jim Henson did to live off of, he did a lot of films for big business and even some industrial work for a meat comapny. Then you"ll see art he was tcreated He did make some freaky made for TV films like The Cube and other works. There was even the idea for a night club called Cyclia with some more adult themes, that of course aren't presented at the exhibit, the Henson wanted to try and make.

Soon after bouncing around ideas, Jim Henson mostly focused on the Muppets with a big break with Sesame Street, creating many lovable characters that kids and their parents still love today. You"ll see some familiar faces like The Count, Bert & Ernie and even Grover.

There's a whole section devoted to your dog pal Rowlf, who was one of the most popular Muppets in his day and his popularity really pushed Jim Henson's success through. Who knew?

You"ll travel over to look at props and moments from The Muppet Show and Muppet movies. What agreat photo op with the opening number of The Muppet Show background to take pics of yourself and friends. 
There's even a wall showing every episode of The Muppet Show at once. It's fun to look at and see how much you can take in and spot celebrities from yesteryear appearing on the show.
Every episode of The Muppet Show playing on a loop
After that area, there's a wonderful look at the other properties that Jim Henson created like Fraggle Rock and his other films: Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. You"ll see he's work before his untimely passing with a show about dog cops and explaining science to kids. There's a puppet area for children to enjoy staging their own show, right before the end of the exhibit.

The Jim Henson Exhibit is a wonderful look back at someone who meant so much to many of our childhoods. It was like looking into the past, learning a little bit more about someone who made puppets his life and wanted to explore the medium. Jim Henson was a true director, artist, entertainer, educator and a guy who could make some silly voices with friends that we love still to this day.

We would have liked if Statler and Waldorf would heckle us when we left from some balcony. Learning and seeing everything that Jim Henson made will just have to do.