Even if you're a die-hard fan of "Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show," you can't possibly know all there is to know about Jim Henson and his work … or can you? Take the challenge and find out!
While Kermit was the first recognizable Muppet to appear on TV, it was only a local show. Rowlf was first created for a Purina dog chow commercial.
Strange but true -- theater design, art and the other types of classes Henson took at the University of Maryland were part of the Home Economics department in the 1950s.
Jim Henson made suggestions and consulted during the creation of Yoda, but Frank Oz brought the little guy to life.
Lots of news outlets reported that Henson died of strep, but it was actually the bacteria that can cause strep -- as well as lots of other infections -- that led to organ failure.
Head writer Michael O’Donoghue quipped, “I don’t write for felt” -- and the abstract characters weren’t popular with the audience, either.
Other Henson projects won Academy Awards, but his first nomination came with a a surrealistic, nine-minute short film about an Everyman and the passage of time.
Jim Henson worked on other local children’s shows, but “Sam and Friends,” which began in Washington, D.C., in 1955, was his first long-running gig as a puppeteer.
While Henson performed lots of one-off and minor characters and was involved in the creation of others, his two main characters were Ernie and Kermit the Frog.
Henson tried unsuccessfully to convince networks in the U.S. to produce “The Muppet Show,” but nobody got the humor and considered him a children’s performer.
Many people assumed that Brian Henson took over Kermit, and others have voiced Kermit on rare occasions, but Steve Whitmire is the only other person to perform Kermit.
Henson used to tell interviewers that he combined “marionette” and “puppet” to form Muppet, but he rarely used marionettes and admitted that he just made the word up.
He was more of a lizard than a frog, and he started out turquoise instead of green because Henson made him from one of his mother’s old coats, but a version of Kermit appeared in the mid-1950s.
Jane Henson did the puppeteering for lots of Muppets on early Henson projects until quitting in the early '60s, but she only performed nonspeaking Muppets.
The name “Muppets” and most of the characters are owned by The Walt Disney Company; Sesame Street Workshop owns the characters that appear on “Sesame Street.”
Not one of the “core” group, Convincing John, performed by Henson, lived away from the rest of the Fraggles -- probably because he usually tried to convince them to do crazy things.
Although a popular Russian newspaper called “Sesame Street” imperialistic in the early 1970s, by 1989, enough inroads had been made to allow an airing of “Fraggle Rock” on Russian TV.
A “Sesame Street” comic strip ran from 1971 to 1975, but oddly enough, there were no Muppets in the first few years of the strip’s run.
All of Henson’s children have worked in various capacities in his productions, but Brian was the first to appear on-screen, in animated shorts his father directed for “Sesame Street.”
Audiences were already wary of this dark movie from Henson that didn’t have any Muppets in it -- going up against one of the most successful sci-fi films ever didn’t help!
The screenplay, written in the 1960s and '70s, couldn’t be made into a film due to its unusual story, broad scope and existential nature.