For the demographic of those around the age of 30, the mention of Jim Henson provokes a warm glow with memories good times spent with The Muppets, The Muppet Babies, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and The Storyteller. I’m still a little astonished to find anyone who doesn’t love (or dare I it say hasn’t seen) the magical worlds created by Jim’s Creature Shop in the films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Jim Henson’s was a talent that appears only occasionally with each generation and he left behind a legacy comparable only to Walt Disney as the creator of so many icons of popular culture.
Karen Falk re-creates in Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal a diary that Henson kept throughout his career and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the creation his popular shows and the relatively unknown, unsuccessful or abandoned projects. Shown in chronological order and narrated by Karen throughout, Henson fans will undoubtably enjoy the wealth of sketches, storyboards, production photos and peeks into the life of a person so fiercely creative and ethically focused. It’s interesting to see the scale of his ambition through concepts including a psychedelic nightclub sporting multiple projection screens and his determination to break through into adult markets with regular appearances on Saturday Night Live and commercials for American Express; thus changing the public consensus that puppets are simply entertainment for kids.
Karen Falk has done a wonderful job of presenting a huge amount of archive material in an entertaining fashion and offers the reader yet another good time spent in the company of Jim and the gang.
Imagination Illustrated – The Jim Henson Journal by Karen Falk
Hardback 208 pages
20.3 x 2.3 x 25.4 cm