Spencer Cohen – Last month saw the release of the kid-friendly book, I Am Jim Henson. (Read our review here) To celebrate the release of this delightful biography, the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York hosted a special event featuring I Am Jim Henson Illustrator Chris Eliopoulos, Craig Shemin (President of The Jim Henson Legacy), a screening of 1990’s The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson and a surprise, unannounced guest.
The event began with Craig and Chris talking about Sesame Street. Chris explained that growing up as a kid in the 1970s, he absolutely loved watching this fantastic television show. He even got to visit the set of Sesame Street, thanks to his family knowing actor Bob McGrath (famous for portraying Bob on Sesame, of course). Chris explained that while he and Bob were in the car, Bob would work on his lines for that day’s episode shoot.
Then out of nowhere, everyone sitting in the theater at the event, heard a familiar voice sing, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” It was Bob! He came onto the stage to greet Chris and Craig. I, myself, was happily surprised! I was not expecting Bob to be at this event, and I assume a lot, if not all, of the audience members were shocked as well! After all, the event page on the museum’s website mentioned Chris as the only special guest.
Chris, on a big easel, then drew sketches of Jim Henson, Kermit the Frog and even Abraham Lincoln (from his other book, I Am Abraham Lincoln). He was kind enough to raffle off each of his sketches to a number of lucky audience members with children! I thought this was incredibly generous of him.
Craig then introduced The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson. He told us all a fun fact about his experience working on this special. He had made his puppeteering debut performing Waldorf in the “Just One Person” finale of the special. Now being a fan of Craig’s work with the Muppets, I know that he is an insanely talented writer, being the author of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. But I did not know that he could puppeteer as well!
After the screening of the special, Chris and Bob signed copies of I Am Jim Henson. In addition, Bob took photos with fans, such as myself.
This truly was a memorable event. I am very thankful that I got the opportunity to attend. Special thanks to everyone at the Museum of the Moving Image, The Jim Henson Legacy, Craig, Chris and Bob for making this wonderful event possible!