Thursday, September 24, 2020 would have been Jim Henson’s 84th birthday. Why not celebrate the occasion with one minute of his finest performances for each year since his birth?

We hope you enjoy our playlist spanning Jim’s entire career, from The Muppet Show to Fraggle Rock through Sesame Street and beyond!

Tick Tock Sick (2 minutes)

Jim Henson was only 23 when he recorded this song. It would prove to be a minor footnote in his career, and yet it has more energy and creativity packed into it than most of us will produce in a lifetime.

Time Piece (9 minutes)

Jim was nominated for an Oscar for this heady, surreal short film. He also stars in it as the main character, and it shows a glimpse into an alternate path his career could have taken.

Jim, Dr. Teeth, and Kermit on The Tonight Show (7 minutes)

Jim Henson was always a delight on talk shows, but this 1975 appearance shows off just how versatile he was an actor. Dr. Teeth is laid-back and groovy and having a great time, while Kermit is tense and annoyed and seems like he can’t wait to leave. But they’re both hilarious!

Sesame Street: Breakfast Time (4 minutes)

Jim Henson’s chemistry with Frank Oz is legendary, and this is one of their finest duets. Ernie and Cookie Monster aren’t the first Jim/Frank pair we usually think of, but this song wouldn’t work with any other combination.

The Muppet Show: Linda Lavin (25 minutes) 

In Kermit’s best spotlight episode of The Muppet Show, everyone celebrates his birthday even though it actually isn’t his birthday. It isn’t Kermit’s birthday today either, which makes this the perfect time to watch it. Jim also gets another great spotlight in this one, as Statler & Waldorf sing a duet. This season 4 episode was never released on DVD, but it is available online if you know where to look.

Fraggle Rock: The Secret Society of Poohbahs (25 minutes)

Jim Henson acted in eight episodes of Fraggle Rock, and they’re all gems. This season 3 episode (available in full on DVD and on Apple TV+) is his funniest turn. As Poohbah leader Convincing John, Jim gets to let loose and act like a goofball, and it’s a joy to behold.

Sesame Street: Get Along (5 minutes)

In this song, Kermit is presented with a bunch of oddballs and weirdos, and he wrangles them all together to perform one beautiful song. If you think about it, this is kind of Jim Henson’s entire career in miniature.

Television Academy Hall of Fame: “Jim Is” (7 minutes)

All three Muppet families – Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock – join forces for this 1987 tribute to Jim. The man himself kicks things off as Kermit, which must have been a strange experience.

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by Anthony Strand

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