We Believe In You
May 16th, 1990.
Jim Henson died.
This is the 15 minute tribute the muppeteers who were closest to Jim performed at the end of his memorial, a medley of songs considered Jim’s favorites.
Jim Henson and his legacy has taught us, and our children, and our parents valuable and indelible lessons about love, humor, creativity and acceptance; not to mention playful social subversion mixed with a wryly-smiled dose of benign anarchy.
On a more personal level, Jim Henson’s work has been a lifelong connection between Hemstead and his father, who bought my good friend his first Kermit doll (to be followed by many others), and who was taken away from us when my running mate was only 15 years old. Hemstead’s father, like Jim himself, was ripped away from the child inside my dear friend far too early in life. The interwoven bond between Jim Henson and Hemstead Sr. is in fact so strong, that the selection that Hemstead (whose name is happily also Jim) and his mother danced to at his wedding was the Rainbow Connection. I remember watching the scene and seeing a boy, then brushing against his 30’s, and his mother held fast in each other’s arms, swaying back and forth and gently sobbing for the man who had meant so much to them both while listening to the voice of a man who had become a surrogate father and moral compass. A man who also was stolen too soon.
The work and brainchildren of Jim Henson, and all the muppeteers continue to remind us, sometimes mockingly against our increasingly cynical will, that the “child” in us all never has to take a back seat to “adult” responsibility.
Thank you Jim for your lessons, your humor, and most importantly your playful subversion, we’ll do our best to keep that message alive.
*And thank you Steve Whitmire for overcoming your fear of that green-skinned icon that Jim chose to leave to you and giving Kermit back his voice, perhaps a little more wizened and a touch more sad than he had been before, but still carrying Jim’s banner of wonder and glee at his chest. (relevant part of the video starts at 6:18, but the whole thing is great).
Vote Simpson/Hemstead: We Believe In You too.