If you live in the LA area, drop whatever you are doing (right now! at 9:15 on a Monday morning!) and go directly to the Skirball Cultural Center to see The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited before it closes on September 2! I really should have posted these photos sooner, but I got sidetracked by my Disneyland Paris trip report, so I hope you still have time to get out to this touring exhibit. This is the same exhibit that appeared at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, so hopefully they will announce further stops around the country after this one ends.
Last October, Patrick and I got to visit the permanent version of this exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY. This was on the same trip that we got to tour the East Coast Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and the set of Sesame Street. Because I am a terrible person, I still have not posted our MMI exhibit photos. But believe me when I say the touring “Imagination Unlimited” version is just as good, if not better than the permanent collection. We loved the MMI exhibit, but we were surprised by how many major characters aren’t in it. And that’s because are in this exhibit, a veritable Muppet Greatest Hits!
However, in case you aren’t able to make it to the Skirball Center, Patrick and I have created one of our patented exhaustive-and-exhausting photo tours of the exhibit for you!
Some of the puppets from Julie’s Greenroom, starring Julie Andrews.
In case you were wondering, this one is the cutest.
I don’t know anything about the show Pajanimals, but I LOVE the name!
Beautiful Day Monster from The Ed Sullivan Show.
These versions of Wilkins and Wontkins from the Wilkins Coffee commercials were built in 1979 and 1981, respectively. Jim Henson created the original puppets in 1957 and the prop camera in 1961.
I had to laugh when I saw Billy and Sue displayed as if on an operating table under an “Experiments” sign. Suddenly their simple features take on a bit of freakishness…
Pitchman Pump puppets from 1963.
This Count von Count puppet is from the early 1970s, so it is highly likely he’s the one I used to watch!
Sesame Street’s Wiggling Bros. Circus “Little Big Top,” featuring Oscar the Grouch’s worm, Slimey, on the tightrope!
I know he’s everybody’s favorite, but…. Grover’s my favorite too!
I dunno which is creepier: Bunsen having NO eyeballs….
…Or Scooter having no eyeballs behind his glasses!
These puppets of Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson, known as The Country Trio, were designed and built by Bonnie Erickson for an appearance on The Perry Como Show. They also appeared The Dick Cavett Show and several episodes of The Muppet Show. I love that they are like 3-D caricatures—she really captured the essence of each performer!
Possibly the cutest thing on display in this or any other museum exhibit ANYWHERE!
And now, the Everything Else section of the exhibit….
Red and Wembley Fraggle!
Jen and Kira from The Dark Crystal. Scroll past if you don’t want to have nightmares…
More nightmare fodder: Chamberlain the Skeksis!
Aughra, also from The Dark Crystal.
They created the coolest rotating display case so you can see all the crazy detail on Jareth & Sarah’s costumes from Labyrinth!
They even have the toys from Sarah’s room at the beginning of Labyrinth.
Jim Henson at Walt Disney World!
The digital puppetry system for which Waldo from Muppet*Vision 3D was named.
There’s also a fun puppet stage where you can perform along to one of three songs: “Mah Nà Mah Nà,” “The Muppet Show Theme,” and, if you want to make everyone in the vicinity break down in tears, “Rainbow Connection.”
Patrick took a busman’s holiday and put on a little show for me…
Once again, The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is on display at the Skirball Cultural Center until September 2—go see it!