The Muppets Take Massachusetts
If you love the Muppets, like I do, and you live in Massachusetts, you're in for a treat. If you hurry.
"Jim Henson's Fantastic World", an exhibition of the Muppet creator's artwork, is currently on display at The National Heritage Museum in Lexington, MA. Unfortunately, I am only telling you about it now; the exhibit closes on Sunday, June 27th. If you are a fan of the Muppets, though, the show is well worth the hustle.
Perfect Wife and I, along with two dear pals and fellow Muppet-lovers, visited the exhibit yesterday. The exhibit is small, just a few rooms filled with Henson's drawings and a dozen Muppets or so, but what's there is cherce!
Henson's designs and drawings are interesting to see. A lot of his concepts and storyboards are just scribbly little doodles that he handed off to others, notably Muppet Builder Don Sahlin, to realize in 3-D. One of the interesting things for me was learning about Sahlin, who I was only vaguely aware of before. His contribution to the look of the Muppets was pretty important, as I learned when I got home and Googled his name. I've saved you the trouble of doing that, and you can learn a bit about his fascinating work here.
The big appeal of this exhibit for me was the actual Muppets they had on display. They had some of the major players, like Kermit and Rowlf, as well as Ernie and Bert, along with some of the more obscure characters from early commercial work. If you've never seen an actual Muppet in person before, you may be surprised at their size. I know I was, they're HUGE! Ernie's head was almost as big as mine (and that's saying something)! Seeing these characters up close and personal was a big thrill, and I was itching to grab them and play with them. Alas, they are protected from geeks like me by glass cases, which is a good thing, I guess.
One potential disappointment for some of you out there is that, since the Henson family sold the Muppet trademark to Disney, most of the items on display are from Henson's early work and his Sesame Street stuff, as well as Fraggle Rock and the Dark Crystal. If you were hoping to see Miss Piggy or Fozzie, or any of the gang from The Muppet Show, you're out of luck. For a true fan of Henson, though, there is enough to satisfy you, although, as I said, the exhibit is a bit small. I would have liked to see more. Especially more actual Muppets. Still, we here in the Bay State don't get to see a lot of Pop Culture exhibits like this, so I'm grateful for what we got.
As I said earlier, the exhibit closes in Massachusetts this Sunday. Later in the year, it will be in Chicago. After that, who knows? Given the show's size, I wouldn't travel too far to see it, but if it's in your area, it's worth a look.