10/14-15/1970 – ‘Shoot #8′

Historical information provided by The Jim Henson Company Archivist:

Jim’s second series of counting films for Sesame Street, made mostly in 1970, used a variety of film and animation techniques. For The Queen of 6, The King of 8 and the Number 12 Rocks films, the characters (and rocks) were brought to life through stop-motion animation. Puppet builder Don Sahlin had worked with George Pal and others on stop-motion projects and was able to bring his in-depth knowledge of the process to these productions.

Jim designed the Queen, the King and the related characters which Don transformed into three-dimensions. Using a variety of materials (the eight Princesses were made from small toy bowling pins and balls), Don interpreted Jim’s quick sketches and created a mini royal community to tell their brief stories. For both The Queen of 6 and The King of 8, Jim wrote humorous rap-like songs – the Queen’s spoken by a narrator, and the King (voiced by Jim) telling most of his tale himself. Elaborate sets were built, and Jim hand-painted the large castle with windows that opened to reveal the eight Princesses. He was building doll houses for his daughters at that time so his miniature abode-building skills were sharp. While the Queen’s story ended with her six kittens tucked neatly into bed, the King’s ending had a twist – much to his chagrin, the King of 8 became the father of a ninth Princess. Clearly, Jim wanted a comic ending and created storyboards for several versions. He must have chosen the right one – the film holds up today and still elicits a big laugh.

See The Queen of 6 and The King of 8 come to life.

Jim’s storyboard panels for The Queen of 6, 1970.

Jim’s storyboard panels for The Queen of 6, 1970.

Jim’s storyboard panels for The Queen of 6, 1970.

Jim’s storyboard panels for The Queen of 6, 1970.

Jim’s storyboard panels for The Queen of 6, 1970.

Jim’s storyboard panels for The Queen of 6, 1970.

Jim on set of The King of 8, 1970.

A Princess of 8 being prepared for an exhibit.

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