Historical information provided by The Jim Henson Company Archivist:
The television work of master puppeteer Burr Tillstrom, particularly his show Kukla, Fran and Ollie, was of great interest to Jim and certainly served as an important inspiration to the young entertainer. When they met in 1960 at a Puppeteers of America festival in Detroit, Jim was thrilled. It was through Burr that Jim met puppet builder Don Sahlin, builder of Rowlf the Dog and refiner of the Muppet look. When Jim moved to New York in 1963, he and his family took an apartment in the same building as Burr and the friendship deepened. Over the years, the two puppeteers continued to get together, and when Burr was honored by the Museum of Broadcasting in 1983, Jim was on hand to present a tribute at the ceremony.
Learn more about Burr Tillstrom at http://kukla.tv/