Despite his busy schedule producing television programs and feature films, Jim stayed engaged in the larger puppetry community, supporting it with membership in various organizations and in encouraging international cooperation. He was instrumental in starting the American chapter of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA), and in 1987, he spent several weeks at the Institut International de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France where he conducted a series of workshops. His focus was on television puppetry, sharing what he had developed for that medium over more than thirty years. He was assisted in his work by his children Cheryl, Brian and Heather. Among the hours of demonstrations, advice and encouragement that Jim provided to the students gathered there, he spoke about his approach to puppetry. He told them, “I am not a purist, and I like the mixture [of forms]. I like mask, dance, clown, hand puppet, marionette, full-figure character…See, I’ll mix them all up, in any way that to me works in terms of the final piece… I don’t feel a pure, purist form in terms of puppetry at all. To me, any of these things are acceptable.”
In June 1965, 28-year-old Jim Henson started a written log of his activities in what became known as “The Red Book.” He noted down what had happened up until that point (deemed “Ancient History”) and then recorded anything that he felt was worth recording as single line journal entries until the end of 1988.
Selected curated entries courtesy of The Jim Henson Company Archives.