After five months of shooting in the UK on The Great Muppet Caper, the Henson team returned to the US to finish up. The last sequence shot was actually the opening sequence of the film. After a nod to the MGM lion, the camera pans the skies to find a hot air balloon. As the titles roll, the balloon floats in, eventually crashing onto a city street where its inhabitants, Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo emerge and begin the opening musical number. Jim often visited his dad who had retired to Albuquerque, and he loved the New Mexico desert. In choosing a spot to shoot the opening, he would have been very familiar with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, so Albuquerque would have been the obvious choice.
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.