9/24/1983 – ‘Wrap party MTM- Dad in town.’

By the time Jim and his team were ready to celebrate finishing the shoot for The Muppets Take Manhattan, the Muppets’ third feature film, they had been working together for almost four months. Day #1 (May 27, 1983) had started with an 8:00 AM call at Empire Studios in Long Island City. The scene was the locker area of the bus terminal. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Scooter, Gonzo, Camilla, Rowlf and the Electric Mayhem were there. First-time director Frank Oz and Jim had been picked up from their homes by private car and the rest of the performers assembled at the Henson production office on East 67th Street for a short van ride across the river. They were ready to go – with the admonition at the bottom of the call sheet, “Break Your Collective Legs!”

The last day of shooting, Friday, September 23rd, required a much smaller crew. The final film stock was reserved for some establishing shots of Central Park (without any puppets) and then the wrap up of the street scene near the Empire State Building. They had begun the evening before, shutting down 39th Street at 7:00 PM, and needed to finish up. Jim and Frank Oz (along with Kermit and Miss Piggy) were there and were joined by Christa Tomasulo who would wear the full-body Miss Piggy costume. They got their shots and they were finished. In the “Advance” section of the call sheet, where the production manager would write in what they expected to accomplish the next day, it said, “Alas…”

Jim was productive the next day, too, spending what happened to be his 47th birthday meeting with his board. That evening, he was free to enjoy the wrap party (and maybe some cake) and visit with his father Paul. Sunday was for leisure, but Jim’s work and play overlapped – he took his family to see the Sesame Street Live Show that afternoon.

Read more about The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Jerry Juhl’s telegram wishing the team luck for The Muppets Take Manhattan shoot, 1983. He had a soft spot for the Cloverland Cow (see him in action!)

Call sheet for the final day of The Muppets Take Manhattan shoot, September 23, 1983.

Invitation for a preview screening of The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Invitation for a preview screening of The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Jim with his father Paul Henson, 1987.

Read more from Jim Henson’s Red Book in Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal available from Chronicle Books.

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