2/19/1977 – ‘In Baltimore – Advertising Club Personality of the Year award’

After the premiere of The Muppet Show in the fall of 1976, many groups wanted to honor Jim, particularly ones from his home state of Maryland. At The Advertising Club of Baltimore’s 69th Annual Banquet, they awarded Jim their “Television Personality of the Year”. The event also honored The Maryland Center For Public Broadcasting despite the fact that public broadcasting doesn’t actually air any advertising (the PBS underwriters were celebrated instead). As home to the local broadcast of Sesame Street, however, it seemed like a nice fit. Not to be outshone by their neighbor, the Washington Advertising Club named Jim “Luminary of the Year” the following month. Given that Jim’s very first efforts in advertising for his Sam and Friends sponsor Esskay Meats and for the Wilkins Coffee Company were in Washington and Baltimore, these honors seemed most appropriate.

The Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting’s program guide detailing the Advertising Club banquet, 1977.

Sam and Harry the Hipster promoting the products of Baltimore-based Esskay on Sam and Friends, 1960.

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

Topics: 02-February '77, 1977, Honors | Tagged , , , ,
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2/18/1980 – ‘Diana Ross (MS) (This finished Season IV)’

Like so many celebrities who come to work with the Muppets, Diana Ross said she did it for her kids. Her three daughters , “…are big Muppet fans and they were over the moon about me working with all their favorites,” Ross explained. Jim took advantage of her irresistible talent and had her perform four musical numbers, even impressing Statler and Waldorf. She had a good time and stayed friendly with Jim and his team. When he sent her a Muppet sweatshirt in 1987, she wrote a thank you note, adding, “Please inform Miss Piggy that I truly appreciate her fashion sense and her input.”

Diana Ross on The Muppet Show, 1980.

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

Topics: 02-February '80, 1980, Muppet Show | Tagged
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2/17/1985 – ‘Night of 100 stars at Radio City.’

Over the past two decades or so, the “Night of 100 Stars,” a gala benefiting Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation, has become an Oscar-night tradition in Hollywood. It began as something slightly different. Originally, “Night of 100 Stars” was a benefit performance held in New York in 1982 celebrating the centennial of the Actors Fund of America, and airing as a three-hour television special. One of the many (over 100!) luminaries that first year was Miss Piggy who bantered and sang with Placido Domingo. In 1985, Jim attended a second performance, also held at Radio City Music Hall. As in the previous special, each celebrity was counted off on screen as they appeared singing, dancing, joking or simply walking across the stage (or in the case of New York City Mayor Ed Koch, holding open the door).The luminaries ranged from all types of entertainers (many of whom had appeared on The Muppet Show or in Jim’s films) to Dr. Seuss and Rosa L. Parks, and the orchestra was conducted by Leonard Bernstein. The Muppets, both from The Muppet Show and Sesame Street (and Travelling Matt) appeared, with Kermit the Frog and Big Bird getting top billing, and a tuxedoed Jim Henson making an on-camera appearance. Before the event moved to the West Coast, a third Actor’s Fund benefit was held at Radio City in 1990, but the Muppets did not participate.

Learn about the Night of 100 Stars today.

The cast of the first “Night of 100 Stars” (Miss Piggy and Frank Oz to the left of the giant panda), 1982.

Richard Termine’s design for Placido Flamingo, Sesame Street’s homage to Miss Piggy’s friend, Placido Domingo.

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

Topics: 02-February '85, 1985, Appearances | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
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2/17/1973 – ‘Julie A. airs – Gelbart out of Broadway.’

Topics: 02-February '73, 1973 | Tagged ,
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2/15/1971 – ‘Goldie Hawn Special Air’

When Jim was writing proposals for holiday specials (i.e. The Muppet Halloween Show, The Muppet Income Tax Show, etc.) between 1969 and 1972, he suggested doing a Valentine Show with Goldie Hawn, no doubt a result of the fun they had together on her “Pure Goldie” special in 1971. In the end, when Jim was finally able to sell a Valentine special a couple years later, his human star was Mia Farrow.

Learn about Jim’s appearance on Goldie Hawn’s television special Pure Goldie.

The Goldie Hawn puppet used on her television special, 1971.

Kermit and Goldie, 1971.

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

Topics: 02-February '71, 1971, Muppet Specials | Tagged ,
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