Muppet Magic - Salome 1 Stephanie Salome TA Sologne...

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Salome 1 Stephanie Salome TA: Sologne Patterson Student ID: 1461520 Section F Jim Henson’s Influences In American culture, puppetry has been widely recognized as an art form and while many may argue that puppetry is only to entertain children it has attracted many adults over the years. This has been accomplished by Jim Henson, whose work was highly influence during the years of 1940 to 1965. During these years, there were historical-cultural-technological advancements that helped develop Henson’s work. Like many artists that flourish in their career due to the work of those that inspire them, it should not be forgotten that Henson’s early work used and built on the past works of earlier puppeteers. The television was one of the first historical-cultural-technological advancements that started Jim’s early work. Jim Henson first saw TV at a friend’s home and when he went home he begged his parents to get him one, eventually they did. He was so amazed at the fact that “what you saw was taking place somewhere else at the same time” that he fell in love with it and that is when he knew that working in television is what he wanted to do (Jones 24-25). After World War II, broadcasting resume to television, but very few were aware of what a TV was due to how expensive they were. Four years after WW II everyone wanted a television but they ran from anywhere of about $250 to $399, today that would be from $2,000 to $3,500 prices did not decrease until about 1949 (Jones 25). By 1948 CBS and NBC networks started airing newscasts, eventually they also started televising puppetry; Jim found the puppetry very fascinating (Reinhardt). Another cultural circumstance that influenced Jim Henson’s early work was comic strips. He was specifically intrigued with Walt Kelly’s “Pogo.” Kelly’s characters are a scornful
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Salome 2 reflection of human nature- greedy, aggressive, selfish and stupid – but depicted as harmless by their own blundering incompetence and overall innocence (Kelly 85). Kelly used his main character Pogo to “comment on social and political issues, tweaking religion and eggheads, presidents, and politicians;” his comments were full of satire, but he got away with it because the characters were cute and funny. This taught Jim that he can have it both ways; he could entertain children, while performing to adults (Jones 28-29). This was very important in reaching that goal of making it known that puppets do not only have to entertain children, they can also be used to inform adults on important current events. Kelly’s character Pogo influenced Jim’s character Kermit. Kermit was the “normal person who represents the way people ordinarily think. And everything else, slightly crazier comedy characters are all around that person” (Jones 28). This is
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