The Jim Henson Film and Television Collection Premieres at the University of Maryland

September 22, 2006 - Thanks to a donation by The Jane Henson Foundation, The Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at the University of Maryland inaugurated a new online video resource for scholars and students focusing on Jim Henson as a performing artist on September 22, 2006. Utilizing close to 90 video programs, the library hopes this project will promote the potential for puppetry in the performing arts. The videos donated include Sam and Friends, Wilkins Coffee and Esskay Meats commercials, Time Piece, Muppet appearances on The Dick Cavett Show, The Tonight Show and 60 Minutes. Also included are selected episodes of The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock, as well as films including The Dark Crystal and The Muppets Take Manhattan. The public may view the collection in study carrels at various libraries on campus.

Concurrently with the opening of the collection, the library also hosted a gallery exhibition entitled Jim Henson: Performing Artist focusing on Jim Henson and the elements involved, both technical and creative, in performing with puppets. This exhibition ran through June 30, 2007, and included photos, sketches, production documents, and puppets from productions ranging from Saturday Night Live to The Muppet Show to Fraggle Rock, with the goal of documenting the development of creative work.

Also coinciding with the opening of the collection and exhibit, the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library as well as The Jim Henson Legacy, the University of Maryland Department of Theatre and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center hosted Jim Henson: Creativity and Other Inspirational Stuff and Jane and Friends: The College Park LegacyA Casual Conversation with Jane Henson. Taking place at the Gildenhorn Recital Hall, the presentation by Jane Henson explored Jim Henson’s roots in Maryland and featured a screening of The Story of Sam and Friends, a new documentary specially produced by Craig Shemin for the event. The panel discussion also featured Del Ankers, Laura Drew Dinsmore, Edward Longley, Mary Pat Cobey Martin, Bob Milli, Mary Jane Milli, Bobby Payne, and Dr. Rudolph Pugliese. Additionally, a performance of The Ox-Herder’s Tale was held in the Kay Theatre as a part of the day’s festivities and to celebrate the creation of the position of Jim Henson Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Theatre.


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