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Jim Henson Company at 50 -, 9/20/2005

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  • Jim Henson Company at 50 -, 9/20/2005

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    Jim Henson Company at 50

    When a 19-year-old University of Maryland freshman named James Maury Henson launched his own nightly puppet show called "Sam and Friends" in 1955, his goal wasn't to become a world-renowned puppeteer. But the five-minute show, which aired between NBC affiliates' local newscasts and "The Huntley-Brinkley Report," did more than get Henson's foot in the door of the TV industry: His simple understanding that puppeteers needn't hide behind a structure while in front of a camera, as long as the camera operator keeps humans out of the frame, allowed his puppets to dominate the image and appear more lifelike.

    Thus was born the first of what would be an untold number of Henson innovations. He quickly became a TV mainstay, and as the company Henson founded celebrates its 50th anniversary, his children continue a legacy that has spawned not only the beloved Muppets but also scores of technological production breakthroughs and a bold reputation in science fiction and fantasy that is nearly as indelible as that in children's programming and film.

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