The Wider Worlds of Jim Henson

Essays on His Work and Legacy Beyond The Muppet Show and Sesame Street


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About the Book

Jim Henson was the creative force behind a huge catalog of television series, films, specials, and other productions, even excepting the Muppets. This collection of essays delves into the rest of Henson’s body of work, including projects developed during his lifetime and those that represent his legacy. Covered here are Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Jim Henson Hour, Dinosaurs, Farscape, and more. Henson’s influence on both audiences and later productions remains palpable on screens large and small, as this collection attests.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer C. Garlen is an independent scholar in Huntsville, Alabama, where she teaches courses on literature, film, and popular culture for lifetime learning programs. Anissa M. Graham is a senior lecturer in the English department at the University of North Alabama where she teaches courses in writing and literature.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jennifer C. Garlen and Anissa M. Graham
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6986-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0103-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part One: Revisiting Fraggle Rock
Fraggle Rock and the Art of World Building (Aaron Calbreath-Frasieur) 7
Outer Spaces: Fraggle Rock Around the Globe  (Andrew Leal) 24
No Sex, Please. We’re Fraggles! (Tami Meredith and Maryanne L. Fisher) 41
The Ecology of Fraggle Rock (Justin Werfel) 62
Part Two: Inside the Worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth
Interpreting the Various Species in The Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock (Gideon Haberkorn) 73
“What was sundered and undone shall be whole”: Union, Nature and Aughra in The Dark Crystal (Roxanne Harde) 88
A Natural History of The Dark Crystal: The Conceptual Design of Brian Froud (Catriona McAra) 101
Finding Your Way Through Labyrinth (Tom Holste) 117
Anti-Consumerism in Labyrinth (David R. Burns and Deborah Burns) 131
Part Three: Storytellers and Specials
Everyone’s a Storyteller: The Shifting Roles of Stories, Storytellers and Audiences in The Jim Henson Hour (Anthony F. Strand) 143
There Is No One Story (Nathaniel Long) 161
Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas: The Gift of the Muppets (Catherine Edwards) 173
Telling Toy Stories in The Christmas Toy (Jennifer C. Garlen and Anissa M. Graham) 189
Part Four: Journeys Forward and Back
The Muppetry of Nightmares: Figures of Fear, Danger and Terror in The Cosby Show, Chappelle’s Show and Saturday Night Live (Michael J. Berntsen) 199
Dinosaurs and the Evolution of the Jim Henson Company (Jennifer Stoessner) 213
Exploring the Alien Other on Farscape: Human, Puppet, Costume, Cosmetic (Sherry Ginn) 228
Muppet Memes, or Beaker Conquers YouTube (Anissa M. Graham) 241
Fandom and Nostalgia in Disney’s The Muppets (Jennifer C. Garlen) 251
About the Contributors 261
Index 265

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “an important, enlightening compilations of thoughtful, intriguing essays on one of the 20th centuries most creative minds. Highly recommended.”—Rogue Cinema
  • “engaging academic anthology on the works of Jim Henson and of the studio that bears his name…sure to delight Henson scholars and fans alike”—Gramarye.