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 and writer in Huntsville, Alabama.
Anissa M. Graham is an instructor in the English Department at University of North Alabama.

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

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

“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.