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September 24

Jim Henson with Muppets

While puppets had traditionally been made of wood, Jim Henson used softer materials like foam rubber and felt to make them seem more lifelike.

Photo by Ann Clifford/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

1936: TV’s Muppet Man
Jim Henson is born in Greenville, Mississippi
Perhaps the most famous puppeteer of all, Jim Henson turned the piles of fabric and fur known as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, and Ernie (as in Bert and Ernie) into loveable characters. In Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, Henson’s wonderful, wisecracking animal and people puppets educated and entertained children.

It was important to Henson to create work that would appeal to people of every age. His puppets might have been teaching youngsters to count, but he also made sure they threw out a few asides to amuse their parents, too. Nothing gave the modest Mississippi native more pleasure than making people laugh and enjoying the magic of puppetry.
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