The Master of Muppets: Jim Henson Quiz

Staff

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About This Quiz

Even if you're a die-hard fan of "Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show," you can't possibly know all there is to know about Jim Henson and his work … or can you? Take the challenge and find out!

Which Muppet was the first of Henson’s creations to appear on network television?

While Kermit was the first recognizable Muppet to appear on TV, it was only a local show. Rowlf was first created for a Purina dog chow commercial.

What did Jim Henson major in while in college?

Strange but true -- theater design, art and the other types of classes Henson took at the University of Maryland were part of the Home Economics department in the 1950s.

How was Henson involved in the creation and performance of Yoda, that lovable green Jedi from “Star Wars”?

Jim Henson made suggestions and consulted during the creation of Yoda, but Frank Oz brought the little guy to life.

What was Jim Henson’s cause of death?

Lots of news outlets reported that Henson died of strep, but it was actually the bacteria that can cause strep -- as well as lots of other infections -- that led to organ failure.

Why didn’t the Muppet sketches ultimately work out on “Saturday Night Live”?

Head writer Michael O’Donoghue quipped, “I don’t write for felt” -- and the abstract characters weren’t popular with the audience, either.

Which Henson project garnered him his first Academy Award nomination?

Other Henson projects won Academy Awards, but his first nomination came with a a surrealistic, nine-minute short film about an Everyman and the passage of time.

What was Henson’s first long-running TV show?

Jim Henson worked on other local children’s shows, but “Sam and Friends,” which began in Washington, D.C., in 1955, was his first long-running gig as a puppeteer.

Which two main “Sesame Street” characters did Henson perform?

While Henson performed lots of one-off and minor characters and was involved in the creation of others, his two main characters were Ernie and Kermit the Frog.

Why was “The Muppet Show” filmed in the United Kingdom?

Henson tried unsuccessfully to convince networks in the U.S. to produce “The Muppet Show,” but nobody got the humor and considered him a children’s performer.

Who took over performing Kermit the Frog after Jim Henson’s death?

Many people assumed that Brian Henson took over Kermit, and others have voiced Kermit on rare occasions, but Steve Whitmire is the only other person to perform Kermit.

How did Henson come up with the word “Muppet”?

Henson used to tell interviewers that he combined “marionette” and “puppet” to form Muppet, but he rarely used marionettes and admitted that he just made the word up.

When did Kermit the Frog make his first appearance on television?

He was more of a lizard than a frog, and he started out turquoise instead of green because Henson made him from one of his mother’s old coats, but a version of Kermit appeared in the mid-1950s.

Which Muppet was voiced by Henson’s wife, Jane?

Jane Henson did the puppeteering for lots of Muppets on early Henson projects until quitting in the early '60s, but she only performed nonspeaking Muppets.

Who owns the Muppets today?

The name “Muppets” and most of the characters are owned by The Walt Disney Company; Sesame Street Workshop owns the characters that appear on “Sesame Street.”

Which “Fraggle Rock” character was performed by Jim Henson?

Not one of the “core” group, Convincing John, performed by Henson, lived away from the rest of the Fraggles -- probably because he usually tried to convince them to do crazy things.

Which of Jim Henson’s shows became the first Western show to be seen in Russia?

Although a popular Russian newspaper called “Sesame Street” imperialistic in the early 1970s, by 1989, enough inroads had been made to allow an airing of “Fraggle Rock” on Russian TV.

Which Henson project was first turned into a comic strip?

A “Sesame Street” comic strip ran from 1971 to 1975, but oddly enough, there were no Muppets in the first few years of the strip’s run.

Which of Jim Henson’s children appeared on “Sesame Street”?

All of Henson’s children have worked in various capacities in his productions, but Brian was the first to appear on-screen, in animated shorts his father directed for “Sesame Street.”

When “The Dark Crystal” was released in theaters, which classic family film did it compete with?

Audiences were already wary of this dark movie from Henson that didn’t have any Muppets in it -- going up against one of the most successful sci-fi films ever didn’t help!

The unproduced screenplay “A Tale of Sand” (written by Henson and Jerry Juhl) has been released in 2011 in what form?

The screenplay, written in the 1960s and '70s, couldn’t be made into a film due to its unusual story, broad scope and existential nature.

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