The Last Legs of Henson’s Puppets

Fozzie bear poses at his keyboard, a few glass cases away Miss Piggy wears an ornate wedding dress (no doubt Kermit has been strong-armed into this marriage), and Monster’s mouth gapes mid “Mahna Mahna.”  Oh, nostalgia.

Less than a week remains to see the exhibit “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” at the Museum of the Moving Image.  Already extended for an additional seven weeks, the exhibit is scheduled to close its’ doors on March 4th.

Henson invented the Muppets’ iconic style of puppetry in the 1950s and with a series of television programs, movies, and music, Henson’s creations have spanned generations of children.  Walking through the exhibit, it’s difficult not to get a little swept up with the marvel of childhood.  Henson’s original drawings line the walls, puppets perch in cases, and Henson’s own Kermit-y voice croaks from television interviews.  There’s something wonderfully surreal in seeing puppets that appeared so alive, so vivacious on television, exist only from torso-up.

The exhibit, however, extends far beyond the Muppets.  Relics from Henson’s more cult films, Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, compose the latter portion of the display.  No longer just the makings of kid stuff, those early, fluorescent creatures are replaced with more muted characters to match the darker tone of the films.

The museum perfectly captures the whimsical Henson aesthetic at the end of the exhibit with a series of colored bean bag chairs covering the floor.  Visitors can relax, watch an interview, and reminisce on what it is to be a child again.

The Museum of the Moving Image is open at 10:30, Tuesday through Sunday in Astoria, Queens.