randomduck

thoughtful. entertaining. random.

Date: 30 September, 2005

uk music finds

While in the UK, we listened to a lot of BBC Radio 1, and saw a few installments of “CD UK.” As such, we heard a great deal of new music that hasn’t made it big on this side of the pond.

Here are a few good ones to check out:

r.i.p. jerry juhl

As some people may know, I feel a kindred bond with Jim Henson, who died on my birthday in 1990.

In fact, I feel a close bond with virutally all things Muppet. Via Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, I enjoyed the antics of Kermit, Fozzie, Dr. Teeth, Ernie, Bert, Oscar, Rowlf and Sherlock Hemlock. Many fond memories pop into my mind thinking back to those days, and I’ve always had a fascination and appreciation for puppetry, due in large part to the Muppets.

This past Monday, another member of the original Muppet crew passed away. Jerry Juhl started as a fellow Muppeteer (ostensibly to replace Jim Henson’s wife, Jane, as a performer), but soon found himself writing sketches for the Muppets to perform. This led him to write for The Muppet Show, where he became head writer by the second season. Many of the classic comedy bits – Scooter’s “5 minutes to curtain” bits, Stadler and Waldorf’s heckling, and Fozzie’s often obtuse one-liners often had roots in the creative mind of Jerry Juhl.

After The Muppet Show, Jerry went on to help create Fraggle Rock and The Jim Henson Hour, as well as the three Henson-era Muppet movies. In 1999, Juhl left the Jim Henson Company, due in large part to the internal schisms that arose in the post-Jim Henson era. He switched to a teaching life, imparting the wisdom of his years of Muppet work on students young and old, hopefully planting the seeds for another creative union that will carry on the legacy of shows like The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock.

Jerry Juhl died of cancer, which ran its course very quickly. His legacy will live on with many Muppet memories. As 2005 is the 50th anniversary of the “birth” of Kermit, I hope that the torch gets passed to another kindred spirit who can find humor that is both kind yet effective, mixed with a message that acceptance of everybody is not a bad thing.

Rest in peace, Jerry. May you, Jim and Richart Hunt (Scooter, Beaker, Stadler, Sweetums) be creating the next innovation in creative puppetry (and be sure to share it with us terrestrial folk, too).

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