J2 Content – Perspectives

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Why TV is Great: The Muppets

In my line of work (whatever that is), I am often put in the position of defending the medium of television. There is a large section of the population who is convinced that television is inferior to film and all types of print media. These people love to use a host of specious arguments to prove their point. Some choose advertising, others go with reality TV, I once argued with a guy who said, “Two words… Jerry Springer” and walked away.

I’m not going to use this blog as a way to refute these arguments, instead I’d like to give specific examples to defend the medium that I have come to love.

Television is great because it is directly responsible for the creation of the Muppets.

Most everybody knows that Jim Henson started his career as a puppeteer at a local television show. While he was a freshman in college he created his own children’s show called Sam and Friends, a five minute program which featured puppets that anyone could recognize as early versions of Kermit the Frog and Rowlf the Dog.

What people don’t know is why Jim Henson became a puppeteer. It’s a very easy explanation. Henson’s childhood was a simple one and for his family, television was considered a luxury. So when a family friend got a television, naturally he was curious as to what it was all about. What he saw changed his life.

After spending an entire afternoon watching his friend’s TV, Henson was so determined to be on television himself, that the next day he ran down to the local television station and took whatever job he could get. The only job they had available for a young man with no experience was as a puppeteer on their local children’s show. From there, Henson went on to create one of the most beloved, creative and recognized franchises in the history of entertainment.

So whether it’s the TV shows, the films, the cartoons or the theme park rides, you have television to thank for the majesty that is the Muppets.

Hear more from the King of TV on The Paul Goebel Show podcast and at his website, www.TheKingofTV.com. You can also follow Paul on Twitter @PaulGoebelShow.

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