Jim Henson — Genius at work

What makes a genius a genius? Today, superlative attributes such as genius, artist, or master, are so generously used that it seems almost impossible to recognize true ingenuity. We know about creativity, about Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi), and the Element (Ken Robinson). But, what does really happen when a masterpiece emerges, when something meaningful appears? In this 1969 Iowa Public Television broadcast we get a glimpse of that magical moment when Jim Henson explains about his puppets. It happens in plain sight: They come to life.

There is no doubt that Jim Henson is one of the rare examples of a true genius. He revolutionized a whole artform; he made puppetry modern and gave it a new and deep meaning. But, seeing it happen doesn’t mean it is easy to explain. Maybe it is as well that there appears to be a magical ingredient beyond talent, curiosity and playfulness… Jim Henson died on May 16, 1990, age 53. His work seems untouched by time.

Axel Wendelberger