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The Jim Henson Company Celebrates 60 Years

Henson is currently in production on the fourth season of Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS series ‘Dinosaur Train,’ and ‘Word Party,’ a new preschool series for Netflix set to premiere in 2016.

The Jim Henson Company's chairman Brian Henson and sibling, CEO Lisa Henson, celebrate the company¹s 60th anniversary with timeless characters and new friends.

HOLLYWOOD -- In 1955, Jim Henson premiered his first show, Sam and Friends, a five-minute series that aired twice a day for six years -- live -- on Washington DC’s WRC-TV, forever changing puppetry, and launching a company that would become synonymous with innovation, creativity, engaging characters and quality family entertainment. The Jim Henson Company is honoring its founder, Jim Henson, by celebrating the 60th anniversary of the company he created, the timeless characters that have remained global favorites, and the newest members of the Company’s family of characters.

Over the last 60 years, the Company has established itself as a leader in family entertainment and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is currently headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. The Company is also home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities. With thriving distribution, consumer products and licensing businesses, The Jim Henson Company continues to develop and produce top-rated, critically-acclaimed entertainment for audiences around the world. The Company is currently in production on the fourth season of Dinosaur Train, the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS series, and Word Party, a new preschool series for Netflix set to premiere in 2016. Additionally, several new productions are on the way.

In the coming months, fans can expect fun opportunities to share in their appreciation of classic titles from The Jim Henson Company such as The Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock. And parents and children alike will have new ways to enjoy current hit series, including the multiple Emmy Award-nominated Dinosaur Train, Sid the Science Kid, Pajanimals, Doozers, Hi, Opie! and many more.

Some upcoming events celebrating the anniversary include:

  • “Unboxing with The Jim Henson Company”
    Premiering September 24, join the gang from fan site as they visit with Karen Falk, The Jim Henson Company’s archivist, to “unbox” treasures from the Company’s archives.
  • The Dark Crystal Fan Film Competition
    We know our fans cosplay, build creatures and write new scenes for the groundbreaking fantasy classic The Dark Crystal—and we want to give you a chance to show off your talents! Beginning September 24, fans of this groundbreaking fantasy classic can find details for our Dark Crystal Fan Film Competition, kicking off at
  • Jim Henson Family Screenings
    Enjoy favorite titles from The Jim Henson Company at local family screening events around the country, beginning with New York’s Museum of the Moving Image Fall Family Day on Saturday September 26, featuring puppet making and screenings of Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid. Future screenings locations include the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta and more.
  • The Jim Henson Gallery
    Beginning November 14, 2015, the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, the country’s premier destination for all things puppet, will open its new Worlds of Puppetry Museum featuring the world’s most comprehensive collection of Jim Henson’s puppets and artifacts donated by the Henson family.
  • Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow
    For fans of all ages comes Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow, the new movie premiering on Lifetime on November 21, 2015. Based on a never-produced story by Jim Henson and his longtime writing partner Jerry Juhl, and only recently re-discovered in the Company’s archives, this new holiday classic stars Mary Steenburgen, Jay Harrington and Chis “Ludacris” Bridges and features creatures from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.


Milestones and Trivia from The Jim Henson Company’s 60-Year History Compiled by the Company’s Archives

475 – Episodes of animated television produced by The Jim Henson Company in the last 60 years. Includes titles like the Fraggle Rock animated series (1987), Dog City (1992) and Dinosaur Train (2009).

375 – Approximate number of puppets donated by the Henson family to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta to be part of the new permanent Jim Henson Collection Gallery set to open on November 14, 2015. The donation also includes more than 100 costumes, props, and masks.

350 – Hands seen in the Shaft of Hands sequence from Labyrinth (1986). (Only 200 hands were foam while the rest belonged to puppeteers.)

345 – Number of times the expletive “frell” was said on science fiction favorite Farscape (1999–2003).

237 – Songs sung on Fraggle Rock (1983–1987).

140 – Territories around the world that have aired the Emmy Award-nominated preschool science series Sid the Science Kid (2008).

121 – Dog puppets built by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in the last 60 years, including Sprocket from Fraggle Rock (1983), the Storyteller’s dog in The Storyteller (1987), and Princess from Henson Alternative’s No, You Shut Up!, currently airing on Fusion.

106 – Prehistoric creatures that Buddy the T. rex has met on Dinosaur Train since the series launched in 2009.

63 – Emmy wins.

50 – The wingspan, in feet, of Ultra-Gorgon, the biggest puppet made by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, featured in Monster Maker (1989).

46 – Teeth in the mouth of Fizzgig, the popular character from classic fantasy film The Dark Crystal (1982).

46 – Television series produced by The Jim Henson Company since 1955.

19 – Vehicles and gadgets used by the Pod Squad in the animated series Doozers, available on Hulu.

2 – Academy Awards presented to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

2 – The height, in inches, of the smallest puppets made by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the animatronic mice created for The Witches (1990).

Source: The Jim Henson Company 

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.