The world’s most famous amphibian, Kermit the Frog, is the star of a new exhibit at the American Banjo Museum. Jim Henson – Life and Legacy fondly remembers the optimistic visionary who created the Muppets and positively influenced generations of the young and young at heart.
Henson was born in 1936 near Leland, Mississippi and with his father’s purchase of a TV set in 1950, Henson knew he had found his calling. Seeing puppetry as a way to grow along with the new medium, it all came together in 1955 when Henson found almost immediate television success with his first puppet show, Sam and Friends.
Naming his creations Muppets, Henson’s growing troupe of characters found work in countless innovative television commercials and soon found themselves as guest stars on national network variety shows. When a new cast of Muppet characters took up residence on Sesame Street in 1969, his identity as both a puppeteer as well as an icon of children’s entertainment were firmly established.
Throughout his career, Jim Henson’s lifelong affection for the banjo was obvious. From Kermit’s earliest banjo appearance on Sam and Friends in the 1950s and 1960s to The Muppet Show guest stars such as Roy Clark and Steve Martin – Henson presented the music and visual dynamic of the banjo to an international audience.
It is, however, those magical three minutes and twenty seconds which open 1979’s The Muppet Movie which will forever connect Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog, with the banjo. As Kermit strums his banjo and whimsically ponders the life questions subtly embedded into the lyrics of The Rainbow Connection, he finds the inner voice we all seek, telling us that we can accomplish anything.
In addition to Kermit the Frog, original artwork, rare photographs, pop culture objects and many very personal insights, Jim Henson – Life and Legacy features a very special banjo as well. One of the most famous banjos of all time, the Muppets Banjo, originally owned and played by British musician Martin Kershaw, has arguably accompanied more stars than any other banjo in history.
The American Banjo Museum is located at 9 East Sher idan in t h e h eart of Br icktown a nd is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 11am-6 pm and Sunday, Noon – 5 pm. For more i nforma tion visit www.americanbanjomuseum.comor call 405-604-2793.
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