Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Muppets invaded NBC's Today Show this morning, November 13, 2008. Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and Al Roker were "locked out" of their studio while Muppet look-a-likes filled in for them, addressing such vital news as Obama's choice of Cabinet picks and interviews with Law & Order star Christopher Meloni.
Jim Henson, the founder and creator of the Muppets, may have been one of the most brilliant creative minds of the 20th century. It's hard to imagine, but puppets once only came in one kind, marionettes. Henson was one of the masterminds behind the idea of a softer puppet with a more flexible mouth and arms. Kermit the Frog is not only a pop culture icon, but was one of the first hand puppets ever. PBS, a slew of early education teachers, and virtually every children's pastor and director I know, owe a lot to Jim Henson. Henson and fellow Muppeteer-turned-filmmaker Frank Oz also made puppets a major source of humor, something else children's pastors can thank them for.
The Muppets have long been a pop culture phenomenon, moving beyond children's entertainment and making their way into feature films, prime time television, and proving to be a major PR boost for late night talk shows, news programs (like on Today), and advertisements. It proves that you're never too old to appreciate puppets!