Toon-In Talk Episode 22: Interview with Cheryl Henson

Hello and welcome to twenty-second episode of Fanboy Nation’s Toon-In-Talk, your rendezvous for animation interviews.  It’s also time for the second round of interviews for the Ladies of Animation Month, Whitney Grace’s yearly tribute to women who work in the animation industry and mission to inspire girls to pursue their animated ambitions.  Puppetry has many things in common with animation, including principles that make inanimate characters come to life.  Cheryl Henson is a proud promoter of the puppetry arts and preserving her father’s legacy for future generations.  If you couldn’t tell by the last name, Cheryl Henson is Jim Henson’s daughter.  Jim Henson not only revolutionized the world of modern puppetry with the Muppets, but he also was a singular entertainer and creative genius.  Cheryl Henson chats with Whitney about the renovation at the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts with brand new exhibits dedicated to Jim Henson and puppetry from around the world.

Episode 22

  • Whitney recognized Cheryl Henson at DragonCon by her fabulous fashion sense. She wore an original outfit made for her by the designers of the Dark Crystal fashion line.
  • Cheryl is the president of the Jim Henson Foundation.
  • Cheryl was at DragonCon, because she was promoting the new expansion to the Atlanta Center for the Puppetry Arts. The Puppetry Center will house a new collection featuring puppets from the Henson Family’s personal archives.
  • Jane and Jim Henson were at the Center of Puppetry Arts’s opening back in 1978 and it was founded by Vince Anthony.
  • The Puppetry Center advocates the art of puppetry with educational programs, a museum, and encouraging anyone, anywhere to make their own puppets.
  • The new Jim Henson collection will include over 450 new Muppet puppets, but only 75 will be on display at any one time.
  • The puppets were housed in a storage facility in New Jersey and these were original, screen used Muppets!
  • All of the Muppets in the Jim Henson collection were refurbished to make them museum ready. All of the foam rubber had to be removed, clean the fleece, stuff with cotton filling, and add a plastic skeleton.
  • The Puppetry Center hired two fulltime staff members to refurbish the puppets.
  • The collection will include the Seven Deadly Sins from The Muppets Sex and Violence When they opened the box containing the Muppet Gluttony it actually had real candy on it! They were removed, so it wouldn’t attract bugs.
  • Cheryl shares her special Robin the Frog story!
  • The new Puppetry Center will feature an exhibit modeled after the real Muppet workshop.
  • Jim Henson revolutionized puppet design by making puppets specifically for TV and film.
  • Cheryl explains that the Puppetry Center will feature all types of puppetry. Nearly all cultures around the world have some form of puppetry.
  • Whitney and Cheryl discuss how puppetry is a very viable art and how Jim Henson used story in his work.
  • The Jim Henson Company is very dedicated to exploring the entire world of the Dark Crystal. Whitney shares that she hangs out in the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth worlds when she has writer’s block.
  • In her own personal opinion, Cheryl believes that her father put character before story.
  • Cheryl explains the difference between the Jim Henson Company, the Jim Henson Foundation, Jim Henson’s Legacy, Disney’s The Muppets, Sesame Street, and Sesame Workshop.
  • Whitney and Cheryl think its funny when they talk about the semantics involved with stop motion animation, live puppetry, and how they two intersect.
  • To make someone laugh, Jim would blow a puppet up, have a puppet eaten, or throw penguins in the air.
  • Cheryl declares that people need to care about each other.



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