Monday, September 26, 2022

Sam and Friends- The Story of Jim Henson's First Television Show


On May 9, 1955, a new local television program premiered on the local Washington, D.C. station WRC-TV. It was a unique program entirely populated by puppets and they captivated viewers with their bizarre antics, like lip-synching to records. Entitled Sam and Friends, this show was the brainchild of a college student named Jim Henson. His project would be a important stepping stone to a vast and influential empire that would include, among its achievements, Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and continues to flourish long after Henson's passing.

Craig Shermin, who is President of the Jim Henson Legacy and author of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia, thoroughly documents Henson's breakthrough program in Sam and Friends- The Story of Jim Henson's First Television Show. This new book, published by BearManor Media, explores how Henson, along with Jane Nebel (his future wife) conceived the show and how the puppets were created and manipulated so they would seem real to the TV audience. One of these puppets, an amiable creature named Kermit, would go on to appear on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and become a world famous icon. Sam and Friends also contains an episode guide, including five complete scripts. The book also features more than 150 photos from the Jim Henson Company archives and a forward by longtime Henson associate Frank Oz, the original puppeteer of such popular characters like Cookie Monster and Miss Piggy.

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