Jim Henson: The Biography ★☆☆☆☆

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Title: Jim Henson: The Biography
Series: ———-
Authors: Brian Jones
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 591
Words: 215K


From the Publisher

For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson

He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.

This extraordinary biography—written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family—covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi, through the years of burgeoning fame in America, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson’s family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives, Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten-year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones provides the imaginative context for Henson’s non-Muppet projects, including the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth—as well as fascinating misfires like Henson’s dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub.

An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this American original: the master craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on television, the savvy businessman whose dealmaking prowess won him a reputation as “the new Walt Disney,” and the creative team leader whose collaborative ethos earned him the undying loyalty of everyone who worked for him. Here also is insight into Henson’s intensely private personal life: his Christian Science upbringing, his love of fast cars and expensive art, and his weakness for women. Though an optimist by nature, Henson was haunted by the notion that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life—a fear that his heartbreaking final hours would prove all too well founded.

An up-close look at the charmed life of a legend, Jim Henson gives the full measure to a man whose joyful genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture—and continues to beguile audiences worldwide.

My Thoughts:

This is getting a 1star instead of the dreaded 1/2star & the tag “worst book of the year” simply because I learned a LOT about Jim Henson. Having seen what I have of Muppets, Fraggle Rock, etc, I can clearly see Henson’s fingerprints now that I know what to look for. That part was quite interesting and I think it will make my viewing of future movies and shows that much richer.

However, my main problem with this book wasn’t about or with Jim Henson, per se, but more with the author, Brian Jones. This was technically a biography but more than that, it was a puff piece, a love letter, a psalm of worship from an acolyte to his god. When somebody tells the life story of someone else, they have a duty to tell ALL of that life story, not just the good parts.

Any bad parts of Henson’s life was mentioned in one sentence when it occurred and then glossed over or ignored for the rest of the book. When interviewing people about Henson, only the most positive things were included, even from his wife, who he had separated from and was sleeping with other women. Every statement about Henson was positive and every statement by other people was positive. While I could have accepted that Henson led a charmed life and was charismatic and talented enough to draw everyone into his wake, people are people and have bad things to say. I’m not saying Jones should have been a muckraker or that I was looking for a smear campaign, but what I read wasn’t real in the sense that it simply didn’t present reality as we know it. Henson’s brother died. It got maybe 2 sentences then and maybe 4 out of the entire book and Jones never showed it affecting Henson.

Jones was given access to the Henson life in terms of private journals, etc and I suspect part of the deal was that he would only write good things. It was like reading cotton candy by the end of the book. Even Henson’s swift death by a virulent strain of pneumonia shows him as a giant teddy bear having his back rubbed by his ex-wife (technically not ex as they never divorced) and his death being some big “oopsie”. The tone of the entire book is fluff. While I learned a lot about Henson, and like I said before I think it will make my watching of his works that much more informed, I did not like being “handled” by the author as I was.

To end, if you want to learn about Henson, you can read this book and you’ll learn a lot. If you don’t mind literary cotton candy, this will work perfectly for you. If you want a full picture of Henson, try some other book because this author point blank refuses to give you that picture. I am very disappointed with how this turned out.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Masters of Doom

a1f0746bff57404fbd8571963c3d75fe This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: Masters of Doom

Series: —–

Author: David Kushner

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Biography

Pages: 301



A Quick and Dirty Biography of John Romero and John Carmack, the Co-Creators of ID Software, which gave us Doom and Quake.


My Thoughts:

Overall, I’d say this was a pretty lackluster book. Serious issues were quickly gone over, motivations and thoughts barely sketched out, no footnotes, quotes or anything of substance.

However, it brought such a dose of Nostalgia that I practically felt like a kid again! I remember my first computer, a dx2-66, on which I ran DOS 6.22 [not that nasty ol’ 6.20 mind you!] and was the envy of my friends because I’d saved up and bought a cd-rom 4x. Oh man, I was blazing.

I didn’t really play Doom, but was introduced to Doom II: Hell on Earth. It was fantastic. It was everything my young self craved. Guns. Violence against a legitimate target. Being a bad ass hero. Double barreled shotgun. Puzzle solving along aside adrenalin inducing action.

Then Heretic and Hexxen came out, based on Doom’s graphic engine. Medieval Doom with bows and arrows, magic arcane items, more intricate puzzles. And Hexxen with its multi-hub puzzles. It was all awesome.

Then Quake. I remember Quake so well because it required a Pentium 75 and my neighbor had just gotten one and there was no way I was going to be able to afford one for quite some time.

And this book brought back all those memories and feelings. And that is why this was rated so high.

The book itself was about two raging egomaniacs with different strengths who wouldn’t and couldn’t work together or with others. Because of that, they made and lost great people, companies and games.

Kushner tries to end on a happy note, but you know it won’t last because nothing has changed in the John’s lives except their current circumstances.

The Sublimity of Faith (Theology)

b1ea4bd98774fa9419db24e3302474e2 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: Sublimity of Faith

Series: —–

Author: Frank Murray

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Biography

Pages: 951



A biography of Frank W. Sandford by one of his most ardent admirers, Frank Murray.

Sandford felt called by God to live by Faith and ended up establishing churches across America and Canada, a large Bibleschool in Maine and several missionary outposts across the world.

Murray chronicles Frank Sandford’s start as a young pastor until his death in the mid 1900’s.


My Thoughts:

A lot of personal things are in this review, just so you know.

I read this book in preparation for attending Bibleschool in 1997.

So far in my short life, there are 3 books that have quite literally formed me and my thoughts.

The Bible

The Sublimity of Faith

Seventh Day Adventists Believe…

As a young man, I’d read about Biblical heroes, men and women of Faith who lived out God’s will in the far past. However, there are times that the young need something more immediate to look up to.

This book provided me that in spades. A man who stepped out from the traditional into what God was calling him to. Sacrifice. Hardwork. Trusting in God when it didn’t make sense. Answers to prayer that were miraculous.

It inspired me and made what might have been theoretical in the Bible into flesh and blood.

As I’ve gone on in life I’ve met others who didn’t have the same view of Sandford as Frank Murray did. Some of those people who had a different viewpoint were my own grandparents. According to them, Murray had rose tinted glasses on when viewing Sandford. I knew Frank Murray before he died and actually had him scold me in church one time because I was fooling around in the audio/visual booth instead of paying attention. And he was in the pulpit, so everyone heard.

I also knew my grandparents.

Murray was one of the most loving, kind, bold,gentle and stern men I’ve ever met. My grandparents on the other hand, were some of the most bitter and hard people I’ve ever met.

[that being said, there were reasons they were the way they were. It makes me proud to know that they prevented those things from passing to the next generation. So don’t get me wrong, I loved my grands, it is just that they weren’t the warm and loving grandparents one usually thinks of]

So if I had to choose one viewpoint over the other, I’d choose Murray’s any day but I acknowledge that my grands had some legit things in what they said.

This book showed me that a lifestyle called for by Christ Himself can be lived in this world. Since I graduated from Fairwood Bible Institute in 2000, life has thrown things my way that I never thought I’d have to deal with. Things that broke me, bent me, hurt me and generally tried to make me doubt the Goodness of God. And there are times that I need to be reminded that there are others who have gone through worse things and still kept their faith. They kept on going towards the goal God had called them toward even though everything around them called for them to stop.

In the end, this book called me to be more like Christ.