Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tinseltown Headed to LOGO

Back in November I reported that the Jim Henson Company was developing a series titled "Tinseltown". The show is about a bull named Samson Knight and a pig named Bobby Vegan, a mismatched gay couple living in Hollywood. Henson has just revealed some more information on the development of this project at this week’s Comic-Con convention in San Diego, along with giving attendees a sneak peak at the series.

"Tinseltown" is currently being developed by the company for the LOGO network. A sample of this adult puppet show was shown at Comic-Con and was a big hit with the audience. Brian Henson did admit one reason he wanted to do a show about a male couple was mainly because he can’t do female voices. The comical, character-driven TV series is sure to garner a lot of attention and attract a lot of fans, and you can be sure that I’ll keep you posted with more information on this project, and other Henson Company dealings, when more information surfaces.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Henson Collection Moves to Atlanta

The Henson family and the Jim Henson Foundation have announced that they are donating a large collection of Jim Henson artifacts — everything from hundreds of original puppets to sketches and artwork — to Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts.

The 29-year-old center will house between 500 and 700 Henson pieces in a wing named for the beloved puppeteer as part of a new building scheduled to open in 2012. One of the original Kermit the Frog puppets is already on display at the center, and a series of smaller exhibits from the larger collection will rotate through the center until the new space opens. In September, the center will get Rowlf, Swedish Chef and Dr. Teeth puppets as part of an exhibit focusing on the characters that Henson operated himself. The center also will display characters from "Sesame Street", "Fraggle Rock", "The Dark Crystal", "Labyrinth", "Sam and Friends", and other Henson works.

"People will be able to come to Atlanta and immerse themselves in the life and career of Jim Henson in a way that cannot be replicated anywhere else," said Vince Anthony, founder and executive director of the center.

The Center for Puppetry Arts was offered the Henson Foundation archive because of its long history with the Jim Henson Company. Jim Henson cut the ribbon at the center’s opening in 1978 alongside Kermit and Miss Piggy (dressed as Rhett and Scarlett), and the center’s collection already includes the Pigs in Space from "The Muppet Show."

The institution is "the prime center of puppetry arts in the country and really has been for a long time," said Eileen Blumenthal, a professor of theater arts at Rutgers and author of the book Puppety, a World History.

Cheryl Henson, co-CEO of the Jim Henson Company and daughter of Jim Henson, stated in a press release that: "We are delighted the Center for Puppetry Arts will make it possible for the public to see and experience the full breadth of this extraordinary work that reaches across generations and countries to touch everybody."

Feel free ot visit puppet.org for more information on the Center for Puppetry Arts and this momentous and Muppetational gift.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sesame Street Counts Down to Christmas

Sesame Workshop is planning to produce a brand new holiday special entitled "Elmo's Christmas Countdown". The one-hour television special is planned to air on ABC this holiday season and be one of the must-see holiday events of 2007. Many celebrity guests will appear in the musical extravaganza; including Ben Stiller, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Ty Pennington, Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow and Brad Paisley. Also set to appear are the beloved Sesame Street Muppets; including Elmo, Big Bird, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Snuffy, Count von Count, and many others. Not much else is known about the project just yet, but I will be sure to keep you posted with more information on this project as it surfaces.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Jim Henson's Critters Coming Soon!

The Jim Henson Company will be exhibiting a new line of figurines in a series entitled "Jim Henson's Critters" at the upcoming Comic-Con convention in San Diego. These new figures, based on designs and sketches of creatures by Jim Henson, will be produced by MINDstyle and Toy Tokyo and will showcase the one of a kind style and flair of Jim Henson's fun and festive designs and doodles. A wider release of the figures is expected to roll out later this year after their unveiling at Comic-Con next week. I will keep you posted with information and details on these figures as I get it - but until then, you can take a peek at the figures below.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Muppets Invade Long Island's Cinema Arts Centre

As reported earlier, The Jim Henson Legacy and Brooklyn Academy of Music are working with the Cinema Arts Centre to pay tribute to Jim Henson with a huge three-day festival for families and children of all ages.

Muppets, Music & Magic: Jim Henson's Legacy will take place on Friday, August 10 thru Sunday, August 12 at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island. This weekend-long series will feature many special guests and explore all facets of this prolific artist's outpu. Morning and early afternoon screenings feature films for kids of all ages, while evening programs focus on Henson's experimental work, commercials, rarities, and films for the adults who never grew up.

Tickets and full event schedule are now available at the Cinema Arts Centre website CinemaArtsCentre.org, in person at the CAC Box Office (423 Park Ave., Huntington, NY), or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.

Special Guests include Heather Henson, Kevin Clash, Fran Brill, Dave Goelz, Craig Shemin, Dwight Bowers and many more.

Highlights include rare television commercials and experiments from the Henson archives including "Time Piece", a special 35mm screening of "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland" featuring Muppeteers Kevin Clash and Fran Brill, archival prints of numerous Jim Henson feature films including "The Dark Crystal", "Labyrinth" and "The Muppet Movie", plus free panel discussions and benefit reception featuring all the special guests, book signings, puppetmaking workshops for children, and much more.

So if you are able to make it out to Huntington, NY, be sure to get your tickets now, mark your calendars, round up a group of friends and prepare to go and check out a great Muppet event.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Farscape returns with 10-episode Web Series

Attention all Farscape fans!

Fans will finally get to return to the Farscape universe with an all-new original web series, set to be released on SCIFI.com. The 10-part series is being executive produced by Brian Henson and Robert Halmi, Jr., and produced by The Jim Henson Company in association with RHI Entertainment. According to the network, "the series will revive and expand the beloved Farscape universe."

Farscape is one of three new broadband-only series being development for SCIFI.com, which boasts itself as the world's largest sci-fi entertainment Web site (gaining more than 3 million unique visitors each month). There is no word yet on which actors or characters will be involved in the project, or just when it will arrive on the net. After being abruptly cancelled after four seasons, the critically-acclaimed Farscape returned in 2004 for the 4-hour miniseries Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.

Dave Howe, Sci-Fi Channel executive vice president, stated in an interview today that "We don’t know [which members of the cast will be returning]. Literally, we closed the deal yeaterday, so we haven’t gotten into any of the creative conversations about casting, or story; all of that is yet to come...[The new series] is based on Farscape so it will involve the characters from the series, but we don’t know who or what."

I will be sure to keep you updated as more information on the web series, and any other Farscape projects, surfaces.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Henson at Comic-Con

The annual San Diego Comic-Con is gearing up for their 2007 convention. The four-day event is being held in San Diego, California, at the San Diego Convention Center. The event will be running from July 26th to 29th and the Jim Henson Company is planning to attend with a host of special appearances and presentations.

The Jim Henson Company will be at Comic-Con talking about some of their exciting projects currently in the works. The special presentation will be on Friday, July 27th from 4:15-5:45pm. Topics and presentation will focus on "The Skrumps", "Puppet Up! Uncensored", the Henson Digital Performance Studio, new merchandise, fantasy world mangas and much more!

Brian Henson, Lisa Henson, Halle Stanford, Craig Bartlett and John Chandler will be at Comic-Con to showcase the Henson Company's newest gang of characters, "The Skrumps". The group will talk about the upcoming production and will give a live demonstration of the revolutionary technology that brings this animated troupe to life. Also featured in the Henson appearance will be a live performance of sketch comedy from the company's stage show "Puppet Up! Uncensored" with Patrick Bristow, Julianne Buescher, and Michelan Sisti.

The company will also be at the convention to talk about and promote a bunch of new products - including new DVD releases of "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth", new collectible toys, the new "Legends of The Dark Crystal" manga series, the next installment of "Return to Labyrinth" and more! On Saturday July 28, TOKYOPOP and the Jim Henson Company will hold a presention on "Legends of the Dark Crystal" and "Return to Labyrinth". Writer Barbara Randall Kesel, artist Heidi Arnhold, editor Tim Beedle, and head of children's television for the Jim Henson Company Halle Stanford will preview and discuss the upcoming "Dark Crystal" series. Joining them will be Jake Forbes, author of the "Return to Labyrinth" manga, who will be on hand to discuss the upcoming volume of the successful "Labyrinth" sequel

So if you are planning to attend Comic-Con be sure to check out the Henson Company presentations. And if you don't make it out to San Diego, you can be sure that we'll share a full run-down of Henson news that comes out of the convention later this month.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Presenting Muppet Newsflash Interviews!

Here at The Muppet Newsflash, we are dedicated to informing Henson fans and with all the current information Muppety information they crave. For the past three years, I have been working hard to uncover and share the latest (and greatest) Muppet news and information with our readers and through my affiliation as a reporter and writer for Muppet Central. Now I am happy to showcase a brand-new series of unique articles with the community.

Over the past couple of months I have been working with fellow Muppet fan Dwayne Fletcher on some very exciting Muppety projects. The two of us have pooled our talents, resources and interested to conduct a series of interviews with several key players in the Muppet universe. These in-depth question-and-answer sessions are a great opportunity for the talented people involved with the Muppets to connect and share their perspective with the fans.

To kick-off the series we are proud to present three exclusive interviews here on the blog. We hope to continue to publish and conduct more interviews with more people in the coming months (we already have some interested interviewees lined up).

Our first round of interviewees include Jim Lewis (Muppet writer), Julianne Buescher (Muppet/Henson performer) and Alan Muraoka (Sesame Street cast member). You can view all three interviews in our article section, or jump to them directly via the links below.

We would like to extend a great big "thank you" to Jim, Julianne and Alan for taking the time to answer our questions and share their thoughts and views with the community. Stay tuned for more interviews in the coming weeks – and be sure to stay tuned for all the latest Muppet and Henson news that you crave. Enjoy!

Friday, July 06, 2007

More Jimmy and Rowlf on DVD

Back in April Time-Life released their first DVD title of The Jimmy Dean Show on DVD. The DVD, "The Best of the Jimmy Dean Show, Volume 1", included several sketches starring Jimmy Dean and his sidekick, Rowlf the Dog. These rare and classic Muppet moments are a must-see for any fan of Henson's early work.

Well, on August 7, 2007 Time-Life is planning to release The Best of The Jimmy Dean Show, Volume 2. Like the previous volume, fans can expect a price of $12.99 for this single-disc release. The DVD is set to include more bits with Jimmy and Rowlf. So next month, you'll be able to enjoy another hour's of Jimmy, Rowlf, and their guests Carl Smith, Hank Snow, Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys, and many more!

I will keep you posted on the release of future volumes in "The Best of The Jimmy Dean Show" series featuring more classic comedy routines staring Rowlf the Dog. I'm told more volumes are in the works, however the fate of series all depends on the popularity of the earlier releases. So be sure to pick up this DVD (and volume one) and enjoy a look at these classic Muppet moments.