Monday, April 18, 2016

Jim Henson's Sam and Friends

I finished the Jim Henson biography I mentioned in my last post this weekend, and I'm thankful to have picked it up. It's a well-written exploration of Henson's amazing story, and I highly recommend you give it a read.

Aside from the Wilkins coffee adds I showcased previously, Henson's other early claim to fame is the local program Sam and Friends. This was a five-minute program that aired on NBC affiliate WRC-TV in the Washington, DC market and was very popular with children and adults alike. The majority of skits performed involved the many Muppet characters of the program lip synching to novelty or pop records that were favorites of Henson's. The Muppet staff consisted of only two performers: Jim and his future wife Jane. It was on this program that Kermit originated, but he wasn't a frog at the time. Kermit was only an abstract being, as were most of the characters on the show, with the exception of the titular Sam, who was "human."

The show aired from the mid-1950s through early '60s, when the Muppets started to branch out into more commercials and guest appearances on national programs such as The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, among others.

Here are several fun clips from Sam and Friends. It gives you a good idea of the humble beginnings from which the Muppets started, but you can already see the magic and whimsy of Henson shine through. Enjoy!


Todd Mason said...

Did you see this?

Also, have you seen "The Cube"? I'm posting it on my blog under your listing for this.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Thanks for the Atlantic article, I will definitely read this today!

Also, the biography talks a good bit about the Cube, and have been meaning to check out the YouTube vid, so thank you for posting that to your site. Consider it bookmarked!

Kelly Robinson said...

Thanks for posting these. Even a dark crime-obsessed curmudgeon like me loves the Muppets. Great stuff.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Thanks Kelly! Glad you enjoyed it!


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