Muppets Google Doodle Celebrates Jim Henson's Birthday (VIDEO)
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Google's homepage features a medley of chomping, trunked, glasses-flipping Muppets in a new Google Doodle that honors the 75th anniversary of the birthday of late Muppets creator Jim Henson, who was born September 24, 1936.
The HTML5-powered logo is interactive and includes a few fun surprises: you can play "puppeteer" by clicking on the colored circles beneath each of the characters, which opens their mouths, and the Muppets will follow your cursor with their eyes when you move your mouse. One of the characters will throw his glasses into the air, and another actually eats a fellow Muppet (See the video below).
Henson's son Brian Henson, now chairman of the Jim Henson Company, wrote a post in Google's blog about the doodle paying tribute to his father.
"He loved dogs, particularly goofy ones. And he lived for those moments when everyone laughed so hard they couldn’t talk," Henson wrote, while also recalling his father's passion for games, being allowed to stay up late to watch his father's appearance on TV, and his father's sense that "the Muppets were a family."
Henson said of Jim Henson's relationship with tech:
He loved gadgets and technology. Following his lead, The Jim Henson Company continues to develop cutting-edge technology for animatronics and digital animation, like this cool Google doodle celebrating Jim’s 75th birthday. But I think even he would have found it hilarious the way today some people feel that when they’ve got their smartphone, they no longer need their brain.
Google noted in its blog, published on the afternoon of September 23, that the Muppets Google doodle would be up for a full 36 hours. This marks the second time Google has paid homage to Henson's work on its homepage. Two years ago, Google replaced its logo with a rotating cast of Sesame Street characters that appeared over several days, this time honoring the 40th anniversary of the television show Sesame Street, which Henson was asked to help with in 1969.
The Washington Post writes of Henson's life and career:
Born in Greenville, Miss., in 1936, Henson created his fuzzy, goggle-eyed puppets in the ‘50s, and they soon began appearing on local television while he attended the University of Maryland (where he met his future wife and the show’s co-producer, Jane Nebel).
In 1969, Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and the rest of the lovable furry troupe began to appear on PBS’s new ”Sesame Street.” By the ‘70s, the Muppets gained a hit prime-time show (and Miss Piggy) and, soon, hit the big screen. (Their newest feature film is November’s ”The Muppets,” starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams.)
Henson died May 16, 1990 and in his obituary in the New York Times, the Public Broadcasting Service, which hosted Sesame Street, calls Henson ''the spark that ignited our fledgling broadcast service.''
The chairman and chief executive of the company that produced Sesame Street described Henson as "our era's Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, W. C. Fields and Marx Brothers," according to the New York Times.
Google users have created some impressive animations using the Jim Henson Google doodle. See the videos below to watch the Muppets singing Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow," check out the surprises in the doodle, and much more.