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How 'The Muppets' Came To Life In Jim Henson's Fantastic World (PHOTOS)

Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/23/11 10:23 AM ET Updated: 12/05/11 11:15 AM ET

With "The Muppets" receiving absolutely glowing reviews on Rottentomatos.com, it looks as if Kermit and the gang are officially back in business after a 12-year hiatus.

The Muppets reviews are so far indicating that it's capturing the charm, innocent humor (AKA cheesy parody) and feel-good heart of puppet master and creative genius Jim Henson's original characters appearing in The Muppet Show and 1979's The Muppet Movie.

It took Henson nearly two decades for his dream of the Muppets as "entertainment for everybody" to be realized before his life was cut short by pneumonia in 1990.

While the Muppets are Jim Henson's most easily recognizable creation, his legacy of artistic creativity runs deep and through multiple artistic fields. A traveling Smithsonian exhibition titled "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" is currently on tour and on display at New York City's Museum of the Moving image until January 16th, 2012.

The exhibition is a celebration of Henson's life and work, from his high school puppetry and college posters and band art, to his sketches, storyboards, advertising, TV, film, and of course puppetry.

Images below provided courtesy of the Museum of the Moving Image.

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  • Jim and Kermit

    Jim Henson with Kermit the Frog in 1978 on the set of <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/muppet_movie/" target="_hplink">The Muppet Movie</a>. <em>Credit: Photo courtesy of The Jim Henson Company. Kermit the Frog (c) The Muppets Studio, LLC.</em>

  • Jim and Kermit

    Jim performing Kermit the Frog in the early 1980s. <em>Credit: Photo by Richard Termine, courtesy of <a href="http://henson.com/" target="_hplink">The Jim Henson Company</a>. Kermit the Frog © The Muppets Studio, LLC.</em>

  • Jim and Kermit

    im Henson's characters provided an outlet for the various sides of his sense of humor and personality, and Henson always considered Kermit the Frog his alter ego. <em>Credit: John E. Barrett, courtesy of The Jim Henson Company. Kermit the Frog (c)The Muppets Studio, LLC.</em>

  • Bert and Ernie

    Jim Henson believed that television and film could be used in a positive way to shape the thoughts of children and adults. He populated the neighborhood of Sesame Street with characters such as Bert and Ernie. Credit: Photo by John E. Barrett. TM & © 2007 SesameWorkshop. All Rights Reserved.

  • Bert and Ernie

    Bert and Ernie on display at the Museum of the Moving Image, NYC. Credit: Sam Suddaby / Museum of the Moving Image

  • Henson's Frackle Sketch

    The whimsical nature of Henson's ink-and-marker-on-paper sketches of the <a href="http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Frackles" target="_hplink">Frackles</a> for a 1970 television special is inherent in all of his work and evident in the world of Fraggle Rock. <em>Credit: Image courtesy of The Jim Henson Company. (c) 2007, The Jim Henson Company</em>

  • Fraggle Rock

    Henson created his award-winning television series, Fraggle Rock<a href="http://henson.com/family_content.php?content=fragglerock" target="_hplink">, to help promote understanding and tolerance. <em>Credit: Photo by</a> John E. Barrett. (c) The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved.</em>

  • Nutty Bird Sketch

    Henson developed hundreds of characters and designs for commercial purposes, including this wacky bird for Royal Crown Cola in 1966. <em>Credit: ©2007 The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved. </em>

  • Miss Piggy Bride

    All dolled up. <em>Credit: Sam Suddaby / Museum of the Moving Image</em>

  • Drill Team Puppets

    The complicated technology of the drill team mechanical puppets allowed two puppeteers (here, Jim Henson, right, and Jerry Juhl, left, in 1961) to manipulate the whole battalion of soldiers at once. Credit: Photo by Del Ankers. (c) 2007 The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved.

  • Snowths & Mahna Mahna

    Originally debuting on The Ed Sullivan Show, the bearded hippie Mahna Mahna and his cow-like back-up singers, the Snowths, went on to become regulars on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. <em>Credit: John E. Barratt. (c)The Muppets Studio, LLC. </em>

  • Time Piece

    Jim Henson (shown) takes flight in his 1964 Oscar-nominated short film, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059807/" target="_hplink">Time Piece</a>, a surreal, symbolic and satirical look at the human experience and the nature of man. <em>Credit: (c) 2007 The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved.</em>

  • Rowlf The Dog

    Rowlf the Dog became everyone's favorite piano player on <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074028/" target="_hplink">The Muppet Show.</a> Many of Jim's Muppet characters, including Rowlf, got their start in ads produced by Jim in the 1960s. <em>Credit: Photo by John E. Barrett. (c) The Muppets Studio, LLC. </em>

  • Jim Henson's Fantastic World

    Credit: Sam Suddaby / Museum of the Moving Image.

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