56 thoughts on “Anecdote#1

  1. Thanks for this. My twin brother and I perform puppets, we’re not professional like you but we try, and sometimes we feel a little crazy. It’s good to know that it’s okay to be a little crazy.

  2. LOL! Actually Jim is right. I hope you continue to write this blog. Ignore the trolls. Vent & share and hopefully accept your fans’ love and well wishes. At some point, I hope you can share more glorious tidbits about Jim, and perhaps a few words about Richard and Jerry.

    I’d especially like to hear about Richard. Scooter was my absolute favorite when I was little. (Sorry frogs, and pigs, and cows and chickens.)

    It would also be nice if you had any kind thoughts or memories of some of the great muppet guests that have passed on.

    And your thoughts on the state of puppetry in general in America.

    It may be therapeutic to discuss these things. LOL

    1. Hi Le Anne,

      I don’t know about anyone else, but I always feel better when I talk about what’s making me upset. If you keep it pent up inside you long enough, you could explode. Of course, exploding is also therapeutic, as long as you’re able to put yourself back together again. Anybody got a mop?

      Live long and paws-purr,
      Erin T. Aardvark

  3. That is awesome!

    Hey Steve, since we’re on a somewhat lighter note at the moment, I wanted to tell you that I have a brave little rabbit living in my yard, and I named him Bean Bunny in your honor. 🙂

  4. God bless you for this, so, so very sadly, many people, even kids in primary school, are being made to conform to somebody else’s idea of “healthy”, or “normal”. It’s killing creativity and the spirit of adventure everywhere. Especially younger children. God forbid someone should think differently, it scares the hell out of them that a person can function perfectly normally and be successful whilst flying in the face of the so-called rules and the establishments accepted belief system, most of which came into being about 200 years ago and refuses to evolve, adapt and move with the times. They seem to be petrified of the individual, the loner, the non-conformist, the free thinker. But that’s their problem. It’s a pity the world has to put up with it though.

      1. Oh I loved this! Such an amazing man who has obviously been paying attention to what has been going on *outside* his head during his lifetime, that’s a very rare quality these days!
        And as for the little girl who drew God, and the teacher who commented that nobody knew what God looked like, I have a confession. Gospel truth Steve, for years when I was little and watched the Muppets, I thought Sam the Eagle was supposed to be God. No kidding.
        I was too young to know of the eagle being a symbol for America, we didn’t have that here, so to me, I thought he was a giant dove, symbolising the holy spirit, and of course God is a pretty strict dude so it just made sense he looked kind of grumpy, his demeanour totally suited the idea I had of God. Make of that what you will! 🙂 X

  5. Thank you for sharing the anecdote.
    I do think that therapy can be very helpful, though. A good therapist won’t try to wring the creativity or individuality out of you as some are suggesting in the comments. They will encourage you to be a better version of yourself, and help you achieve the goals you set to get there.

    1. I agree. There have been times in my life when I felt it necessary to see a counselor. It’s always difficult to take that step, but I’ve never regretted it.

  6. I have been reading every post since this site was created, and have read a fairly good share of the comments left by others—both good and others, not so.

    The love & support that many have shown have been exactly what Steve has probably needed—as he’s taken a careful and calculated approach to give the whole situation with clarity. Some people in his position may take the sunset route and remain quiet, but he’s shedding light to the heart of it all with what I feel has been a pretty fair balance.

    Those who have left comments to the contrary, especially utilizing generic or anonymous names, are only trying to do one thing. They’re choosing to repeatedly come here, on Steve’s own website domain, to do this. They don’t have to come at all. This isn’t the place for trolling or pot stirring.

    Steve doesn’t have to do all this… updating with posts, responding to previous comments and so forth, but he is. And that speaks high and well of who he is. That, in essence, should be respected.

    Jim Henson died when I was nearly eleven years old. I remember the night Kermit “came back”. It was the week before Thanksgiving in 1990, on a Wednesday night. When he came in to join the rest of the gang towards the end of that special—that’s when we knew everything was going to be alright. And it was for the next twenty six years.

    And it isn’t just a frog, either. It was also a rat, a bunny, a feather-haired trumpet player, a new anchor, lab assistant and countless others.

    But least of all… a little boy from Atlanta who lived a dream, is what this has been all about.
    But my take in all of the recent developments: green takes on a lot of connotations. One form makes the world go round, both in good and in greed.

    I side with another green—fleece & felt and its rainbow variants.

    A Muppet fan since ’79,

    Tommy R. Donovan
    Garden Grove, California

  7. Steve,

    This is brilliant. The question is who needs the therapy? I would say, these posts are a way of therapy, and also allow you a thinking process to clear the air.

    So many now need someone to talk to, these days. If it’s a shrink, well that’s your personal choice. For Jim’s sake, definitely don’t loose the good stuff.

    Your talent is your outlet and a chance to show what you are feeling, but at home you have also other ways to spend your time.

    Contrary to what some may think you don’t walk around always wearing a puppet on your arm.

    BTW, cutting grass is a great therapeutic past time. Just watch out for frogs in the grass. I had many in my yard over the years, and they were all friends of mine. Love Anne Terri

  8. Hi Steve,

    I hope you will be glad to know that the Muppets are a form of therapy for me! I suffer from depression, and I’m also prone to crying jags for no reason. Sometimes, my solution to a bad day is The Muppet Show or one of the Muppets’ many movies.

    Though sometimes, it doesn’t always work. Yesterday, I was feeling sick, so I had a Muppet Movie Marathon. I watched the Muppets 2011 movie, and when I got to the scene where everyone sang “Rainbow Connection,” I cried. I absolutely love that song. I sang along with it in the theater when I saw the movie, and there I was at home, bawling like a baby when we got to that part. Not because it was sad, but because it was such a happy and touching moment.

    Live long and paws-purr,
    Erin T. Aardvark

  9. This is really great and lovely comments too 🙂

    I would even take it a step further and say that performing assorted puppet characters can be a form of therapy for me too. A safe place to act things out you couldn’t normally do in the real world.

    Any kind of creativity is also therapy and creating life in characters counts in my book. I believe when writers write, painters paint and people garden or oil for the joy of it, that’s all therapy. Creativity takes focus and discipline with delayed gratification.

    Jim was full of little gems such as this. I think it’s fair to say that Jim, Jerry, Richard and many others are still around, just in a different way. But if you stop and listen, you can still hear them.

    Part of Jim’s message was that we are all connected. This blog proves he’s right 🙂

    1. I like what you said about a safe place to act out out things you couldn’t normally do in the real world. It makes me think about a puppet I perform that feels like the opposite of me. I’m normally quite and not that out going around people I don’t know very well. But my puppet Bobby, is loud and out going, he’s also a pretty cool dude, while I’m not so much. But maybe he’s a part of me that’s hidden deep down inside that comes out when I perform him.

    2. That is why I love puppets, I can have low self esteem, but my puppets don’t. They help me be the person I want to be. They are therapy for me too.

  10. Steve doesn’t need therapy, his thoughts are clear and concise. Not to mention sensible and logical. Can’t say the same for all involved though. Unfortunately in regards to children, the next generation, they don’t get a chance of a choice of person with whom to discuss things. It’s usually down to the government, which is why so many schools are taking action to remove the state enforced therapists from their premises. Especially where the belief systems of other cultures, which the state are most intolerant of, arent respected. It’s tough to be a caring child these days. Sighs. Bless you again Steve. Keep your head above the clouds.

    1. I know your comment is only meaning to be supportive, but please remember that there are many of us regular folks who engage in therapy while still being clear, sensible and logical. Therapy isn’t just for people who are struggling to think properly. It’s for anyone who could use support and perspective along their journey. I actually do think Steve, and almost every person out there, could benefit from engaging with the right therapist.

  11. You need to start your own puppet troop, get your celebrity friends involved, and make videos. Or start by doing viral puppet videos yourself and take it one step at a time. Do what former Disney Imagineer, Bob Gurr did after he was fired from Disney: He started his own business! Take what you’ve learned from Jim and continue to share it with the world.

  12. With Respect: I can’t think of a cause that I haven’t stood up for or an injustice I haven’t railed against as hardworking artist or as a fearless progressive. The one certainly in life is uncertainty. Too often the wrong people get the praise while the underlings get the shaft. We are entitled to nothing.

    This heartless era of Trump and the rough economy reminds most Americans of that on a daily basis. However, there is a limit; a point where we recognize the reality of our current situation, as dire as it seems. We admit to our own culpability, if any, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and find a way to move forward with the blessings that we still have. And we all have those no matter how much we take them for granted.

    Most of us don’t have the luxury of blaming fans for not supporting us the way we’d like, throwing coworkers under the bus for the same reason or penning daily complaints about how unfair our former employers were to us. We’re more concerned about remaining employable for future gigs because most of us won’t be well off enough to retire until out 70’s or 80’s. While I’ve been impressed with your work and thankful for all of your years with the Muppets, I’ve been anything but that since. I don’t take much in rumor or innuendo. I’ve heard much criticism about your alleged misdirected passion over the years, yet I never believed it until you began this blog.

    It must be tough and I’m sure a lot of it is unfair. If not, it at least feels that way and I respect that. However, neither Disney nor the Hensons said anything negative about you until your statement very critical of the firing. While their criticism was harsh, you, sir, got that ugly ball rolling and they seemed to have graciously stopped. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes and at this point I don’t care about all of the dirty laundry. There’s plenty of it in showbiz and, unlike the daily readers of TMZ, I don’t like to wade through that kind of garbage. The Muppets are supposed to our break from all of that after a long, hard day of work.

    Yours post drip with pride, resentment and entitlement. Those are three things that I’m sure aren’t Jim Henson values no matter how you preach them. While this recasting might not be ideal, it’s a reality and the only hope left for the Muppets now. I can’t see Disney, the Hensons or Sesame Workshop hiring you again after this very public confrontation. There are a lot of ways you could have handled this and come out respectably and maybe even on top of something good, but this little avenue just harms the legacy of Jim as well as your own. I hope you reconsider this approach for everyone’s sake. This has just been so needlessly destructive and poisonous.

    I’ll always cherish the work you’ve given us, but I’m moving on. It’s your right not to like that and to carry on as you have been. The fact is that as long as Disney and Sesame Workshop have respect for the Henson Company and performers have respect for the legacy and approach that Jim took, both Kermit and Ernie will be in safe hands. I wish you well and hope you find your way back to a better path that you can be proud of. That would easily win all of your fans back. Until then, thanks for the memories you’ve given us until last October. It would break my heart to associate Kermit and the Muppets with what appears to be stubbornness or narcissism. Be well. I’m pulling for your recovery from this. I’ve always had great respect for your work. You remain one of the most accomplished puppeteers in the world. So much has been taken away, but you still have that blessing and can move forward with it any time you choose to do so.

    1. I’m a big fan of Steve as a performer and don’t have any first hand experience of what happened behind the scenes but I now feel that these posts are having a more destructive effect on The Muppets than what any writer or producer may have come up with for the recent series.
      Calling out your fellow performers and acting like you’re the only person who could possibly have what it takes to keep The Muppets on course shows a degree of arrogance and self-entitlement that surely can’t serve the characters well

      1. No where has he called out fellow performers or said he is the only one who could possibly keep the muppets on track. Have you even read the posts?

      2. “That is what therapy is for…”

        Once, one of the performers mentioned to Jim that they had begun seeing a therapist. Jim listened with respect and then replied, ‘Don’t get too healthy. That’s where the good stuff comes from…”

        LOL Rob! what part of a Jim quote is so arrogant. Steve has been very respectful of the fans and Muppets. He worked hard for years to keep them honest and on track. That cost him his job. It cost the fans Steve’s talents. It cost Muppets their loss of Steve. This cannot be measured.

        To blame Steve for damage to Muppets is asinine. It’s a friggin’ blog of Steve’s thoughts and truths. He’s earned this. If any damage has occurred anywhere, it has come from gossiping fans, the media and people being unnecessarily cruel towards Steve both here and elsewhere online.

        You and nobody else really has any right to blame Steve and try to shut him down. People need to keep their uninformed vitriol away from here. This is not the platform for that. Kicking a man when he’s down is much lower than what you are accusing him of, sorry.

        1. Mike – Firstly I love your work. My response was to the above comment rather than this exact post. If I felt like Steve is calling out fellow performers it was from other posts he suggested that others were taking the paycheck and not saying anything, that Matt is the wrong person to take over Kermit and that other performers taking over some of Matt’s characters was disrespectful to Jerry Nelson’s wishes.
          Obviously this is Steve’s blog, he can post whatever he wants to whether any of us like it or not. None of this is meant with any disrespect to yourself – as I say your work with The Muppets and Star Wars have meant a lot to me.

    2. It sounds as though you are personalizing this a little here.
      I read Steve’s posts and see something totally different to your statements about them.
      Remember that nobody except Steve walks in his shoes. To remove his choices and tell him to quit posting because you don’t like what you interpret, it to judge and control. It really is nobody’s place.
      Fine, have an opinion but this place is Steve’s voice and Steve’s truth. It is his legal and moral right to free speech. If you knew Steve and even paid closer attention to everything, you would not write the hurtful words. He has not thrown any co-workers under any bus. He did not have the luxury of choice as you think he did. Just the burden of keeping Muppets true and following through Jim’s standards he had left us all with. It would have been much easier for him to keep quiet and let the characters stray. But that is what you would have preferred by your comment here.

      I just hope you are never put in this position to where you are forced to defend yourself and your life’s work. He had two choices. One was to accept Disney’s offer of pretending he left of his own volition (which is an unfair lie) or not accept and tell the truth. This is a choice only he can make for himself. It is not for me your you to tell him it was wrong. No way!

      Remember this is Steve’s personal Blog for his fans and supporters. Backhanded compliments such as these are really criticisms disguised as compliments. I say to everyone, please let him safely have his voice and leave if you don’t approve. And stop being unkind. If you knew Steve, you would all feel like such chumps 😉

      1. It’s been said before by others but it bears repeating: Everybody in the world wishes they had a friend like Mike Quinn.

        I’ve given up even thinking about whether I agree with every word or not. Now I’m just sitting back and admiring your style. More strength to you sir!

    3. He has never said anything bad against them but they did. Why can’t he state how he feels against the firing. This is a free country. And what does trump have to do with Any of this?

    4. Not Wembling: your comment is in earnest, and I’m going to reply in kind. You sound like a lot of fans who seem to be wishing really hard that they could go on thinking well of Steve, but feel they can’t any more. I think we can all agree that the golden haloed image of Steve a perfect superhuman angel, which was never a fair or reasonable expectation in the first place, is gone. But I worry that you and many others have given up too much faith.

      “statement very critical of the firing” – yes, but not of the individuals. It seems to me that Steve is the one who has been most careful through everything to not attack anybody’s personal character, only their creative judgment and business decisions. Defence is not attack. The ugly ball got rolling when the likes of the Hensons stepped in to say personal stuff that they could have kept to themselves without any loss to the situation. There was nothing “gracious” about what was said back then.

      “posts drip with pride, resentment and entitlement” – no they don’t. They drip with pain and rawness. If they were being written in cold blood, MAYBE one could take that view. See them for what they are: an outlet for a lot of emotion and part of a grieving process which is far from complete. If you were to suddenly lose access to a project you’d invested your whole life in, then had your personal merits debated by an ill-informed world in front of your eyes, are you confident that you’d never express a single thing you might regret later? There is room for some slack to be cut here.

      Together with that, what Steve says about his ultimate motivations should be taken at face value. The parts that sound objectionable can almost all be chalked up to “misdirected passion” (as you’ve recognised) combined with unfortunate choices of expression, two things which I think are quite possibly the whole sum of what went wrong and got us to this point. If so, they are forgivable crimes.

      I respect a lot of what else you wrote. The bit about the indulgence of blaming fans and colleagues instead of looking for the next paying job was harsh and uncalled for. We can all agree that we’re pulling for Steve’s return to a better place, but really, we need to give it more time. I hope some of this helps you towards a better feeling about everything.

    5. You have lost your faith. Muppets deserve better than just letting things go without nothing being done. Steve’s skills and know how are a plus and should be used to keep Jim Henson legacy with Muppets and for the fans. Everything is and should be for the fans. They are the ones that keep entertainment companies alive. Even if Steve didn’t perform as a puppeteer, at least he still could give his contribution to the production of new series & movies. Steve Whitmire already gained is place in the entertainment industry by his own merit. As far as i’m concern, Disney could and should get him back.

  13. Absolutely correct, and more adequately put than what I’d previously posted. Sadly, narcissists rarely have a clear-headed moment.

    1. Personal or trained professional experience here?

      Anyone else wonder why Luke is still here sharing such gems of wisdom?

      1. I wonder if Luke (Skywalker) isn’t here searching for his father. I think Luke stepped in the dark side of the force. 😆

  14. Everyone,

    Commenting on someone else’s blog is a privilege–NOT a right. Privileges can be suspended if they are misused. Respectful disagreement is one thing, but commenting on someone’s blog specifically to attack, degrade, or demean that person is something else entirely. That’s considered harassment or cyberbullying, and there could potentially be legal ramifications for those who engage in this kind of behavior.

    Steve has graciously allowed us this space to communicate with him. He is not required to do so. He would be well within his rights to disable comments on all existing and future posts, and personally, I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he chose to do so. As far as I am concerned, Steve is a saint for putting up with it for as long as he has.

    NO ONE deserves to be abused in this way.

  15. I’m sorry for bothering you but my name is magda Giordano and I love your voice of Wembley fraggle & Kermit the frog when I was little & you might be a wonderful person I ever met

  16. At the Cinema Arts Centre in August 2007, I got a chance to meet Dave Goelz (and Gonzo) with my friend. She is a psychiatrist and a lifelong Muppet fan, and pointed out the nuanced neuroses inherent in the characters. Dave responded with this anecdote:
    In the 1980s, Jim invited Dave to dinner at his home. Over dinner Dave told Jim that he had started therapy.
    “How’s that going?” asked Jim.
    “Great,” said Dave, “I’m learning a lot about myself.”
    Jim gave him a wry smile. “Don’t learn too* much.” That indeed, is where the good stuff comes from.
    As Dave told us, “Jim knew that what we were doing wasn’t so much ‘acting’ as ‘acting out.'”

    Blessings, Steve!

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