Acceptance Fear & Hope

Yikes! The last thing I meant to do was start a controversy about the merits of therapy. I have been there and done formal counseling for myself decades ago (after Jim’s death and as I transitioned into my new responsibilities) since we all need to achieve clarity of our own truth in order to grow.

But, such clarity of mind can also be reached through creative endeavors, contemplative practices, or mundane chores as many of you have said. Use whatever works best for you at any given moment in your life, all have merit.

The point of the anecdote was to say the foibles of the human condition are what is most interesting when developing a character. You must be able to tap into the source of what makes you human and be able to laugh at or cry with yourself and others as we all travel down this road together.

There are two comments I want us all to really think into. One is from J.S. offering an incredibly insightful and empathetic view of what many Muppet fans might be feeling. The second is from “Anonymous”(the nice one). Both are filled with grace.

J.S., you are not out of line in any way. I want you to know that I agree with you and I understand. You might be surprised to learn that I accepted many months ago that those who chose this course of action would likely not consider altering it. Even if they could, they won’t, because it may make them appear as though they acted in haste or self interest.

My ultimate hope here is to offer those who know the Muppets from the outside, insight into the extraordinary depth of spirit from where they came. In my opinion, that essence is endangered, so much so that even those who are filled with the desire to nurture it will be compelled to turn their backs on it now.

Long ago, I realized that there is a very big difference between being the originator of a thing, and the defender of it after the originator is gone. I faced the choice, and chose to be on the front line of that emotional cycle you mentioned for the last twelve years because these characters stand for all of us, and we’re worth defending.

You said, ‘I feel sure there’s a corner of me that will never forget how things used to be better with the Muppets. I know I’m not the only one out here.’. If only I could transfer from my mind to all of yours all of the memories of just how much better things really were before we lost Jim. Any notion of powerlessness would turn to dust, and believing what is real would transform into knowing.

Like me, you’d not be able to resist standing up because all of this is, indeed, your business.

Anonymous, your words are also very wise. As to the matters of hope and fear, I completely understand your words. Hope is courage in the face of fear. Consider that they depend on one another, each defining its opposite. In this relative realm they compete for our attention, but in the Ultimate sense, neither exists. When the fear seems to overtake, rest in the comfort of the non-duality of the Ultimate realm for a bit.

How many of you are parents? If you are, then in all likelihood, you view your children as your most important ‘creations’, your ultimate concern, your life’s work. It doesn’t matter how old they get, or if they are adopted, you’re still going to do all that you can to protect them forever, to give them a safe place to grow and be themselves. That’s how I view the Muppets.

Finally, many thanks to those of you who have spoken your truth on your own blogs and public letters. I had hoped to provide links, but also did not want to overlook anyone. Please feel free to post those again.

95 thoughts on “Acceptance Fear & Hope

  1. Dearest Steve,
    Keep speaking your truth. I love reading it and it is very healing.
    I hope that someone out there is taking note of this and will contact you for a multiple book deal. The volumes of intelligence that you could impart to us is yet to be determined, but I can sense it already in your beginning of this blog. Please continue to write.
    Keep on keeping on, especially with the healing words.
    Bless.

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  2. Steve, I had certainly not meant to disrespect what works for some, just that sometimes the young don’t get a chance to choose who to go to. Many British people aren’t really built mentally or spiritually to cope with things that way, as has just been demonstrated brilliantly during the grenfell tower fire and terrorist attacks. The attitude of the blitz spirit is still very strong. Keep smiling, then go take the dog for a walk. It works for us. But nobody forces that on people. Unfortunately in schools etc, even being off school for more than 6 weeks after both parents die means being subjected to a multitude of questions when really the child needs time just to readjust their entire life, they certainly aren’t given time to grieve or heal. Nobody gives anyone time anymore, it’s like peoples’ time is their money and if you aren’t earning, well bung them on tablets to keep them going. Nothing is dealt with that way. That’s how people burn out. Time, time, hope, faith and laughter are the best healers. Plus, surround yourself with the best people, and you will have good counsel your whole life.

  3. Hi Steve,

    I know I haven’t posted in a while but it doesn’t mean I care any less, I’m doing my best to deal with how things are in my own way.

    You mean the World to me and I wish I was in the right frame of mind to utter something sagacious to help cheer you up in a reciprocal fashion.

    I’m sending you out plenty of Healing thoughts to you at this time.

    The Very Best of Good Energies to you

    Love Richard x

  4. Love all your posts! I still hope you would be back with the Muppets… I would love to see the project you told us on the other post becoming a real thing. Disney should see all the support you have from the fans…you are an essential part from The Muppets. Best wishes from Spain!

  5. I can’ help reading these and feeling like I am reading something written by Kermit. In the end I feel like Kermit is a part of you as much as you are a part of him.
    I hate how things played out, but one great thing that has come out of this is this blog. We have gotten a lot of information about the heart of the Muppets and the creativity that goes into them in a way we never have before.
    I have also gained a lot of respect for you. You seem to handle all of this with dignity, and even respect for those who may not be on your side.
    Please keep this blog going. I also hope that we will see you performing again.

  6. Steve thank you so much for reading our articles! It means a lot to us!

    And yes, I’ll certainly share the links again!

    My open letter to the fandom:
    https://justforthehalibutblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/a-muppet-fans-dilemma-an-open-letter-to-my-fandom/

    And coming to the defence of my hero:
    https://justforthehalibutblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/a-muppet-fans-dilemma-defending-my-hero/

    And since the topic of therapy has been broached, a few months ago, I found myself turning to a therapist after over a year of unemployment, a situation that caused me a lot of stress as a broke university student. Aside from the financial troubles, I had never felt more worthless in my life, mooching off my parents just so I could eat that week and pay the rent. I have no choice but to live out of home to complete this bachelor, but faced having to shelve it and head back to my hometown. That was a future I couldn’t easily accept and the feelings of hopelessness and depression eventually came crashing down, taking me with it.

    I only attended three sessions, but it did me a world of good just to talk to an anonymous mind and get constructive feedback. Writing has always been a form of creative therapy for me, but it isn’t always the greatest means of physically expressing emotion. After taking a good hard look at myself. I reset the expectations for my future. And look at me now: not only am I more emotionally stable, but I now work in catering at a private hospital near my share house! Life is gradually becoming pretty damn good.

    My takeaway from the experience is that it’s never too late to turn things around if you have the right mindset. This could be related to the situation the Muppets now face-perhaps there is a chance that the characters still have a promising future even if it looks a little rough at first. I don’t know how or in what context it could happen, but I’m willing to contribute in whatever way I can.

  7. I support you and as a huge fan would love a autograph you are still part of the muppets in soul and heart

  8. A very kind and giving post from Steve.

    Lovely supporting and honest replies <3
    This is a great day!

  9. Steve thank you so much for reading our articles! It means a lot to us!

    And yes, I’ll certainly share the links again!

    My open letter to the fandom:
    https://justforthehalibutblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/a-muppet-fans-dilemma-an-open-letter-to-my-fandom/

    And coming to the defence of my hero:
    https://justforthehalibutblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/a-muppet-fans-dilemma-defending-my-hero/

    And since the topic of therapy has been broached, a few months ago, I found myself turning to a therapist after over a year of unemployment, a situation that caused me a lot of stress as a broke university student. Aside from the financial troubles, I had never felt more worthless in my life, mooching off my parents just so I could eat that week and pay the rent. I have no choice but to live out of home to complete this bachelor, but faced having to shelve it and head back to my hometown. That was a future I couldn’t easily accept and the feelings of hopelessness and depression eventually came crashing down, taking me with it.

    I only attended three sessions, but it did me a world of good just to talk to an anonymous mind and get constructive feedback. Writing has always been a form of creative therapy for me, but it isn’t always the greatest means of physically expressing emotion. After taking a good hard look at myself. I reset the expectations for my future. And look at me now: not only am I more emotionally stable, but I now work in catering at a private hospital near my share house! Life is gradually becoming pretty damn good.

    My takeaway from the experience is that it’s never too late to turn things around if you have the right mindset. This could be related to the situation the Muppets now face-perhaps there is a chance that the characters still have a promising future even if it looks a little rough at first. I don’t know how or in what context it could happen, but I’m willing to contribute in whatever way I can.

    P.S: I apologise if this comes up multiple times. I’ve been having difficulty commenting.

    1. I know how you feel about feeling worthless and feeling like you’re mooching off your parents. The only job I been able to find is in retail and I’ve had to live with my parents just to get by.

      1. If only people realised how lucky they are to have loving family, or family at all for that matter. I am a very proud “Tigger ” or “Gonzo”, the last one in my family and life without that safety net is hard. Everything must be considered, there is no jumping into the next big adventure. But it makes you incredibly independent, constructive and proactive. Don’t be ashamed of mooching. They will never stop being your mum and dad, that’s what they are there for. Be grateful and ready to look after them when they need it and it will all even out and everyone will prove their worth eventually.
        Meantime, our progress may be slow but it’s steady.

        1. Serena, you and Jeremy are absolutely correct. I still feel bad when my parents help me out and I don’t have the opportunity to pay them back, but I can still appreciate that they are doing out of their love for their daughter. I know when the time comes, I’ll look after them for that very same reason.

          Wow, this comment section is turning into it’s own therapy session!

        2. Thank you, and you are right. In fact I have been able to help them out. My twin brother and I are able to help them by getting groceries and helping them out around the house. Plus they aren’t able to walk as good as they used to so we’ve helped them out there too such as pushing our mom in a wheel chair when she needs us to.

  10. Thank you, Steve, for trying to maintain the Muppets after Jim’s death. I know you were not alone in that, but you did play a significant role. And whatever quality we did see portrayed, I feel you had a hand in.

    When I think of the Muppets, I think of the late 70s era Muppets. Jim (and by extension his fellow performers) shaped my world view. There was a hope for a future of acceptance, mutual cooperation, friendship and love.

    The world we live in now seems to be focused on ego, selfishness, and bitter competition. My daughter is six (my age in 1978) and her teachers, schools, and entertainment are unrecognizable to me. They all seem to have just an underlying selfishness that I don’t recall witnessing at her age.

    Admittedly she has pronounced my beloved Muppet Show – and puppetry in general – BORING. I am so hoping she will grow out of this view.

    I think professional therapy is great, creative outlets as therapy can be better, and you alone know what is best for you.

    Jim had a little wisdom up his sleeve, and you probably benefited from meeting him while you were very young. I hope some of that wisdom and your memories of Jim are helping to guide you now.

    Its not clear to me whether the fans that are outraged or just plain sad have made any impact at all on Disney Executives, the Henson family, or your former colleagues.

    I hope, though, that we have made an impact on you, and that you can take comfort and strength from our support. Sending lots of love and happy thoughts your way…

  11. Steve,

    Just want to say how glad I am that you found my comment insightful and empathetic. It was written over three hours between 11pm and 2am, by which time I no longer had any idea how it would sound outside of my tired foggy head.

    I still haven’t caught up that sleep deficit yet, but I’m workin’ on it…

  12. Steve,

    Even though this has been a horrible situation, I just love how you’ve embraced the fan response and wrote these blog posts for us. I come back to to your blog and check and see if there’s a new post from you. And when there is, I get really excited to read about it.

    Like everyone said, keep posting your thoughts and your memories. I would love to hear more stories about your time with Jim and The Muppets.

    I’m sending you all my thoughts and prayers that your life will get better, and I hope you can continue to do the things you love to do!

    Valerie

  13. Hi Steve,

    Well spoken. Or written, as the case may be. I don’t do well with change, especially big changes like Disney’s handed us these past few weeks. I find your posts to be very interesting, though. I hope to see more anecdotes from your time with Jim Henson.

    Live long and paws-purr,
    Erin T. Aardvark

    PS: Snowball the Wonder Cat sends some kitty cuddles for you

  14. You mention how much better things were when Jim was around. I want to say, I never knew him personally. Despite that, I know that I love and miss him dearly. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where I don’t think about him.

    He created worlds and characters that have felt like friends to me since the day I was born. When problems come up, when I’ve lost family and friends, or when I just felt misunderstood, there were his Muppets. It felt like they were there just for me.

    Life is something I generally don’t understand. The way people are, the way the world works — I don’t get any of it. The Muppets I get. Jim’s work I get. It has always been my escape from the world. It’s been painful in the last few weeks to see the harshness of reality effecting my world of fantasy.

    Watching the old stuff helps. Going back to Jim helps. I miss him so much.

  15. I wish we were all Gelflings and could dreamfast; then you could transfer all your memories directly into our minds, and I could transmit to you what a blessing this blog has become in my life, and how grateful I am to be able to connect with you at this level. But we’re not Gelflings, so we have to use words. Which you have done very effectively here, Steve, cutting through all the static and obfuscation to reveal the truth at the heart of the matter with simplicity and clarity. I cried for a good fifteen minutes or so after reading this, tears that I’ve needed to shed for three weeks now but couldn’t quite manage. I guess I was still too angry about the whole thing. I can’t say that I don’t feel angry any more, but I feel like it’s more manageable and I can channel it more constructively.

    To that end, I’ve been inspired by your example to start my own Muppet blog, so here is the link again. It’s still very much a work in progress, but please give it a look if you have a minute. And again, I hope you’re not offended by my calling myself a Muppet heretic. It was sort of tongue-in-cheek when I first thought of it four years ago, but it has more resonance for me now.

  16. Hey Steve you know fans would love for you to join Muppet Central! Or do a Ask Steve thread like we did with Jim Lewis years ago. I was the one who set all that up with Jim, and would love to help you wiyh it if your interested.

  17. I’m so glad (but not in the least bit surprised) that I’m not the only one that looks forward to all of these posts 🙂 One of my favorite parts of what I’ll call the Muppets’ heyday is all of the behind-the-scenes material that showed the performers perfecting and showcasing their craft. To me, that stuff is just as magical as the shows and movies themselves. I think I’ve mentioned this in a previous comment, but my absolute favorite is “Of Muppets and Men”. I stumbled across it one day on YouTube, and then immediately purchased and devoured a copy of the book by the same name. To me, it’s the definitive behind-the-scenes look at the Muppets. For anyone that hasn’t seen/read it yet, go find it immediately. You will not be disappointed. I believe the book may be out of print, but there are probably a few copies out there on eBay. Seriously, SO GOOD. Anyhow, these blog posts have a similar effect for me – a magical glimpse behind the curtain that only makes me love the Muppets that much more.

    I had the sheer dumb luck to be sent on a business trip to Atlanta this week, and was even luckier to have had just enough time to get to the Center for Puppetry Arts this afternoon right before they closed. I was seriously sweating it in the cab from the airport, afraid I would not get to see the Jim Henson and Labyrinth exhibits before I flew back out tomorrow. It’s hard to describe the feeling of being sooooo close your favorite childhood characters, separated from them by only a quarter inch of glass. I felt as though I was reliving my childhood live and in person. I don’t remember who originally recommended it in an early blog comment, but thank goodness! Definitely a must-see if you’re in the area.

    Something in particular struck me as I wandered the exhibits, and it harkens back to your previous post – Jim left a blueprint for the Muppets, the keys to the kingdom if you will, in his words and his actions. It’s literally right there in black and white with his quotes all over the walls and on the video screens – the essence of the Muppets and what makes them tick. I found myself with several conflicting feelings all at once – sad, thinking about how the Muppets have seemingly lost their way in recent years (through no fault of their own); excited by the notion of a performer-led endeavor (that I would ecstatically watch the ever-loving crap out of!); and then disheartened once again by the reality that the Muppets’ current overlords will likely never allow that to come to fruition. I certainly have hope, but at the same time I’m a realist. I guess we’ll see what’s to come.

    Anyhow, I ended up pushing all of those thoughts out of my head and just basked in the colors and furry, feathery details of the exhibit. I nearly choked up coming literally face to face with Sprocket. Not sure where I’m going with the rest of this comment, except to say that your blog posts are both a salve and magical inspiration for those of us that understand what it means to be a Muppet. We need more of that magic! I mean, there’s only a finite amount of behind-the-scenes material…and I’m dangerously close to having read/watched them all…

    1. Regarding “Of Muppets and Men” (the book) – anyone interested in it should first check in with their local libraries as many have it. Much more accessible and you won’t have to pay ebay prices.

  18. Hi Steve,

    You and Eric Jacobson passed on some very wise advice in response to a question from the audience at the convention I attended in NYC last year – “How can I work for The Muppets or Sesame Street?”
    After a brief explanation on the many auditions and training and casting processes involved, we were told that The Muppets is not the be all and end all of puppetry work. If you want to be a puppeteer, BE a puppeteer.

    As a professional puppeteer myself in Australia, I loved hearing this advice. For a long time I felt that my work, training and professional development (which has included some training with Marty Robinson and Noel MacNeal) were stepping stones towards the ultimate goal of many puppeteers – working with you guys.

    I have since become a lot more comfortable and grateful to be working as a puppeteer in my own right thanks to this advice. And even more so now, after learning how difficult it appears to have been for you to maintain Jim’s creative vision and work style under the current management. From all accounts, Jim was a kind, fair and fun boss. One of a kind.

    It’s great that you were able to work with him and the old guard during the golden years of The Muppets. And it’s also great that you’ve been able to work with all the great new talent who’ve come in to replace those who’ve sadly passed away or retired.

    You are a wonderful and talented puppeteer who has made so many people happy over the years. I guess what I’m trying to say is – if you don’t find work again within the Henson/Muppet universe (of course I hope you do), I know that you will always be able to continue BEING a puppeteer. Perhaps your new team of talented co-performers will be able to experience the same kind, fair and fun workplace that you were a part of during your years with Jim.

    All the best,

    Brett
    Queensland, Australia

  19. Thank you for continuing to fight the fight, and reading our comments. To me you are the only true Kermit right now, and the fact Disney has backpeddled on debuting their new Doppel-Kermit on youtube as originally planned weeks ago speaks to how wrong it will sit with the fans. I don’t know where we go from here, but Im grateful to get your insight and lantern in the dark.

  20. Steve Keep Head Held High! I Still Think The People Who Let You Go Should Be Locked In A Room Where They Can’t Hide With All Of Us In There And Then We Could Get Some Answers, But I Always Remember What Kermit Said In A Very Merry Muppet Christmas, “Violence Is Not The Answer”.
    It Makes Me Wonder Though Why That Video Of Matt Performing Kermit Never Got Released Yet, Maybe They’ve Changed Their Idea And You’ll Get A Phone Call Soon 🙂 As Always Take Care 🙂

  21. With the way things have panned out, Steve you’ve had to deal with this since just before the holidays, and the rest of us as a whole barely learned just mere weeks ago. It appears with your many writings that you’ve gone through most of the Seven Stages, while the rest of us are few, if not a handful, behind. But we’re catching up… and your enlightenment is helping ALL OF US.

    To that… it’s on to acceptance and hope… and anything else we can do for you.

  22. Hi Steve,

    I have wished for the ability for backwards time travel several on many occasions, but rarely so intensely as during the spring of 1990. Souped-up DeLorean or otherwise, I’d go back and make sure Jim Henson went to the doctor in time to get cured. Like many here, I’m just a fan. One of my biggest regrets is I never got to meet Jim and tell him “thank you.” Sure, like many people, I would have loved to have worked with Jim. But more importantly (to me), I wanted to have Jim as a friend. I’m glad you got to know him and work with him.

    So, just in case I never get to meet you in person, Steve, thank you for all of your work, characters, projects, songs and your dedication to the essence of the Muppets. I could write a dissertation on how much Fraggle Rock means to me (I saw it when it first aired–preceded by the descending, rotating, metallic HBO logo and all). But I’ll just say for now that Fraggle Rock brought me happiness, acceptance, comfort and hope in an environment where those things were extremely difficult to find.

    Thank you.

  23. Apologies for posting again, but the term “grace” in your post made me think. You are gracious and maybe that coupled with thinking of Sam being God, put me in a religious frame of mind, but I was reminded of a bible quote. “This is my fathers’ temple and you have turned it into a den of thieves.” Jesus, man of peace, love and grace, turned angry when he saw what had become of his fathers’ temple, full of animals for sale to sacrifice, and moneylenders etc, so promptly started kicking the tables about like it was a Friday night out in Hackney. Not to be over dramatic, but you have every right to be angry and act at what has happened to your mentors “temple”. Righteous anger is fine and not to be swallowed like the proverbial bitter pill. But it’s time to do something more constructive about it. The absence of the latest Muppet YouTube video makes me wonder if Matt has backed out or there is some other problem. Can’t imagine just the fans would make them put it off.

  24. Steve,

    As a young woman, I believed everything we have created here on earth was forever, but God only Gives to us the chance to create, but eventually we have to leave what we made here in the the hands of those we will no longer have control over. I have watched many of my childhood experiences, memories which nurtured my soul disappear into the ashes, such as a place called The Enchanted Forest, which opened the same year as Disney Land. The first disappeared; the latter is no more what it was. It is old, nearly as old as I, and grows stale, or like Tomorrow Land, becoming rapidly passe, or Retro.

    The two readers you quoted – J.S. and Anonymous -have great insight and I found it helpful. What they’ve said goes along with some of my feelings. However I not only hold hope, but feel this dire situation can be remedied.

    I believe with one’s heart in the right place, there is a chance to restore, upgrade, and resurrect Disney, but the new executives need to get out of their own way, summoning Walt’s dream into the the forefront asking themselves, ‘What would Walt do?.

    The Muppets, are definitely capable of regaining the good old fervor and creating the same excitement for the fans, giving us the awesomely good feelings we experienced after watching your films and TV shows, To do this, it’s important to be True to your selves, and ask: “What would Jim do?”

    This is because you have Faith in, Jim Henson.

    It is paramount the Disney executives and those who control the money, keep much of the original crew still available, who knew and worked with Jim, so that his dream has the chance to continue. The original cast, of performers / puppeteers, can pass the dream down to the new ones who will eventually take the reins.
    I feel for Jim Henson’s family, for they are in confusion also, and seem to be willing to throw this in a direction which could cause irreparable damage to the Muppet legacy.

    May everyone forgive one another their statements over these past months. Some of them literally broke my heart.

    Yesterday, I posted on line, a work from you Steve, Frank Oz and directed by Brian Henson. It’s brilliant, it is all of you working together through thick and thin. Love Kermit? Remember -Love Led Us Here.- Steve Whitmire as Kermit. Frank Oz as Miss Piggy -Dir Brian Henson.I leave you with this today.

    Love
    From a Muppet Fan for all time

    Anne Terri

    https://youtu.be/YbObOAeSMls

  25. Just a small note to say: another lovely post from Steve and comments from fans, friends and supporters. reading all of this is inspiring. Keeping my faith high and praying & still hoping for a miracle this Summer.

    1. Well that was.. er… educational, LOL! This must have been a while ago.
      Was it an experiment or something? I’m not really sure what was going on here.

      But it does prove that ya gotta have the basics before doing advanced stuff. Then performing existing characters is another huge layer to deal with on top.

      Sorta backs up all Steve’s points though to be honest. 🙂

      1. This was back in 2006. The puppeteer doing Kermit in this even got as far as a few television appearances. With no comment from Disney on it, most of us were pretty shocked.

        They also did a cruise line show. It’s a shame because I recognize some of these people — Drew Massey, Victor Yerrid, John Kennedy… even Heather Henson is there. I assume all people who want the best for the Muppets and going along with this to try and protect them in some way?

        1. Wow. I think I saw Mike Lisa in that “Secret Muppet Training Workshop” video too…
          (from Creature Clones, MJL Puppet Design)

      2. Yeah…I really can’t imagine a good outcome for this if Disney had ignored Steve and Dave Goelz’s warnings about pulling this kind of crap. That performance of Piggy was terrible, Fozzie was weak and Kermit was serviceable at best.

        What annoys me is that a few of the people from this particular workshop are the ones accusing Steve of ‘blackballing’ them. Don’t go blaming an already established performer for being apart of a doomed program set up by the company that went behind said performers back in order to possibly find a replacement. I, too, would be annoyed at the possibility of someone else coming in and messing around with a character I had worked so hard to maintain consistency and quality with.

        If you have two performers for Kermit at the same time, you’re going to have two Kermits: the consistent, genuine Kermit and the false shadow of Kermit. Simple as that.

      3. I may be getting a little bit forgetful in my middle years, but about 20 years before this clip didn’t a certain Mr Hunt used to do Piggy? In the “Jealousy” clip? Before Frank I think? Forgive me if I’m wrong it’s 2 am here!

        1. You’re not wrong, but that was before Miss Piggy became a fully rounded (poor choice of words) character. Richard and Frank traded off with Piggy during the first season because they hadn’t quite figured out the character yet. Once Frank became Piggy totally, it was always him until he “retired”.

          1. My favorite intro of the “Temptation” clip where Richard is performing her is on the VHS “The Kermit and Piggy Story”. There, Kermit jokes that it was “before your singing teacher”.

            Wisecracker.

      4. Oh good, at first I thought I may be having my first senior moment! Ooh 76?! I was *tiny*! Personally, I thought Piggy looked fairly trim in her chorus girl days, as opposed to “fully rounded”. When I think of fully rounded pigs, Lydia springs to mind! With her red hair and horned-rimmed specs, I always thought she was a dead ringer for a 70s Janet Street-Porter. 😊

    2. Well if I saw these at a Disney park I’d know instantly they weren’t the real performers. It might have helped if they could sing in tune. But the ultimate kick in the teeth is that they’re singing a Disney song rather than one of many Muppet songs they made famous.

  26. Steve,

    You are a Brilliant performer and you were always so nice to me whenever we saw each other.

    I still remember the first time we met, it was in November of 2003 at a Barnes & Noble in New York where you and Kermit were making a personal appearance to promote the DVD release of “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas” and to have a Q&A session.

    Before the show started, I saw you come in the room where you were going to do the show and I got your attention with my Rizzo puppet that I built and brought with me just to show you. I remember you being so impressed that you walked up to me and my Ma to talk, sign my book and take pictures. We must’ve talked for about 10 to 15 minutes, plus I gave you a drawing I made of your Muppet characters.

    Me and Ma were sitting right up front and when you finally came out with Kermit and sang “Being Green” then you were about to start Q&A, but before you did that, Kermit gave me a shout out and said “I want to introduce my friend Jesse, we’ve known Jesse for a long time”. I was so surprised! I never forgot that day.

    I will really miss seeing your collaboration with the Muppets.

    Your Friend and Fan,

    Jesse

  27. Wow Mr. Whitmire… You recognized “anonymous” as wise? And you pandered to him? and then you made some kind of spacey-headed cosmic comment to reach for?
    ok… Good luck… I’m gonna unfollow U now.

    1. There are at least two different “Anonymouses” here. I tried to make a distinction between them by saying”“Anonymous”(the nice one)” in my post. I haven’t responded to the negative one.

      That’s why I provided a link to the original comment in my post for everyone’s reference.
      You might also be interested to know that the Anonymous person I responded to left a valid email address with their name in order to comment anonymously, so I know who they are. Not so with the other Anonymous, and I respect someone’s right to post anonymously when they are not hiding behind monikers and avatars.

      Here is the link to the original comment once again:
      Anonymous:
      https://stevewhitmire-muppetpundit.com/2017/07/30/high-noon/#comment-1322

      1. Okay… if that was addressed to me… thank you for clarifying Mr. Whitmire.
        There are two?
        You are new to blogging as you wrote…
        so… you should accept real names and not people who hide. People who hide are rats. It’s different than people who have avatars or A.K.A.s. I am also Tabby Ren Elle, but I don’t hide that. and a “valid email address” in this day and age is what?
        I will look at the link you gave me…
        Tommy is defending you and saying how you replied, but you know what Steve? If I may call u that…
        You caused confusion. Two anonymous people I am s’posed to differentiate???? they need names and you need to be careful and specific if you wanna defend yerself.
        I defended you. Integrity and responsibility.
        But WE didn’t end up on the same page.
        How come?
        I am a smart woman with a real name. How come Tommy has to tell me i am an attention seeker to s’plain u?
        I work with kids. I am an artist. I make puppets. I live in Portland Oregon.
        i am your equal.
        so…hi.

        1. “You are new to blogging as you wrote…
          so… you should accept real names and not people who hide.”

          Or how about Steve does whatever he wants based on his own judgement? He determined the good Anonymous was genuine in their word and responded in kind.

          “You caused confusion. Two anonymous people I am s’posed to differentiate???? they need names and you need to be careful and specific if you wanna defend yerself.”

          It’s not Steve’s fault you read the sentence incorrectly. If you’re confused about something, it never hurts to go back and read it again.

          “I defended you. Integrity and responsibility”

          So have we. If you want a pat on the back, you are the closest person to you.

          “i am your equal.”

          Not by a long shot. For one thing, Steve hasn’t been as condescending as you seem to be towards him. Your attitude automatically places you in a different category of people.

          1. Hi Marni Hill, thanks for your comment. Actually, I am Steve’s equal, but that’s not the point.
            He got fired and is hurting over that and his friends and truest fans are feeling defensive and that’s entirely understandable. It was his life’s work and that would be hard for anyone to have that suddenly changed. I was insensitive after taking stuff personal. I can own that. But not because of you or any of his defenders scolding me.
            I got caught up in the energy here, which is scrappy and rude. I don’t want to harm anyone’s childhood memories or sense of love… so I regret freaking out and not realizing the computer glitches where causing further miscommunication. Your comments do not come directly to me in emails. And I don’t plan on checking back here too often to see if I’m being told that I don’t measure up to your sense of righteousness on behalf of him.
            I do wish Mr. Whitmire well in whatever path and work he embarks and with blogging.
            And you too Marni… good luck. You too are Steve’s equal. Not his underling.
            luckily I don’t have “heroes.”
            peace to u all.
            K. J. Legry

  28. You accepted and elevated “anonymous” and this person can NOT stand behind a real name to qualify any “wisdom” or experience.
    You took his insults to you, as this person doesn’t value your work, and you pretended to deal with the uncultured in kindness as if you could enlighten people.
    I have a REAL name Steve. And I grew up on Henson’s work…
    I make puppets. I designed a day camp for kids…
    so how about pandering to me?

    1. I think you’re getting just a little toooo upset here, Katherine. I hope you read Steve’s reply to your first comment. Just because he didn’t acknowledge you on your original comment(s)— isn’t a reason to lash out. Who knows how many comments Steve has to go through via his WordPress backend. Some could be spam that he has to cut through first. Who knows.

      If what you came here for is acknowledgement from him— you got it, and hope it made your day even better.

      Note to Steve: I notice when comments are left, there’s some WordPress errors on the next screen (even though comments still post). Maybe yourself, or your web person, could check to see if your plugins are all up to date. Or it could be a theme error.

      1. I never got a “reply” from Steve that I know of Tommy… but thank you for referring me to it… and letting me know he did such a thing. Technology has obstructed any communication… there is nothing in my emails or my wordpress comment replies that show this. I have to check on his blog to read things and find out stuff… which I do but i never saw any reply… So, if I was off base or out of line, please forgive my blindspot.
        When I posted comments to Steve’s blog it always told me there was an error… but when I checked the thread my comments were there. I NEVER saw any reply from him to me. I checked back and found yours tho…
        anyhow… I will attempt to sift thru the thread to find what U R speaking of.
        I do not need acknowledgement from anyone and I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t be condescending to me. When I said “pander to me” I was challenging him… not you
        I too worked in “high places” for the “Heros and Gods of art and television/music and I don’t gotta prove my self worth to him or you.
        I am a real artist. I know what it’s like to work for the gods of industry…
        I supported Steve in the original yet evolving space that was Henson.
        My day is not “better” in a state of “conflict” so you can stop belittling me.
        Again… thank you for letting me know there was a reply at all from Mr. Whitmire…
        so we can blame robots and not humans for the misunderstandings thus far… and then go at one another again later… if it turns out we are still at odds.
        I still maintain “Anonymous” was a woman and NOT the troll on this site to be commended by your hero Steve.
        I will not flatter YOU and I need no flattery. I work for a living and I am a woman who deals with TRUMP world. I have cleaned toilets, taught foster kids who were told they were retarded how to read proving everyone wrong…
        Peace and respect to u Tommy…

        1. Could you possibly be one of the anonymous people Steve is referring to, and now that you’ve been called out on it decided to show your name?

          I swear it seems no matter what Steve says or dose someone gets upset. Why can’t we look at this blog for what it truly is? We finally get a chance to read and connect with one of the last original preformers of the Muppets! This is a huge opportunity for Muppet and Jim Henson fans, because we get it hear stories and thoughts that we may have never heard before.
          Was Steve being let go a bad thing? Of course, but look at what we have gained. We are getting A chance that some of us only dreamed of which is metting A Muppet Prefomer.
          If you say your an equal to Steve or anyone else then why such the harsh tone? We are all people here, and we all have feelings. You may have gotten upset over something that was said, but you don’t have to be rude to express how you feel.
          One of The Muppets, and Jim’s core values was acceptance. Even though we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people we should be able to accept both of those things. So on behalf of everyone else if something was said or done to offend you I’m sorry, and I honestly do not think it was Steve’s or anyone elses intentions to offend.

  29. Hi Steve,

    I’m still having trouble processing this whole upheaval in the world of the Muppets. It never occurred to me that anyone from that family of performers could be made to leave. It’s seem naive, but it never even occurred to me. I figured you’d be Caroll Spinney’s age before I’d even need to consider accepting a new Kermit.

    You brought a richness to the character that I will miss. Not knocking Matt or anything, but things will just feel different without that direct link to Jim. Thank you for all you’ve done and for fighting so hard to maintain the integrity of the characters.

    So, what’s next for you? Where do you go from here?

  30. I am honored you read my words Mr. Whitmire, and will definitely take what you’ve said here to heart. Especially, “the non-duality of The Ultimate realm.” Something I am in constant need of being mindful of.

    – Anonymous (“the nice one,” a moniker which made me grin so wide, you’d mistake me for Dr. Teeth.)

    1. This is a great read. It’s very firm, detailed, and informative. It’s exactly the sort of thing the executives need to digest.

      But…

      Yikes! (If I may borrow your word, Steve.)

      There doesn’t appear to be anything in there to appeal to the ego of the reader. There is no, “I’m sure you have really great ideas, I’m impressed with you. I’d like to share with you what I think, because I feel like you are a good person to talk to. ..”

      YADDA, YADDA, YADDA, SCHMOOZE, SCHMOOZE.

      Instead, it’s direct, concise, to the point. No wasting time. You know what you know what you know.

      It’s exactly the way I’ve spoken to people for much of my life. And I am wrong, Steve, so wrong to do so.

      If I’ve ever let Jim Henson down (as a Muppet fan from a young age), it was by embracing my bossy know -it-all self and letting it trample all over other people’s egos.

      Other people’s egos are such a pain. And such a hassle to tend to. I’d rather cut through all their crap.

      But as I enter middle age I’m really starting to realize that maybe “their crap” has a little merit. If nothing else, they may be a person with tender feelings, so I need to take care with all people I approach.

      I know my intent is only kindness and love. They do not. They may, in fact, have all kinds of wild, nutty thoughts about my true intentions.

      Nowadays, I know I need to teach or advocate from a position of humility, as if I am the student. It’s hard, and I confess I am not good at it.

      Anyhoo, thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself on this blog.

      Still wishing you peace and rainbows and resolution…

  31. “Steve as a sense of making a character a living thing. If you get a character that you can actually believe is a living thinking reacting creature, once you can work at that sort of level of believability, than it can grow from there.” JIM HENSON (Red Book) https://www.henson.com/jimsredbook/2015/01/1101978/ The story of Steve Whitmire’s interview with Jim Henson from the Jim Henson archives. 🐸😆

      1. Thank you for answering Steve. Yes i’ve never knew that the Henson Company archives have something like this online. Jim Henson really had you in high consideration. 😆
        Not that i need confirmation, but this makes me wonder why certain words where said against you and against Jim Henson’s own words.

      2. I think the fact Steve hadn’t seen this quote until a few days ago, is sort of Jims way of speaking to him here and now. To give him a message of confidence. There is an important reason he hasn’t seen it until now. All things happen for a reason. ☺

  32. TY, I couldn’t get it to work! I had read that exact quote not long ago. And at just 18 too. How brave is that though, to move to another country at that age, very lucky to have such an opportunity, but also very, very brave. And the photo, oh everyone so young! Lovely post.

  33. Steve…this evening I had an epiphany. All this time, I’ve been upset about the way Disney has mistreated *you*. Suddenly, I’ve come to fully realize that I should also be upset with them for mistreating *Kermit*.

    (As well as Beaker and all your other characters, but Kermit was foremost in my mind at that moment, as he usually is.)

    So I wrote a new blog post about it.

    (I hope this link works. I’ll check it right away after posting.)

  34. The comments on this post have been so open about therapeutic practices and acceptance, I finally found the courage to re-watch The Muppets (2011), something I’ve been avoiding since this whole situation got underhand.

    Since writing is my main form of calming practice, while watching the film, I wrote about why Kermit has come to mean so much to me and how you helped him to do that, Steve.

    As always, it’s right here if anyone is interested,
    https://justforthehalibutblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/because-of-kermit/

  35. Mr. Whitmire,

    Remember when you, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Goelz, Mr. Oz, Mr. Clash, and many other puppeteers came out in front of God and everyone and sang ‘Just One Person’ inside His house at St. John the Divine for Jim in 1990? I think anyone who can watch that (either on video or in person), can see the beauty of The Muppets, and what you all did for Jim.

    Whether he knows it or not as a soul in Heaven, I hope that we can all do what we know is right for his sake. We can’t remember him the same way you can, sir, but we can stand by his creations and honor him that way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zzfdlxjx4Y

    Lucy

  36. Hi Steve,

    I’ve been putting off writing this comment for days now, worrying and wondering what to say, if this is a good idea, etc. I wanted to take this opportunity to write to a hero of mine and a major influence. I’m currently going through a difficult time in my life where I’m seeing a counselour and going to support groups. Your work has always been such a big help to me during dark times in my life. Watching a Muppet production or listening to a Muppet song would help me not only deal with the pain inside, but also help me creatively.

    I’ve always felt one of your strongest talents as a performer is your singing voice and I so enjoy listening to any song by Kermit or Wembley, or Rizzo. “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by Linda Ronstadt & Kermit is truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. I could listen to “Wemblin’ Fool” any day. “Rat Scat” never fails to make me smile. And every December, I’ll listen to “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Gonzo & Rizzo – my favourite cover of that song! I can’t lie, when I’m out and listening to these songs on my iPod, I can’t help but lip sync and will occasionally look like an idiot while out in public.

    I guess you could say these are creative therapies of mine. As is reading and lately, I’ve been trying to get back into writing. For years, fear, anxiety and depression have gotten in the way of me attempting to do that, but I’m trying to get back into it and hopefully improve my level of writing. These blog posts of yours have become something of a new influence for me lately, too. I just love the intelligence and eloquence that shines so bright through your writing. It’s a level I hope to reach some day.

    To try and get back into writing, and as another form of therapy, I recently started a blog – https://someguysblogblog.wordpress.com/

    My main goal with it is to write more regularly. And it’s also been another form of good therapy for me. The last 3 posts have been about you, my love of your work and the sadness over what’s happened. It’s all been difficult to put into words how it’s all made me feel and how much your work has meant to me, but these are my attempts.

    Wishing you all the very best and I truly hope the worst is over now and there’s nothing but a bright path ahead for you.

    Stephen

  37. Hi Steve, I feel privileged to be able to communicate so directly with a person whose work, through Kermit primarily, has so clearly and positively influenced the lives and outlooks of many people I know.

    I am 35, and the first movie I remember seeing in the cinema was ‘Manhattan’ in ’84. The rat ballet in the diner got permanently imprinted on my memory – I’d like to thank you (or, rather Rizzo) for that. ‘My Kermit’ was Jim’s, but I have many younger friends whose childhood memories are made up of ”Çhristmas Carol” or ”Treasure Island”. All the way through the often sketchy early-2000s Muppets projects your dedication to and honouring of the trust Jim gave you was obvious.

    No criticism towards Jacobsen or Barretta or Vogel – who do amazing work – but I think that by letting you go, Disney/The Henson Company have unnecessarily severed a vital link with the source of these characters’ power. As you have rightly articulated, Muppet performers should not be impersonators. They physically, verbally and spiritually embody the characters they perform. An organic and evolutionary process.

    I am sure you were sometimes difficult on the set of post 2004 Muppet productions, but your work in the past decade demonstrates how much you care about these characters. There are moments in the 2011 ‘Muppets’ film where your Kermit, though distinct from Jim’s, demonstrates a depth of emotion and humour that is distinctly yours, even if often working bravely against the script you were given. Your work in ‘Pictures in my Head’ and the preceding scene, for instance, is possibly the most moving puppetry I’ve ever witnessed.

    I would also note that Frank Oz, genius though he be, is licensed to be as critical as he wishes about current Muppet projects, without censure or criticism. It must be galling that after forty years of dedicated service to the Muppets, and to the legacy of Jim Henson, you have been so quickly dispatched and all your own efforts discounted. I would like to raise my hand (right above my head) in thanks for your work and service, Steve. You’re right: The Muppets matter. Probably now more than ever.

  38. Saturday, finally ! Just watched the Dark Crystal movie again since the last time (about ten years ago). It´s incredible how life change us and our perception of things.
    But my first impressions didn´t change. This is a great magic movie with a strong message, with beatiful characters extraordinarily performed, with impressive scenery and unforgettable soundtrack.
    Something i was now more aware and impressed than i was ten years ago, was the smoothness of movements, making them look much more real. An example is the movement of the hand and fingers of the Mystics and the Skeksis.
    Considering the year the Dark Crystal was released (1982) and the technology available at the time, it`s impressive how the final result turned out like this, making this a cult movie with a huge fan comunity as far as i`ve noticed.
    For the ones who didn`t have the chance to watch it untill now, there are endless possibilities available.
    Steve, the only thing i didn`t understand was, in the credits you and Brian Muehl are referred as the only Skeksis also voicing their characters.
    The other Skeksis characters where not voiced by their performers (Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Bob Payne, Mike Quinn and Tim Rose).
    Can you please, tell me, if you know, why was it like this ?
    PS: I watched de Dark Crystal 25th Anniversary version.

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