Category Archives: Museum of the Moving Image

West Bound and Down (If Only For a Moment…)*

…and hello again. I’m coming to you from San Francisco Airport, where I’m waiting to make my connecting flight to Los Angeles, where I’ll be taping an appearance on The Tavis Smiley Show tomorrow afternoon.  The moment I finish there, I go whizzing back to the airport and return to the East Coast so I can make another mad dash to New York.

It’s been more than a week since I last blogged – and what a week it was.  On Tuesday, October 1, I was delighted – and incredibly flattered – to attend the booklaunch event for Jim Henson at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. I had great fun sitting on a panel with Karen Falk, Bonnie Erickson, Fran Brill, Barbara Miller, and Dwight Bowers. (The expertise on Jim and the Muppets was so deep and wide that I was joking just before we all went on that all I really had to do was sit there and refer all the questions to my fellow panelists….)

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The panel for Jim Henson: The Biography commences (under the watchful eyes of Jim, Kermit and Ernie): From left, Dwight Bowers, Karen Falk, Your Humble Narrator, Craig Shemin, Fran Brill, Bonnie Erickson, and Barbara Miller.

The panel – moderated by Craig Shemin, current President of the Jim Henson Legacy – opened with three really interesting clips of Jim making various talk show appearances, including one that I had never seen before: a bizarre, ill-fated talk show pilot for Orson Welles. Welles appeared to be doing his best parody of himself, and Jim seemed on the edge of cracking up during most of the interview, while Frank Oz looked wryly unamused.

One of the neatest moments on the panel – for me, at least – was when Barbara Miller, one of the MOMI’s curators, pulled out a precious artifact that’ll eventually be on display for the Jim Henson exhibit. “I nearly brought Ernie,” she said, “but decided for something even more intimate.” There was an audible gasp from the crowd as she pulled out of a box – while wearing protective white gloves – Jim’s very own miked headset that he would’ve used while performing on set.  In fact, it appeared to be the very headset in this photo here (another of my very favorite photos of Jim):

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The audience asked great questions, and it was terrific to meet so many of Jim’s fans afterward who told me how much they enjoyed the book.  Thank you, each and every one of you who made the event. And thank you to the Museum of the Moving Image and the Jim Henson Legacy (and, yes, Random House!) for putting together such a great event.  It was a fitting way to kick off Jim’s biography.

I spent the next afternoon doing various radio shows over at SiriusXM – and as a longtime Sirius listener, it was great fun to see the inside of their studios and meet deejays like Frank DeCaro at OutQ, Meredith Ochs and Chris T at Road Dog, and the dynamite Judith Regan (who knows a thing or two about books and publishing).

And yes, just as I did when I appeared on The Diane Rehm Show, I got to wear the headphones. And no, while I kept my eyes peeled, I did not see Baba Booey. Darn it.

I’m getting ready to board now, so I’ll leave you for the moment.  But I’ll be back here shortly with one – no, make that TWO — exciting announcements.  And to say I’m thrilled about both of these would be the ultimate understatement.

See you in a bit.

* No, I’m not down. I was just making the reference work.

What a Week!

I was up late last night, doing The Jim Bohannon Show live in studio from downtown Washington, DC. I’m a fan from way back — when I was working as the night editor of my college newspaper back in the late 1980s, I would come back to my dorm room in the early morning hours and listen to him when he was sitting in for Larry King — and it was lot of fun to talk Jim Henson with him for a full hour.  If you missed it, the entire show is available right here (you’ll have to forward to the appropriate spot — I don’t come in until after the first hour.) It was such a good time, in fact, that I hardly minded getting snarled in traffic as I made my way out of Georgetown on a Friday night.

That was the exclamation point on a fun and exhausting week.  I spent most of Thursday and Friday on the phone doing interviews for places like Chicago, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and New Mexico — some of which I’ll link to when they’re posted, if you’d like to listen — and so far, I’ve managed to keep my voice and haven’t faded into a Bill Clintonesque rasp.  So far.

As advertised here earlier, I also had the pleasure of taking about Jim on The Diane Rehm Show (also taped right here in DC), with a generous assist from Dave Goelz, who phoned in from California.  To my delight (I’m easily thrilled), I even got to wear headphones while sitting in the studio, and only got a slight stare from guest host Susan Page when I did my Ringo Starr impression and asked it they could “turn  it down in my cans a bit.”

Anyway, if you missed me — and Dave — on Diane Rehm, you can listen to the show right here.

Finally, on Wednesday morning, I was pleased to be included in a piece on CBS This Morning about the Henson family’s donation of 20 Muppets to the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  Miss it? Here you go.

All in all, it’s been a terrific week — and the coming week will be even busier (and just as much fun) as I make the trip to New York for talks at the Museum of the Moving Image on October 1, and the 92Y on October 2. If you’re in New York, come on by. It’ll be fun. I promise.