I was seventeen when I heard Jim Henson had died. It seemed impossible: he was Kermit, and Kermit was always there. He was only a few years older than my parents, so what kind of world was it where someone that young and that brilliant could die? I was, truly, as sad as I would have been if a friend had died suddenly, and felt the loss as keenly. I was angry, too, when I heard that he had died of untreated pneumonia, angry that he hadn’t gone to the doctor. Angry that the Muppets would never be the same.
I’m not angry any more, but the sadness is still there. I feel it every time I see — or, more accurately, hear — any of the characters he used to play. I don’t envy Steve Whitmire his job: how hard must it have been to pick up Kermit the first time after Henson’s death, put his hand inside the sleeve, and try to sound as much like Henson as possible? I’m glad that the Muppets, and Henson’s former characters, are still around. But they will never quite be the same.
Oh yes, there are videos as well. Link
(Image credit: Alan Light)