Maker Jim Henson in 1969: HOWTO make a puppet

Video link. Jim Henson teaches viewers how to make puppets from tennis balls, spoons, socks, cardboard tubes, envelopes, and other common household items. Lots of interesting commentary on puppet aesthetics and utility, too! Hearing his voice, which isn't a stretch from Kermit's, is always a treat.



  1. The puppets who were voiced by someone other than Mr Henson sounded a lot like the puppets in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe…

    Mr. Rogers, is that you under there?

  2. Contrary to other opinion, I always thought of Disney as the evil empire and Henson as the real source of childhood magic.

    That video brings a tear to my eye the same way seeing Kermit and the gang in commercials for Disney puts a downward turn to the corners of my mouth.

  3. What a wonder he was! How I wish they could re-run every Muppet show again. It would outshine anything on the tube now running. I smile just thinking of them.

  4. I remember Henson put out a long-form documentary about how some of the advanced Muppet effects worked, with lots of fourth-wall-breaking. It was brilliant. I’ve searched for it on Netflix, didn’t find it there, and gave up.

    1. It really wasn’t a long-form documentary. Henson produced a “How Muppets Work” episode of his short=lived TV series “Muppets Tonight.” He started the show out the show explaining how video editing makes Muppets able to interact with things.

      Gonzo touches a phone receiver. They switch to a shot where the receiver is attached to Gonzo’s hand. He has a conversation. He attempts to end the call, but the edit where he is no longer attached to the phone doesn’t happen and he is stuck.

      The episode, and a few other Storytellers and Muppets Tonight episodes were sold as a package to Nickelodeon in the early 90s.

    2. the video you asked about is called “Muppets on Puppets”. It’s on youtube, and also available as a bonus feature on the “Very best of the Muppet Show” dvd I believe.

  5. What impresses me about puppeteers is the way they make puppets look alive, even if the puppet isn’t ‘doing’ anything. I don’t know exactly how the effect is created. I imagine some of it is the distracted looking around the room or little shifts in posture that real people do even if they are just standing around. But if I tried to create the effect, it would look really forced.

  6. Jim Henson was my #1 personal hero, even before he died. His spirit lives on in his son, and the Muppets, and Frank, but he’ll never be replaced.

    Only the good die young.

  7. The brilliant thing about this is that by interjecting talking and playing with the puppets inbetween the construction of the different types, Jim showed not only how to make a puppet, but why to make a puppet–how it looks and feels when brought to life. And it filled up the space, too! I wonder how many puppeteers this video spawned.

  8. God, I miss Jim, but seeing Don Sahlin is a real treat (he died in 1978). Not only a puppeteer (and the inspiration for Crazy Harry, so I’ve heard), but also a rocketeer, a pyromaniac and in general a mad genius.

  9. I have never seen Jim Henson on video before, especially hearing his real voice, it was super cool.I can hear Kermit when Jim speaks, it puts a face, or shall I say voice, on the Frog that most people recognize! The Muppets on Sesame Street where considered cool in my day, but I think in these times, Sesame Street is a “Very Cool Program” for the children of this modern day and age when alot of entertainment for children tends to be
    either violent or misleading. I think Jim had a true passion for
    the work he did, and a true heartfelt message he tried to convey thru all the Muppet characters he created. I respect and admire
    anyone, male or female, young or old, who has a true passion
    regardless of what it is, and uses it to make the world we live in, a much “Better and Super Cool” place to live!

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