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Puppetry is the art of manipulating an inanimate object in real time to create the illusion of life.


  • Without the good will of manipulators and audience alike, puppets cannot sustain an illusion of life.
  • And although I'm not exactly sure what [Jim Henson] did, whatever it was really moved me.
  • I had never worked with puppets before so just the concept of talking to this green, grungy-lookin' rag comin' out of a trash can was totally alien to me.
  • We have a ways to go in understanding the power of puppetry … Our problem is for too long we have thought of puppets being for children. … The appeal of puppetry to me is it's much more freeing for an artist … Puppetry is a completely controllable means to attack your characters in every possible way. The artist has the possibility to create a much larger landscape with puppetry. The human becomes more human in that sense. Another of the great things about puppetry is the ability to transform.
  • My excitement about making the [puppet] team was slightly tempered by the fact that everyone who auditioned had made the team.

It's Not Easy Being Green (2005)


Subtitled, And Other Things to Consider; Edited by Cheryl Henson, Hyperion, ISBN 1-4013-0242-4

  • When I hear the art of puppetry discussed, I often feel frustrated in that it's one of those pure things that somehow becomes much less interesting when it is overdiscussed or analyzed.
  • One of the nice things about puppets is that it's your own hand in there. You can make it do anything you want it to.
    • Jim Henson, p. 51
  • A good character is almost always derived from an aspect of the performer's personality.
  • Parents are concerned that if kids see that a person operates the Muppet, an illusion will be shattered. But I think kids see us as just the people who carry their friends around.
  • I feel that almost everyone maintains a childlike quality throughout their adulthood. One of the nice things about the puppet form is that it has the ability to communicate with this childlike side of the audience.
    • Jim Henson, p. 124
  • Working as I do with movement of puppet creatures, I'm always struck by the feebleness of our efforts to achieve naturalistic movement. Just looking at the incredible movement of a lizard or a bird, or even the smallest insect, can be a very humbling experience.
    • Jim Henson p. 146

Jim Henson: The Works (1993)


by Christopher Finch, Random House, ISBN 0-679-41203-4

  • It was interesting and kind of fun to do--but I wasn't really interested in puppetry then. It was just a means to an end.
    • Jim Henson p. 8-9
  • A lot of people build very stiff puppets--you can barely move the thing--and you can get very little expression out of a character that you can barely move. Your hand has a lot of flexibility to it, and what you want to do is to build a puppet that can reflect all that flexibility.
    • Jim Henson p. 19, 21
  • Kids come to visit the [Sesame Street] studio and they and the puppets are old friends. Those puppets are in their living rooms every day. As soon as a puppet goes up on somebody's arm, the puppeteer ceases to exist. The child comes right up to talk to Grover or the Count. They don't look at the puppeteer. They don't look at the monitor.
    • Jon Stone p. 74
  • Jim [Henson] had a lot of respect for puppetry, but not much for the puppet as a physical object. It was a means to an end. If he was giving a live demonstration, he didn't care if people saw him put his hand in the puppet, and he didn't try to sustain the illusion once the performance was over.

The Jim Henson Hour (1989)

  • And so that he can tell what’s happening, a puppeteer always watches his performance in a television monitor. In a way, the puppeteer becomes an audience to his own performance.
    • Jim Henson, Secrets of the Muppets episode
  • Well, the thing to remember here is that my own personality has absolutely nothing to do with this weirdo.
    • Dave Goelz, Secrets of the Muppets episode
    • Quote in reference to Goelz's puppet, Gonzo
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