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Celebrating Jerry Juhl

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by Fozzie Bear, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Cantus Rock New Member

    This is the end. Thats all I can really say. I'm in tears.
  2. Fozzie Bear Moderator

    Everyone's so down and out and you have to remember that for 37+ years he gave us a legacy of laughter and happiness! Jerry Juhl wouldn't want us to let his death be a sadness for us! As has been said, he's with Jim Henson and Richard Hunt now!!

    Celebrate his life! Remember his hilarity and continue it. It's up to us to inspire people now...so, do it! Keep his brand of humor alive and we will make him a happy man.
  3. Fozzie Bear Moderator

    Actually, I heard it was a mix between pUPPETS and Milkshakes...
    :)
  4. Cindy Moderator

    Chocolate or strawberry? ;)

    Uh-oh does this qualify as a thread killer?
  5. Fozzie Bear Moderator

    Nope. It's my dedication to Jerry Juhl to be silly and continue what he started!

    I say mix 'em up: Chrawberlate Milkshake!
  6. Cindy Moderator

    Sounds good to me. Yum!:excited:
  7. MuppetsRule Active Member

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had the same obituary on the same date as the L.A. Times. Anybody know why it was run so much later than his actual passing?
  8. Fozzie Bear Moderator

    Sometimes they have to wait to make such reports to ensure that the family has been notified, and lots of times because they are slow in their research or getting an appointment for interviews or other information.
  9. rumtar_10165 New Member

    amen.
  10. mikebennidict New Member

    wonder why they would of had such trouble notifiying relatives? I might sound like a dumb question and I'm sure it does take some time but it sounds like the news got out a little bit late.
  11. Fozzie Bear Moderator

    Well, like in our family we're spread all over the world!

    His passing was probably hard to keep private til the family could be told because he is a public figure.

    Just best to let relatives tell relatives about things, really, than to hear about it on the news or in the papers first.
  12. Harvey Towers Active Member

    Here is one from The Times yesterday. The photo of Kemirt and Jerry and a Mupet-Vision 3D photo were also printed.

    The Times October 14, 2005

    Jerry Juhl
    July 27, 1938 - September 27, 2005
    Scriptwriter who, with bad gags and adult references, breathed life and warmth into his Muppet characters


    JERRY JUHL was the writer who breathed life into the felt-and-foam stars of The Muppet Show. His ability to develop personalities for the characters, while creating a three-dimensional vaudeville world for them, made each one a distinct individual. With Juhl as scriptwriter The Muppet Show, rejected by the American networks, became a huge success in Britain and was sold on to 100 other countries.
    Born in St Paul, Minnesota, Juhl grew up making puppets and putting on puppet shows for friends and family. He moved with his parents to California as a teenager and began his television work — puppeteering for children’s television programmes — while still a student at San José State University. He became a member of a puppet troupe, the Vagabond Puppet Theatre, where he met the British-born Frank Oz. The two met Jim Henson and his wife Jane at a puppeteers’ convention in 1961, whereafter Juhl joined Henson’s company to help on their Washington-based children’s programme, Sam and Friends.

    This show was the first to feature Kermit the frog, a character Henson had created as a child out of two ping-pong balls and a piece of his mother’s green coat, along with early versions of other famous Muppets.

    The word “Muppet” derived from Henson’s combination of puppets with marionettes, controlled from both above and below. Juhl did not rate his own ability to manipulate the creatures, and was relieved when Oz joined the company. Thereafter he concentrated on scriptwriting.

    Muppet sketches were used as fill-ins on programmes such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Jimmy Dean Show, often satirising news and entertainment presenters. The trio’s talent for parodying pundits would crop up time and again, in Sesame Street’s over-enthusiastic game-show host Guy Smiley, the Muppet Show sportscaster Lewis Kezagger and the Muppet Newsman, whose interruptions of “This is a Muppet newsflash ” would reveal some impending disaster that would immediately befall him.

    In the late 1960s the PBS producer Joan Cooney invited Henson to “create a family of Muppet characters to populate Sesame Street” for a new programme being created by a non-profit company, the Children’s Television Workshop. While the characters of Big Bird, Bert and Ernie and Oscar the Grouch sprang from Henson’s fertile imagination, Juhl created the crackling dialogue that created a personality and back story for each, and the chemistry between them. He used comedy’s oldest recipe in Ernie and Bert, the wisecracking wind-up merchant Ernie and his straight-man flatmate Bert, a pedant whose interests include pigeon-keeping and collecting bricks. Juhl worked on Sesame Street until 1975, and won two Emmy awards.

    Henson wanted to make a Muppet programme that was purely entertaining, but he managed only to make one-off specials for American audiences. The Muppets’ break came when Lew Grade offered Henson the chance to create a show for ATV, as long as his company moved to England for the duration. For this reason the show was less saccharine, more bizarre and somewhat darker than it might have been, combining grown-up cultural references with cheesy oneliners. “The innocence of the characters allows us to use bad jokes in a way that makes them funny,” Juhl explained.

    It was Juhl’s dialogue that made Kermit, the stage manager, into a long-suffering everyman (“Third-rate show? Surely this is a second-rate show?”), Fozzie Bear, a hack comedian under constant assault from Statler and Waldorf, and Miss Piggy, the prima donna with dreams beyond Kermit’s variety programme (“Pretentious? Moi?”). The show’s quickfire vignettes, such as Veterinarian’s Hospital and Pigs in Space, reflected popular transatlantic soap and sci-fi culture.

    The Great Gonzo was Juhl’s favourite: a purple, hook-nosed stuntman originally created by puppeteer Dave Goelz for an Ed Sullivan Christmas special, whose attempts to play the trumpet would start every show on a discordant note. Juhl made him a tragic misfit, but he developed over time. Chickens were his showgirls (one called Camilla was his love interest) and his one-man shows included eating a tyre to the strains of Flight of the Bumblebee. Just as Juhl based many Muppet personalities on members of Henson’s crew, he based Gonzo on Dave Goelz.

    “Jerry seemed to pick up what was going on with me,” Goelz said. “He sort of incorporated it into Gonzo’s character.”

    After the first season Goelz built a new Gonzo with movable eyelids so that his Muppet could at least show enthusiasm for the strange acts Juhl was putting him through.

    Juhl became head writer for The Muppet Show after the huge success of the first series. It ran in America, where audiences were bemused by some of the British guest stars, and won Juhl the Writer’s Guild of America award in 1978 and 1979. He also won an Emmy for a special “dance marathon” show made in 1981, starring Carol Burnett. The series won a Peabody award in 1978.

    He co-wrote The Muppet Movie (1979) and then The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), and Muppets From Space (1999).

    Juhl worked as head writer and creative producer for Fraggle Rock for five seasons, a popular children’s programme which followed the interconnected lives of a number of underground Muppet tribes who refer to human beings as the Silly Creatures of Outer Space. Although the show was about world harmony and looking at ourselves from another’s perspective, it managed, like The Muppet Show, to put its message across without recourse to a trowel. “There ’s a sweetness we get away with, without being sentimental,” Henson said. He gave warmth to each of the characters, even Animal — created in tribute to Keith Moon — who, like Crazy Harry and the fish-throwing Lew Zealand, appeared at first to be mad.

    Juhl retired to Caspar, California, in 1999. He is survived by his wife, Susan.

    Jerry Juhl, puppeteer and scriptwriter, was born on July 27, 1938. He died of cancer on September 27, 2005, aged 67.
  13. Mark Filton New Member

    I just found out when I visited the website. Oh man, this is sad stuff. He was getting old, but a writer is always good even if old. Now as somebody said, the Fraggle Rock movie can't be what it COULD HAVE been:cry:

    Don't waste any time, gang. I miss that TRUE Muppet Magic:cry:

    Thank you, Jerry. You gave us so much:cry:
  14. BEAR Active Member


    Listen...just because Jerry Juhl died does not mean that they shouldn't continue with the project. Sure it may be a little different that it might be if Jerry was with us still, but he could have left behind notes and parts of scripts already. Afterall, they have had the idea for quite sometime. Plus, its the Fraggles! Of course it will be magic. Jerry would want to see this project happen and he will be watching from heaven with enjoyment. This film will be a lovely tribute to Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl's spirit. Give it a chance, okay. To say don't even waste your time is more of an insult to Juhl's memory than anything else. The new Fraggle project will be full of magic!
  15. rumtar_10165 New Member

    What about the many talents of Richard Hunt? lets not forget him as well.
  16. Fozzie Bear Moderator

    I agree. Everyone wants to see Janice and Scooter again, and they'll obviously have to have new performer(s). Can't let all his work die with him.

    Same goes for Juhl! He was wondeful, but we can't just let things die. He worked too hard all those years to just let it stop.
  17. BEAR Active Member

    The thing that saddens me, Kevin, is all these people here who just decide that because Juhl is not alive that the Fraggle movie will be a waste of time and a peice of garbage. Why can't we give it a chance and be excited and believe that it will be great!?
  18. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Here here! Bring on the Fraggles!:excited: :smirk:
  19. Fozzie Bear Moderator

    Well, I'll be honest with you: As fans (hardcore fans at that) it IS our job to complain and moan about anything we are fans of whether it's in development or already completed. Why? Because we as fans will complain that they aren't doing enough to entertain us, and when they do something it is our job to complain that it wasn't done right. That's just the way of it.

    Personally, I've noticed that we are all turning into a bunch of doom-sayers about the projects the Muppets are working on. The only way to keep them alive is to support them. Even if Muppets Wizard of Oz stunk on TV, the DVD is AWESOME! So, there are the ups and downs with it all as it is with everything.

    Personally--I think a Fraggle Rock movie will...rock. Folks just assume that Juhl didn't have anything to do with it at all and they could be 100% incorrect. The very script they are using might be what he wrote!
  20. matleo Active Member

    Need picture of Jerry Juhl ASAP!!

    hey gang,

    I'm working on our puppetry guild's newsletter and were including a little tribute to Jerry this month. I'd really like to include a picture but can find one that I'm happy with. If anyone has a good pic of Jerry they could send me I'd be very greatful. you can send it to barkford@yahoo.com.

    Thank you.

    --Matt

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