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Henson closes NY office

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Boober_Gorg, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    Yes, Henson has to reducxe costs, which is like saying "they are weak," because EVERY business has to reduce costs because the opposite is to say "Let's INCREASE costs," which is lunacy for all business.

    The argument made on the sell side is that Henson HAS to do this.

    I disagree because that is saying the Henson company is only worth 20 million right now, which is the value of the building, and/or couldn't get a loan, or have anybody finance a Muppet movie, or that it is just a corporation not connected to a family of mega-millionaires.

    You can keep the darn building for a few grand a year in property taxes. Henson kids are selling because they are angry with the world and sick of the business. They want to go to california and forget about it.

    I don't think for a minute that they are sitting around crying and living in poverty and feeling terrible that they are so broke and desperate that they have to be forced to sell the building. THey are angry and fed up, not sad and poor.

    They are NOT down to their last dollar, and they do not HAVE to sell that building :D

    What are they gonna do with the 20 million? If it was the last, would they spend it on the last movie Henson ever makes for a "make or break" situation? I don't even think they would. They would keep if for themselves, and why not? Who wants to be in poiverty?

    So what are you gonna do with 20 mil in cash? Let it rot in the bank? Invest in something AGAINST inflation. Like a prime piece of NYC real estate...which is what the building ALREADY is!

    It's equity. If another terrorist attack hits us, the US dollar will go down. Cash is a bad time right now. Go with gold and property. Nobody sells off a prime piece of NYC real estate unless they are drowning or just want to be rid of something. I don't see Brian on the welfare lines.

    With the building not producing anything and not needed because Henson is doing nothing, YES having it will be a cost of a few grand a year in taxes and some heating.

    So, for the cost of a few grand (which is nothing to multi-millionaires-like you and me buying a box of cookies) they are throwing the building away. That stinks to me.

    The only respect that we can have is for their feelings, and if they are angry then I can understand it but not agree with it.

    Lets face it that most of us here are the older guys all loving the old times of what Henson did in the past. You might remember how much I hated that Kermit was on the same stage of Jimmy Kimmel with MASTURBATION jokes beside him. That makes me very sad :cry:

    Where is the magic in mastubation? Why is Kermit sitting next to that garbage? You want me to cheer that stuff? No way. You want me to be happy that the HEnsons are also selling off all the beautifual memories of the NYC building for the want of a few lousy grand in upkeep costs per year? No way.

    Hey, if they want to try to sell again, then KEEP THE BUILDING and say "also includes spectacular NYC building!" Factor in the building at a loss, of say, 50% off, which will still be a profit over what they paid in 1977, and tag that on to the sale of the ENTIRE company itself. Doesn't that sound attractive? A BARGAIN price on a great building included for a FAIR price on the Henson company ITSELF?

    TO millionaires, a few thousand a year is like coffee money. We will never knowq what they really have, but they are millionaires to be sure. It is theirs and they can do as they please, but they are angry and fed up, and the fans are the last people they are thinking of right now. And I don't blame them, because Kermit and the gang are like the ones of the show called Friends, and you can't replace everything on the show and expect people to watch. That is what is wrong with Henson.

    Of course I am not so stupid to blame Jim for dying of sickness, but the fact is that it happened so suddenly and it was very harmful to his company, and to his main character. People get creeped out to hear Kermit played by somebody else. Steve Whitmire does a great job, but it is still an impersonation.

    And then the German deal was harmful to the company.

    Then the trying hard to sell the company also hurt it when only the small time losers tried to buy (remember all those idiots?).

    Then the Henson family was forced to buy it back, because they were sick of seeing Jim's legend blowing in the wind and being laughed at. Face it they failed big time.

    What have they done so far? Put Kermit on a dirty and stupid Jimmy Kimmel, and now they put up the NYC building for sale. Why sell so soon after taking the company back, and why sell when it costs so little to keep???

    I will always remember Kermit singing to children of Sesame Street, and being SMART funny on Carson. That is the true character. Nobody warned Kimmel at the start of the week "Hey guys, keep it clean, this is Kermit we have here."

    No. Nobody cares.

    "Whassamatter, you couldn't get the Lost in Space Robot?"

    Anybody forgetting here that Sesame Street is meant to look like NYC?

    Now the Henson kids pack up everything and buzz off to La-La land to make children's videos. If they ARE doing Wizard of Oz, then it's pathetic, just like when boring celebrities redo fairy tales when they are bored.

    I remember JR Ewing in Dallas when the company was in trouble, and they were FORCED to lose a building, and another oilman moved to take down a picture of JR's father. I never forget it. JR said "Put that picture back or I'll kill you where you stand."

    That's the big difference :D

    THe Henson family disappoints me. That building stands for a lot, and they're selling it when they don't really, REALLY have to.

    Then again, they put their father's beautiful Kermit on a filth show, too.

    Does anyone care :cry:
  2. Amazing Mumford

    Amazing Mumford Well-Known Member

    Hold on a sec...

    I wouldn't classify the Disney company as a "small-time loser." They're arguably the most influential entertainment company in the world. In fact, many of the companies that bid on the Muppets are large corporations.

    Also, you're being a bit harsh on the Henson family, Mark. I'm positive they aren't just throwing the building away without exploring all their options. They have more of a connection to that place than any of us.

    Further, you seem to be ignoring basic business concepts (and ultimately the Jim Henson Company IS a business). The company is clearly worth A LOT more than $20 million. Still, that $20 million in cash from the sale could do a lot of things for the company--maybe a new movie down the line. They aren't going to "let it rot" in a bank. They'll invest it and earn far more than the inflation rate. Property is a good investment except it's not very flexible. The cash can be used on short notice and for a number of projects.

    If Henson is to be based solely in L.A., this move simply makes good business sense.
  3. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    The thing is Mark, you are acting like this building is the most important thing in the existence of the company ever - it's not, and even the Henson's obviously don't feel that way. If they really were down to their last 20 million i'm sure the real estate would have gone long ago - it's the characters and secondly, the programme rights that are of the most value, both in money and sentiment. Sure, the NY Townhouse has been a major part of the Henson Company for years, but just as much went on creatively at the London offices, TMS studios and Canada for 'Fraggle Rock'. I would think the family feels that lots of places have memories of Jim, not just one.

    You are guessing about whatever resentment they might feel or what they'll regret. The fact is they have chosen to sell, it is their property. Even if they don't HAVE to sell it is their right as would have been with Disney, Viacom or whoever else. You can be sure they have stronger ties to the place than us and that they have thought about all available scenarios. This is what they have decided, I don't think the fans have a right to dictate where and how the company is run or based - it's supposed to be the brand and the programmes that we are fanatical about and doing this will provide extra income for the company to put into those things. While Henson have always been really good about keeping archives of the past they are ultimately a media company and even over the sentimental stuff their main concern is the survival of the JHC and the Muppets themselves and it sounds like lately they have been making some very tough calls regarding that. I'd rather have the company in good hands and shape a few years from now than them missing opportunities from not having the cash available to do other great stuff that would otherwise be holed up in an empty building. They are doing what they feel is right at the moment and actually I agree with them on it - even Jim himself was prepared to put sentimental feelings behind the welfare of the company, remember he tried to sell the Muppets to Disney twice ? Not sure how you would explain that one !
  4. dmx10101

    dmx10101 Well-Known Member

    Wow, these responses are too much to read. I don't have enough patience too read them.
  5. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    Wow one thing for sure Muppet fans sure explore all avenues on every side :D

    First the smaller letter.

    Disney is not the "small time loser." Disney didn't buy, but we had stories of all kinds of other idiots, like that guy who wanted to somehow make internet tv better than real tv. Those guys were jokers.

    Am I being harsh on the Henson kids? What, because they are in "show biz" that makes them above all bad emotions and makes every decision they make a genius decision? Remember "new Coke?" Big shots mess up all the time.

    I say I DON'T blame them. I would be fed up too and angry and sad, but I still think they are wrong. Our love for their father's stuff made them who they are. "If somebody out there loves you, stands up and hollers for more"

    We are the somebody's who holler for more. We shouldn't be treated harsh, either. Why not shut me up and have them smash the mural into a million pieces and give them to Phil Chapman who can then surprise us with a piece? Man, I would love that.

    It's all wishful thinking. That mural is gonna get sandblasted and painted over. Maybe that breaks my heart so I say only if you HAVE to! WHat the heck, why not make a nice video and give the master tapes to Philip, and he can make copies and sell them to us? Why not? Let the HEnsons do us a darn favor and let Philip make a buck for running this website. What's wrong with that? We have feelings, and they get hurt when a part of Jim Henson gets sold off and gone forever. Am I crazy?

    Take a video camera and tape everything. Send the tapes to Philip. He keeps them and sells them to us. Why not? What would it hurt? That won't happen. What do they care about our feelings?

    Yoiu say the money will be invested and make more than the inflation rate. How do you know that? How do I know that? All we know is that the building is going, and busineess people say real estate is great. How can you go wrong owning a fine building in NYC like that? And the property? It's a hard asset. Muppet fortunes go up and down. Real estate is a better investment.

    Yes, go to L.A. if you want, but do they know the future already? Do they know it's hopeless to think big again? Do what they want, but I take it as a bad sign. It shows me that they've made a decision to put the big time in the past. My God, what power of NEGATIVE thinking!


    Now time for Luke's letter.

    Luke I don't think the building is most important. It's very important ,but not the MOST. Where am I saying "SAVE IT AT ALL COSTS!!!"

    I even said if it's all they have left, sell it off and keep the money for themselves, because who likes poverty?

    You're trying to talk down to me like a little kid and (pretending quote) "Oh, don't be upset, there are so many buildings all over the world, nice things happened everywhere, but it's time to move on."

    The NYC building was bought in 1977, right? So it's been owned by therm for over 25 years. You and I both know that OWNING is different from hanging out in Canada or London in someone's studio to make Fraggle Rock or the Muppet Show. Come on, I know the difference :p

    Jim himself made the building special. Lots of stories were done on the building. One lucky guy made a visit and posted his story right in this website. Is this not special or what? Is this different from some old studio? Yes.

    YES I am guessing about their feelings I said that a lot. I am guessing. YOU are guessing. What do we know? We ALL are guessing.

    Can Hensons feel sad and angry? Yes. Can they make a mistake? Yes.

    I have said also before that they can do whatever they want. I have no disagreement there. NEVER have I say they have no right. BLow it up if they want to.

    THen you are changing the subject a bit. Did Jim try to sell to Disney? Yes. I have no problem with that. He was trying to do that so all his characters wouldn't get scattered and weak and lost...which is what is happening now, so I AGREE with you on that one :zany:

    It is EARLY in the Henson buy-back. Why sell so fast? Do what you want, it is yours, but Jim was a sweet guy and obviously made the building special by HIS DECISION, so even though the kids are selling it it makes no sense to me because:

    1 It's a good piece of property to include in another try to sell again

    2 THey have millions already

    3 Keep it for the few grand in taxes for a few years, see what happens with the company on the big scale first

    WHat is the rush? My God Henson became rich because we loved him. Not because the kids are great business people. Artists are a 2-way street, not like a guy who sells you a shirt at Wal-Mart.

    Go ahead and sell, but I won't see any sense to it, and if they sell so early, I think (ONLY IN MY OPINION) that the Henson kids are sick and tired of the business, and don't see a big comeback coming ever.

    If I was a mulitmillionaire, and could save the father's house with coffee money for a few years, until I find out how good my next movie is, I WOULD DO IT.

    But, if I was down to the pennies, I would sell it of course.

    The Henson kids are not with empty pockets, so I look at the selling as bad decison, a bad sign, and a bad future sign.

    Just like putting beautiful Kermit on slimy Kimmel. Where is the love of these things? Where is the compassion for the Muppets and the fans? :cry:
  6. dmx10101

    dmx10101 Well-Known Member

    Intering points. I have no comment on the matter though.
  7. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    DmX are you trying to be a wise guy or something :sleep:

    Try harder :boo:
  8. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I think it's really commendable that you're so passionate about this Mark, but most of what you are saying is happening here is purely speculation. I really think you should relax and give the co. & family a little credit.

    The fact is that JHC is a privately-owned coporation and no one outside of the family and it's management has any actual knowledge of the company's state of affairs outside of whatever they put in press releases. Any discussion we have here about how much or how little the company and/or the family has or does not have is pretty much uninformed speculation.

    Who says the mural will sandblasted? Does anyone even know how it was done? If it was done on panels (common with murals) it could be easily transported to L.A. or the archives. I have a feeling all the Muppet-specific contents from the house will be saved.

    I think the issue that has been missed in a lot of your agruments has been that the Jim Henson Company is no longer in New York (outside of whatever mini-office they will maintain). They have a greatly reduced role in Sesame Street and no major work or production in NY any more. There isn't a really good reason to operate there. So you're left with purely sentimental reasons which - although important - don't make a lot of sense from a business point of view. And sadly, yes, JHC is a business.

    Most of us have never stepped foot inside this building. We've only seen pictures and heard stories. I think there's a bit of myth-making at work when fans talk fondly about a place where they have never spent time. Maybe the idea of the existance of the place is much more important than the reality of it being there.

    I'm not saying that the townhouse wasn't a special place, just that perhaps on this issue we should defer to the wisdom and judgement of those who are closest to the issue - the family and the company.

    After all, it is their building!
  9. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    All murals and stained glass windows can be removed and will be. No worries. :excited:

    I'm looking at it this way. You know - when kids grow up and move out parents are left with a terribly big empty house. There are many memories attached to it. It's a shame to sell it, but the parents often do and find a home that better suits their needs. Other than historical relevance, there is no need to keep up the taxes. Especially when they already own suitable offices located in Los Angeles - the heart of the entertainment hub. :cool:

    I assure you the taxes and upkeep on the house is more than just a couple thousand dollars. It's not cheap. Also, just because a family has millions doesn't mean the money is liquid. It is probably heavily invested. Even if they do have the money it doesn't mean that it should be spent on something unnecessary. Henson has seen better days and if this is what they need to get back on track then I support it. After years of Henson hanging on to such things no matter what the cost, it is assuring that they are making financially prudent decisions - and they've been making some tough ones. I have faith they are doing the right thing. It is a shame though. :cry:

    Nevertheless, the Muppets reside in the hearts of fans, not a house. :)
  10. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Some idea there Mark, LOL! Thanks for wrapping me into this. ;)

    If someone wants to make a tape of the building, we could probably archive the video on the site so everyone can see it (depending on the quality of the recording). If anyone did it, however, it would not be sold under any circumstances.
  11. guysmiley4ever

    guysmiley4ever Well-Known Member

    this NY office closing has me slightly confused...what does that mean for sending Fan Mail? is that still the same place or something different?

    sigh, I always had a dream of going to NY to see the Henson sites, CA is long away.
  12. dmx10101

    dmx10101 Well-Known Member

    Uh, no wise guy here. Just saying I have no comment on the matter, that's all.
  13. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Apparently you don't. Henson do OWN their offices and puppet workshop in London - it's called the Creature Shop in Camden. They got it around 25 years ago and Jim probably did as much creative Muppet work there than New York because it was their base throughout the TMS years. He also owned his own home there and yes, the studios were rented but they are some pretty historic studios - TMS stuff is still displayed there today. What i'm saying is that if this is all about the 'Muppet Magic' myth - that this building is the centre of all that was special then it's actually untrue and a lot of places were equally important. While some creative stuff did go on there about 80% of the time it has been used for all the boring admin, aside puppet building in the workshop of course. It's probably been a more important building for Sesame Street in recent years - Jim didn't simply hang out at the other places, he lived there for years. You think selling again with the Townhouse included as real estate is a good option, it isn't. One of the reasons lots of companies were put off buying Henson was that they didn't want to take on all the real estate Henson owned, and the bloated staff and ways of doing things. Media companies aren't interested in real estate - they want the character rights and the programmes.

    I'm not changing the subject at all. I used an example from Jim's past to demonstrate what is going on here. Yes, Jim tried to sell to Disney to make the brand stronger and that is exactly the same here. The Jim Henson Company could do with some cash to put back into their funds which have been in need of help for a long time and maybe this move will make the company stronger in lots of ways for the future. It amazed me the kids even bought back the company and we know they only did so to prevent it being ripped apart by a smaller company just interested in certain things. Perhaps they did it with the foresight that they will be able to sell again at a good price in the future but right now I don't think it is fair to expect they fund the company by yet another $13 or so million dollars which is what the company would need (remember EMTV took all their cash assets in the buyback) without this sale. Especially when it makes no actual business sense for them to keep the place on whatsoever right now and it'd just be an empty shell. Maybe the actual family could afford to keep it for sentimental reasons but it's their choice and they have decided not to whether in your opinion you think they will regret it later or not.

    It is a great idea for a fan to take a video camera in there and do a walkaround video to be archived on the MC website. If anybody has good quality equipment and can get to New York then contact Phillip and maybe he can arrange some access with Henson. I couldn't see the PR or Archive people turning down a request like that.
  14. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    Hey guys this is only the beginning...I have to answer all your letter, but for right now I give you this

    New York State Of Mind Lyrics
    Artist(Band):Billy Joel
    (Print the Lyrics)

    Sing along with the song in your mind, please

    :sing: :cool:

    Some folks like to get away
    Take a holiday from the neighborhood
    Hop a flight to Miami Beach
    Or to Hollywood
    But I'm taking a Greyhound
    On the Hudson River Line
    I'm in a New York state of mind

    I've seen all the movie stars
    In their fancy cars and their limousines
    Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens
    But I know what I'm needing
    And I don't want to waste more time
    I'm in a New York state of mind

    It was so easy living day by day
    Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
    But now I need a little give and take
    The New York Times, The Daily News

    It comes down to reality
    And it's fine with me 'cause I've let it slide
    Don't care if it's Chinatown or on Riverside
    I don't have any reasons
    I've left them all behind
    I'm in a New York state of mind

    I'm just taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River Line
    'Cause I'm in a New York state of mind

    :sing: :cool:

    Yes, A NEW YORK state of mind!!!

    There is a feel for that city. Jim went from a dreamer to the big time in New York. The GREATEST city in the world as David Letterman says! The shining place of our country! THE STATUE OF LIBERTY :attitude: My love of a great American man is Jim Henson, his place of hard work and fun, where he added things to the building and decorated it everywhere. Where the stained glass tribute to him is in the window. A living tribute to a great man, in a city that was hurt by ROTTEN TERRORISTS!

    NEVER should a place of a great man allowed to be sold. New York has a special feel. What is the interest rate of even 1,000,000.00 per year? Keep it please
  15. WiGgY

    WiGgY Well-Known Member

    As Luke said, it's their building. You are taking this WAY too seriously. It's sad, yes, but it is not the end of the world. If they still owned Sesame Street I could see why they would need to stay in New York, but they don't own it. Nothing is going on in New York for them anymore. Let's face it, they aren't doing the amount of work the use to do. It makes miore sense to concentrate their resources in one place.

    As a New Yorker, there was always something about the idea of the town house being the center of the JHC that I liked. I guess I just liked the fact that they were here. But they can't stay anymore. How do you know they don't NEED to sell? Maybe they really do need that 20 million. Maybe that 20 million is going into a HUGE muppet production to kick off the 50th anniversary. Maybe they can use that 20 million to buy back Sesame Street. I don't know, but I'm sure they have their reasons to sell.
  16. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Ooh! Buy back SS Muppets! YES!! Then, we might get to see cross-overs again; and maybe even movie cameos! YES!! YESS!!!
  17. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    I doubt Sesame Workshop would EVER part with those rights for any amount unless they needed it real bad - it was quite a coup them getting those while Henson was in a tricky position and the family out of the decision loop. Maybe Sesame Workshop could buy the Townhouse and move there ?
  18. Ol' Buddy Bert

    Ol' Buddy Bert Well-Known Member

    I doubt that as well. Caroll Spinney mentioned during his book tour that the Sesame Workshop was extremely out of pocket after they bought the rights to the SS characters.
  19. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Well, they must have had enough cash to bankroll a bid with Classic Media to buy Henson back in the spring. But by then, thank goodness, the Henson family came into the picture.
  20. SarahFraggle

    SarahFraggle Well-Known Member

    Artwork of the workshop

    I really hope they don't do anything to the mural of the theater or the stained glass with Mr. Henson and Mr. Oz. :mad: That Mural is the most beautiful thing I've seen, so wonderfully done. :excited: I would die if something happened to either of those things. :cry:

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