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Henson closes NY office

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

  1. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    As has been mentioned, Henson are planning to strip the place bare (or maybe 'Bear' is planning to strip at the place ... but then he's naked already so i must have got it right first time). So yeah, anything like artwork, murals or stained glass windows, carved desk etc will all be moved with the company and kept. Many people 'inside' Henson have been confirming this.
  2. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Question: Since the mural was painted on the wall (never thought about that), HOW can it be saved?
  3. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    It was apparently painted on canvas and mounted on the wall.
  4. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Unless you're talking about the other one from the Blue House, the usual Bear has a porkpie hat and bowtie.

    Wear THAT next time you're alone with your love and watch the points add up!

    "Connect the dots, la laa la laa!" :o
  5. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    OK that's what I thought; it seemed people were saying it was painted ON the wall. Never mind then...
  6. SarahFraggle

    SarahFraggle Well-Known Member

    :smirk: Thanks! I feel alot better that those things are safe! :excited:
  7. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    Hey everybody, I want to reply big time but Christmas is the most hectic time :D

    All I can say for speed is that nobody has any confirmation about preserving anything, and that is what scares me the most.

    All through Hollywood are bad tales of people saying when wonderful things just get thrown out. Even if the mural is preserved, who says they might leave it around for a year, it gets damaged, or they don't know WHAT to do with it and somebody says "Enough of that thing!"

    Who knows :sympathy:
  8. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    This is HENSON Mark - their archive people are the best i've ever seen. They have an intricate database of thousands of items all carefully stored from Jim's first puppets to tiny props and old letters. Some of the NY stuff is the most precious and important, the family themselves will make sure what needs to be kept is archived safely. You might not get official confirmation on a forum but you can be sure the Henson Company are more than aware of the issues being raised here and preservation plans are definitely happening. ;)
  9. Craig Crane

    Craig Crane Active Member

    Its all a bit sad....

    I have the upmost respect for the company, and how they have inspired m to follow the paths I took in life. Although my involvemnet in Henson projects here in the UK has been minimal (hence one of my domains being 3rdchickenfromtheleft.com) I have always followed them comewhat may.

    Its a shame that things are so bad that things are being closed, scaled down or whatever...

    I wish that they could keep a hold of NY and ditch the Chaplin studios... I say this because NY will forver be a MUPPET City, where as LA is not... I went to the Chaplin Studios last year for a meeting with Brian... and as nice as the Chaplin place was, there was no escaping its heritage as either Chaplins old gaff or A&M's headquarters. However, NY will forever be THE definative hub of Henson Creativity.... AND ONCE IT HAS GONE, THATS IT.

    Surely NY is no where near as costly as LA to keep.

    Maybe I'm just too Nostalgic for my own good. I always prefered the Hampstead Creature shop over Camden. Jims house was across the road, and it was all very "nice". Camden was a bit of a mess, and never really felt "creativley different". By that I mean that whenever you walked into Hampstead, you knew you were somewhere special. It had a lot of history. Camden just felt like a converted warehouse. It was a pain to get to and the streets were just filfthy. Hampstead had class.... Its now a Doctors surgery..... :concern: I think the family still have Number 50 though, as they are listed as the owners in an application for planning permission on the house this year to remove a stained glass in door at rear ground floor level(Its a listed house). And very nice it is too.

    LA has a lot of history, but none of it is really Henson History. I have never associatted LA with Hensons or the Muppets, mainly due to the fact that once in LA you are just one small fish in a very big pond. In NY or London, you at least retain a creative edge and are instantly renowned for being "special". Could you imagine Pixar or ILM working in any other inviroment than the one in which they do?

    But I only read the headlines and have only had a brief glimpse at this forum, and I may have missed something... but either way, I'd hate to see the same NY office that I used to write to begging to be a puppeteer go away forever. It was (as was Hampstead) my mecca. And looking at all the photo's of it, it really does appear to have a heart and soul all of its own... something that I feel no building in LA could ever offer.

    There must be a way around this....

    Lose the LA building, its a little too pretentious anyway, keep NY and work from there.
  10. Craig Crane

    Craig Crane Active Member

    This just bought back a wonderful memory of my first meeting with Brian... it was 1990, on my 20th birthday and he finally succumbed to my "keen" letters and invited me over to Hampstead to say hi and do some puppeteering. It was a great day, and when he realised that there was no room at the creature shop, he took me over to his Dads house where we puppeteered in the lounge in front of this massive mirrored wall with some puppets from Mother Goose. When I saw the throne from the Dark Crystal at the end of the hallway, I almost peed in my pants.

    Pretty dam fine, if I may say so. I had not worked as a puppeteer up till that point.... but I have not stopped since. So for that I am gratefull...

    Anyway, I digress....

    If you think a letter may help, lets do it.
    Nothing ventured etc etc etc

  11. want to see it

    i want to take a trip into the city to see the henson building before its gone. what is a good way to get there, by cab or by walking or subway. also, would they allow people in the building.

    please write to michele_herrmann@hotmail.com

  12. Muppetto

    Muppetto Active Member

    I got to visit this place back in 1996 when I took a trip to NYC with my high school drama club. I have a friend who is a puppeteer (he does Tutter on Bear in the Big Blue House and is currently doing AVENUE Q on Broadway) and was working for JHC at the time and he arranged for me and my mom to visit. I took lots of pictures when I was there. If I can find them, I'll be sure to post some. I also got to visit the set of Muppets From Space in Wilmington, NC back in 1999. Here's my set report from Ain't It Cool News.
  13. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    Oh wow it's been over 10 days now I am back at the computer. Happy new year and everything :D

    Now I can get back to those older replies.

    I can't make the quotes thing work...ah well...

    Buck Beaver , all of us are speculating. And yes, I know it is a business, but not that doesn't mean every decision they make I protest against I should be told "awwww...too bad little kid, it's a business in a grown up world."

    I want to have the HEnson company succeed too, of COURSE, but I don't think this sale is gonna be the difference. It is just thoise guys saying "GOODBYE" to the history and that makes me feel terrible for the new projects.

    Business is like art, you make mistakes in both sometimes.

    Here is your quote
    "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."

    WISDOM of the Henson kids? Give me a break :mad:

    They censor the old tape of Jugband Christmas. What? For the nudity? There's your "wisdom." I read the Sesame Street unpaved and there'sd mistakes in it, and they reference to Roseanne Barr as if she's a "celebrity." I don't give two cents for the "wisdom" of the HEnson kids.

    Frogboy says " Henson has seen better days and if this is what they need to get back on track then I support it."

    And also that there is no need to keep the taxes up and it's not cheap and L.A. is the hub of entertainment.

    SElling this building is not going to equal a good movie. It just means a little extra money...but unless they COULD NOT make a movie WITHOUT selling the building, then WHAT is the POINT???

    Yes, it's not peanuts for taxes and upkeep, but what is a few points of interest on just ONE million bucks? To a family of millionaires, 15 grand a year is coffee money to you and me. It's nothing. THey are selling the building for no good reason.

    Is LA the hub of entertainment? Well, the Muppets are not taking the world by storm if you notice. WHo is David Letterman and Conan and so many other people and Woody Allen and so many others? New York CIty is pretty darn important if you ask me. Who are the Muppets? As big as Paramount? NYC is where they made the big time. They should stay there.

    Remember it's a NEW YORK "state of mind." :sing:

    Now Luke says

    "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-

    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."

    Jim travelled everywhere. He had homes everyplace. If you read the book "The Works" then you will learn that the New York building was THE place. Am I making this up??? Read the book. THis place is a part of the soul of the Muppets. BUt that's how I feel.

    Philip----I hope somebody does make a tape and we can check it out here. I sent an email to HEnson and they haven't responded. WHY can't we have a tape? THis website is not popular for nothing.


    So I ask you all this: Before they put the place up, did ANY of you say "Hey! Sell that building!?"

    No, nobody did. So, why are you all saying what a great idea it is, or that the HEnson kids are having "wisdom?"

    Hey, everybody has an opinion.

    I think the HEnson kids are not too bright as far as business is concerned, and there is no NEED to sell this building. They can keep all that history for candy bar money.

    Is it their building? YES! They can burn it down if they want to. But I am not going to stand around and say "they know best." They don't know best. The loss of this building is a dark sign that the special history is something they can't be bothered with.

    Yes, it is sentimental nonsense, but so are the Muppets, too! Chaplin had a Hollywood history. The Chaplin building even has to be CALLED Chaplin.

    If the Henson kids are tired of trying to match the glory days, they sell the glory place, because they don't expect any more glory.

    This decision is terrible. THey are turning on their own roots, and that means more of Kermit on Jimmy KImmel, and we are watching another big piece of what we love and cherish DIE.

    Why make a World Trade Center memorial? Why make a "Strawberry Fields" for John Lennon? WHy bother with ANYTHING? Because it matters.

    Sadly, it's pretty plain to see that it doesn't matter too much to Brian. I'm NOT saying he didn't love his Dad, but this decision means more crapola from the Muppets is coming :cry:
  14. Random EMO Fan

    Random EMO Fan Active Member

    Well, this is the first I've heard of this (I haven't heard anything to do with Henson in news/tv in the UK for years unfortunately), and I have to say it sucks. Really, said building should be purchased by the State or a charitable organisation (it's the National Trust/Department of Heritage/National Lottery Herritage Fund's job over here). Henson has to be important enough historically. Less important things have been preserved. :(
  15. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    That's a good point I wish I had written.

    LESSER things have been saved!!!

    Hey man, like David Letterman says after 9/11, if you have any doubt, now you know "New York City is the best city in the world." :D

    Sorry to everybody else, NYC is the best. Even Kermit did an "I love New York" ad so many years ago.

    It's New York City. Favourite song of Frnak Sinatra, too.

    New York :D

    I'm in a New York state of mind :sing:

    (stupid Henson company still won't email me back for a video of the building)
  16. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Do you happen to live there by any chance ? ;)
  17. Mark Filton

    Mark Filton Well-Known Member

    No. But I sure wish I did :D
  18. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Anyone know when the place will be closed? I've called JHC-NY and one guy would not even comment on whether the place was up for sale in the first place.
  19. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    I think they need to find a buyer first
  20. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    My 999th Message

    From pages 156-157 of the 1993 book "Jim Henson--The Works":

    Home Sweet Headquarters

    Perhaps the best place to observe the special family feeling that characterizes the company to this day is the town house near Central Park that supplies Jim Henson Productions with its New York headquarters. This building was purchased in 1977, when the success of "The Muppet Show" made a physical expansion necessary. Jim had not planned to buy anything quite as grand--he had been thinking, rather, of something like an old industrial building, and he briefly considered a disused schoolhouse and an old fire station. But he fell in love with this gracious structure in the middle of New York's diplomatic district--with the grand staircase that spiraled up from the lobby to the third floor, and with the elegant second-floor library that would make an ideal boardroom.

    It took more than a year to renovate the building, but when it was finished it was a magnificent sight. Murals and stained-glass windows portrayed the characters who had made ownership of this building possible, and restrooms were papered with Muppet wallpaper. At the same time, though, the building had been restored (by architect Peter Strauss) with great respect for its period charm, making it a graceful blend of two worlds. Helping to integrate the two were the masses of carefully tended flowers and plants with which the building was (and is) always filled.

    What made the building especially pleasurable to visit in the late seventies and early eighties was the fact that for a few years it contained a significant part of the New York workshop, installed in a bright, airy basement area that opened onto a sunny courtyard and was illuminated by an enormous skylight projecting from the rear of the main building. It was there that you would find Calista Hendrickson decorating a gown for Miss Piggy with bugle beads. It was there that you would come across Leslee Asch restoring classic Muppet figures for a traveling museum show. It was there that you would encounter Faz Fazakas tinkering with electrodes and transistors.

    Today, although the workshop has moved a few blocks away, feelings of creativity and camaraderie still permeate the building. Visitors to the office get a chance to sit in red velvet theater seats in front of Coulter Watt's mural of the Muppet Theater--as close to the "original" experience as you can get. The atmosphere is relaxed, with an air of cheerfulness that is catching.

    The office is one of those rare places where people enjoy coming to work in the morning.

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