Jim Henson’s Memorial Service

Louise Gold was one of the puppeteers who took part in the public memorial service for that great puppeteer Jim Henson (24 September 1936 to 16 May 1990), a The Cathedral Church of St John The Devine, in New York, 21 May 1990.

The event has often been referred to by internet Muppet fans as a ‘Funeral Service’, but should in fact be referred to as a ‘Memorial Service’ (that’s something your webmaster wasn’t aware of until constructing this webpage).

 

Participants

Pam Arciero, Harry Belafonte, Camille Bonora, Fran Brill, Bernie Brillstein, Kevin Clash, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Michael K. Frith, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Brian Henson, Cheryl Henson, Heather Henson, Jane Henson (nee Jane Nebal), John Henson, Lisa Henson, Richard Hunt, Jerry Juhl, Duncan Kenworthy, Allelu Kurten, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, Marty Robinson, David Rudman, Caroll Spinney, Jon Stone, and, Steve Whitmire

 

Running Order

1. The Rainbow Connection – Church organ

2. New Orleans Style Funeral MarchThe Dirty Dozen Brass Band (The Henson family, Various Puppeteers, and, Various Clergy entered)

3. The Choir Sings – The Church choir

4. Let Us Prey - Clergy

5. Speach & Letters From Children – Read by Richard Hunt (possibly with others)

6. speechJerry Juhl (Muppet Head Writer)

7. When The River Meets The Sea (song) – sung by Jerry Nelson and Louise Gold (Muppeteers – but this time just as themselves)

8. Speech – by Allelu Kurten (UNIMA General Secretary)

9. Speech – by Duncan Kenworthy (film producer)

10. Speech – by Harry Belafonte (singer)

11. Turn The World Around – sung by Harry Belafonte, with everybody in the congregation waving butterflies on rods

12. speechFrank Oz (including a tale about a Christmas gift Jim Henson once gave him)

13. The Rainbow Connection - recording played, more butterflies fluttered

14. speech Jon Stone (Sesame Street writer/director)

15. Bein’ Green – sung by Caroll Spinney (as Big Bird)

16. Speech – by Bernie Brillstein,

17. Speech – by Michael K. Frith

18. Fearless Leader (a poem) – read by Jerry Nelson (as Floyd Pepper)

19. Bring Him Home (from Les Miserables) – sung by Louise Gold

 

Religious Texts

20.  Jim Henson’s Spirit – read by several priests

21.  Jim Henson’s Eulogy – read by several priests

22. The Choir Sings – The Choir

 

Jim Henson’s Letters (for his funeral)

23. Introductory SpeechJane Henson

24. Jim Henson’s Letters Read – read by Cheryl Henson, and, Brian Henson.

 

25. Speech Richard Hunt

 

Muppet Songs

26. The Cutest Little Baby Face – sung by Kevin Clash, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and, Steve Whitmire

27. Lydia The Tattooed Lady – sung by Kevin Clash (as Elmo)

28. It’s In every One Of Us – sung by Jerry Nelson (as Robin) and The Muppeteers

29. Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear – sung by Richard Hunt (as Scooter), and, Frank Oz (as Fozzie)

30. Halfway Down The Stairs – sung by Jerry Nelson (as Robin)

21. Cottleston Pie – Sung by Frank Oz (as Fozzie)

22. I’m Going To Go Back Their Someday – sung by Dave Goelz (as Gonzo)

23. Wemblin; Fool – sung by Jerry Nelson (as Gobo Fraggle), and, Steve Whitmire (as Wembley Fraggle)

24. You Are My Sunshine – sung by Jerry Nelson (as Hoots The Owl) & The Muppets

25. Just One Person – sung by sixteen puppeteers (each with one of their famous characters) namely (from right to left at the alter rail): Richard Hunt (with Scooter), Jerry Nelson (with Gobo Fraggle), Steve Whitmire (with Wembley Fraggle, Kevin Clash (with Elmo), Frank Oz (with Fozzie Bear), Louise Gold (with Annie Sue Pig), Dave Goelz (with Gonzo The Great), Pam Arciero (with Grungetta), Marty Robinson (with Telly Monster), Caroll Spinney (with Oscar The Grouch), Kathy Mullen (with Mokey Fraggle), David Rudman (with Boo Monster [from Little Muppet Monsters]), Fran Brill (with Prarie Dawn), Camille Bonora (with Meryl Sheep), Mike Quinn (with a generic Penguin, and, Karen Prell (with Red Fraggle)

 

19. Closing Ceremony (Into Your Hands) – a Bishop

20 When The Saints Go Marching In – played by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

 

 

 

Another memorial service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on the 2 July 1990.

British Puppeteer, Louise Gold can be spotted among the other notable puppeteers in the CNN News footage of Jim Henson’s Memorial Service. Both actually puppeteering (with Annie Sue Pig on her arm), and also in a crowd shot or two (where she is standing near Frank Oz, looking tearful).

Jim Henson had requested that at his memorial no one wear black. Needless to say some of his TMS colleagues took this to heart. Steve Whitmire wore a bright green (Kermit The Frog coloured) suit, while Louise Gold wore a bright red dress.

Some footage, of Harry Belafonte performing Turn The World Around at the memorial service has found its way onto a DVD as an Extra bit on a DVD of Harry Belafonte, Linda Rondstadt and John Denver’s performances on The Muppet Show..

Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Steve Whitmire, and, Kathy Mullen were along with Jim Henson himself the eight main puppeteers on The Muppet Show, on which Fran Brill, and, Karen Prell also puppeteered, Harry Belafonte was a Guest Star, and on which Michael K Frith, Cheryl Henson, and, Jerry Juhl also worked. It might be noted that: Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, and Louise Gold each performed one of their best known The Muppet Show characters during the service.

Pam Arciero, Camille Bonora, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and, Marty Robinson’s recording credits include on Born To Add.

Pam Arciero, Camille Bonora, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Marty Robinson, David Rudman, and, Caroll Spinney’s recording credits include Elmo’s Lowdown Hoedown.

Pam Arciero, Camille Bonora, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, and, Marty Robinson’s recording credits include The Count’s Countdown. However there has been some debate as to whether or not Louise Gold actually sang this.

Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, and, Louise Gold took part in The Royal Variety Performance (1977), as did Harry Belafonte.

Kevin Clash, Dave Goelz, Brian Henson, Cheryl Henson, Kathy Mullen, Frank Oz, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, David Rudman, and, Steve Whitmire had puppeteered on Labyrinth.

Kevin Clash, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include Muppet Music Sampler.

Kevin Clash, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Karen Prell, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include Muppet Music Mix.

Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, Marty Robinson, David Rudman, and, Steve Whitmire had puppeteered on Tale Of The Bunny Picnic, which Cheryl Henson, and, Duncan Kenworthy were also involved with.

Kevin Clash, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, John Henson, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Mike Quinn, and, Steve Whitmire went on to puppeteer on Muppet Treasure Island, which Brian Henson directed and Michael K. Frith, and, Jerry Juhl were also involved with.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Brian Henson, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Mike Quinn, Caroll Spinney, and, Steve Whitmire had puppeteered on The Great Muppet Caper, which Lisa Henson got her started in the film business on and Michael K. Frith, and, Jerry Juhl were also involved with.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include The Great Muppet Caper (Soundtrack album), and John Denver And The Muppets A Christmas Together (which had included a version of When The River Meets The Sea, and, It’s In Every One Of Us), both of which Michael K. Frith was also involved with

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, David Rudman, and, Steve Whitmire went on to puppeteer on The Muppet Christmas Carol, which Brian Henson directed and Michael K. Frith, and, Jerry Juhl were also involved with.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, and, Frank Oz’s recording credits include The Muppet Show Music Hall, and, Jim Henson Presents Silly Songs.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, and, Frank Oz ’s recording credits include The Muppet Show 2, which Jerry Juhl was also involved with. Excerpts from that album were on For What It’s Worth.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and Steve Whitmire ’s recording credits include The Muppet Show Music Album, which Jerry Juhl was also involved with.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Mike Quinn, and, Steve Whitmire had puppeteered on The Muppets Go To The Movies, with which Jerry Juhl was also involved.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Kathy Mullen, Frank Oz, Mike Quinn, and, Steve Whitmire had puppeteered on The Dark Craystal, which Cheryl Henson, and, Duncan Kenworthy were also involved with, and for which Jerry Nelson did voice work.

Louise Gold, and, Mike Quinn had puppeteered on The UK Co-Production of Fraggle Rock, for which Dave Goelz, and, Jerry Nelson did voice-work.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Karen Prell, Caroll Spinney, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include Favorite Songs From Jim Henson’s Muppets (which had also included versions of When The River Meets The Sea, Cottleston Pie, and, Halfway Down The Stairs).

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include: John Denver & The Muppets Merry Christmas 45RPM, Muppet Hits 1 (on which Richard Hunt and Frank Oz sang Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear), Muppet Hits 2, Christmas For Kids, John Denver Christmas, and, Music Mayhem And More (on which Richard Hunt and Frank Oz sang Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear)..

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Brian Henson, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, David Rudman, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include The Muppet Christmas Carol (Soundtrack album).

Dave Goelz, and, Louise Gold, went on to puppeteer on The Animal Show, on which Frank Oz made a guest puppeteering appearance, and, with which Brian Henson was also involved with.

Brian Henson appeared on the documentary Inside The Labyrinth, and was also involved with Mopatop’s Shop.

Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathy Mullen, Jerry Nelson, and, Steve Whitmire had appeared in The All Time Get Around Sometimes Play Together Every Other Friday Night Vaudeville Show.

Louise Gold, and, Jerry Nelson’s recording credits include Jerome Kern The First 100 Years.

Louise Gold, and, Mike Quinn had appeared in an item about The Dark Crystal on Blue Peter.

Marty Robinson had puppeteered on Spitting Image, a programme for which Louise Gold was the original Leading Puppeteer.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Jerry Nelson, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, David Rudman, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include A Green And Red Christmas.

Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Karen Prell, and, Mike Quinn had previously puppeteered on The Ghost Of Faffner Hall.

Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, and, Mike Quinn went on to puppeteer on The Secret Life Of Toys.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Jerry Juhl, Kathryn Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and, Steve Whitmire had featured in the documentary Of Muppets And Men, on which Karen Prell also appeared.

Brian Henson appeared in the documentary The Wonderful World Of Puppets.

Fourteen years later, Louise Gold sang at Hubert Gregg’s Memorial Service, and eighteen years later at A Celebration Of The Life And Work Of Dick Vosburgh.

Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Kathryn Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Karen Prell, and, Steve Whitmire’s recording credits include Put Some Zing In Your Spring.

Kevin Clash, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Brian Henson, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and, Steve Whitmire went on to take part in the documentary I Love The Muppets.

Steve Whitmire probably puppeteered on ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows

Louise Gold, and, Brian Henson went on to puppeteer on That Puppet Game Show.

Pam Arcerio, Camille Bonora, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Kathryn Mullen Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Marty P. Robinson, David Rudman, Caroll Spinney, and, Steve Whitmire went on to puppeteer together on Sesame Street during the early 1990s, on which the writer Jon Stone also worked. Of course some of them already had worked on Sesame Street before. But at least three of them did not work on Sesame Street until afterwards.

 

Critics Comments

 .

 

Links about Jim Henson’s Memorial Service

Chris Barry’s account of the service: http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/chris_barry/archive/2005/09/08/1722.aspx  (a pretty through description, giving the running order etc).

On The Road With David (a Muppet-Inspired Circus performer)’s page about watching the CNN News footage Jim Henson’s Funeral on television  http://www.ontheroadwithdavid.com/OnTheRoad/Henson.htm  (includes some pictures from the service, including one of the 16 puppeteers singing at the alter rail – spot Steve Whitmire and Louise Gold in their bright clothing)

Muppet Musique’s page for the service (gives a slightly fuller description then the others): http://www.mystacor.com/muppet_musique/jhms/jhms.html

TVDVD Reviews.com: http://www.tvdvdreviews.com/muppet2.html

Muppet Central Thread http://forum.muppetcentral.com/archive/index.php/t-13024.html (it clarifies a few points concerning the fact that the public service should be referred to as a ‘Jim Henson’s Memorial Service’, rather than ‘Jim Henson’s Funeral service’.).

Newsgroup Thread citing Chris Barry’s excellent account of the service: http://groups.google.co.uk/group/alt.tv.sesame-street/browse_thread/thread/b3d5b9a7511740c6/4aedad8db8dd6571?lnk=st&q=&rnum=5&hl=en#4aedad8db8dd6571

rec.arts.henson+muppet Threads (the ones that managed to referred to Mike Quinn as performing a “Geriatric Penguin”:  http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.henson+muppets/browse_thread/thread/2f01ecf71fe75601/b0d55ff922443028?lnk=st&q=&rnum=1&hl=en#b0d55ff922443028  and http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.henson+muppets/browse_thread/thread/e51e36e5c493077b/fec069901d2241f3?lnk=st&q=&rnum=1&hl=en#fec069901d2241f3 (The earlier link includes a list of who 15 of the 16 puppeteers doing Just One Person were)

Muppet Wiki, section for the New York Memorial service: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Jim_Henson%27s_Memorial

Muppet Wiki, picture of some of the puppeteers taking part in the service: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Image:Memorialmuppets.jpg

Muppet Wiki, picture of  Jerry and Louise singing as themselves at the service http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Image:Jerrylouisememorial.jpg

 

| Return To Site Guide | Return To Muppet Work |