Saturday, August 22, 2009

In Memory

This reaction would be almost two months late, but just wanted to put up a post about Michael Jackson's death. Well, not his death exactly, but what it led me to...okay, this is confusing. Let me just rehash what happened. So that day I found out MJ died, I was stunned. Who wouldn't be? He's like Coca-Cola (or Pepsi, if you want to be more logically correct) - a brand name known in almost all corners of the world and across all ages. He is just super popular. Plus, I was a child of the 80's, and was so mesmerized by the MV of "Thriller" (totally ruined zombie movies for me, everytime I see them I expect them to break into dance). There I was, initially stunned, and then I immediately thought of Jim Henson.

You heard it right. Jim Henson. And you ask what's the connection? Well, they both started significant changes for the etertainment industry. MJ was the King of Pop, and JH was the King of the Muppets. Plus, the peak of their careers was during the 80's, when I was as impressionable as a bucket of play-doh. And they both had a sudden death at a youngish age.

So while everyone was glued to their TV sets watching the news and the memorial coverage, I was searching videos of JH's memorial on YouTube. And let me tell you, his was hands down much better and more meaningful than MJ's. It was a big funeral, but not 2 auditoriums big. The most famous celebrity who performed was Big Bird. I'm guessing none of the songs they had sung reached the Billboard Top 40. But it was much more honest, and their grief and celebration was not marred by the glitz and pompousness. Both brought me to tears (I admit it with only the tiniest bit of shame), yet the child in me was more regretful for the loss of the more humble man.

This is a clip from JH's funeral that brought me to (more) tears and also inspired me. It was the last song in the medley performed by his muppeteers, and I was really awe-struck when almost all of his muppets came out.

This the version that came after the funeral, during the Muppet Show special. The muppets were trying to show a tribute for JH, but apparently they had no idea who he was. They even thought he was an accountant, since it was his signature that was on their paychecks. I thought they won't be presenting Kermit, because Jim Henson IS Kermit, but seeing Kermit the Frog at the end of the song turned me into a complete blubber. (Trivia: The whole production team made sure this segment is done in just one take.)


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