Thirty years after the passing of The Muppets creator Jim Henson, the legendary entertainer will be honored with an online reunion of Muppets performers this weekend. On Saturday, May 16, it will be the official thirty year anniversary of the day Henson died. To help remember the mastermind behind The Muppets, movie producer Victoria Labalme, who co-produced the Frank Oz documentary Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched, is facilitating a special reunion to be livestreamed for free featuring four of the original performers from the show. Keeping the spirit of Henson alive, the Muppets reunion will also serve as a fundraiser to assist frontline workers in the healthcare industry.
Featured in the special reunion for the cast of The Muppets are Frank Oz (Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Cookie Monster, Grover); Bill Barretta (Pepe the King Prawn, Johnny Fiama, Bobo the Bear, Big Mean Carl); Fran Brill (Prairie Dawn, Zoe, Little Bird, Betty Lou), and Dave Goelz (The Great Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Boober Fraggle). All that's missing here is the Muppets' most famous character, Kermit the Frog, who was originally portrayed by Jim Henson until his death in 1990. Still, Henson will be there in spirit, as the other performers will talk about the "visionary work of Jim Henson on this 30th anniversary of his passing."
The origins of The Muppets date back to 1955 when the characters were originally created by Jim and Jane Henson. After making sporadic appearances on television shows like Sam and Friends and Sesame Street, Kermit and his pals eventually were given their own program in 1976 with the debut of The Muppet Show. This series won four Primetime Emmy Awards and forever made The Muppets a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, with the franchise enjoying its continued popularity three decades after Henson's death. Several movies based on the television series were also produced.
In recent years, The Muppets has had a bit of a resurgence which includes a return to movie theaters. In 2011, Jason Segel and Amy Adams starred in an updated Muppets movie, now under the umbrella of Disney. The movie's success brought about a sequel in 2014 along with a television series spin-off and a reboot of the cartoon series Muppet Babies. After this weekend's reunion with the original performers, we can still look forward to seeing much more from The Muppets, as Kermit and the others aren't finished yet. They'll be back this summer when the new comedy series Muppets Now makes its debut on the Disney+ streaming service.
If you're looking to watch this special Muppets reunion, you can pre-register now at MuppetGuysTalking.com/Jim to get sent a reminder before the event goes live. It's free to watch and get involved, though everyone who joins will be asked to donate financially to assist frontline workers in need of funding. If you have anything to spare, please consider doing so, as these people need the help now more than ever. The event will officially go live on the website starting on Saturday, May 16, at 4 p.m. EST.