March 24, 2008 6:52 AM   Subscribe

It certainly plays as an experimental film from 1965.

I thought it interesting how many scenes there are of him ogling women, but that was based on what I thought was the established fact of his homosexuality (despite a marriage). But Wikipedia makes absolutely no mention of that, or of AIDS. I been the victim of an urban legend? It cannot be! (Also, there are many pointless, timewasting activities in the movie. If Henson were gay, then "obsession with women" would probably seem to be timewasting make-work.)

The elephant painting was probably the best part. He's going at it with such attention and it is so very pointless.
posted by DU at 7:28 AM on March 24, 2008

I'd never heard the rumors of his homosexuality, nor that he died of complications from AIDS. It does play like a fun be-bop time capsule. I found the women-ogling a bit surprising, but not so much, given the nature of 1965, when sexual mores were going round the bend; and I didn't find that sex was the overarching theme of it, but a fun aside to the more generally explored concepts of they rhythms of time and life.

And it's got an elephant being painted! And strippers with pasties! Wakka-wakka!
posted by not_on_display at 7:50 AM on March 24, 2008

And of course ogling women is kind of pointless and timewasting even for straight men.
posted by DU at 7:56 AM on March 24, 2008

every time he spoke, i could only see ernie.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 8:27 AM on March 24, 2008

I'm not familiar with any rumors about Henson being gay, DU; I think that must have been an urban legend. Every account I've ever heard of the man suggests that he was very much into The Ladies.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:40 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, that is very bizarre. I heard this from a (usually) very reliable source in the early 90s (who I much later found out was gay himself AND liked Henson a lot, so I'm doubtful he'd spread a rumor like this maliciously (or hopefully, actually)). I've been thinking it was true the whole time.
posted by DU at 8:47 AM on March 24, 2008

^"And of course ogling women is kind of pointless and timewasting even for straight men," he posted on MetaFilter.
posted by not_on_display at 8:50 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

As I recall, Henson died of a particularly nasty cancer (don't remember what sort; not looking it up). Never heard anything about either teh gay nor AIDS.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:52 AM on March 24, 2008

He died of a massive staph infection. Could happen to anyone. Now all our muppets have messed up voices.
posted by Gungho at 9:04 AM on March 24, 2008

Henson died of a raging strep infection, leading to toxic shock syndrome.
posted by Class Goat at 9:05 AM on March 24, 2008

Sorry, I read it wrong.
posted by Class Goat at 9:05 AM on March 24, 2008


Lovely stuff. Thanks.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:11 AM on March 24, 2008

See also The Cube, another experimental piece from Jim Henson, this one from 1969.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 9:39 AM on March 24, 2008

Richard Hunt died of AIDS, not long after Henson's death, which may be creating some of the confusion here.
posted by evilcolonel at 12:00 PM on March 24, 2008

Calling this an experimental film a la 1965 actually kinda chafes. It's pretty tame, commercial and charming. It's more experimental a la 2008, I guess.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:12 PM on March 24, 2008

...a la peanut butter sandwiches...
posted by not_on_display at 12:16 PM on March 24, 2008

Ooo, that was fun.

posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:37 PM on March 24, 2008

Wow, I REALLY like this. A lot. First off, there's the fact that it's so sound/sound effects driven. And of course, rhythm driven.

I love the odd and unexpected surrealist visual storytelling, like

a) Tarzan character swings on vine in the jungle
b) Woman with pair of scissors snips "vine"
c) what falls is not Tarzan, but an olive into a martini glass
d) "Tarzan" and woman share martinis

This is brilliant, a real treat, and as great as some of the Muppets stuff was, I can't help but wish he had kept exploring this kind of film work as well.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:02 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

After all that Freudian imagery I could really go for some Wilkins Coffee.

(thanks for the post!)
posted by oneirodynia at 2:46 PM on March 24, 2008

those interested in old Jim Henson movies should check out The Cube (previously posted on mefi)
posted by flyinghamster at 4:09 PM on March 24, 2008

I had no idea. Good man Jim. A delightful little drum piece.
posted by fcummins at 4:25 PM on March 24, 2008

My upthread comment is more critical-sounding than I usually am, and I feel guilty. I should add that I would much rather be on a desert island with this short than with Las Hurdes or Peggy and Fred in Hell. Not least because it stars the most charming man who ever lived.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:43 PM on March 24, 2008

AHH! One of my friends has the AV Geeks DVD that contains this Hensony goody. I believe it was called "Best of Huh?"

That was the same DVD that brought into my life the odious Malakapalakadoo Skip Two. And that Lutheran Church freakout called Stalked (Man rejects God, rambles interminably, finds himself in empty city. Invisible footsteps follow man around, and are associated with screeching noises. Footstep-producing Jesus Figure shows up, has moustache, dances in wooden shoes, rips off clothing, dies).
posted by Coatlicue at 5:09 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

Also check out (via WFMU and Johnny Carson) this 17MB mpeg of Jim Henson and Raymond Scott's "Limbo, The Organized Mind"
posted by not_on_display at 5:21 PM on March 24, 2008

It's everybody gets an experimental film day. I like puppetry in my montage as much as I like dance in it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:47 PM on March 24, 2008

Experimental film day?

They Might Be Giants gets an Experimental Film with Strong Sad today, then!

And Louie Boonwell do the doggy from Andaloooo with Sal Dolly! Hot cha! [jazz hands]
posted by not_on_display at 6:12 PM on March 24, 2008

Hot cha, where are you? Everybody's eyes are closed.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:43 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

I can't see why I miss you so... so Hot cha, where are you?
posted by not_on_display at 7:33 PM on March 24, 2008

There's a lot of sesame street in that.
posted by empath at 8:24 PM on March 24, 2008

"With the talents of:
[...various people blah blah...]
Frank Oznowicz"

So Henson and Oz worked together from the start, it seems. Awesome!
posted by majick at 9:07 PM on March 24, 2008

Thank you! I always wondered if, Like Roald Dahl, Jim Henson had lots of 'adult' grade content in him and potential that got kind of lost as the market for the surreal seems to exist mostly for kids? I also always loved his Wilkins Coffee adverts but never seem to be able to find them online.
posted by The Salaryman at 2:36 AM on March 25, 2008

^Salaryman: see here
posted by not_on_display at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2008

posted by ZachsMind at 7:19 PM on March 25, 2008

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