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I miss Jim Henson. I miss his brand of creativity and I miss what he brought to the world of entertainment.

I – who never knew the man himself – see Jim Henson’s work as singularly inspired and gentle.

I felt that there was in it always an attempt to celebrate imagination, uphold quality entertainment and reach as many people as possible with his stories.

The Muppet Show was genius. It worked on so many levels: it was tender, funny, thought provoking and inventive.

That’s not to say that Jim didn’t have his shortcomings. Often his creative vision, especially in his movies, was given much more importance and emphasis than the stories he was telling. The Dark Crystal’s story falls flat, and The Labyrinth, which I do dearly enjoy, fumbles forward like vignettes of a Muppet show. And don’t get me started about the casting of David Bowie or the songs he sang for the movie.

Still, have we seen comparable work since Jim’s untimely departure? No. CGI effects do not compare to the artistry and charm of puppetry. The Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth, for all of their shortcomings, remain unsurpassed examples of creativity and ingenuity.

The pinnacle of Jim’s success was The Storyteller. John Hurt was magnificent and the writing, some of the best ever presented on network television.

Today, entertainment companies fear risk. They fear failure. They want everything to look the same, sound the same, be the same. Fear can lead people to make bad creative decisions – or to suppress their distinctiveness altogether.

Jim offered an original voice. He took risks; sometimes he failed and sometimes he succeeded. I love him for that. Here’s to the creative voices waiting in the wings – step forward, follow Jim’s example.