The hands behind the Muppets

Damian Gordon // Contributing Writer

After decades of reaching different generations, The Muppets have made their return to primetime television. There have been a select few minds behind these characters that know what makes these characters work at their core.

Guy Gilchrist is a cartoonist that created “The Muppets” comic strip with his brother and Jim Henson in 1981. He’s currently on tour for his twentieth anniversary for another long running comic strip called “Nancy” and took some time out to talk.

Gilchrist commented on why The Muppets have such a long lasting appeal. “Humor and great works of art is based on love. The Muppets actually care about each other. Never ever once do the characters humiliate, degrade or are mean to any of the other characters. They like each other, even Stalter and Waldorf,” said Gilchrist.  

The fortieth anniversary of the franchise is coming up next year and there’s bound to be a roll out of announcements with the young and old glued to their screens in anticipation.

“Everyone always looks forward to the next Muppet project and that’s been since Jim passed away, which I can’t believe it’s been 25 years now. It’s also been the way that Brian (Henson) Cheryl (Henson) and the guardians of the Muppets have taken care of them. There’s a great anticipation for this new show, so it’s still working,” said Gilchrist.

After working with Henson’s company a whole year for free Gilchrist got a call from head writer Jerry Juhl offering him the job and the rest is history.

On the process behind working on “The Muppets,” Gilchrist described it as creatively freeing as Henson didn’t want to restrict the people he worked with.

“He (Jim Henson) would motivate you and he wouldn’t give you your exact assignment. You knew what you were supposed to do, what the destination was, in this case it was 365 days a year do something wonderful for Jim that the whole world would like,” said Gilchrist.

Gilchrist has won multiple awards over his career and was even invited to the White House by President Reagan, but the important thing to him is the fans as they’re what really keeps him going.

“The awards are great for having a good dinner and being able to dress in a tux that night, hang with a pretty girl. It’s meeting people and the getting letters, finding out that you meant something,” said Gilchrist.

Gilchrist has taken his assistant Anna Guthrie under his wings to pass on his teachings to the next generation and left a simple message of “don’t quit” to aspiring cartoonists.


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