Jim Henson's Home Movies Were Lovely
YouTube / Henson Company
Autumn is here, and where I live most of the leaves have fallen—just a few stubborn maples are clutching their last orange leaves. So now seems the right time to share a short film by Jim Henson that hasn't been seen much, perhaps because it's more like a home movie than what we think of as a "Jim Henson film." Entitled Run, Run, the four-minute film features Henson's daughters running in the Connecticut woods on an October afternoon in 1965. I recognize those woods—when I was the same age as those kids, I ran around in the woods of Connecticut too (though it was the 80s version of 'em). For a dose of retro quietude, check this out.
... Jim’s creative activities spilled over at home, too, where he and his wife Jane had four small children. Their Connecticut home pulsed with the energy emanating from a new puppy, cats, and Lisa (5 ½), Cheryl (4), Brian (2) and infant John. Family art projects were the norm, and Jim painted large oil canvases depicting the colored light that filtered through their wooded yard. One personal project inspired by his family and their forested surroundings was Jim’s short film, Run Run. Trying to integrate movement, music and light, Jim filmed his young daughters joyfully running through the woods behind their house. The changing colors, shadowed and lit by the sunlight, move to the musical score, a gentle piece composed by Joe Raposo, and the girls travel among the trees and out into a clearing. Their mother, wearing a red dress reflective of the autumn leaves, meets them and leads them home.
While Jim did not use Run Run commercially, it gave him some experience meshing filmed images with music tracks to evoke an emotional response. Over the next few years, he would continue to experiment in that vein, filming images to match with music for presentations in his Cyclia night club project.
I should also mention that Lisa Henson, featured in this film, is now CEO of the Henson Company and was the first female President of The Harvard Lampoon. She's also producing the upcoming Fraggle Rock movie!