With Jason Segel‘s “The Muppets” premiering on Friday, the famed puppets created by Jim Henson return to the big screen for the first time since 1999’s “Muppets in Space.”
But it’s been a long road since Henson’s first puppets showed up in the 1950s, one that’s seen Henson’s tragic early death and questions about the Muppets’ relevance.
Now — thanks to the $50 million movie opening today and the media’s happy bout of Muppets nostalgia — the gang is poised for a happy resurrection.
Let’s look back at how they got here.
In 1958, with his wife Jane, Jim founded Muppets Inc. Through the 1960s, the company produced puppet-oriented commercials and advertisements, many of which foreshadow the subversive, clever humour of the Muppets. Also, character Rowlf starred on the Jimmy Dean Show.
Henson's death, at the age of 53, was met with extensive public mourning. At a memorial in New York City, Henson was honored by the performers he worked with throughout his career.
In 2004, rights to the Muppets, as well as a number of other Jim Henson properties, were sold to the Walt Disney Company, a deal that Henson had been working on before his death. This followed a decade of the Jim Henson Company changing corporate hands.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.