On this day in 1990 the legendary Jim Henson passed away at only 55 years of age. Known throughout the world for his muppet characters and TV series, Jim Henson was connected to Gerry Anderson briefly and they almost ended up working on a project together.
As well as being mutual fans of each others work Jim Henson and Gerry Anderson were also connected by Lew Grade, but their working lives did not cross until the late 1980s.
Some time after the production of the Space Police pilot Gerry Anderson met some of Henson’s representatives at a licensing show. Jim Henson was impressed and excited by Space Police; so much so that the Henson International Television company undertook the raising of finance to make the pilot into a series – as well as being keen to handle its distribution.
Jim and Gerry were in contact for some months, writing letters back and forth. It became evident that Jim felt very positively about Space Police – saying in one letter that he felt “warm toward the project” as well as feeling the same for Gerry himself.
After months of negotiation everything was set, and the production was due to go ahead. Jim was due to support the production, but leave all creative decisions to Gerry and his team.
Suddenly, and quite without warning, Gerry received the news that Jim Henson was selling out to Disney. He hoped that they would still be able to go ahead, but sadly just a few weeks later Jim Henson died.
The production process for Space Police was halted, and the long and arduous search for finance and distribution partners was restarted. Eventually – after another 4 years – production began on the series which by that time was renamed Space Precinct.
We often wonder what might have resulted from an Anderson-Henson co-production. Of course it’s something we’ll never know, but the combination would certainly have been a very exciting one.
Are you fond of Space Police? The original pilot starred Anderson stalwart Shane “Scott Tracy” Rimmer. You can get a beautiful Space Police film-style poster by Eric Chu for just £7.99 plus shipping.