Tuesday, July 30, 2013


On August 25, 1972, Jim Henson wrote me a letter. Now, it is true that I wrote him first. But I did receive a signed letter back, along with an enclosed, personalized postcard: "Hello Galen — Jim Henson & the Muppets". I have but to turn my head a few degrees to look at it, framed on my desk.

In the summer of '72, my parents took a trip to England. My brother and I were left with the Russos in Washington D.C., which wasn't so bad. I was taken to see my first professional theatrical production, which was Godspell at Ford's Theatre. Jesus was played by Dean Pitchford, who has gone on to be a very successful lyricist. This show made an enormous impression on me, and made me aware of the importance and power of live theatre.

I also remember being freaked out and nervous about being in the place where Lincoln got shot.

In 1972, I entered 4th grade, where my teacher was Mrs. McGregor. And I turned 9. My parents brought me back from England the Pelham Puppets ventriloquial figure "Fido", who I guess was supposed to be a dog but looked more like a lion. He starred in a puppet show that I believe I put on in 4th grade. I met Nashville puppeteer Tom Tichenor twice, right around 1972. He autographed my copy of Tom Tichenor's Puppets: "To Galen, May your strings never tangle!"

So: Puppets and live theatre. 1972.

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