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Mfrithmokey

Frith with Mokey Fraggle.

Mike Frith Piggy

Preparing the spoof cover of Time for The Miss Piggy Cover Girl Fantasy Calendar with Miss Piggy.

MICHAEL FRITH ART DIRECTOR

Michael photographing Miss Piggy

Frith

Frith jams with Cookie Monster, Grover and Herry.

Frith

Posing with Wembley, Mokey and Gobo.

Illustrator

The Political Dr. Seuss documentary.

Michael Kingsbury Frith (born July 8, 1941) is the former Executive Vice President and Creative Director for Jim Henson Productions. His contributions to Muppet projects have been extensive and varied.

Frith began his career at Random House in 1963 as a children's book illustrator and editor. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Beginner Books series, the line of books created by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

In 1971, when Random House began publishing Sesame Street books, Frith was named editor and art director of the Sesame series. He produced a series of five annual large-format Sesame Street Storybooks, and contributed artwork for four of them: The Sesame Street Storybook (1971), The Sesame Street 1, 2, 3 Storybook (1973), The Sesame Street ABC Storybook (1974), and Big Bird's Busy Book (1975).

During that time, Frith worked as a freelance designer for several Muppet projects; he supplied character sketches for The Muppet Musicians of Bremen and also helped redesign Mr. Snuffleupagus for Sesame Street.[1] Appreciating Frith's talents as a designer, Jim Henson brought him on board his creative team. One of Frith's first major assignments was designing the cast of The Land of Gortch sketches for Saturday Night Live.

Frith recalled his beginnings with the Muppets in The Saturday Evening Post (December 1980):

β€œThe first drawings I ever worked on were characters for Saturday Night Live. The Muppets did regular segments for a season featuring characters about as far removed from Sesame Street as you could get. Jim asked me to come over one day to talk about creating Muppet personalities β€” specifically, strange, mossy, warty creatures. Instead of traditional ones with cartoon eyes β€” round, white and black β€” he had become fascinated with taxidermist eyes: cow, camel and tiger eyes. Around this simple concept of a different eye evolved a whole new concept which led to the creation of the crazy-eyed loonies we enjoy today.”

Frith also described his collaboration with the builders:

β€œAll I do is doodle something on an envelope on the subway while coming to work. It's the puppet builders who are true geniuses in coming up with personalities. Working with them is an experience you can't begin to describe. Every artist is fascinated by the Pygmalion dream β€” to carve Galateas and get living, breathing creatures.”

Frith joined Henson Associates full-time as Art Director in December of 1975.[1] He was named Vice President in 1978, and Executive Vice President and Director of Creative Services in 1985.

In the 1980s, Frith played a key role in the creation of Fraggle Rock. As the series' conceptual designer, he was largely responsible for the overall look of the show, designing all of the main characters (and a vast number of recurring and incidental figures) as well as many of the series' locations. His illustrations adorned the series' original pitch book.

In 1996, Frith left Henson Productions to start a new company, Sirius Thinking Ltd., with John Sculley, Christopher Cerf, and Norman Stiles. Sirius is the multi-media children's education company that created Between the Lions, an award-winning educational puppet show on PBS, in 2000. Frith served as the executive producer, creative director, conceptual designer, and co-creator of the show. Additionally, with wife Kathryn Mullen, Frith is a co-founder of No Strings International, an organization which makes educational and preparedness puppet films for children around the world.

Previously, Cerf and Frith wrote the James Bond parody Alligator (1962) as "I*N FL*M*NG."

Muppet/Henson credits[]

Design and Production Credits
Books
Calendars
Albums
Other merchandise
Miscellaneous

See also[]

Sources[]

  1. ↑ 1.0 1.1 Jim Henson's Red Book entry, "12/1975 – Michael Frith joins us."

External links[]

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