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Rally of the Dolls

Muppets memorialize their creator in movie series.

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The creative mind behind beloved Miss Piggy is in town for the next three nights to introduce the start of the monthlong film series Muppets, Music & Magic: Jim Henson's Legacy. And Bonnie Erickson will talk about her days as Henson's design director tonight, before Muppets History 101 screens as part of the cinematic tribute to the late puppeteer. "There's tons of stuff," says John Ewing, the associate director of film at the Cleveland Museum of Art. "You figure Jim Henson worked for five decades. I always knew that he had created this empire. Kinda like George Lucas or Disney or Charles Schulz."Over the years, the Muppets series has attracted both casual viewers who grew up with the characters and die-hard fans. "We got reports that there were people from Ohio that went to New York to see the movies. So it turns out there's Muppets groupies," says Ewing. "But for others, you'll still have the kind of nostalgic pangs for your childhood."Henson — who died in 1990 — was ahead of his time, says Ewing, because he created art for all ages. "They were one of those rare outfits that could make something that worked on different levels. Even as parents, you wouldn't dread going to see them," says Ewing. "I always thought he was a seminal figure in our pop culture." The Muppets parade of films shows at 7 p.m. Fridays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays, with additional screenings at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow and 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 23. The series concludes at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 30, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Boulevard. Tickets are $8 ($4 for kids). Call 216-421-7350 or visit www.clevelandart.org.
Sun., Jan. 6, 1:30 p.m., 2008

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