The earth may continue on for many more millenia, and the human race may eventually colonize and populate other planets, but no matter how long our kind continue to exist, there will never be another Jerry Juhl. Even if you don't recognize the name, I promise you know at least something of the man's body of work -- he wrote or co-wrote nearly everything performed by Jim Henson's Muppets from the early days of TV specials until his passing last year. In truth, Jerry was as much a part of the Muppets as Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, and the rest of the more familiar names, even though he was not a performer. Jerry understood the magic of the Muppets, the soul, if you will, of foam rubber and antron fleece ... and the Fraggles were no exception. Jerry served as the primary writer for the run of the wonderful children's series, and was responsible for much of the "feel" of the show.

As we've discussed before, the Hensons are looking to return to Fraggle Rock for a new feature film. Remarkably, most of the key performers for Fraggle Rock are still living -- at least those who performed the famous "Fraggle Five." Jim Henson's presence will of course be missed, but Henson was never a primary cast member,* and Richard Hunt was Junior Gorg; but Steve Whitmire (Wembley), Karen Prell (Red), Dave Goelz (Boober), Kathryn Mullen (Mokey), and Jerry Nelson (Gobo), are all still with us.** The big remaining question mark has been who will write, now that Jerry Juhl is gone?

We have an answer now, in the form of largely untested (as a writer) Ahmet Zappa. On the upside, a limited body of writing work leaves us nothing to point to as a bad example ... but you can see the obvious other side of that dubious benefit. I want this film to be good. Desperately. I'd trade a dozen good Fantastic Four movies for one more great appearance from my old Fraggle friends. I have reason to hope -- the heart of the Fraggles should remain intact as long as the original performers can return, after all. I rejoice to see the Fraggles back on track, but mourn their old friend Jerry.


*His most recognized characters were Cantus the Minstrel and my personal favorite, Convincing John.
**Although health issues limit the amount of time Jerry Nelson can spend performing.