20-year Muppets Writing Veteran Publishes Book About his Career Writing "Sesame Street", "The Muppet Show", and Many Other Projects
Joseph A. Bailey's book is a behind-the-scenes look at writing for Jim Henson's Muppets.
"Memoirs of a Muppets Writer", a new book by Joseph A. Bailey, was recently released by Walnut Press. The book, which Mr. Bailey refers to as his “aspirational best-seller”, recounts his experiences during the 20 years of his writing association with Jim Henson’s Muppets organisation. It also details how he made the transition from Madison Avenue copywriter to television writer and how he became involved with the Muppets.
The book is a behind-the-scenes look at the early years of both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. It includes the author’s personal recollections of many of the key people involved with the creation of both shows, including writers, directors, producers, actors and puppeteers. He also describes the atmosphere of creative freedom and what’s been called the “benign anarchy” of the Muppet organisation under Jim Henson.
Memoirs of a Muppets Writer is also a unique insight into early Sesame Street educational philosophy and strategies and how they translated into entertaining material for the show. It goes into great detail about the show’s format and production. And, it also includes examples of Sesame Street curriculum, sketches, Muppet inserts, and song lyrics, as well as their rationale.
Muppet Show chapters include Muppet history, parts of Jim Henson’s biography, his methods of Muppet design and construction, and how the puppets are actually operated. Some of The Muppet Show guest stars for whom Mr. Bailey wrote include George Burns, Bob Hope, Steve Martin, Rudolf Nureyev, John Cleese, and Peter Sellers. An entire chapter is devoted to seriously discussing comedy with Milton Berle.
One chapter describes how the author heard of Jim Henson’s passing and his reaction to it, as well as a description of the Jim Henson memorial service at the Cathedral of Saint John the Devine in New York City.
During the years of 1973 to 1992, Mr. Bailey worked on a wide variety of Muppet projects. He was a staff writer on both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. Additionally, he co-wrote Sesame Street and Muppet specials that included Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Big Bird in China and Rocky Mountain Holiday, as well as writing Muppet Business Meeting Films, collateral material, record albums, and scripts for special Big Bird appearances at Carnegie Hall and the White House.
Mr. Bailey’s writing awards include 5 Emmys, 3 Emmy nominations, a Writers Guild Award, a Writers Guild nomination, an Action for Children’s Television Award and a George Foster Peabody Award.
Living in Manhattan with his wife, Mr. Bailey indulges in occasional long-distance motorcycle trips and claims to speak French and play piano to the equal amusement of others.
Memoirs of a Muppets Writer is currently available on www.amazon.com and Kindle. Walnut Press, is also the publisher of the other aspirational best-seller, HELL is for REAL, by Gary Apple.