Google is paying homage to Muppets creator Jim Henson with an interactive doodle that celebrates what would have been the famous puppeteer's 75th birthday.
Saturday's doodle on the Internet search leader's homepage features six original characters that together resemble the Google logo. You can click on a hand button under each character and see them move and do tricks.
The doodle was created in partnership with The Jim Henson Company.
According to The Creature Shop, the digital puppetry system behind the animation is a combination of proprietary hardware and software that provides real-time performance of 3-D generated characters that are "directable" like actors. The patented system is called the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio and has been contracted for live event presentations, commercials, feature film visual effects, game development and for the TV show "Sid the Science Kid."
Henson was the creative genius behind Sesame Street characters such as Oscar the Grouch, the Cookie Monster and Big Bird, all of whom are still entertaining and teaching children today. He also created The Muppet Show in 1976 and brought to life personalities such as Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and The Great Gonzo who were joined every week by famous guest stars such as Gene Kelly and Steve Martin. Henson also was responsible for a half dozen Muppet Show movies as well as the fantasy films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. He also had a hand in crafting Yoda for Star Wars' "The Empire Strikes Back."
Henson died in 1990 in New York City after contracting a bacterial infection.
Brian Henson, Jim's son and now chairman of The Jim Henson Company, wrote a guest post on Google's blog in which he said, "Jim often had a little lesson about the important things in life: How to be a good person. How to believe in yourself and follow your dreams ... Every day for him was joyously filled with the surprises of other people's ideas. I often think that if we all lived like that, not only would life be more interesting, we'd all be a lot happier."
Visit www.henson.com to hear people talk about what it was like to work with Henson and learn more about the Google doodle, which people are buzzing about on Twitter and other social networking sites.