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When Henson began work on Sam and Friends, he asked fellow University of Maryland sophomore Jane Nebel to assist him.The show was a financial success, but after graduating from college, Henson began to have doubts about going into a career performing with puppets. Despite the success of Sam and Friends, Henson spent much of the next two decades working in commercials, talk shows, and children's projects before being able to realize his dream of the Muppets as "entertainment for everybody".After graduating from high school, Henson enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park, as a studio arts major, thinking he might become a commercial artist.A puppetry class offered in the applied arts department introduced him to the craft and textiles courses in the College of Home economics, and he graduated in 1960 with a BS in home economics.Believing television puppets needed to have "life and sensitivity," A marionette's arms are manipulated by strings, but Henson used rods to move his Muppets' arms, allowing greater control of expression.

Among the most popular of Henson's commercials was a series for the local Wilkins Coffee company in Washington, D.James Maury Henson (September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990) was an American puppeteer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, screenwriter, and filmmaker who achieved international fame as the creator of the Muppets.Born in Greenville, Mississippi, and raised in Leland, Mississippi, and Hyattsville, Maryland, Henson began developing puppets while attending high school.Henson remained a Christian Scientist at least into his twenties when he would teach Sunday School, but in 1975, Henson wrote to a Christian Science church to inform them he was no longer a practicing member.In 1954, while attending Northwestern High School, he began working for WTOP-TV (now WUSA-TV), creating puppets for a Saturday morning children's show called The Junior Morning Show.

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