A big tip of the hat to Retroist regular, Dax, for giving me the heads up on this incredibly important bit of news for us fans of the late great Jim Henson. You may know that the NBC Studios had some pipes in a closet that were decorated by Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Don Sahlin and Jerry Juhl, when they were scheduled to appear on the Jack Paar Program back in December of 1964. Henson and friends arrived at 10 AM for rehearsals but upon arriving at the studio learned they wouldn’t be needed until 4pm, so with time on their hands they opened one of the doors in their dressing room and found a closet full of pipes. Thanks to the MuppetWiki for this quote by Jerry Juhl:
“We opened the door, expecting it to lead somewhere, but instead it was just this shallow closet with a maze of pipes… We had nothing to do, and Don had brought paints because we were performing something that needed touch-ups, so one thing led to another and we started decorating the pipes. It was Jim’s idea — a typical Jim idea — and as the whole thing got more elaborate, one of us hopped in a cab and brought more material from the workshop.”
Word began to spread throughout the studio of what these ‘kids’ were doing and even Charlton Heston dropped by to see what the commotion was all about, though while they were working and Heston announced himself they thought it was someone trying to pull a prank on them!
When they were finished they were informed the pipes would be painted over the following day…then in 1980, sixteen years later it was revealed the pipes had been spared not only the repainting but removal as well during renovations. In 2009 Jimmy Fallon implored NBC Studios to not only make it part of their backstage 30 Rock Tour but put it behind glass as to protect it for future generations. NBC did just that very thing.
In 2010 Brian Williams brought Frank Oz to see the pipes for the first time in so many years for an emotional reunion.
NBC went a step further when Frank Oz along with Jimmy Fallon were invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony.
A huge thanks to cyrex686 and photobro over on YouTube for these fantastic uploads.