In the wake of the recent The Muppets movie, AT&T (T) re-discovered a film that Muppets creator Jim Henson did for The Bell System nearly 50 years ago. CNet author Edward Moyer says the film gives a hilarious glimpse of Mr. Henson’s earlier days–and of the youthful years of computing.
AT&T posted the 1963 short “Robot” on the company’s ATTTechChannel section on YouTube, addresses the anxiety felt by humans in regard to machines and computers. The article says the film was “made for an elite seminar given for business owners, on the then-brand-new topic–Data Communications,” AT&T explains on the YouTube page. And the company continues:
“The organizers of the seminar, Inpro, actually set the tone for the film in a three-page memo from one of Inpro’s principals, Ted Mills, to Henson. Mills outlined the nascent, but growing relationship between man and machine: a relationship not without tension and resentment….”
Displaying his mastery of slapstick, comic timing, and sound effects, Henson uses his humorously menacing star, “Computer H14,” to reassure viewers that they need not be alarmed: humans remain in control according to CNet.
- Jim Henson’s ‘Robot’: 1963 Short Film For The Bell System Released (VIDEO) (news.moviefone.com)
- AT&T Archives: Jim Henson’s Old School Robot Explains Data Communications in 1963 [Video] (geeksaresexy.net)