April 26, 1991 – Dinosaurs Premieres on ABC
“We’d be on a plane, and [Jim Henson] would start to talk about this family of dinosaurs, with a father who wore plaid shirts and had a Brooklyn accent. It always made him laugh.” – Alex Rockwell
On April 26, 1991, the show Dinosaurs premiered on ABC. Created by Jim Henson Associates, Dinosaurs was the idea of Jim Henson and Alex Rockwell, who pitched it to Disney’s television division. The show follows the Sinclairs, a prehistoric blue-collar family. It starred Stuart Panking as the voice of Earl Sinclair, Jessica Walter as the voice of Fran Sinclair, and John Kennedy as the voice of Baby. The show won an Emmy in 1991 for Art Direction, and lasted for four seasons
Although the show was Henson’s idea, he passed away before it could come to fruition. His son Brian then worked with producer Michael Jacobs to bring it to the small screen. Production began in 1991, with filming on the same lot that The Muppet Movie had been filmed thirteen years prior. The dinosaurs were costumed actors with animatronic heads; the performers controlled the faces by remote control rigs from a distance. The show received good reviews and high ratings, proving that Jim Henson Productions could continue after Jim Henson’s death.