Jim Henson sees an image of Brian Froud’s art that appeared on the cover of a book of British Illustrators called Once Upon A TimeHenson has someone from his office meet Froud about a possible collaboration.

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The Land of Froud book is published. Jim acquires a copy.

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May 24, 1977

Begin shooting Season 2 of The Muppet Show in London.

August, 1977

Deal is made with Brian Froud on the film that is to become The Dark Crystal.

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The Henson Organization (ho!), a production division in London, is formed.

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January 10, 1978

Jim interviews Wendy Midener in New York and hires her to help develop characters for his fantasy film.

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January 16, 1978

Brian Froud comes to NY to live and work. Begins a series of meetings on the Froud film.

February 6, 1978

Jim and Cheryl are snowed in at the Howard Johnson’s at Kennedy International Airport; he writes the basic story of The Dark Crystal.

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February 11, 1978

Typed version of Jim’s story outline is complete.

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March, 1978

Begin Season 3 of The Muppet Show.

Summer, 1978

Shoot The Muppet Movie in Los Angeles. David Odell begins working with Jim.

October 17, 1978

Short fantasy test for the “The Dark Crystal” made in Bedford, NY.

November, 1978

Development of Yoda for 
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

November, 1978

David Odell writes his first treatment based on Jim’s outlines Mithra and The Crystal.

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Jim purchases 1B Downshire Hill, Hampstead. The building becomes headquarters for development, and will eventually become the home of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

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January 1-3, 1979

Fantasy film meetings. David Odell joins.

April 13, 1979

Second videotape test of the fantasy film.

May, 1979

Muppet Show Season 4 begins

May, 1979

The Dark Crystal screenplay is written by David Odell and Jim Henson.

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July 27, 1979

Jim flies to NY to pitch The Dark Crystal to Paramount.

October 19, 1979

Jim visits Oxford Scientific Films to see effects technologies for The Dark Crystal.After a second meeting, Jim decides not to use them.

December 17-19, 1979

Videotape test for The Dark Crystal in London.

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January 1980

Jim is in London interviewing cameraman for both The Dark Crystal and The Great Muppet Caper. Meets Ossie Morris.

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March, 1980

Begin Muppet Show Season 5.

May 31, 1980

Brian Froud and Wendy Midener get married in Chagford.

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September 4, 1980

Begin shooting The Great Muppet Caper.

September 23, 1980

Jim meets composer Trevor Jones.

February 10, 1981

Week of meetings on The Dark Crystal in London.

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Filming begins.


April 15, 1981

The first scenes shot are: Mystic Valley, Dying Emperor and Crystal Chamber.

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June 26, 1981

The Great Muppet Caper opens in the US.

September 11, 1981

First unit finishes Dark Crystal shooting.

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October 6-8, 1981

Location shoot for The Dark Crystal in Yorkshire.

September 13, 1981

Wrap party at Stringfellows restaurant in London.

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October 24, 1981

Meeting on Dark Crystal costume project.

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December 17, 1981

Final screening of The Dark Crystal.


The Dark Crystal novelization is published.

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January 12-14, 1982

London Symphony Orchestra records score for The Dark Crystal.

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February 8-22, 1982

Sound dub for The Dark Crystal.

February 8-22, 1982

Begin shooting Fraggle Rock in Toronto.

March 19, 1982

First preview of The Dark Crystal in Washington DC.

April 19-30, 1982

Jim works on changes for The Dark Crystal.

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July 12, 1982

Preview The Dark Crystal in Detroit.

September 5, 1982

Jim Henson and Gary Kurtz attend and present at the World Science Fiction Convention.

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September 13-23, 1982

Last mix of The Dark Crystal.

September 30, 1982

The World of The Dark Crystal exhibit opens at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center in NY.

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October 20 – November 21, 1982

The Art of the Dark Crystal exhibits at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in LA.

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November 7-9, 1982

Videotape The Magic Behind The Dark Crystal documentary for PBS.

The film is completed.

December 13, 1982

New York premiere of The Dark Crystal.

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December 14, 1982

Los Angeles premiere of The Dark Crystal.

December 15, 1982

San Francisco premiere of The Dark Crystal.

December 17, 1982

Henson Associates purchases The Dark Crystal from Associated Communications Corporation and the film premieres across the U.S. on the same day.

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The Making of The Dark Crystal book by Christopher Finch published.

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January 9, 1983

The World of The Dark Crystal documentary airs on PBS.

January 16, 1983

The Dark Crystal wins the grand prize for Best Fantasy Film at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in France.

February 17, 1983

UK premiere of The Dark Crystal.

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March 22, 1983

Paris premiere of The Dark Crystal.

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