Monday, February 8, 2010
Inside The Jim Henson Company for 'Wilson & Ditch: Digging America'
The Jim Henson Company and PBS have teamed up once again, this time to launch the kid-friendly "Wilson & Ditch: Digging America," short webisodes on PBSKidsGo.org about a pair of gopher brothers (aka Go Bros.) exploring the nation by van.
The three to four-minute webisodes have Wilson and Ditch visiting such cities as Nashville, Tenn., and Philadelphia, Pa. For Nashville, the brothers explore the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they take a look at Elvis Presley's car, as well as the Grand Ole Opry.
Wilson and Ditch (performed by Brian Henson, in above video, and Paul Rugg) are endearingly goofy and, combined with their kooky Eastern Euro-sounding accents, make for an unconventional way for kids to virtually visit the country.
It reminds me of all the road trips I used to take with my mom or dad. The endlessly long drives, off-the-beaten path stops, the changes of scenery. From the Hershey plant in Hershey, Pa., to the gorgeous mountain views in Estes Park, Colo., it was pretty amazing.
So far, there's been only one destination for our road trips with CC -- Las Vegas, of all places -- although one of those trips included a Ghost Town experience. Now I feel inspired to jump in the car with her and see the California sights outside of L.A.
Speaking of Los Angeles, Jim Henson Company CEO Lisa Henson said at a press conference held at the company's HQ -- the Charlie Chaplin lot on La Brea -- that Wilson and Ditch won't be visiting the Hollywood area anytime soon.
"We picked destinations that kids know less about," she said. "A mixture of rural and urban, East and West."
There are 10 destinations set for the current batch of webisodes, but the Henson Co. is hoping to continue the series and make more. Lisa also said that all 10 make for good family trips.
On the site itself, kids can play games, watch videos and read Wilson's blog and Ditch's comic strip.
In addition to getting a glimpse of the webisodes, I also had the opportunity to watch Henson chairman Brian Henson in action, working his Wilson magic at the Digital Puppetry Studio.
While chatting about how everything works, he also talked about other projects, the art of puppetry as well as his famous dad, Jim Henson.
Stay tuned for more video of the event.