The Rainbow Connection

By Louise Irvine

The Rainbow Connection was first performed by Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog in the 1979 Muppet Movie. The unlikely hit remained in the top 40 for 7 weeks and received an Oscar nomination. A critic claimed that Kermit sang with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short, green Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz!

The song by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher was reprised by country star Willie Nelson for his Rainbow Connection album in 2001 and has brought tears to the eyes of grown men. In March this year, Rainbow Connection was deemed culturally and historically significant by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry. 

Rainbows have become the defining symbol of the last year and they have been popping up everywhere in the wake of the pandemic. Kids painted rainbow pictures to hang in their windows and decorated the sidewalks with rainbow chalk drawings making rainbow hunts a popular activity in neighborhoods around the world. Social media posts abound with this symbol of hope and joy echoing the British wartime slogan “Keep calm and carry on.”

The rainbow flag will be flying high for Pride month in June. Follow the rainbow to the Stonewall Pride Street Festival which takes place on June 19 and 20 in Fort Lauderdale. The rainbow flag has been a symbol of gay pride since it was designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978. Originally there were eight colors including red for life, orange for healing, green for nature, blue for peace, yellow for the sun, and turquoise for magic.

The rainbow connection continues at WMODA with the addition of Anne Orvieto’s rainbow glass art to the Earth • Air • Fire • Water exhibition. Anne has also been creating some amazing rainbow designs for our gift shop and they have been selling fast. Treasure seekers at our June events can follow a trivia trail through the museum to arrive at a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me