Mahna Mahna
November 10, 2013 4:11 PM   Subscribe

♪ Why do we always come here?
I guess we'll never know.
It's like a kind of torture
To have to watch the show!

It's the Muppet Show.... with our Very Special Guest Star...

Some episodes are introduced by Brian Henson.

Season One
Episode 1: Juliet Prowse
Episode 2: Connie Stevens
Episode 3: Joel Gray
Episode 4: Ruth Buzzi
Episode 5: Rita Moreno
Episode 6: Jim Nabors
Episode 7: Florence Henderson
Episode 8: Paul Williams
Episode 9: Charles Aznavour
Episode 10: Harvey Korman
Episode 11: Lena Horne
Episode 12: Peter Ustinov
Episode 13: Bruce Forsyth
Episode 14: Sandy Duncan
Episode 15: Candice Bergen
Episode 16: Avery Schreiber
Episode 17: Ben Vereen
Episode 18: Phyllis Diller
Episode 19: Vincent Price
Episode 20: Valerie Harper
Episode 21: Twiggy
Episode 22: Ethel Merman
Episode 23: Kaye Ballard
Episode 24: Mummenschanz

Season Two
Episode 1: Don Knotts
Episode 2: Zero Mostel
Episode 3: Milton Berle
Episode 4: Rich Little
Episode 5: Judy Collins
Episode 6: Nancy Walker
Episode 7: Edgar Bergen
Episode 8: Steve Martin
Episode 9: Madeline Kahn
Episode 10: George Burns
Episode 11: Dom DeLuise
Episode 12: Bernadette Peters
Episode 13: Rudolf Nureyev
Episode 14: Elton John
Episode 15: Lou Rawls
Episode 16: Cleo Laine
Episode 17: Julie Andrews
Episode 18: Jaye P. Morgan
Episode 19: Peter Sellers
Episode 20: Petula Clark
Episode 21: Bob Hope
Episode 22: Teresa Brewer
Episode 23: John Cleese
Episode 24: Cloris Leachman

Season Three
Episode 1: Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge
Episode 2: Leo Sayer
Episode 3: Roy Clark
Episode 4: Gilda Radner
Episode 5: Pearl Bailey
Episode 6: Jean Stapleton
Episode 7: Alice Cooper
Episode 8: Loretta Lynn
Episode 9: Liberace
Episode 10: Marisa Berenson
Episode 11: Raquel Welch
Episode 12: James Coco
Episode 13: Helen Reddy
Episode 14: Harry Belafonte
Episode 15: Leslie Ann Warren
Episode 16: Danny Kaye
Episode 17: Spike Milligan
Episode 18: Leslie Uggams
Episode 19: Elke Sommer
Episode 20: Sylvester Stallone
Episode 21: Roger Miller
Episode 22: Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
Episode 23: Lynn Redgrave
Episode 24: Cheryl Ladd

Season Four
Episode 01: John Denver
Episode 02: Crystal Gayle
Episode 03: Shields & Yarnell
Episode 04: Dyan Cannon
Episode 05: Victor Borge
Episode 06: Linda Lavin
Episode 07: Dudley Moore
Episode 08: Arlo Guthrie
Episode 09: Beverly Sills
Episode 10: Kenny Rogers
Episode 11: Lola Falana
Episode 12: Phyllis George
Episode 13: Dizzy Gillespie
Episode 14: Liza Minnelli
Episode 15: Anne Murray
Episode 16: Jonathan Winters
Episode 17: Mark Hamill / Star Wars
Episode 18: Christopher Reeve
Episode 19: Lynda Carter
Episode 20: Andy Williams
Episode 21: Doug Henning
Episode 22: Carol Channing
Episode 23: Diana Ross
Episode 24: Alan Arkin

Season Five
Episode 1: Gene Kelly
Episode 2: Loretta Swit
Episode 3: Joan Baez
Episode 4: Shirley Bassey
Episode 5: James Coburn
Episode 6: Brooke Shields
Episode 7: Glenda Jackson
Episode 8: Senor Wences
Episode 9: Jean-Pierre Rampal
Episode 10: Paul Simon
Episode 11: Linda Ronstadt
Episode 12: Tony Randall
Episode 13: Mac Davis
Episode 14: Carol Burnett
Episode 15: Melissa Manchester
Episode 16: Gladys Knight
Episode 17: Hal Linden
Episode 18: Marty Feldman
Episode 19: Chris Langham
Episode 20: Debbie Harry
Episode 20: Wally Boag
Episode 21: Johnny Cash
Episode 22: Buddy Rich
Episode 23: Linda Ronstadt
Episode 24: Roger Moore

Bonus Links
Muppets at Disney (1990):
The Muppet Movie (1979):
posted by zarq (120 comments total) 363 users marked this as a favorite
 
!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by tzikeh at 4:13 PM on November 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


Season 5...
Episode 20: Debbie Harry
Episode 20: Wally Boag

Errr..... oops. :P
posted by zarq at 4:14 PM on November 10, 2013


Very cool to have all of these at your fingertips!
posted by xingcat at 4:15 PM on November 10, 2013


Holy shit.
posted by notsnot at 4:19 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


introduced by Brian Henson.

THE PRETENDER
posted by Greg Nog at 4:19 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Statler: The question is, what is a Mahna Mahna?
Waldorf: The question is, who cares?
posted by the painkiller at 4:21 PM on November 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Zarq, I ask this with only the best intent and from a place of admiration:

Dude, do you sleep?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:23 PM on November 10, 2013 [25 favorites]




EmpressCallipygos: " Dude, do you sleep?"

LOL! Not as much as I should.... ;)
posted by zarq at 4:23 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: "That was wonderful! Bravo! I loved it! That was great! Well, it was pretty good. It wasn't bad. There were parts that weren't very good, though. It could've been a lot better. I didn't really like it. It was pretty terrible. It was bad. It was awful! Boo! Boo!"
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:28 PM on November 10, 2013 [64 favorites]


OMG! I know what I'm doin tomorrow when I'm back at a computer with a reliable internet connection.
posted by nubs at 4:34 PM on November 10, 2013


S1E7: Oh, hey, Florence Henderson! That's who it's raining!
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 4:42 PM on November 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


This was done officially?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:43 PM on November 10, 2013


I saw Anne Murray sing Snow Bird on the Muppets a few days after my family's pet budgie died. It was very sad.
posted by slightlybewildered at 4:43 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


i have a room for life at the Home of the Chronically Groovy
i mean, i do
posted by angrycat at 4:57 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Torrents bad, YouTube megalist good.
posted by benzenedream at 4:57 PM on November 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: This was done officially?

Nope, these were uploaded by YoJo Jo, to share videos for kids. They're TV rips, FWIW.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:04 PM on November 10, 2013


They're TV rips, FWIW.

Possibly some of them are. I started with the Roger Moore episode, and that's definitely a DVD rip. (From the old Time-Life series, I think.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 5:09 PM on November 10, 2013


hey zarq, can you find The Jim Henson hour episodes?

I really want to see them after reading the new biography.

(PS: Torrents are bad, but less bad if disney has been sitting on Season 4 release for YEARS and no one's even hinted at Season 5 release yet!)
posted by DigDoug at 5:14 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, and if you want your mind blown even more

Muppets Tonight
Season 2, Episode 1 : TAFKAP (Prince!) (just the intro)
posted by DigDoug at 5:16 PM on November 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Zarq strikes again with the Completely Awesome.
posted by bearwife at 5:16 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man, all the voices are right! It's been so long since all the muppets sounded like I remembered them sounding.
posted by gladly at 5:18 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


You magnificent bastard.
posted by jquinby at 5:27 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You have seriously no idea how you just saved me from the pits of despair and obsessional thinking tonight. YAY!
posted by kanata at 5:29 PM on November 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Season 5, episode 8... Open de box! Sa'right...
posted by njohnson23 at 5:29 PM on November 10, 2013


YES YES YES YES YES YES THIS IS CORRECT YES
posted by freelanceastro at 5:33 PM on November 10, 2013


It's funny because they got all these amazing guest stars...but as a kid, I don't think I knew who any of them were! I was more interested in the Swedish chef and Rolf the dog, because they weren't always on/featured, so they were the guest stars I was interested in!
posted by bquarters at 5:35 PM on November 10, 2013 [13 favorites]


Did we throw a best post contest or something? Wow.
posted by azpenguin at 5:41 PM on November 10, 2013


Wow, Johnny Cash looks so happy in his episode!

I only watched first seven minutes but you have a great opening act, hillbillies shooting the place up, explanations of how the technical parts of radio broadcasting work, and an indication of the stress of (yes, Kermit) being a showrunner. Wow, we were lucky to have this as kids.
posted by bquarters at 5:44 PM on November 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Holy cow. Look how young Brooke Shields is.
posted by gen at 5:53 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


dude.






DUDE.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:01 PM on November 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've mentioned before that my daughter is a heathen who doesn't like the Muppets, BUT her love for Roger Miller trumps her hatred for the Muppets, so we have that one episode that we can watch together every once in a while. Such a weird and wonderful kid she is.
posted by Ruki at 6:04 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and to not abuse the edit button, I <3 you, zarq!
posted by Ruki at 6:05 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Phenomenon.
Doot do do do do.
Anonymous.
Doot do do do.
Clonazepam.
Doot do do do do
Do do do
Do do do
Do do do-do doot doot do do do!
posted by cmyk at 6:24 PM on November 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


So, I know what I'm doing tonight. And tomorrow night. And for every night, for a very, very long time. Zarq, you're my hero.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:28 PM on November 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay, so it seems that there was an alternate cut of The Muppet Movie that screened in the UK, and survived one VHS release before going into the vault in favour of the main edit. One of the differences is that you can hear what everyone's saying during the closing credits.

I'm not sure the version where you can't hear them isn't funnier.
posted by evilcolonel at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


I happen to have just rewatched "Being John Malkovich" for the first time since I saw it in the movies when it was first released. And now I have just watched Debbie Harry on the Muppets for the first time since it aired on TV.

And you know what? The Muppets was weirder.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:30 PM on November 10, 2013


Oh, and, at work now, can't check: Does the Harry Belafonte episode have the awesome bit with the song that (roughly) goes "We come from the fire/We turn the world around" and Harry Belafonte responds "Go back to the fire/turn the world around."?

Not that that's been an earworm of mine since the original broadcast or anything.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:30 PM on November 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, these seem wrong without this at the beginning.
posted by evilcolonel at 6:34 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does the Harry Belafonte episode have the awesome bit with the song that (roughly) goes "We come from the fire/We turn the world around" and Harry Belafonte responds "Go back to the fire/turn the world around."?

My favorite episode ever, and yes. :-) That segment starts at 19:56; the song itself gets underway around 21:12.
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:39 PM on November 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


That segment from the Harry Belafonte show was apparently Jim Henson's favorite thing he ever did on the show. Belafonte led a singalong of the song at his memorial.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2013 [21 favorites]


It was pretty much my favorite, too. I don't know if I've seen it since the first time I saw it as a child, but it's stuck with me, and as soon as I get home, I'm going to watch it.

One thing I love about the Muppet Show, it never ages. So many things from my childhood are awkward or uninteresting to me now, no matter how much I loved them when I was younger. The Muppet Show is either fresh to me, because I'd forgotten the episode, or like hanging out with an old friend I haven't seen in years, the kind where there's no awkwardness, and you just pick up where you left off last time you were together.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:46 PM on November 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Mummenschanz is one heck of a great episode, and not just for the number at circa halfway through.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:49 PM on November 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


So I just blew my kids minds with the Star Wars episode. I'd forgotten that Chewbacca showed up.
posted by jquinby at 6:50 PM on November 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


How is it that the Star Wars episode of the Muppet Show was so awesome, but the Star Wars Christmas Special remains the horror that must not be named?
posted by Ghidorah at 7:05 PM on November 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh my Lord.

Lou Rawls was my mother's absolute favorite singer in the world. She'd followed his career since his days with Sam Cooke. I will never, ever forget the day I turned on the television, and saw Rawls in the Muppet Show dressing room with Sam the Eagle.

I ran into the kitchen: "Mama! Mama! Lou Rawls is on The Muppet Show!"

Now you have to remember, even though this was the mid-70s and things were getting better, black people were still not on television that much, and they almost NEVER appeared on children's shows. So my parents had the reflex that a lot of black people their age had--if they had a television, and a black person was on a show, you watched it, just for the novelty of seeing someone like yourself on t.v.

So Mama dropped whatever she was doing with a bit of irritation, as I was a kid prone to wild imaginings, and this could just be another tall tale. But one commercial break later, Rawls was singing "Groovy People" with those amazing Muppet back-up singers (my favorite thing about that performance), and while I was rolling on the floor giggling at the Muppets, Mama stood their clapping her hands, her eyes bright with delight.

Sometime later I shocked both her and Daddy straight out of their socks by running into the kitchen and shouting "Mama! Mama! Stevie Wonder's on Sesame Street!" The whole family danced through the house to that performance.

Jim Henson and company were so, so amazing.
posted by magstheaxe at 7:11 PM on November 10, 2013 [72 favorites]


♪ Why do we always come here?
I guess we'll never know.
It's like a kind of torture
To have to watch the show! ♫


As I skimmed the first lines of the FPP I was like, "Ok, this has to be the Muppets." And it was. Just reading the lyrics you can "hear" those distinctive vocal and musical styles and feel that signature rhythm ... that totally sez "Muppets." So good.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 7:24 PM on November 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sometime later I shocked both her and Daddy straight out of their socks by running into the kitchen and shouting "Mama! Mama! Stevie Wonder's on Sesame Street!" The whole family danced through the house to that performance.

Jim Henson and company were so, so amazing.


Meanwhile, looking back from 2013, what's incredible is that children's TV producers were once willing to put seven straight minutes of live band footage on the air.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 7:34 PM on November 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


And a reluctant Sam is tricked into saying "titwillow".

Some of their best voice acting.
posted by sourwookie at 7:35 PM on November 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


OMG
posted by trip and a half at 7:37 PM on November 10, 2013


And a reluctant Sam is tricked into saying "titwillow".


Well, if we're going to get cultural, we should at least have a proper poetry recitation.

I present The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:44 PM on November 10, 2013


I wonder how long until Disney notices and sends in a take-down order. I bet it won't be long.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:06 PM on November 10, 2013


Jean Stapleton. Sigh.

So many of these artists are dead now.

I feel old.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:13 PM on November 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Watching the John Denver episode.

Now I has a sad.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:24 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rowlf and Fozzie play a piano duet.
posted by zarq at 8:42 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Zarq. Zarq. ZARQ!

I love you.

That is all.
posted by MissySedai at 8:50 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


YES.

This is a magnificent post and Zarq is a magnificent person.
posted by cmyk at 8:54 PM on November 10, 2013


This has all shaken some memory loose - my last ex asked me now and then about what a stage manager's job was, and I told him in bits and pieces. But he still didn't quite get it.

Until I told him that one of the things I did was to tell all the actors when it was a half-hour to showtime, ten minutes to show time, etc. I told him that, and after a moment, suddenly he started beaming. "Oh!" he said. "I get it - you're like Scooter!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:57 PM on November 10, 2013 [18 favorites]


Rowlf was allegedly the muppet whose demeanor was most similar to Henson's, and he's the one who tugs hardest on my heartstrings, but most of all, he's my favorite because he sings the worst pun in the entire history of English language (it involves a melon).
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:02 PM on November 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Must share!

A blooper reel, ostensibly from some special where the Muppets went to Disney World.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:14 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a teenager I worked in the kitchen of a ranch in Montana with a bunch of other silly girls and you have no idea how much messy fun we had pretending to be the Swedish Chef.

DA HURN DA HEE!!!
posted by HotToddy at 9:17 PM on November 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Torrents bad, YouTube megalist good.

Heh. Yep, that's the basic site policy. I don't see how this is any different than a link to a Muppets show torrent on TPB, but modern life is confusing I suppose.

Disclaimer: The only Muppets show my kids have ever seen is from YouTube, so yeah, I watch a lot of them ... but the hypocrisy rankles.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:20 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite things about the Star Wars episode is that Mark Hamill is basically playing a crappy vaudeville actor that won't Kermit won't even give the time of day.

I wonder if that was what gave him the bug for voice acting?

Also, while my spirit Muppet is Don Music, I really wish it were Lew Zeland, the Boomerang Fish Thrower. Though really, it is so much fun to say "Sank you! Sank you" like Marvin Suggs (and his Muppe-phone) that maybe I should go that way.

Modulate!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:37 PM on November 10, 2013


Zarq - a massive thankyou.

I've introduced - in recent times - my six year old to the Muppets and told him that this is the type of show I watched when I was a kid - full of bad puns, explosions, stupidity, violence and brilliant, brilliant performances.

We will sit down later on and watch some of these.

The Harry Belafonte effort is one of the finest bits of TV you'll see - but I have to admit I remain a massive fan of both the Vincent Price episode and the Peter Sellers episode.

I remember the conversation between Seller and Kermit where he admits he has virtually ceased to exist, he is whatever character he takes on. Very close to the somewhat painful truth of the man.
posted by chris88 at 9:49 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hot tip: Loretta Lynn is the guest when they got stuck in the train station.
posted by wobh at 9:53 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Of course Loretta Lynn's guest turn is worth watching for Loretta Lynn, but it features an intriging bit of censorship, and the train station episode is just hilarious.)
posted by wobh at 9:58 PM on November 10, 2013


In S4E5 Victor Borge has a truly delightful exchange between Borge and Rowlf, and the pigs square off against Gonzo and the chickens in this exploration of gender identities, social stratification of subcultures, and community resistance to police repression.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:08 PM on November 10, 2013


Who needs to go to work, really?
posted by ninazer0 at 11:57 PM on November 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


This post is the best post and I think I will forgo going to work tomorrow to sit at home and enjoy it in all its splendor.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:25 AM on November 11, 2013


I have a friend from Sweden who watched the muppet show when she was little. She asked why the chef 3as called the "Swedish Chef". After laughing so hard I could not talk for a min, I did my best to explain. I don't think she really got it.
posted by boilermonster at 12:37 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh my sweet baby jesus.

zarq, i owe you a lot of happy.

also that piano duet is one of my favourite things ever
posted by you must supply a verb at 1:24 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


That... was amazing.
posted by alvarete at 2:01 AM on November 11, 2013


The Harry Belafonte song was even better than I remember it. From the first note, I just felt... better about things. You found something I didn't even know I'd lost. Thanks.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:28 AM on November 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Actually...why IS he called the Swedish Chef? Apart from being ostensibly Swedish, I mean.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:47 AM on November 11, 2013


I don't know what to say... thanks mate !
posted by nicolin at 3:45 AM on November 11, 2013


> I wonder how long until Disney notices and sends in a take-down order. I bet it won't be long.

Is this a threat?
posted by ardgedee at 4:33 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If my kids don't like the muppets I'll just drop them off in this thread for reeducation and pick them up once their orgones are properly aligned.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:55 AM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks so much for the reminder of how great free, pre-cable TV could be.

These links are like getting a huge box of chocolates where every piece is another favorite!
posted by kinnakeet at 4:57 AM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would be really interested in how they went about choosing celebrities. For example the first British celebrity (if I can discount Peter Ustanov who was London born but came from everywhere) was Bruce Forsyth - who was (and is) a massive celebrity in the UK but who would have been unknown to audiences in other countries. It seemed like Henson and co had a policy of seeking out people from wherever on the grounds that they thought that they would be great - rather than because they were well known.

Bonus link: French singer Henry Salvador's muppet song interpretation: Mais non, mais non.
posted by rongorongo at 5:22 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The new Henson biography talks a bit about that. How the first guests were almost all done as favors to Henson's business manager/agent. Then the show took off, and people were begging to be on the show.

They also made them in blocks of 12, not really one per week. So a whole chunk of guests would have already been booked before they saw the first show.

I don't think Mummenschanz would have made it to air by season 3.
posted by DigDoug at 5:37 AM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I had all the money I wanted to waste on wine, boys, and amateur theatricals, I would so totally stage live cabaret versions of Muppet Show episodes, with beautiful animal masks.

I would love to play Miss Piggy, of course, my homesow and first feminist icon, but even though she was voiced by a man she had a convincing soprano voice. Damn those strong falsetti some men are blessed with! I guess I'll have to be content with directing and playing Statler in a bald cap.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:48 AM on November 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I made it about 2/3 of the way through these comments before the tears started flowing.

THANK YOU EVERYBODY!
posted by mikelieman at 6:34 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this a threat?

More of a challenge to ensure that the tapes don't stop circulating... So to speak, of course...
posted by mikelieman at 6:35 AM on November 11, 2013


So many of these artists are dead now.

I feel old.


When I bought the DVDs to watch with my daughter several years ago, I had this same reaction with almost every episode. There were so many of the BIG BIG Names of Show Biz from the 60s and 70s as guests, and so many of them are so long gone that they aren't well-known at all anymore. It was both delightful and sad at the same time to watch them, some of whom were well past their prime even then.
posted by briank at 6:39 AM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


-So many of these artists are dead now.

-I feel old.

--so many of them are so long gone that they aren't well-known at all anymore. It was both delightful and sad at the same time to watch them,


I'm reminded of the "How Green Was My Valley" episode of Frasier on a daily basis these days. Fraiser doesn't want to go to the revival house to watch classic movies, because he always gets seated behind a person who keeps seeing actors onscreen and saying, "Oh, isn't he lovely; he's dead now, you know." I have become that person.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:46 AM on November 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


-So many of these artists are dead now.

-I feel old.

--so many of them are so long gone that they aren't well-known at all anymore. It was both delightful and sad at the same time to watch them,

- "Oh, isn't he lovely; he's dead now, you know." I have become that person.

As we get older, it seems we start measuring time by the things, and people, we lose along the way, instead of what we gain.
posted by DigDoug at 7:06 AM on November 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


This reminds that one of my favorite bits was Veterinarian's Hospital, not because of the puns, but because it was the one place Miss Piggy got to be a goof. She was always clowning around at the beginning of the skit, messing with equipment or gassing herself or whatever, where in all other skits her role was a kind of straight woman/prima donna exasperated with the goofiness around her.

I wish they had let her be goofy more often. She was a magnificent character regardless, but the show didn't get enough chances to make her funny on purpose.
posted by emjaybee at 7:09 AM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Swedish chef? well, besides the funniness of the borkified accent/language, there is the extremely fine cuisine that is Swedish, whose signature ingredients are potato, flour, lard, and blood.

Zarq! MARRY ME!!!!
posted by allthinky at 7:17 AM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well... wow. :) So glad y'all are enjoying the show as much as have! I grew up watching The Muppet Show. It's been such fun re-watching these episodes as an adult, and showing them to my kids.

I have a small apology to make... I realized this morning after looking closely that I had made a larger error with Season Five's numbering than noted above. There aren't just two #20's. Linda Ronstadt is double listed as episodes 11 and 23. Sorry about that.

The proper order to the season is:

Season Five
Episode 1: Gene Kelly
Episode 2: Loretta Swit
Episode 3: Joan Baez
Episode 4: Shirley Bassey
Episode 5: James Coburn
Episode 6: Brooke Shields
Episode 7: Glenda Jackson
Episode 8: Senor Wences
Episode 9: Jean-Pierre Rampal
Episode 10: Paul Simon
Episode 11: Tony Randall
Episode 12: Mac Davis
Episode 13: Carol Burnett
Episode 14: Melissa Manchester
Episode 15: Gladys Knight
Episode 16: Hal Linden
Episode 17: Marty Feldman
Episode 18: Chris Langham
Episode 19: Debbie Harry
Episode 20: Wally Boag
Episode 21: Johnny Cash
Episode 22: Buddy Rich
Episode 23: Linda Ronstadt
Episode 24: Roger Moore


DigDoug: "hey zarq, can you find The Jim Henson hour episodes?"

There were 9 episodes that aired out of the 12 produced and it looks like some but not all of their content is on YouTube, divided into parts. Will put a post together out of what's there over the next few days -- unless someone beats me to it. In the meantime, part one of episode one is here.
posted by zarq at 7:26 AM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


*shoves allthinky out of the way and proposes to zarq hisself*

(I might have found "Dog City" on one of those 'torrent' thingies a long time ago. But what'd they do with the other unaired ones? Are they still vaulted?)
posted by DigDoug at 7:29 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the brilliant things about TMS is that it introduced several generations to nearly lost vaudeville/music hall/Victorian melodrama conventions without them even knowing it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:46 AM on November 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hmmf. You are all weirdos!
posted by Rangeboy at 7:51 AM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heh. :)

The Muppet Wiki and Retro Junk have some details on The Jim Henson Hour. Apparently it's offered to stations as a syndication package along with The Muppet Show.

Retro Junk also says that 10 of 13 episodes aired, and...
Three of the thirteen installments were hour-long mini-movies: The faux film noir "Dog City", narrated by Muppet Rowlf the Dog; "Monster Maker", in which an alienated teenager begins secretly working at a special effects company; and "Living with Dinosaurs", in which a young boy's stuffed Dinosaur comes to life and helps him deal with a troubled family life. Other shows, like "Secrets of the Muppets", went behind the scenes at Henson studios, showing how the Muppets are built and operated.

Ordinarily, however, the hour was split into two thirty-minute segments. These shows would always start with a modernized variation of The Muppet Show, entitled MuppeTelevision (see below). That would often lead into more serious and sometimes darker content, such as an episode of The Storyteller. Occasionally, a light-hearted story or more Muppet antics would close out the hour.

The very first episode produced - Sesame Street… 20 Years & Still Counting - ended up being aired as a lone special at the last minute, for reasons unknown. Henson's series officially premiered a week later.

posted by zarq at 7:52 AM on November 11, 2013


I can't claim to be a perfect parent, but the fact that, when asked if he wants to watch a movie, my 2 year old son says, "Fozzie?" makes me think I'm doing something right.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 7:57 AM on November 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was just about resigned to not getting Veteran's Day off. *sigh* This is fantastic, zarq, thank you!
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:05 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK:

"It's time to play the music
It's time to light the lights
t's time to meet the Muppets
on the Muppet Show tonight."


and

"I met her in a poolroom
Her name I didn't catch
She looked like something special
The kind who'd understand..."


It occurred to me while washing the dishes this morning that those bits sound very, very similar. Am I wrong? I love 'em both!
posted by droplet at 8:06 AM on November 11, 2013


I would be really interested in how they went about choosing celebrities. For example the first British celebrity (if I can discount Peter Ustanov who was London born but came from everywhere) was Bruce Forsyth - who was (and is) a massive celebrity in the UK but who would have been unknown to audiences in other countries.

It probably helped—especially in the first season—that the show was produced in the UK by ATV; the US networks had passed it up.
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:59 AM on November 11, 2013


I guess I'll have to be content with directing and playing Statler in a bald cap.

Some of us don't need the cap! HO HO HO OH GOD....
posted by entropicamericana at 9:17 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would be really interested in how they went about choosing celebrities.

I've heard that the first season they reached out to friends of theirs and asked them to do the show as a favor - but then halfway through the second season they started getting calls from other celebrities asking if they could come on the show.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on November 11, 2013


Could you even imagine something like The Muppet Show being aired today?
posted by jquinby at 9:39 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm watching the pigs (dressed as Vikings) singing "In The Navy" on the Roger Moore episode.
posted by jquinby at 9:44 AM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


The muppet wiki explains the Swedish Chef's origins:
According to Brian Henson in one of his introductions for The Muppet Show, "Jim Henson had this tape that he used to play which was 'How to Speak Mock Swedish'. And he used to drive to work and I used to ride with him a lot. And he would drive to work trying to make a chicken sandwich in Mock Swedish or make a turkey casserole in Mock Swedish. It was the most ridiculous thing you had ever seen. And people at traffic lights used to stop and sort of look at him a little crazy. But that was the roots of the character that would eventually become the Swedish Chef".

Apparently an actual Swedish chef has claimed to be the inspiration for the character as well.
posted by peppermind at 9:46 AM on November 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


On the one hand, I'm ecstatic that the pure and unadulterated joy of the Muppet Show is now at my fingertips, ready to carry me through the trauma of end-of-semester/finals season...

...on the other hand, there is now no possible way (though the odds weren't that great before, tbh) that I will ever actually write my papers, and I will therefore be kicked out of grad school and extradited from the country.

Sigh.
posted by Dorinda at 10:22 AM on November 11, 2013


My three year old nephew loves the "Mitshow". I think his parents are doing something right. Thanks for this, zarq!
posted by MelanieL at 12:54 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


ThiS iS a minor Side point, but doeS anybody have any idea why YoJo Jo (poSter of theSe epiSodeS on YouTube) SeemS averSe to lowercaSing the letter S in the titleS?
posted by Shmuel510 at 1:05 PM on November 11, 2013


I love you. I have seasons 1-3 on DVD and they got me through some pretty weird and tough times a couple years ago, and I've been waiting most impatiently for seasons 4 and 5. This still isn't quite the same, but with my Chromecast it's going to be pretty darn close. Muppet Marathon Part 2 coming soon!
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:19 PM on November 11, 2013


Could you even imagine something like The Muppet Show being aired today?

I'm not even sure how it got aired then, either. During my rewatch of seasons 1-3 I was astonished and delighted at how subversive it was, in ways that totally went over the heads of kids and critics (but I assume the hipper adults watching caught on to? Can anyone of the right age speak to this?). I replayed the bit where Statler admits to having dated John Barrymore at least half a dozen times for anyone who came over while I was bingeing on the show. (Sure it was played for a joke, but still...!)
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:27 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rhiannonstone would do you remember what episode that John Barrymore bit was from?
posted by Jon_Evil at 3:47 PM on November 11, 2013


what episode that John Barrymore bit was from?

According to Muppet Wiki, that would be the Valerie Harper episode.
posted by Shmuel510 at 4:05 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Er, yeah, Lionel Barrymore, of course, not John. But it is indeed the Valerie Harper episode!
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:51 PM on November 11, 2013


I've watched and rewatched the bit with Turn the World Around several times. Haven't managed to work up the strength to watch the memorial service with it.

One of the little touches, one of the wonderful thing about the show, at the end, when the whole cast comes on the stage (even Statler and Waldorf are singing!), after Kermit wishes everyone a good night, he and Fozzy turn back to sing with everyone, and Fozzy puts his arm around Kermit's shoulder. It's perfect.

If anyone has a link to it, the episode of the Jim Henson Hour with the special effects workshop and the dragon stunned me as a child. The point where the child, who is so convinced the dragon is real, is forced to understand it's just another effect, it crushed me, and still makes me tear up. To then show the kid on his way home, with the dragon so fully real and living seemed so cheap, so fake to me then. Honestly, it made me hate Henson, and one of my strongest regrets is that I'd never, as absurd as this sounds from someone who'd never met him, made amends with him before he died.

I'd love to see it again, if it's out there.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:47 AM on November 12, 2013


I would be really interested in how they went about choosing celebrities.

At least after the first season it was a pretty big show. I imagine celebs wanted to be a part as a fun thing to do for the kids in their lives, much the same as I have heard current celebs talk about doing a part on the Simpsons.
posted by bystander at 1:59 AM on November 12, 2013


I've watched and rewatched the bit with Turn the World Around several times. Haven't managed to work up the strength to watch the memorial service with it.

Is the memorial service still out there? For the longest time, it was out on Youtube somewhere. I assume that it was professionally produced for internal family and employee use. That said, it was both heart wrenching and uplifting, the full range of human emotion bottled into a two hour remembrance filled with memories and song. Hard not to get caught up in it all.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:07 PM on November 12, 2013


The entire memorial is no longer on youtube. I couldn't find it on DailyMotion, either.

Some clips:
* Eulogy: Jane Henson and Children
* Eulogy: Frank Oz
* Eulogy: Richard Hunt
* Jim's Favorite Songs
* Big Bird sings "It's Not Easy Being Green" (I can't watch this one without losing it.)
* One Person
* Rainbow Connection
* Bring Him Home - Louise Gold
* Turn the World Around - Harry Belafonte
* When the River Meets the Sea - Jerry Nelson and Louise Gold

The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson Special: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
posted by zarq at 12:31 PM on November 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Frank Oz's is my favorite - he tells this amazing story about a Christmas gift Jim Henson made for him, which incorporated some nude photos of Frank Oz that Jim Henson had inexplicably asked him to pose for a few months prior (to some great confusion and alarm from Frank at the time, understandably). So he has everyone laughing about this great story (and you really should go listen) - but then at the very end, you can see the weight of the loss suddenly hit him full force after that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:36 PM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


zarq: It's the "One Person" one that gets me to tears every time.

One question about the Big Bird performance. Is it "lip synched"? I know Spinny is inside working the mouth and the one free arm. But is he singing as well? Right then?
posted by DigDoug at 2:37 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


One question about the Big Bird performance. Is it "lip synched"? I know Spinny is inside working the mouth and the one free arm. But is he singing as well? Right then?

Apparently so. From Caroll Spinney's autobiography, The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch), page 138:
Some years before it happened, Jim left instructions for what to do in case he died. He said that there shouldn't be a funeral. If people wanted to remember him, it should be at a celebration. No one should wear black; celebrants should be dressed in bright and jolly colors. He wanted there to be puppets, and singing, and happy stories told. When Jim died, the celebration was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It was open to anyone who wanted to come, and thousands did. Brian Henson asked me to come as Big Bird and sing "It's Not Easy Being Green," which has always been Kermit's signature song. Somehow I managed to do it without crying. People held up hundreds of butterfly puppets that had been made for the event, and all the major Muppets were in attendance. Jim had written letters to his five children to be opened only after his death. Brian read from his. Jim wrote, "Be good to each other. Love and forgive everybody." I remember Jim telling me that he never wasted energy on hating anybody; he had too much thinking to do.

The celebration ended as Jim had planned. The Christian Temperance Society Band from New Orleans played "When the Saints Go Marching In," and we all marched out of the cathedral, crying, singing, and smiling.
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:30 PM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Debbie Harry and Kermit singing "The Rainbow Connection" made me cry.
Really enjoying watching these again. Mr. Nerd says I look like I'm 3 when I'm watching them. ;)
posted by luckynerd at 2:46 PM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any performance of "The Rainbow Connection" makes me cry. I remember sitting in the cinema last Thanksgiving and seeing Kermit come on with his banjo. I was all, "OK, I am NOT going to cry. I am going to be just fine." I was a soggy mess by the time the opening chords were over.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:15 PM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've Heard Them Calling My Name....

Misses Lea Salonga, though. As a child, and then as an adult.

This is the scene from the from The Muppets.
posted by zarq at 7:24 AM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


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