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Muppet Bloopers
November 4, 2009 8:10 AM   Subscribe


 
The sequence with Emmett and his mother and the drum is probably one of the most sublime moments of comedy ever recorded.

Thanks for reminding me.
posted by MrVisible at 8:13 AM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Muppets!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:23 AM on November 4, 2009


SEE I TOLD YOU THEY'RE REAL!
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I received this as a suggested video after watching the Christmas Carol blooper reel.

Full disclosure: it's a rickroll, but oh so worth it.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:24 AM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


No youtube at work, but just being reminded of Emmett Otter gives me the warm-and-fuzzies. Thanks.
posted by HumanComplex at 8:28 AM on November 4, 2009


The "huge" person in the Emmett Otter clip was SO disorienting!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:31 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the Emmett Otter clips, that's not Ma's real voice (except for the singing at the end.) I'm guessing they dubbed Marilyn Sokol in later.

Emmett is hilarious.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:31 AM on November 4, 2009


In the Emmett Otter clips, that's not Ma's real voice (except for the singing at the end.) I'm guessing they dubbed Marilyn Sokol in later.

Sounds like Frank Oz to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:31 AM on November 4, 2009


Why in the world was it so important for the drum to wind up propped against the step???
posted by nosila at 8:35 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


That drum sequence is on the DVD and it never fails to crack me and my kid up. I thought she might get bored with it because it goes on so long, but no.
posted by mikepop at 8:39 AM on November 4, 2009


Awesome. The Muppets Specials are one of the perks of deciding to procreate. Because I get to see them all over (and over and over) again.
posted by jeanmari at 8:40 AM on November 4, 2009


They record the dialogue live on the set? That seems less than practical.
posted by Optamystic at 8:43 AM on November 4, 2009


They record the dialogue live on the set? That seems less than practical.

Why is it not practical? The Muppets are actually actors, actors are generally recorded live on the set. It guarantees that the Muppeteer will have the mouth in sync with the voice because he's making both happen... The only times they don't do this is for songs, where it's easy to get the mouth in sync because of the music.
posted by hippybear at 8:47 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


That seems less than practical.

Have met an actual muppet builder, I can assure you that practical has nothing to do with it.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:48 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


the line that cracked me up?

"Shut Up Prawn"
posted by ShawnString at 8:49 AM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fair enough. It just seems like it would add another level of complexity to the process, when dialogue can be easily looped, especially when you don't have to worry about syncing with human mouth movements. Good on 'em, though. Knowing that just makes them that much more awesome.
posted by Optamystic at 8:51 AM on November 4, 2009


re: live dialog recording

Providing live dialog to go with the puppet you are controlling is a tradition that pre-dates film recording, so it is an expected part of a puppeteer's skill set. Making use of that skill set even on filmed work simplifies the production greatly, and keeps the performances organic.

It also makes working with live actors more straight-forward.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 9:17 AM on November 4, 2009


They record the dialogue live on the set? That seems less than practical.

Why is it not practical? The Muppets are actually actors, actors are generally recorded live on the set.


This, a thousand times. Actors (or puppets) lip-synching to canned dialogue is a practice that should never take place outside of detergent commercials, "wacky" trade show demonstrations, and small town passion plays.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:21 AM on November 4, 2009


That such things exist fill me with undescribable joy.
posted by Decimask at 9:29 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


indescribable, even
posted by Decimask at 9:36 AM on November 4, 2009


They record the dialogue live on the set? That seems less than practical.

Why is it not practical? The Muppets are actually actors, actors are generally recorded live on the set.


Not to mention that the Muppets' mouth parts are often glorified gloves for the actors' hands. Only the voice actor can really synch his own hand movements with his own voice, which gives the Muppets that extra layer of anthropomorphic goodness.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 AM on November 4, 2009


I have tears in my eyes from the "Emmett Otter" drum sequence. "Sweet Jesus!" Ha!
posted by ColdChef at 9:50 AM on November 4, 2009


Having worked with the Muppets for a couple of years, yes, the performances you hear are the performances recorded on set. It's rare for the voices to be looped later. The puppeteers have lavalier microphones on headbands, and perform while looking at video monitors of their performances. Which is harder than you'd think, because it's not like a mirror, it's backwards to a mirror.

Because the performers have been doing the characters so long, they always flub lines in character, it's very funny stuff. Plus, for the most part they are incredible at improv, so it just comes naturally to them. I used to cut together blooper reels for Statler and Waldorf From The Balcony for about half the run of the show, and put them at the ends of the episodes.

When you are watching the Muppets, you are watching a performance, the same way you would be if it was live actors.

Some shows do it differently. I know someone who works for Yo Gabba Gabba, and the voices for that are all recorded ahead of time, but their puppets work very differently.
posted by MythMaker at 10:14 AM on November 4, 2009 [20 favorites]


I'm gonna have you run out of this business!...so good!
posted by Brainy at 10:19 AM on November 4, 2009


Outtakes from an interview with Elmo and Ricky Gervais. (Previous FPP -- A Muppet and a fat guy).
posted by ericb at 10:27 AM on November 4, 2009


"Can't we do it again, Ma?"
"Shut up, Emmett."
posted by bicyclefish at 10:29 AM on November 4, 2009




Why in the world was it so important for the drum to wind up propped against the step???

Not only was it important enough for 233 takes, but the "good" take still has a blooper. At the beginning, you can see the drum poking out. I don't get it either.
posted by DU at 11:36 AM on November 4, 2009


Not only was it important enough for 233 takes, but the "good" take still has a blooper. At the beginning, you can see the drum poking out. I don't get it either.

Apparently what happened is that they did a rehearsal of rolling the drum out the door and it landed on the curb, and Jim Henson wanted it exactly like that. Unfortunately they weren't filming at the time. These outtakes are the result of trying to get the drum to land on the curb again.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:55 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Rizzo. Pull it together, Rizzo, it's enough."

Classic.
posted by The Bellman at 12:22 PM on November 4, 2009


I was expecting Elmo's friend Mr. DeNiro's imaginary Elmo-laugh to get more and more angry until he pulled out a baseball bat and started talking about "entoosiasms" while beating Elmo to death. Using his imagination, of course.

I was disappointed.
posted by biscotti at 1:05 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


By any chance, does anyone happen to have the original HBO version of Emmett Otter taped (and can I have a copy if you do)? There were several edits done to both the VHS and DVD versions - songs cut out, lines of dialogue that were removed and never replaced and I've been looking for that version forever.
posted by horsemuth at 5:34 PM on November 4, 2009


I've watched Muppet and Henson Shop making-of extras (Farscape), and yes, everything is done live. The muppets are really another performer -- and humans who work with them say that it is like working with a strange looking but still real actor, except for the rather disturbing moment when your fellow actor might "dead" at the end of a take (more a hazard with the eletronic puppets which are turned off). They looped the puppets' voices in Farscape, because the voice actors were not a puppetteers, but the puppetteers still did all the lines in scene to get the mouth movements right. It's not just random opening and closing - the puppeteers hands move as they speak the lines like an extension of their mouths. If they flub the line, they flub the mouth as well.
posted by jb at 6:57 PM on November 4, 2009


And now people who know WAY more than I do have commented, so my comment is pointless.

Other than to out myself as a huge Muppet geek, of course.
posted by jb at 7:04 PM on November 4, 2009


horsemuth, if you ever do find a copy of the "original" HBO version please do let me know.
posted by mikepop at 9:44 PM on November 4, 2009


Well, I'm not sure about the appropriateness of posting a link to a fan-edit of a copyrighted work here, so I won't. but I would like to thank hippybear for ending my 10+ year search to find a complete version of Emmet Otter. For anyone who doesn't know, there were several edits (no Kermit in one, shorter songs and shorter dialogue in others) done for the VHS and DVD versions, and no one commercially released version had all of the missing scenes restored. Well, after posting my request above, hippybear put me on track to the most amazingly well done fan-edit of this movie, incorporating all of the missing scenes. So, if anyone else out there would like to enjoy this movie in its original greatness, drop me a memail.
posted by horsemuth at 4:43 AM on November 5, 2009


By the way, I recommend any of you Muppet fans check out the Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibition. Check the link for the tour itinerary.

I caught it when it was in Atlanta, and enjoyed it very much.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:41 AM on November 5, 2009


Many thanks to horsemuth & hippybear! Also to Fleebnork who has caused me to mark my calendar much farther in advance than I usually do!

Another great thing for muppet fans to check out is the book Jim Henson: The Works.
posted by mikepop at 7:11 AM on November 5, 2009


There is also the story of Frank Oz's improvisation on the set of The Empire Strikes Back. He smuggled Miss Piggy onto the set. While shooting a Yoda scene with Mark Hamill he switched Yoda with Miss Piggy while Mark's back was turned. When he turned back to face Yoda, there was Miss Piggy who said, "Hey big boy, wanna fuck". Hamill laughed so hard he collapsed in the mud.
posted by Ber at 9:20 AM on November 5, 2009


Yep.
One difficult day, when Hamill solemnly told Yoda, "I followed my feelings," Oz suddenly and incongruously popped Miss Piggy into the scene decked out in lavender gown and gloves. "Feelings? Ya wanna know about feelings? Get behind this couch and I'll show ya feelings, ya little runt," squealed Miss Piggy. "Where the hell is this? Get my agent on the phone. I've been booked in dumps before, but nothin' like this." As the crew howled with laughter, Hamill and Piggy went into a duet of the tune "Feelings," and [Irvin] Kershner cringed. "I could joke about everything else but not about Yoda," says the director. "I had to keep him a living thing with feelings and imagination."
Photo.
posted by ericb at 9:33 AM on November 5, 2009


That last blooper real was fantastic and certainly not something I should be watching in class. Thanks!
posted by flatluigi at 9:21 AM on November 10, 2009


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