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Since we're on a Muppet kick lately....
April 14, 2010 5:57 PM   Subscribe

Something of a rarity on film, Jim Henson and Frank Oz get a chance to "ham" it up without a script, when The Muppet Movie director James Frawley requests some camera tests to see how the puppets look when filmed on location. The hilarious result: Part One | Part Two
posted by evilcolonel (86 comments total) 226 users marked this as a favorite

 
One of the best comedy duos ever.
posted by scrowdid at 6:02 PM on April 14, 2010


I have a leg that kicks.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:03 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pure gold.
posted by Abbril at 6:06 PM on April 14, 2010


Things like this are why Youtube is a treasure to the world.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:12 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna go in the stove.
posted by valkyryn at 6:16 PM on April 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


One of the few times where I 100% endorse the use of the phrase "hilarious result." I would also fully support "hilarity ensues" in this specific instance.

Readers, this is not hyperbole. If these clips don't make you laugh, the fault is entirely your own.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:17 PM on April 14, 2010


Emmet Otter & his mother watch a drum roll out a door. Over and over and over and over and over. Starring Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz & a very particular Jim Henson.
posted by unsupervised at 6:22 PM on April 14, 2010 [52 favorites]


Holy crap, unsupervised, that Emmet Otter thing is freaking hilarious! I'm crying here...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 6:29 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think if I was hanging out on an English country lane circa 1979, and suddenly saw Sweetums loping across a field toward me, I might just have a full-on psychotic break. I mean, that's something straight out of The Wicker Man.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:31 PM on April 14, 2010 [18 favorites]


I am quite honestly weeping right now. You can see the dynamic of friendship, hardship, and love between Henson and Oz mirrored in the ad-libbed interactions between bear and frog. Jim Henson was a truly amazing human, in how he was able to convey such complex emotions and ideas, and also in his ability to share his whimsical perception of the world with all of us. It just gets me right here. [points to heart. heart explodes with flash powder and smoke]
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:33 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


What always blows me away in the unscripted muppets things is that they never break character. NEVER. There's no swearing or anything. It's just...Kermit and Fozzie (and Emmett and his mother), hanging out.
posted by DU at 6:37 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


[points to heart. heart explodes with flash powder and smoke]

Your heart is a ninja? inconceivable.
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:38 PM on April 14, 2010


they never break character. NEVER.

Yeah, that's something I noticed too. I tried to make a post, but I was feeling really sad about Henson's untimely death, and just gave up on it after a couple of attempts.

You can see the basic... um, I guess you could call it professionalism, but you could also call it fundamental respect for the characters, in the way that they so, so carefully tried to make them real, even for a test shot. The sheer care in what they were doing, even when they were screwing around and ad-libbing, really impressed the hell out of me.

And now I'm all sad again. Dammit.
posted by Malor at 6:43 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


SEE! SEE! I TOLD YOU THEY'RE REAL.
posted by The Whelk at 6:50 PM on April 14, 2010 [20 favorites]


Your heart is a ninja? inconceivable

I meant more like this.
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:56 PM on April 14, 2010


Thank you for this. The Muppet Movie was the first movie I ever saw in a theatre and I still remember the awe I had w/ the whole experience. Especially since I got to go alone w/ my big brother who at ten seemed to be *god* to me as he got to do all that I couldn't. These videos brought back all that childhood adoration I had for him today, on the anniversary of his passing, and the remembrance of the thrill of sitting in a dark movie house for the first time and wondering what was going to happen on that big screen way ahead.
posted by kanata at 6:58 PM on April 14, 2010 [12 favorites]


I watched these while commuting home on a crowded LIRR train. Managed not to laugh aloud until:
"Hey Kermit? Kermit, look at the windshield wipers."

*pause*

"I think I'm going to be sick."

At which point I couldn't hold it in any longer.

After she found out why I was laughing and wiping away tears, my seatmate made me rewind and share my headphones.

By the time we got to "Hey guys? Guys? Do you know the way to Hollywood?" it was playing without the headphones, for a small crowd of 8 people, all huddled around the tiny screen on my phone and laughing their heads off. I just spent 3 minutes standing on the station platform at my stop, telling people where I found it.

Evilcolonel, you made a bunch of tired New Yorkers happy tonight.

Nicely done! :)
posted by zarq at 6:59 PM on April 14, 2010 [98 favorites]


What always blows me away in the unscripted muppets things is that they never break character.

Well, Kermit does tell Fozzie he's not a real bear.
posted by kenko at 7:03 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is wonderful! I just spent the last hour reminiscing and sharing clips of The Muppet Show with 10 year my year old daughter. I especially like Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler. They left in the whiskey, cigarettes and death scene. When I was a kid, these details went over my head.
posted by dustypinata at 7:03 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, Kermit does tell Fozzie he's not a real bear.

But he is a real puppet.
posted by Abbril at 7:12 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Kermit/Fozzie dynamic reminds me a lot of Jon and Ben from Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, but it's probably just the whole two-man dry improv thing.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:19 PM on April 14, 2010


With Jim Henson, the muppets hung out in a field talking to cows. Without him, they keep some less respectable company.
posted by chronkite at 7:19 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Kermit/Fozzie dynamic reminds me a lot of Jon and Ben from Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist

Oh yes! That's a good parallel. The banter's quite good like that. I also got a real Smothers Brothers vibe near the end of the tree scene for some reason, too.

I also love how Frank Oz was very good at getting Henson to break, but even when he broke he stayed in character as much as possible. These are wonderful.
posted by Spatch at 7:25 PM on April 14, 2010


I also like how Fozzie's hat blows off in every shot.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:33 PM on April 14, 2010


You don't know the hoof of it!
posted by tristeza at 7:47 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


When you work with the Muppeteers, they go to great lengths to keep the characters, well, pure. The "deanimated" characters are always kept in a black satin bag, and when the move is made the place the muppet on the hand of the animator, there always seems to be a little tight crowd around them so you can't really tell what's going on. It's really pretty sweet.

I've had the opportunity to work with Elmo, Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzie, and each time the whole crew were standing around like grinning idiots, totally rapt the entire time. It's generally understood that a Muppet day is a day totally lost to endless rehearsal, because it's such a thrill to listen to those voices talk to you and your friends.

And no, they never break character, but they do at times get a little....blue. Just a little though. The most impressive thing, to my mind, is how perfectly able they are to lock the eyes of the Muppet with the eyes of the person to whom they're speaking. It's dead on, all the time. Crazy.

And of all the shows I've worked on, the ONLY talent who the crew absolutely crowds around are the Muppets. And the day after, we all have Facebook photos up with them.

That being said, this is a total gem. And I loved zarq's story about the LIRR. I've had a few experiences like that on the LIRR, and each one is a great little memory.
posted by nevercalm at 7:48 PM on April 14, 2010 [109 favorites]


neverclam, I think...no I kNOW I need to hear some Muppets going blue stories.
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 PM on April 14, 2010


You know what's amazing to me? I know it's just rubber and felt. I know there's a puppeteer until both characters. I know the muppets are being voiced by other people.

And yet, I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat, leaning in close to my monitor. I'm hanging on every word. I have a huge smile on my face the entire time.

30 years later, and the characters are still alive to me.

I know it's easy to slip into Get Off My Lawn modeā„¢ here, but I just can't ever see today's modern CGI ever replacing what Henson was able to create. Spectacle yes; emotional resonance, never.
posted by Exploding Gutbuster at 7:53 PM on April 14, 2010 [14 favorites]


under, not until. its late.
posted by Exploding Gutbuster at 7:54 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


And now I'm all sad again. Dammit.

I got lost in YouTube Jim Henson-ery for quite a while after watching these, and ultimately found this clip of Frank Oz speaking at his memorial. It's so touching and funny, and I cried. How I wish he hadn't died.
posted by dammitjim at 7:59 PM on April 14, 2010 [15 favorites]


Yikes, that's a lot of film stock they "wasted" there. Shooting on 35mm apparently costs in the range of hundreds of dollars per minute.

I saw a similar set of footage from when the Muppets appeared on Scrubs, and similar camera tests were being performed. Equally hilarious, but definitely not PG. Sadly, I can't find it on the 'net...
posted by schmod at 8:01 PM on April 14, 2010


Thanks. I know I've seen the first part of that first one before; it may be an extra on a Muppet Show DVD?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:03 PM on April 14, 2010


yes- Jim Frawley's screen test is an extra on the Muppet Movie DVD.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:09 PM on April 14, 2010


Emmet Otter & his mother watch a drum roll out a door

OH GOD WHY DON'T THEY JUST MOVE THE JUG SO THE DRUM DOESN'T BUMP IT. This is so frustrating.
posted by elizardbits at 8:36 PM on April 14, 2010


What's confusing to me is I swear there's an even earlier film test that's just Henson and Oz and Kermit in a field with some cows, but isn't this one. Something from back at the very beginning when they were not sure the entire idea was going to work at all. Am I hallucinating having seen this footage on television many years back?
posted by theonetruebix at 9:25 PM on April 14, 2010


Sweetums would be THE BEST Halloween costume ever.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:49 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Fozzy doing standup to the cows KILLED me, tears streaming down my face, the whole bit.
posted by mwhybark at 10:10 PM on April 14, 2010


the best thing about insomnia is having the time to watch these kinds of gems. love and hugs to evilcolonel for sharing - this is exactly what me and my migraine needed tonight!!!
posted by lucysun at 10:43 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was awesome. As a bonus, following links from this, I found something I didn't know existed, which is a surprise considering my two favorite things in the world are Muppets and Prince.

An entire episode of Muppets Tonight featuring Prince
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:10 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "Emmet Otter & his mother watch a drum roll out a door

OH GOD WHY DON'T THEY JUST MOVE THE JUG SO THE DRUM DOESN'T BUMP IT. This is so frustrating.
"

You can see when they finally get it right (listen for the applause) that the final position for the drum was to bounce off the jug, and land face up against the curb displaying maximum surface area.

And because it's Jim, it's going to be right. Even if it takes 238 takes.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:39 AM on April 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Haha yes, I realized that towards the end of the video. NEVERTHELESS. Frustrating!
posted by elizardbits at 3:49 AM on April 15, 2010


Don't know how loved the Muppets are? Count the snarks in this thread. I've done it a couple of times and still come up with a grand total of none. Great find. Thanks for this.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 4:17 AM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


A bunch of crappy felt puppets with incompetent puppeteers fooling around and screwing up their lines is not the best of the web. Flagged as 1970s.
posted by ericost at 5:37 AM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


ericost, you just saved MeFi's image
posted by wheelieman at 5:57 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got lost in YouTube Jim Henson-ery for quite a while after watching these, and ultimately found this clip of Frank Oz speaking at his memorial . It's so touching and funny, and I cried. How I wish he hadn't died.

I had never seen this before, and I couldn't not watch it. My allergies are bothering my eyes.

The Jim Henson's Fantastic World exhibit is still on tour. If any of you are nearby, I highly recommend taking a look. I took a couple of clandestine shots here and here.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:30 AM on April 15, 2010


Flagged as 1970's

Flag me too. I was born during the 70's. :)

I chuckled at the Emmett Otter video until I heard, "Take 233.". Then I said, "Whoa" and laughed aloud. Two hundred and thirty-plus takes, for a fake, rolling drum shot that probably wasn't even that important or a memorable moment in the final show. Holy cow. Why on earth would anyone bother? After 10, 20, 50, 100 takes, get the hint and give up already! Create an easier shot! Stop wasting film! Back away from the puppets, Mr. Henson.

But after reflecting....

Perhaps you've inadvertently hit on one of the many reasons the Muppets did so well and had such broad cross-cultural appeal. The movies were astonishingly popular. Sesame Street is literally watched in millions of homes daily. Why?

Well, for one thing, it's because the puppets aren't perfect, and that makes 'em easy to relate to. Kids aren't perfect, either. They are learning to talk, walk and read. To live in our world and grow into adults. And especially on Sesame Street, the Muppets often are similarly childlike: they learn new things by doing. Through observation, asking questions and exploring the world around them. We have seen the Muppets, and they is us, so to speak. They also look kind of cute. Neoteny and the urge to anthropomorphize are powerful in children and adults. Muppets also aren't afraid to act silly. Have you ever tried doing standup for a bunch of cows? It's moo-der!

But also, those "incompetent puppeteers" took the time and put in the effort to learn their craft and practice repeatedly until they were able to achieve exactly what they wanted, even if the final take took a bunch of wasted film and 233+ tries. Persistence. Practice. Care about the final outcome.

These clips show that intense dedication to their craft. Nevercalm spoke above about the way the Muppets' handlers don't break character in public, I assume because it might spoil the illusion.

I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, it's not about the crappy puppets. It's about nostalgia and watching people who loved what they did, do it well.

It helps that they were funny as hell.

Did you notice? Even the cows thought so. ;)
posted by zarq at 6:56 AM on April 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


How I wish he hadn't died.
posted by dammitjim at 7:59 PM on April 14 [4 favorites +] [!]

Eponysterical?
Everything I want to say about these clips has already been said. The Muppet Movie was one of my favourite films growing up. It still is. I never questioned that the Muppets were real and still don't.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 6:57 AM on April 15, 2010


So many people die, and have died in this world, but I feel like there was so, so much left to come from Jim Henson.
posted by Trochanter at 6:59 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I was last in Washington DC I stopped at the American History Museum and saw Kermit. He was sitting in a big glass box. I was in awe. I had to take pictures.

With Jim Henson in charge, we had Kermit as the main protagonist for all things Muppet. Without Jim, we have Elmo.

Damn, do I miss Henson.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:07 AM on April 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


When they finally invent time machines the first thing I'm going to do is take Mr. Henson to the doctor and get that pneumonia treated, despite his protests.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:29 AM on April 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


i dont care you know why? i suddenly have a strong feeling of ennui
*puts paw on face*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:42 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm among friends, right? So if I admit - confess - that I never got the Muppets, you won't turn on me?

Because I never did. Not totally unmoved, and there are plenty of bits that are quite funny, but the connection so many people have just ain't there for me. So those YouTube clips are just a couple of puppets and a bloke in a monster costume mucking around in the English countryside in 1979.

Wrong planet?
posted by Devonian at 8:47 AM on April 15, 2010


Devonian: If this doesn't make you cry, I suspect the problem is that you are some sort of unfeeling robot.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:05 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


See also this, in which I made sure I had some loud angry music playing just in case I heard the first few notes and then I'd have to watch it again and nearly cry, again.

Fucking pneumonia.
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on April 15, 2010


I would like to make it clear that my snark was totally hamburger. I love the Muppets and I loved these clips!
posted by ericost at 9:49 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Devonian: I have to suggest renting "The Muppet Movie." I watched it for the first time in a long time about six months ago and it is still just a wonderful movie and has aged extremely well. Not only is it a great showcase for The Muppets, but it was done in a tradition of omnibus movies with tons of cameos by comedy giants. Bob Hope as the ice-cream man just kills me, and it's obvious the entire movie was made with such love and enthusiasm that it winds up being a microcosm (for me) of the Muppet world. It's like "Blazing Saddles" for children, but also for adults.

But hey, no harm no foul if it doesn't click. :) I'm not a big fan of The Dark Crystal, after all.
posted by rhizome at 9:51 AM on April 15, 2010


There are a lot of reasons why we love the Muppets, Devonian. On a very basic level I guess it's one of those situations where we feel nostalgia for things we loved as children, because those early emotional ties never really go away. They just get buried under layers of later sophistication.

But I think there are good reasons to adore the Muppets beyond just nostalgia. For one thing, they had some pretty neat concepts going on in an era when children's entertainment was usually quite simple. "The Muppet Show" was a TV program about a variety show, a meta concept just like Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," except populated by puppets and played for laughs that both children and adults could enjoy. For the 70s it was pretty amazing, and when you look at it as part of a legacy that includes simpler concepts like "Sesame Street" and wilder fantastic stuff like "Fraggle Rock" and "The Dark Crystal" you start to get an idea of just how amazing Jim Henson's mind was. That guy really had it goin' on.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:01 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq: nope. I found it mawkish. I'm no robot (any more than anyone else, let's not have that discussion right now) and plenty of things make me cry real tears. Not that.

Rhizome : I saw part of the Muppet Movie on TV one Christmas, and it didn't do anything more for me than any other Muppetry. If one doesn't really care for the Muppets, I doubt the movie's going to do much! Blazing Saddles, I will gladly go to the barricades for.

Kevin: I was a child in the 70s, so saw Sesame Street, The Muppets and Fraggle Rock at various stages in my growing up. (Missed Dark Crystal: guess I'd learned by then). None of them induce nostalgia now, because I didn't really love any of them then. Which is not to say I don't appreciate how good/special they are for many people, and I wouldn't deny Jim Henson's amazing talent. But I can't make myself engage emotionally with any of it: I couldn't as a kid, and I certainly can't now.

(But I did, and do, have strong fondness for a lot of Oliver Postgate's output, for example. So it's not genre - there really is something specific about the Muppets that I find indigestible)
posted by Devonian at 11:16 AM on April 15, 2010


"Can't we do it again ma?"

"Shut up Emmet."


Ok, that part got me.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:19 AM on April 15, 2010


Devonian. For me the muppets are this combonaiton of goofy fun, earnest belief in the essential goodness of people, care for the craft, laugh out loud funniness, and an adult sophistication that was so subtle;there is this set of people (George Formby, Buster Keaton, Maurice Sendak) who have this ability to be serious, to be silliness, to be strange and to be common all at the same time.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:57 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's something about a puppet that requires suspension of disbelief from the audience. The puppet is clearly a real, physical object that exists in the actual world, but it is also an imaginary creature, and when we treat it as alive we enter into a sort of conspiracy with the puppeteer that's very childlike in its way. For children it's easy to go back and forth between a play world where teddy bears and stuffed frogs can talk and the real world of rules and obligations, and for the rest of us believing in puppets (if only for the length of a youtube clip) is a reminder of that time.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:49 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is nothing about this that isn't totally awesome.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:29 PM on April 15, 2010


My mother told me this story about 20 years ago, so details are very hazy. When she lived in DC, she knew a woman who, decades earlier, had entered a local TV station contest. The winner would get his/her own TV show, and she was kinda bummed that she'd lost to "this kid." Yep, this kid was Jim Henson. (I'm guessing his show was Sam and Friends.)
posted by bentley at 4:32 PM on April 15, 2010


That was awesome. God I miss Jim, he was amazing. I cried when I heard he died, I cried again when I watched the memorial service, and now you had to go and link to Frank Oz at the memorial. This is not helping me go out to the store to get things for dinner.
Thanks. :)
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:49 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone know why Miss Piggy's voice has a slightly squeaky rasp in the second clip? I don't remember ever hearing that in the TV shows.

(And that clip with the rolling drum is amazing. Being able to stay in character but not in role - so you get, not a puppeteer angry at a scene that isn't working, but an otter angry at the scene and also confused by the fact that his feet are stapled to the floor - is an exceptional talent. I loves me some Muppets.)
posted by ZsigE at 4:58 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Back in 2004 when I was working for Sony's video game division as a producer, one of my responsibilities was to project manage all the cinematic components of our game from start to finish. This included overseeing script writing, working with the artists on story boards, choosing a director, and most importantly, figuring out our pipeline for motion-capturing animations, recording VO assets, and animating facial expressions. Since we had a relatively small cinematics team, not much time, but a reasonable budget, we wanted to find a one stop shop where we could do as much of this as possible. Enter the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, which at the time I think was called something else but I can't recall now. They have a proprietary technology that simultaneously couples motion-capture, mechnical hand controls, puppeteering, and VO recording. Basically, you have an actor in the mo-cap studio doing body animations while a puppeteer does live facial animations and VO, with the combination all captured to computer as well as projected on a screen above the mo-cap space. You watch your CG characters walk and talk in a digital environment in real-time, such that you can direct CG cinematics much the same way you would live-action. It's kooky sounding and when I tell other game developers about it, they usually start giggling at the part about the puppeteers and never hear the rest of the story about how cool the technology is.

But that's not the point of my post. The real point is that because we went with this pipeline, I got to hang out on the Henson Studio lot in Hollywood for several days. On the first day, they gave us a tour of the studio and workshop, where among other things we got to see the Nazi pigeon puppets for The Producers being made, numerous Muppet dolls around the shop, a bunch of awards Henson won over the years, props from The Dark Crystal, Dinosaurs, Fraggle Rock, and many others. Oh, and they also have Charlie Chaplin's makeup chair in the studio dressing room, since the Henson Studio was originally built by Chaplin back in 1917, when Hollywood was basically a bunch of orange groves. We hung out with the muppeteers, took pictures, and generally acted like the awestruck fanboys we all were. I was in film nerdvana.

Eventually we settled down and got to work. Once the director and actors had found their rhythm, proved that the technology worked, and were able to capture good data, I quietly ducked out of the mo-cap studio. I immediately called all my friends and left messages, just so I could say "I'm calling from the Henson Studios lot. I'll call you again later."

I felt like such a big shot. That was a really great day.
posted by ga$money at 5:53 PM on April 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oh, and here's a picture of Chaplin's chair. I sneaked a quick sit-down right after this picture.
posted by ga$money at 6:24 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pretty late to this post, but I just wanted to brag that my late uncle was a Muppeteer. He used to carry around this rubber "mouth" with him all the time - you'd stick two fingers in either jaw and one went in the tongue - and always cracked my brother and me up at family gatherings. After he passed, his partner was going to throw it away but I took it; I ended up having to get rid of it after it melted into a sticky puddle.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:01 PM on April 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


one night in 1987, my dad came home with a color television. fraggle rock was the first thing we watched.

thanks for posting this.
posted by janepanic at 7:24 PM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


> The "deanimated" characters are always kept in a black satin bag, and when the move is made the place the muppet on the hand of the animator, there always seems to be a little tight crowd around them so you can't really tell what's going on. It's really pretty sweet.

Some crazy, enterprising rich person needs to create two indestructible time capsules and shoot them into space at different times. One capsule contains a written description of the character donning and shooting rituals. This capsule would also contain a hidden tracking device that, when the ritual was properly reproduced before its electronic eye, would then activate to reveal the probable location of the second capsule, which if found would contain a collection of Muppet replicas and/or TV/movie footage.
posted by christopherious at 9:53 PM on April 15, 2010




@pinkmoose

"George Formby, Buster Keyton, Maurice Sendak...", to whom I'd add Chaplin in a list of things that, like the Muppets, I Just Don't Get.

I think it's the straightforwardness. There's nothing of the unsettling. Without at least a small pinch of the uneasy or a hint of bad taste (OK, Formby has that - but wrapped up in music hall defusing), I can't swallow stuff. It's just too smooth to get a purchase on.
posted by Devonian at 1:14 AM on April 16, 2010


Ok this is so lovely - if the Frank Oz speech wasn't enough for you: The Muppets' own memorial to Jim. Excuse me, I seem to have fogged over my glasses. Take what you got and fly with it... wise advice indeed.
posted by Augenblick at 2:21 AM on April 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Something in my eye.
posted by usonian at 4:21 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some crazy, enterprising rich person needs to create two indestructible time capsules and shoot them into space at different times. One capsule contains a written description of the character donning and shooting rituals. This capsule would also contain a hidden tracking device that, when the ritual was properly reproduced before its electronic eye, would then activate to reveal the probable location of the second capsule, which if found would contain a collection of Muppet replicas and/or TV/movie footage.

I will say this, catching sight of Miss Piggy's head in a briefcase was a little unsettling. I'll see if I can dig up some photos of what I was talking about earlier.

What an awesome thread this is, and how cool that the Muppets bring out the best in mefites.
posted by nevercalm at 6:54 AM on April 16, 2010


OK, two photos of the Muppet black bag operation. That's Kermit in the bag she's holding.
posted by nevercalm at 7:22 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Totally random and only tangentially related, but the Muppet studio that used to be Chaplin's digs is said to be haunted. There's a Ghost Hunters episode where they investigate the location. (Just looked it up, it's season 3 ep 312 "Manson Murders.")
posted by ErikaB at 11:58 AM on April 16, 2010


Ok this is so lovely - if the Frank Oz speech wasn't enough for you: The Muppets' own memorial to Jim. Excuse me, I seem to have fogged over my glasses. Take what you got and fly with it... wise advice indeed.

Note to self: Do not watch anything described as "Muppets" and "Memorial" while on a lunch break at work anymore.

My eyes. Something definitely in my eyes. :P
posted by zarq at 12:31 PM on April 16, 2010


I will say this, catching sight of Miss Piggy's head in a briefcase was a little unsettling.

As long as she didn't have an apple in her mouth....
posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on April 16, 2010


From the Youtube comments on the Muppet Memorial to Jim Henson clip:
joffeorama: its silly, but what really made me tear up was that even Sam, Statlor and Waldorf joined in. You know that when you can get even Sam the Eagle to sing in a tribute to you, you've lived your life right.
:)
posted by zarq at 12:36 PM on April 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Okay, something life-affirming now from the Jim Henson memorial:

Jim Henson's favorite sequence from the Muppet Show was the song "Turn The World Around," during the Harry Belafonte episode. The visuals were great, and the song was one of his favorites.

So then, at his memorial, Harry Belafonte spoke, and then sang "Turn The World Around" (song starts at about 4:00 in the linked clip). But they had also left small butterfly puppets at every seat, telling people that this was the song they should bring them out on -- so about halfway through the song you can see the whole church start to filled with fluttering butterflies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:53 AM on April 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


And no, they never break character, but they do at times get a little....blue.

Outtakes from an interview with Elmo and Ricky Gervais.
posted by ericb at 9:28 AM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I cannot resist anything Muppets (or Fraggles or any other of the Henson puppets) but I cry like I just lost my favorite uncle every time it's brought up.
posted by _paegan_ at 3:42 PM on April 17, 2010


My grandpa, rest his soul, only ever watched two programs on TV. One was Winston Churchill's funeral. The other was the Muppet Show - religiously, every weekend.
posted by Conductor71 at 2:41 PM on April 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


I want a Muppet day please.
posted by anniecat at 8:59 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you for this post. I love MetaFilter because of finds like this.
posted by not_on_display at 8:15 PM on May 5, 2010


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