Never Before, and Never Again
April 15, 2010 7:22 AM   Subscribe

December 9, 2001, at a singular event called Muppet Fest, Muppet performers and special guests came together to perform a very special edition of The Muppet Show - a live performance. Until now, those of us who could not attend were only able to read the script, but recently a (slightly edited) video of this unique performance has turned up on YouTube: Part 1

:: Part 2 :: Part 3 :: Part 4 :: Part 5 :: Part 6 (features memories by Brian Henson) :: Part 7 (features memories by other Muppeteers) :: Part 8 (more memories) :: Part 9 :: Part 10 :: Part 11 :: Part 12

The live show was a combination of live performances and vintage clips. Special guests included Brooke Shields and Paul Williams. One notable bit of trivia is that Brian Henson performed the newscaster, which was the first time he had ever performed one of his father's characters.
posted by anastasiav (32 comments total) 86 users marked this as a favorite

 
Muppetfilter

(goes to click links, laugh, cry, etc. God I loves me more muppets)
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


!!!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:29 AM on April 15, 2010


Muppet threads are always full of win!
posted by zizzle at 7:31 AM on April 15, 2010


Everyone, everyone! Hold hands with me and believe -- what if we had more muppet posts than politicalblustering posts? IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES.

Really imagine it.
posted by cavalier at 7:35 AM on April 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that's the internet I want to live in.
posted by dammitjim at 7:40 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


This isn't directly related to the Muppets, but Jim Henson also made a wonderfully dark and confusing one hour film called "The Cube". A man wakes up inside a featureless, white, cubic room with no idea how he got there. There's nothing much I can write about what happens without getting spoilery, but it gets rapidly very confusing, surreal and a tiny bit disturbing. All the slightly twisted fun of "Dark Crystal", but no puppetry and written for adults.

Entirely SFW (er, if your work is ok with you watching hour-long films of guys in white rooms), no blood, gore or disturbing imagery.

Watch the whole thing in black-and-white on google video [link] or in 10-minute chunks in colour on YouTube [link].

(I'd read that no colour recordings of it were known to exist; I've only seen the B&W version I linked to above. I don't think colour/B&W will make much difference to the experience.)
posted by metaBugs at 7:43 AM on April 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


I favorited this so hard, I think I broke my mouse.
posted by Optamystic at 7:43 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Love this. Thank you!!!
posted by zarq at 7:46 AM on April 15, 2010


That Kermit just doesn't sound like Kermit.
posted by rusty at 7:48 AM on April 15, 2010


I can't wait till we start up ask.muppetfilter.com.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:53 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Muppet story, by Bondcliff, age 40.

When I was about seven, with my mom's help, I wrote to the Fisher Price company and told them they should make a Little People play set based on the Muppet Show. They wrote back and explained that it would cost too much for the rights to use the characters. I was seven and someone was telling me it cost money to make something that looked like Kermit.

Seven.

Motherfucking humans, man. It's a cruel, cruel world.
posted by bondcliff at 7:54 AM on April 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


That Kermit just doesn't sound like Kermit.

Haven't watched these yet, but NuKermit's definitely gotten better over time. He'll never be Henson, but you get the feeling that Whitmire's done the best he could.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:54 AM on April 15, 2010


Heh. After a night of no sleep I was just going to post an Askme concerning what to do when you find the world and the webs too oppressively negative and snarky. Really wondering how to keep on going forward when every site just seems to be filled with vitriol and it leaks around the defences I've put in place...and then this! Muppets, yet again! What a wonderful thing to have breakfast to. ...and now I'll shut up about darkness, say thank you and settle in. Add a warm blanket and tomato soup and I'm 7 again!
posted by kanata at 7:57 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


fisher price little people DID license sesame street.

i can only assume that in those days children's television workshop were a more laid back bunch, while the people that produced the muppet show wanted a bigger slice of a potential bunsen honeydew + beaker little person playset.
posted by Hammond Rye at 8:09 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, I so want a Mr. Hooper little person now!
posted by kanata at 8:15 AM on April 15, 2010


Haven't watched these yet, but NuKermit's definitely gotten better over time. He'll never be Henson, but you get the feeling that Whitmire's done the best he could.

Initially, I almost couldn't stand to watch Kermit after Steve Whitmire took him, but, yeah, I think he's done a fabulous job keeping the character intact and growing into a voice that is as close as anyone who is not Jim Henson could ever do. Some of the other Henson characters did not transfer anywhere near as well, and, frankly none of the characters passed on from Frank Oz to newer performers (Oz semi-retired from the Muppets about 10 years ago) are any good at all.
posted by briank at 8:17 AM on April 15, 2010


All of you owe it to yourselves to get 6 minutes into part 2.

I was not expecting that.

posted by unsupervised at 8:23 AM on April 15, 2010


And don't read the description!
posted by unsupervised at 8:30 AM on April 15, 2010


Steve Whitmire's Kermit isn't Henson's Kermit, but it is Kermit. The soul is the same.

I disagree with the idea, though, that the Muppeteers who perform Oz's characters are no good. In fact, when I first saw "It's a Very Muppet Christmas Movie", I was surprised when I saw that it was Eric Jacobsen performing as Piggy and Fozzie, not Oz.
posted by inturnaround at 8:36 AM on April 15, 2010


This post: 100% Awesome. My day: Now 100% better.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:42 AM on April 15, 2010


I disagree with the idea, though, that the Muppeteers who perform Oz's characters are no good.

I watch Sesame Street almost daily, and often see Oz clips and Eric Jacobson clips side by side, and I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between Oz's Grover and Bert and Jacobson's Grover and Bert.
posted by anastasiav at 8:42 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Though honestly, I have to say, I've found Whitmire's puppetry style more jarring when he's playing Kermit than his voice. It's subtle, but compare a clip like this one with the clips above. Whitmire plays Kermie a bit more over-the-top, manic, and twitchy, particularly in the way he moves his mouth. It's a bit hammier.

Still, though, he's got some big shoes to fill, so I have nothing but respect for the guy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:43 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


This whole time I thought Oz was still doing it.
posted by unsupervised at 8:46 AM on April 15, 2010


I started to watch this, but was good and shut it off, so I can watch it tonight with Mr. C. Tonight will be a good night.
posted by cereselle at 8:46 AM on April 15, 2010


I think we all know how much I love muppet threads.
the answer is a lot

putting an I in italics requires a lot of i's.

posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:52 AM on April 15, 2010


I don't mean to diss Whitmire or anything -- there wasn't really any choice, someone had to be the new Kermit. He just, to me, doesn't sound much like the real Kermit. He sounds like someone doing a sort of mediocre impression of Kermit. And given that it's puppetry in the first place, it sort of makes it hard for me to suspend my disbelief -- now I'm always thinking "there's a guy back there doing an impression of Kermit's voice, and waggling a puppet at me." It's unfortunate, but there you go.
posted by rusty at 8:53 AM on April 15, 2010


"FLOYD

Hey, where's the rest of the band?

ZOOT

Late, man. Late."

Of course, referring to Dr. Teeth's performer Jim Henson and Janice's performer Richard Hunt no longer being with us.

Sniff.
posted by inturnaround at 8:54 AM on April 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


He just, to me, doesn't sound much like the real Kermit. He sounds like someone doing a sort of mediocre impression of Kermit.

In part 7 Whitmire talks about the first time he ever tried to perform Kermit, and the feeling that the voice just wouldn't come out. I can't imagine the fear he had and the pressure he was under, stepping into those shoes.
posted by anastasiav at 8:59 AM on April 15, 2010


I disagree with the idea, though, that the Muppeteers who perform Oz's characters are no good.

I watch Sesame Street almost daily...I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between Oz's Grover and Bert and Jacobson's Grover and Bert.

Maybe I just need 10-20 years to get used to it, like with Whitmire. It has been several years since my daughter outgrew her interest in Sesame Street, so perhaps Jacobson has improved, but back around 2003-5 I could tell the difference instantly and did not like his voicing. The worst was Cookie Monster.
posted by briank at 10:07 AM on April 15, 2010


fisher price little people DID license sesame street.
I had that set when I was a kid. Now my toddlers have the current version, which is not nearly as cool, especially since it has stupid Elmo (and Ernie, but no Bert!).
posted by candyland at 11:08 AM on April 15, 2010


The worst was Cookie Monster

Jacobsen has performed as Cookie in the past, but his full-time performer now (and for the past 5 years has been David Rudman. Rudman was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his performance as Cookie Monster.

Oz actually does a day or two a year doing Sesame segments (usually as Bert)...or at least he has before.

I think the way to look at Muppet recasting shouldn't be all about the pitch-perfectness of the voice. It should be the spirit of the character. I think that the recasts have generally gotten it more right than wrong.
posted by inturnaround at 11:19 AM on April 15, 2010


We've had four Muppet-related posts in the last week, haven't we? I was thinking a couple weeks ago that next month - May 16 - it'll be 20 years Jim Henson's been gone. (I thought about trying to come up with an anniversary post, but I couldn't imagine having anything new to share - this content was certainly a nice surprise.)
posted by jocelmeow at 12:10 PM on April 15, 2010


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