"That’s the message of these curiously sadistic TV commercials produced by Jim Henson between 1957 and 1961. Henson made 179 ten-second spots for Wilkins Coffee, a regional company with distribution in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. market, according to the Muppets Wiki: “The local stations only had ten seconds for station identification, so the Muppet commercials had to be lightning-fast–essentially, eight seconds for the commercial pitch and a two-second shot of the product.”" --from OpenCulture.com
Jim Henson's early journals reveal some surprising back stories.
On the Other Hand Steve Whitmire's been playing Kermit the Frog for 25 years. And on prime time television again real soon now.
In the pilot episode... Welles goes beard to mustache with Burt Reynolds on the Constipation School of Acting, does magic tricks with Angie Dickinson and discusses the cosmic importance of puppetry with Jim Henson. It’s all coated with Welles’ eccentricities and indecipherable profundity. Once again, it’s impossible to know whether he’s genuinely bizarre or wholly self-aware of the display he’s putting on. My money is always on the latter.To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, please enjoy the bizarre and wonderful never-aired 1979 pilot of The Orson Welles Show. (Via)
Song for an old-fashioned Christmas: "'Twas the night before Christmas on Sesame Street/And the people were sleeping, ‘cause the people were beat/The snow had been falling for most of the day/And it lay over everything, sooty and grey..." -- as performed by Sesame's own David (lyrics) for the 1975 album "Merry Christmas from Sesame Street" (cover; inside artwork; back cover). Please join me (and Bert and Ernie and Oscar and Big Bird and others) in revisiting a holiday classic. [more inside]
For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving today (and anyone else), here's Dick Cavett's 1971 Thanksgiving Special. [more inside]
What's the intersection between Star Wars and the Muppets? Chances are you'll think of Yoda. Maybe you knew that Jim Henson & his creature-makers had nothing to do with the original Star Wars movie. And sure, you probably knew that some of the Star Wars cast were featured on the Muppet Show (watch on YouTube). But wait, there's more. [more inside]
"We all have our nostalgia. But, at least for me, my love of Henson’s work goes beyond that. I don’t think we love the Muppets simply because they came from our childhood. We love the Muppets because they gave us a worldview – a profoundly idealistic, yet profoundly realistic worldview – that many of us carry into our adulthoods. It is only rarely that we take the time to consider where we picked up such ideas."
A YouTube user has uploaded an earlier cut of Jim Henson and Frank Oz's The Dark Crystal (with characters designed by Brian Froud). Some scenes are re-ordered, there is some different dialogue and the narration has been removed. It didn't perform well in testing, so changes were made to the version we all know and love. A threatened sequel, to be directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, is on hold. [more inside]
On the passing of Jane Nebel Henson, who was, as this piece from a Muppets fansite explains, more than Jim's widow, she was the original Second Muppeteer. [more inside]
Hey guys, remember that old show "Fraggle Rock?" And, and you know that recently-released movie The Hobbit? Well, why not combine the two?
The Swedish Chef (Muppet Wiki) is the incomprehensible preparer of foodstuffs for The Muppet Show. A rather literal variation of the Live-Hand Muppet concept, the Swedish Chef is a humanoid character, with human hands rather than gloves. An annotated list of every televised appearance of the Swedish Chef is after the fold... Børk! Børk! Børk! [Click here to view the thread translated fully into Mock Swedish] [more inside]
In 1975, a half-hour variety show titled The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence piloted on ABC television but it was going after an older audience.
The Muppets in Thor is NOT another fake trailer for the upcoming movie. It's a 24-page mostly-24-hour comic by the guy who does Max Overacts. Note: contains discrete male nudity, pig-on-Norse-God violence, obscure references (Junior Woodchucks!), sentimental time travel and IMO very good use of a lot of familiar characters, including Rowlf (MY favorite Muppet) putting it all in perspective.
Network Awesome has compiled a short history of some of Jim Henson's early muppet work, including his infamously dark Wilson's Coffee commercials: (on YouTube) 1, 2, 3 and the IBM Muppet Show. (Who among us hasn't woken up in the morning and wanted to eat their coffee machine? (Previously) (Via) [more inside]
While elusive on broadcast or cable television, YouTube has the holiday specials you're looking for. John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together (Part 1 2 3 4 5 6). The Christmas Toy (Part 1 2 3 4 5). A Muppet Family Christmas (Part 1 2 3 4 5).
The Muppets at Walt Disney World is a television special starring Jim Henson's Muppets at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This was the last Muppets project that Jim Henson worked on before his death. parts: intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 [more inside]
In a wonderful 15-minute video from 1969, a young Jim Henson shows you how to make puppets out of ordinary things. Yes, it's SLYT, but it's a really good SLYT, so I beg forgiveness.
In 1964, a group of men were bored,in their dressing room waiting for several hours between the dress rehearsal and recording of "The Jack Paar Program". Noticing a collection of odd steam pipes, their leader suggested they decorate the pipes to pass the time. Painting them and attaching fur and googly eyes, they signed the piece "With Love, From the Muppets". [more inside]
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 [more inside]
As you may have noticed from Google this morning, today is the 40th Anniversary of Sesame Street! New seasons are in production including the newest muppet, Abby Cadaby, but today is a day for our old friends. Videos a plenty to fuel your nostalgia.
Surprising stories behind 20 Muppet characters. Example: "Miss Piggy is apparently from Iowa".
"Some day we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me." In 1979, Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher composed "The Rainbow Connection" [midi] which served as a radio hit and song for the The Muppet Movie. It was nominated for an Academy Award and reviewed in the allmusic guide as a song in which "Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short green Judy Garland." Enclosed are some performances of it I hope you enjoy. [more inside]
Pulp Muppets. The title says it all.
Happy Birthday Jim. Today, Sunday the 24th 2006 would have been Jim Henson's 70th Birthday. (and is the 46th birthday of current Kermit Muppitter Steve Whitmire) Rarely has one person had such a impact with their vision for the world. From Sam and Friends, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, The Dark Crystal, and on and on and on. Lots of Muppets on Youtube, lots of muppets on Metafilter. Henson died on May 16th 1990 of pneumonia. A Boy and his Frog (mp3) Happy Birthday, and thanks.
Muppet Wiki. It's like Wikipedia, except, y'know, about the Muppets.
42. I had always wondered why Jim Henson did The Muppet Show in England, after years of successful collaboration with The Children's Television Network in NYC. As a then 9-year old, I felt a kind of betrayal that I couldn't exactly put my finger on. As some little punk kid, what did I know about the financing of entertainment?This analysis of The Jim Henson Co. as a globe-trotting band of gypsies goes a long way to explain the oddness of The Muppet Show and the change in tone that resulted when the puppets moved from Sesame Street to Lew Grade's London soundstages.
Are Ernie and Bert gay? What is Gonzo? Find out the answers (question 19 and 10, respectively) and more at the Muppet FAQ. Read the profiles of your favorite Muppets like Zoot or Animal. Or maybe you'd be interested in one of the Henson feature creatures and its background. Read about it. Explore the fascinating world of Jim Henson and muppets in general.