It's that festive time of year when children put tinsel on the television antennas and hang mistletoe over their favorite DVDs. Where celebrities check into rehab to spend the holidays with all their celebrity friends. And where the rest of America is invited to corporate non-specific, non-religious, non-alcoholic generic winter holiday luncheons where they can mingle with their co-workers and say things like "Remember when this company used to have real Christmas parties?"
But while political correctness may have ruined most holiday functions, nothing can ruin Festivus! That magical season in which TV Squadders hope and pray for televisions dreams come true. And I know just what I want...
There have been a lot of Muppet projects in and out of development over the last couple years or so. Some came to fruition, some never quite made it, and others still remain in limbo.
There has been talk for awhile now about the possibility of a brand new, primetime Muppet series, a rumor TV Guide recently perpetuated, although Jim Henson Studios denies such a project exists. Citing an inside source, TV Guide writes that the new series would use modern technology to allow the Muppets to actually get up and walk around.
A roundup of TV people from in front of the camera and behind the scenes who have passed away.
- Boots Randolph: He was a renowned sax player best known for his early 60s hit "Yakety Sax," which was later used as the theme song on Benny Hill. Randolph recorded dozens of albums and played in many bands, and was part of the Million Dollar Band on Hee-Haw for many years. He died after suffering a brain aneurysm and falling into a coma two weeks ago. He was 80.
Jim Henson passed away in 1990, but two years later, on this very day, we also lost another important Muppet performer: Richard Hunt. Hunt joined Henson for several of the Muppets' appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, and eventually joined Sesame Street, performing characters such as Forgetful Jones and Don Music. On The Muppet Show, he performed Beaker, Janice of The Electric Mayhem, Statler (one of the old men in the balcony) and Scooter (whose Uncle owned the theater).
Hunt also performed half of the Two-Headed Monster on Sesame Street along with Henson. The chemistry on stage between Henson and Frank Oz is often talked about, but Hunt was equally brilliant when working with Henson, as the hilarious exchanges between Statler and Waldorf prove. Casual fans may not hear much about him, but he was an important element in bringing that zany Muppetness to the TV screen.
I placed some clips of Hunt's characters below for your enjoyment, so, enjoy them.
[via Muppet News Flash]
I'm planning on ringing in the New Year like I do every other year: by making sobbing, drunken phone calls to ex-girlfriends, but before that I thought I'd share a cool clip sent to me by my pal James. It's Kermit singing "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" from the first season of the Muppet Show. James and I were in a band together back in the day, and if you were one of the twelve people who heard us play, you couldn't help but admire our ability to make some kind of sound, musical or otherwise, come out of our instruments.
Anyway, James recorded a fun punk rock version of "Lydia" recently, but I had never heard Kermit's version. Terrible, I know, and I call myself a Muppet fan. Anyway, it's after the jump: Kermit's version, not James'.
Okay, this one is for the sci-fi geeks. There's a few "space" shows I've watched and enjoyed, but there's far more I haven't seen, so help me out and let me know what your favorite television spaceships are. Below are five television spacecrafts I wouldn't mind being beamed onto, as long as they gave me a laser gun to protect myself, and maybe a large bucket of deep-fried tribbles ( I hear they taste like shrimp). Let's cruise:
The USS Swinetrek: This was the pig-shaped spacecraft from one of my favorite Muppet Show segments, "Pigs in Space." I always found myself intrigued by the adventures of Link Hogthrob, Doctor Strangepork, and first mate Miss Piggy. The episode with Mark Hamill where he appears on the spaceship as Luke Skywalker and Miss Piggy won't let him leave until he "rescues" her is one of my all-time favorite Muppet episodes.
Okay, now that we've covered the best bands on television, it's time to put our focus on those bands that, while maybe not "real," still had us tapping our feet, shaking our hips, and waving our hands in the air, almost, dare I say, as if we didn't care. Below are five that spring to mind, but I'm sure you guys can come up with a ton of others. Let's strike up the band, shall we?
Dr. Teeth and the The Electric Mayhem: Okay, let me see if I got this right. Floyd Pepper was the bass player, Janice was the guitarist, Zoot played saxophone, Animal played drums, and Dr. Teeth sang and played piano. I think that was the lineup of this insane band that "played" the opening and closing music on The Muppet Show, not to mention all their great performances during the show. I wonder how many current drummers got into it because of Animal? I'll bet quite a few.
Back in February we discussed the lesser known Muppets on Sesame Street, those who aren't always recognized as much as their more popular pals, but are still important nonetheless. Today we're going to do the same thing for The Muppet Show. Of course, that only leaves us with about eighty billion Muppets to choose from. That's where you come in, readers, to let me know which ones I forgot. Remember, these aren't the popular characters, but the lesser players who still managed to make their mark, however small. Okay:
A few years ago, a friend called me:
Friend: Hey, help me settle an argument. What's the name of that guy on the Muppets who threw the fish?
Me: Lew Zealand.
Friend: No, my friend here says that's not right.
Me: Tell your friend never to underestimate my Muppet knowledge.
And that's pretty much all Lew did, he just threw his boomerang fish around the theater. However, he did it better than anybody.
Hey, did you wake up this morning and find yourself inside the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.? If so, you should stick around because the museum is hosting a Jim Henson retrospective through September 4. You'll be able to check out creatures from as far back as Sam and Friends, the show which would portend the Muppet aesthetic, as well as animatronic creatures from The Dark Crystal. Some of the classic Muppets such as Kermit, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, and the Swedish Chef, all originally voiced by Jim Henson, will also be on display. Now i just have to try to get out to D.C. before this disappears.
[via Muppet News Flash]
While this amounts to a kind of "he said, she said" thing and no official announcement has been made, Muppet News Flash is reporting that the second season of The Muppet Show should be out this summer on DVD. The new set is being delayed for the usual reasons, such as legal clearances, restoration, and gathering footage for supplemental features. I guess the bottom line is, it will get here when it gets here, and it'll be worth the wait. The first season of the popular show has sold exceptionally well, so hopefully we'll continue to see more.
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