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September 4, 2015


Rudolph and Santa are restored and on display in Atlanta

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 24th 2006 6:02PM
Santa and Rudolph puppetsThe New York Times has an interesting story about the fate of two of the puppets from the revered TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which first aired in 1964. Apparently, out of the thousands of puppets created for the stop-action animation used in the Rankin-Bass special, only two currently exist: one of Rudolph and one of Santa.

The article tells the story of how the puppets, given to an R-B employee after the show was made, were found in an attic, appraised on Antiques Roadshow, and sold for a nice chunk of change to the president of TimeAndSpaceToys.com/ He then painstakingly restored the heavily-damaged puppets to their original form (details of that restoration are here). Santa and Rudolph are currently on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, where they will be until Jan. 13.

How did Santa and Rudolph get to be in such poor shape? Kids. The person who took the puppets home gave them to her kids, who crammed poor Rudy's mouth with crayons and Play-Doh. Jeez. Those buggers had no sense of history, did they?

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Henson company aims for puppet primetime

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 13th 2006 8:32AM
Puppet UpA few months ago, we brought you news of the Jim Henson Company's late night television project and partnership with TBS. More news has come to light regarding this and two other projects in development over at Henson headquarters in Hollywood.

On November 20th, TBS will be airing a taped performance of the Henson gang performing improvised, uncensored comedy at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. This isn't the warm and wacky Muppet comedy of yore. Puppet Up! Uncensored! is blue comedy developed by a whole new team of writers and performers looking to bring a fresh voice and renewed primetime supremacy to the Henson name. In addition to the improv performance, TBS has ordered up 30 episodes of Uncensored for its forthcoming broadband channel and remains in negotiations over the semi-improvised late night talk show project.

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Wonder Showzen's collectible lunchbox

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 6th 2006 10:06AM
Wonder ShowzenJust in time for the holidays - it's the Wonder Showzen collectible lunchbox!

Wonder Showzen is MTV2's deliciously adult take on mid-70s children's programming like Sesame Street and The Electric Company. Mean-spirited puppets, befuddled children and subversive guest star appearances by the likes of Amy Sedaris and David Cross abound.

The lunchbox gift set will hit shelves on December 12th. The set contains Seasons 1 and 2 of MTV2's cult hit, which means no new content, but hey, cool lunchbox.

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Anderson Cooper talks to Muppets

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 5th 2006 12:33PM

Anderson CooperFunny pic over at TV Newser (they're having a caption contest for it too), showing CNN anchor Anderson Cooper in a trash can, talking to two news puppets, Dan Rather-Not and Walter Cranky. Ha!

Obviously it's a segment for Sesame Street. Cooper plays himself (I'm assuming), and he pops up out of the trash can to interview the two puppets, who don't want to answer any questions. If you look closely, it looks like "CNN" has been changed to "GNN." Maybe that stands for the Garbage Can News Network?

The article says the segment will air next September. Next September???

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A third season of Wonder Showzen is unlikely

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 18th 2006 11:01AM

Wonder ShowzenIt is indeed a sad day, fellow fans of Wonder Showzen. In an interview with Radar, show creators Vernon Chatman and John Lee have said that MTV2 has still given no official word on whether their subversive, blood-soaked, drug-addled tribute to children's shows will return for a third season. Currently, Lee says the answer is about "ninety percent 'no'" as to whether or not the show will return.

As is the case with most shows that includes kids dressed up as a dead Pope, dozens of scenes segmented on the screen and played simultaneously, a dog pulling a baby from a pregnant woman's womb while she's being killed in an electric chair and puppets dry humping the Bible, Wonder Showzen had a devoted fanbase but never got the ratings that would make a network want to keep it around. It's not much consolation, but the second season does come out on DVD today, so you can always pop it into the ol' DVD player and remember the good times. Also, the brains at Adult Swim have expressed their love for Wonder Showzen, so maybe there's still a small glimmer of hope for the show after all. Keep the faith, brothers and sisters.

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The Smoking Gun hits Adult Swim later this month

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 12th 2006 10:02AM

smoking gunLike all Adult Swim news, information is a bit scarce on this, but here's what I've pieced together: The Court TV series Smoking Gun, based on the popular Web site The Smoking Gun is getting a trial run on Adult Swim starting on October 23 at midnight. It looks like the series will run for eight consecutive days to begin with, and will be yet another fifteen minute series. I never watched the series on Court TV, but apparently it did have one special which was done entirely with puppets and animation, and occasional episodes would also be produced in a similar manner. It seems reasonable that the Adult Swim version would be pretty much the same. Right now, other than having the show listed on their schedule, I see no other information about it, not even on The Smoking Gun's site. If any of you know anything, and by "know anything" I mean you have links to reputable sources that verify your claim, let me know in the comments. Otherwise, I guess we'll keep watching Adult Swim to see what the heck this is all about.

[via Adult Swim HQ]

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Muppeteers help warn kids about land mines

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 7th 2006 7:02PM

land mineKathy Mullen and Michael Frith, two members of Jim Henson's original Muppet team, have joined forces with British charity No Strings Attached to create a film that warns children in Afghanistan about the dangers of land mines. No Strings Attached uses puppets as a teaching aid, and together the team came up with "The Story of the Little Carpet Boy," a tale based loosely on Pinocchio. The puppets used in the film are similar to the Muppets we all grew up with, but none of the American Muppets were used in the story. One puppet loses several limbs before he learns to avoid land mines completely. According to studies, sixty people a month are killed by land mines in Afghanistan, and half of that number are under eighteen.

Thanks to our sister site Blogging Baby for catching this first.

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The World According to Sesame Street -- an early look

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 27th 2006 2:59PM

sesame streetThe PBS series Independent Lens kicks off its fifth season on October 24 at 9 p.m. with The World According to Sesame Street, an in-depth look at how productions of the long-running children's series are created in other parts of the world. The special looks specifically at productions in Bangladesh, Kosovo and South Africa where the simple moral lessons of Sesame Street must somehow permeate cultures rife with political conflict, genocide, disease and starvation. This seems like a wild leap from the American version, and it is, but it's also worth pointing out that the original Sesame Street was subtly geared towards the poor and disenfranchised, taking place on an actual urban inner city street rather than some mystical far away land. The guiding ethos of Sesame Street has never been complete escapism, but rather making children better understand the world around them, and changing the scope of the series as time goes on in order to remain relevant. When the South African version of Sesame Street introduced a character with AIDS, some groups found it distasteful, but in a country where the number of people with HIV and AIDS has reached epidemic levels, it would make less sense not to bring in such a character.

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Sesame Street abroad

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 5th 2006 6:02PM
sesame street egyptEvery day, I receive about one hundred e-mails demanding I post a video of a foreign version of Sesame Street. I also receive about the same amount of e-mails each day from people demanding I stop lying about people wanting to see a foreign version of Sesame Street. At any rate, after the jump you can see what Sesame Street looks like in another country, though you won't see any familiar faces, just a big green guy and a blue genie. You might notice the green fella is created in the same manner as Big Bird, whereas the puppeteer uses one hand for the head and the other hand for the left arm while the right arm remains motionless. I can't understand what either of them or saying, but I think it has something to do with the Denver Broncos, or possibly herb gardening. Check it out:

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The Five: Creepy puppets

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 20th 2006 1:07PM

puppetsBob's recent post about Madame got me thinking about all the puppets that have appeared on television over the years, and specifically the ones that creeped me the heck out. If you're like me and some of those characters that were meant to entertain you only left you with nightmares and a life-long fear of anything even remotely puppet-like, share your tales of woe in the comments. Think of this as group therapy. Let's get started:

Madame: This aging diva may have been hilarious, but as a very young child when I saw her on shows like Hollywood Squares and Solid Gold she only managed to send me cowering behind the sofa. That jutting chin! That piercing voice! Those horrible satanic eyes! Clearly, she was the Banshee of Celtic lore, and I imagined that after every show she returned to her real occupation: flying around screaming to portend the death of Irish family members.

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Jim Henson Company launches podcast

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 18th 2006 11:06AM

labyrinthSome cool news for Muppet fans: the Jim Henson Company recently launched an audio podcast. Right now there are only two podcasts up, and both take place at the 20th anniversary screening of Labyrinth, a movie I thought was just okay (I'll always like Dark Crystal much more). The site for the podcast promises news about old projects, upcoming productions and information on the inner machinations of the company. The first couple podcasts feature brief interviews with some of the people who worked on Labyrinth, including Dave Goelz (who performed Gonzo and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew on The Muppet Show), Karen Prell, and designer and artist Brian Froud, who also worked on The Dark Crystal. These podcasts were only about a week apart, so hopefully subsequent episodes will be put out just as timely.

[via Muppet News Flash]

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Moore and Cook are people puppets - VIDEO

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 8th 2006 2:02PM

thunderbirdsI know very little about Gerry Anderson because his popular "supermarionation" programs such as Thunderbirds and Super Car aired before I blessed this planet with my awesome presence. I'm sure some of my older "siblings" here in the TV Squad family remember them, and I'm sure some of you readers do, too, which is why I've provided you with a funny sketch from the late comedians Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, who do a hilarious job of mimicking the herky-jerky movements of Anderson's puppets. I'm guessing if Matt Stone and Trey Parker had made Team America this way it would have been a lot easier. Live and learn, I guess. Enjoy Superthunderstingcar! after the jump:

[via Jeff Pidgeon]

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MTV2 picks up Crank Yankers

by Anna Johns, posted Jul 14th 2006 9:44PM
crank yankersThe prank-calling puppets of Crank Yankers are coming to MTV2. The show originally premiered on Comedy Central in 2002 and is produced by Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla. Regulars include Wanda Sykes, Jim Florentine, Dane Cook, Sarah Silverman, and Tracy Morgan. One of the producers of the show has a great quote, he says, "With all the trouble in the world, it's comforting to know that MTV2 understands how vital crank phone calls made by puppets are to this nation."

I admit to watching this show occasionally but I honestly didn't notice that it was off the air. Is this good news to anybody?

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TBS expresses interest in new series from Jim Henson Company

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 2nd 2006 7:03AM
Hey, remember a while back when I mentioned a new talk show was being developed by the Jim Henson Company that wouldn't feature the classic Muppets but rather a whole new set of characters? Well, shortly after I mentioned that, a little more information came to light about the series, but I must have been distracted by something shiny, because I forgot to mention it here. So, if you'll forgive my brief bout of amnesia, I'm here to tell you that TBS has expressed an interest in Late Night Buffet (which is said to be geared towards a more "mature" audience). The partly-improvised show would be part of the network's late night block of shows. A pilot episode has been ordered, but that's all that is known so far. The show will feature a host named Augustus Pfiffle and his sidekick Delbert Kastle. Thanks as always to Muppet News Flash.

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The Five: Best fake bands

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 14th 2006 7:05AM

the electric mayhemOkay, 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.

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