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September 23, 2014

puppets

Two new Muppet books coming in September

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 9th 2006 2:57PM
kermit the frogThe always informative Muppet News Flash has the scoop on two new Muppet-related books, both slated for release in September. The first is an inspirational book by Muppeteer Kevin Clash, best known as the puppeteer and voice behind Elmo. Clash was also the voice of the Baby on the series Dinosaurs and also played Splinter in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie franchise. The book is titled My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud. The other book, written by Kermit the Frog himself, will focus on what he's learned throughout his illustrious career in show business. Kermit's book, A Frog's Life: Where I've Been and the Lessons I've Learned, will be out on September 30. Clash's book comes out September 5.

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Muppet says: Drink Wilkins or die

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 2nd 2006 1:04PM
wilkins muppet commercialBefore The Muppet Show came along, a few of Jim Henson's puppet creations appeared in a series of commercials. Several very funny (and very violent) ads were made for Wilkins Coffee that featured a sorta Kermit-like figure trying to convince a squat, rather shapeless puppet how great Wilkins is. The puppet always refuses, and the other puppet responds by shooting him, or blowing him up, or electrocuting him, or whatever. It's like a more sadistic version of Green Eggs and Ham. What I like about these old commercials is that they're actually really funny, and other than the image of the Wilkins Coffee can at the end, absolutely nothing is said whatsoever about the coffee or why it's worth buying. There's a montage clip after the jump, but I also invite you to check out a bunch more of these commercials here.

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Jim Henson retrospective in D.C.

by Adam Finley, posted May 21st 2006 6:31PM

dark crystalHey, 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]

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Info on new Fraggle Rock DVD

by Adam Finley, posted May 8th 2006 2:08PM
fraggle rockDance your cares away, people. The always sexy and always informative Muppet News Flash has a few rumors about what we might expect in the September 5 release of the second season of Fraggle Rock. The key word in that last sentence is "rumor," as no official announcement has been made about any of this stuff. Nevertheless, Muppeteer Steve Whitmire (who took over as the voice of Kermit after Jim Henson's death and has worked on pretty much all Muppet ventures, including Sesame Street) recently spoke to fans in London where, according to Web scuttlebutt, he said the new DVD set may feature interviews with himself and others, and may also include special home movies he shot while working on the set of Fraggle Rock.

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Muppet Show season two is on its way, just not sure when

by Adam Finley, posted May 2nd 2006 1:04PM
muppetsBack in February I mentioned that Muppet News Flash was saying that the second season of The Muppet Show would be available by this summer. Well, that's no longer true. However, the same site is now reporting that Disney has put the set back on the release list, and that we will definitely be seeing it by this fall. As far as an exact date, well, we don't know that just yet. I'm a huge Muppet fan but I've still yet to purchase the first season DVD. Instead, I've been keeping myself busy with the "best of" DVDs put out by Time-Life. In addition, Muppet News Flash reports that a "complete series" disc of the short-lived Muppets Tonight series may follow the release of the fifth season. That, however, is just rumor at the moment.

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Wonder Showzen guys talk to The Onion

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 20th 2006 3:09PM
wonder showzenThere are plenty of shows that "push the envelope" so to speak. So many, in fact, that simply being subversive and politically incorrect isn't enough to even raise an eyebrow anymore. Then there's Wonder Showzen, a show that not only pushes the envelope, but pretty much tears it to shreds. The show, which is basically what Sesame Street would be if it was created by an insane uncle, manages to be equal parts hysterical and disconcerting. If you've ever read an interview with creators John Lee and Vernon Chatman, you know it's impossible to for them to give a straight answer about anything, but by the end of this interview with The Onion's Josh Modell, they manage to let down their guard and give a few insights into the show. It's also interesting to learn the kind of arbitrary approach MTV has when it comes to what it will air and not air. Apparently a kid dressed as Hitler and interviewing people on the street is okay, but shooting a crucifix with a shotgun isn't.

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Dinosaurs spotted on new site

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 16th 2006 7:36AM

dinosaurs earl sinclairAs I mentioned before, the first two seasons of Jim Henson Productions' Dinosaurs comes out on DVD on May 2. While you fans of the series wait for the DVD release, you should check out the Web site Disney has set up at Dinosaur.com to promote the new discs. There's some brief clips from the series to whet your appetite, as well as information on how the show, based on an original idea from Jim Henson, was eventually brought to life after his death. While I think Dinosaurs was funny and clever (at least it was when I was fifteen), I think I was especially drawn to it because it was one of the last realizations of Henson's vision. Whether it was true to his vision after being filtered through the minds of others is impossible to say, but in an odd way I think the series serves as a bridge between the legacy Henson left behind and what eventually followed, for good or ill.

[via Muppet Newsflash]

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Wonder Showzen: Time

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 8th 2006 11:50AM

wonder showzen(S02E02) This episode of Wonder Showzen began with Chauncey visited by himself from two minutes in the future. It turns out Chauncey's future self is a hundred times cooler than Chauncey, so Chauncey sets out to build a time machine and travel even further back in the future (four minutes) so he can be even hipper. But we'll get to all that in a moment.

I said in my last review that the "Beat Kids" segment wasn't my favorite, only because I don't think it always works in the execution. Of course, that was before last night when they had a kid put on zombie make-up, dress as the Pope, and interview people in front of a Catholic Church under the pseudonym "Little Dead Pope." Trey Parker has been quoted time and again saying Cartman was his way of creating a character who could say things that would get most real people burned at the stake. Wonder Showzen takes that concept one step further and actually uses real children, which adds a whole layer of apprehension when you hear them say things to unsuspecting adults like, "The Pope should go to Hell for promoting a corrupt system. High five!" Not many shows can make you almost fall of the couch laughing while at the same time fearing for a child's life. They should have some kind of award for that.

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Wonder Showzen: Body

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 1st 2006 9:27AM

Wonder showzenLast night marked the start of the second season of Wonder Showzen, and I almost missed it. Thankfully they repeated the episode later in the evening so I was able to crank up the ol' Tivo and capture it. After watching the same Season One episodes about twenty times each, it was nice to finally see something new.

Last night's episode was about heroes and victims, with the main focus being put on the letter P, who was once very pretty but gained a lot of excess weight. Chauncy, the puppet's ringleader, decides P just needs a healthy dose of tough love, so he and the rest of the gang scream things at her like "stupid bitch" and "dumb slut" because "she needed to hear that."

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Complete Storyteller series coming to DVD

by Adam Finley, posted Mar 16th 2006 6:32PM

I consider myself a huge fan of Jim Henson and all of his work, from The Muppets to The Dark Crystal and beyond (but not so much Labyrinth, it was good but not great). However, I could never seem to get into his series The Storyteller, which aired in the late 1980s. The series, about an elderly man who would recite old folktales, was just too slow and monotonous for my young tastes. Perhaps if I watched it now as a learned and mature adult I'd appreciate it more. Anyway, the series is coming out on DVD.

"But wait," you say, "isn't it already out on DVD?"

Yes, actually, it is, but now both DVD sets have been combined into a 2-disc set titled Jim Henson's The Storyteller: The Definitive Collection. So you can either rejoice that the complete series is available as one set, or complain that they didn't just do this in the first place. Either way I'd say you're right on. The set comes out May 23.

[via Muppet News Flash]

 

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Wonder Showzen out on DVD in March

by Adam Finley, posted Feb 20th 2006 7:31AM
wonder showzenI've mentioned on this here blog o' television a number of times my love for Wonder Showzen, a send-up of Sesame Street-style children's programming that's paralleled only by South Park in its efforts to both make you laugh and thouroughly insult every sensibility you might have. Since it's buried in the dark catacombs of basic cable it's sometimes difficult to catch, but fear not, Pamela, for the first season of this mix of subversive cartoons and racist, drug-addled puppets will be available on DVD on March 28. Meanwhile, the second season is currently in production, and internet scuttlebut claims we'll be seeing new episodes sometime during the first quarter of this year. If you're a Wonder Showzen virgin, check out some clips on YouTube.

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Dinosaurs coming to DVD

by Adam Finley, posted Feb 6th 2006 1:46PM
dinosaurs"Not the momma!"

One of my favorite shows, and, admittedly, a show I'm afraid to watch again for fear it might not be as good as I remember it, is coming to DVD in May. It's Dinosaurs, a show featuring a family of animatronic thunder lizards with the surname Sinclair (it's an oil name, get it)? In fact, most of the characters on the show had names taken from petroleum companies. Like the Simpsons before it, to which the show has been sometimes unfavorably compared, the show often focused on "normal" issues made abnormal by the oddball world created for the show. The series ran for four years on ABC from 1991 to 1994. The DVD release wil include the entire first and second seasons.

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The wonder that is Wonder Showzen

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 20th 2005 12:47PM

Either I've been spending too much time alone in my room, or I'm dead, but somehow I've completely missed Wonder Showzen, a show which borrows aesthetically from Sesame Street, but with a lot more heroin use and puppet sex. While its satire can sometimes seem a bit tired, it's done in a unique and manic way. Children are often utilized as on-the-street interviewers of unsuspecting adults in a segment simply called "Beat Kids." It's not a show you want to examine too closely, but when it works, you'll need a team of janitors to clean up your splattered brains after your head explodes from laughing so hard. And besides, it does the TV Funhouse thing better than TV Funhouse ever did. The show airs on MTV2.

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