Kermit's Swamp Years

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Kermit's Swamp Years
Kermit's Swamp Years.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by David Gumpel
Produced by Ritamarie Peruggi
Written by Jim Lewis (teleplay and story)
Joey Mazzarino (teleplay)
Starring William Bookston
John Hostetter
Christian Kebble
Kelly Collins Lintz
Cree Summer
Muppet Performers:
Bill Barretta
Alice Dinnean
Dave Goelz
Jerry Nelson
John Kennedy
Joey Mazzarino
Steve Whitmire
Narrated by Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmire)
Music by Joe Carroll
Peter Thom
Cinematography Stephen Campbell
Rufus Standefer
Edited by Katina Zinner
Production
  company
Jim Henson Home Entertainment
Distributed by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment
Release date(s) September 3, 2002
Running time 82 minutes
Country USA
Language English

Kermit's Swamp Years is a 2002 direct-to-video film, directed by David Gumpel, featuring Jim Henson's Muppets, including a 12-year-old Kermit and best friends Goggles and Croaker, who travel outside their homes in the swamps of the Deep South to do something extraordinary with their lives. The film, which tells the story of Kermit the Frog's early life, is a prequel to The Muppet Movie. As of 2002, this is the last Muppet film to receive a G rating from the MPAA, as a few later Muppet films, starting with the TV Christmas film It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, which aired in the same year, have received a PG rating from the MPAA. This is the first Muppet movie that does not feature the Muppets, expect: Kermit the Frog, Statler and Waldorf & Foo-Foo

Plot[edit]

The movie opens in the swamp lands that Kermit the Frog calls home. After meeting his old friend Horace D'Fly again, he recaps an adventure about his childhood back when he was twelve years old where he enjoyed a serene amphibian's life with his buddies Croaker the Frog and Goggles the Toad, where Kermit wonders what else the world has to offer and what lies beyond the swamp, but is companions do not think the same. When they run into two scientists named Dr. Hugo Krassman (John Hostetter) and Mary (Kelly Collins Lintz), before they are caught by them, Arnie the alligator saves them and warns them about the dangers lurking outside the swamp. The next day while they talk about their dreams, they run into the bully of the swamp named Blotch, an bullfrog, who brutally attacks Goggles after he mistakes him for mooning him, but this causes them to get kidnapped by a pet store owner named Wilson, and Kermit and Croaker have no choice but to venture forth in order to save their friends.

After getting run over by Wilson's truck and having tire tracks on his chest, Croaker is no longer able to hop. When Goggles and Blotch are taken into a pet store, Blotch's anger causes problems, especially when they get stuck in a cage with Vicki the snake, but Goggles is able to save them by making Vicki's skin itch with his slime. Along the way, Kermit and Croaker meet a stray dog named Pilgrim (voiced by Cree Summer), who saves them from Krassman and Mary, who decides to help them with finding Goggles and Blotch and getting back to the swamp, and her knowledge of the outside world proves vital in helping them reach the pet shop. Along the way, Kermit discovers the excitement of the movies, the power of a wishing star, and even what it's like to fly. Meanwhile, the other animals at the store manage to convince Goggles and Blotch in a lively musical number that being sold to someone as a pet isn't such a bad idea. Kermit is able to find Wilson's truck by using balloons, but because Goggles isn't in the box anymore, he finds a monkey in a box. A bumpy ride causes Kermit to fall off of the truck, losing the truck again. But, the idea of a pet is spoiled for Goggles and Blotch, who still don't know that the next day they are being taken to George Washington's High School for biology class's dissection. Kermit is able to find Pilgrim and Croaker again, and together they finally find the pet store, but they find out from Vicki that she overheard them going to George Washington's.

The next day, Kermit and Croaker are able to get discovered on purpose by Wilson to get to George Washington, but they are able to escape the box they are in by starting a fire. They meet Pilgrim in the high school again, who followed them, but while trying to find Goggles and Blotch, Pilgrim and Croaker get captured by Wilson, anyways. Kermit overhears Wilson heading to biology class, so he hitches a ride on a student's backpack whose heading to the same class, but all of the students don't want to dissect the frogs. Krassman decides to dissect Goggles, but Blotch takes his place to return the favor for rescuing them from Vicki. But, Krassman changes his mind when Wilson brings Croaker in. Mary refuses to show how the dissection is done, so she leaves the classroom and she and Wilson find out that Pilgrim is a friend of the frog. In a daring rescue, Kermit manages to free Croaker from the dissection table and fend off Dr. Krassman using some swashbuckling techniques he picked up at the movie theater from the movie The Black Arrow, but Krassman is able to defeat Kermit, Croaker, and Blotch. Goggles finds the knife that Kermit dropped, but after he picks it up, Krassman spots him. Despite the warnings that Kermit should never talk to humans, Kermit stops Krassman from killing Goggles by talking, and he addresses Krassman directly asking him to please release the frogs. This also reveals that Pilgrim can talk. This fortuitous decision reveals that Krassman, as a child, when he was going to dissect his first frog, the frog he was going to dissect told him to stop, but he refused to say it out loud to everyone else in Krassman's classroom, which caused him to be humiliated. With the truth at long last revealed that frogs can indeed talk, Krassman frees all the frogs and dismisses the class and enables Kermit and his friends to return home. When they hitch a ride back on Wilson's truck, Wilson adopts Pilgrim and the four frogs head home.

Back in the present, Kermit enters the swamp to meet up with his three old frog friends, and Horace D'Fly is seen again singing.

Cast[edit]

  • William Bookston - Wilson
  • John Hostetter - Hugo Krassman
  • Christian Kebble - Young Jim Henson
  • Kelly Collins Lintz - Mary
  • Cree Summer - Pilgrim the Dog, Kermit the Frog's Mom (voice)
  • Ringo the Dog - Pilgrim the Dog (wide shots)

Muppet Performers[edit]

Main article: List of Muppets

Crew[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Although the supporting characters were created specifically for this movie, the performers behind them are no strangers to the world of the Muppets. Croaker was performed by Bill Barretta, who also performs Pepe the King Prawn. Goggles was performed by Joey Mazzarino, a writer, lyricist, and puppeteer for Sesame Street who also co-wrote the teleplay for Kermit's Swamp Years and Muppets from Space. Blotch was performed by John Kennedy, who has been a supporting Muppet performer for years.

Originally, Bill Barretta was supposed to play Goggles and Joey Mazzarino was supposed to play Croaker, but they traded roles after they tried the characters out, due to their voices not sounding good enough for the characters.[1]

The opening and closing sequence also introduces Horace D'Fly (voiced by Bill Barretta), one of the few computer-animated Muppets (In the outtakes reel that rolls during the end credits, Horace complains about having to be swallowed up by Kermit and asks, "Can't we use CG in this scene?").

The character Pilgrim was realized in some scenes as a trained dog, and other scenes as a Muppet that was identical to the live dog.

The outtakes reel at the end of the film includes an alternate version of the song "The Rainbow Connection" performed by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

Some of the puppets that appeared in Jim Henson's Animal Show appear in the pet shop scene singing "Life as a Pet." The puppets included Chauncey the Sea Turtle, Billy Bob the Lemur, Rhonda the Raccoon, Hector the Spider Monkey, Galahad the Grasshopper Mouse, Pearl the Pika, Penelope the Yellow-Footed Tortoise, and Ernie the Mongoose. Also, the Farmer's Dog from The Tale of the Bunny Picnic makes an appearance in this scene as well.

The behind-the-scenes featurette involves a Muppet named Joe the Armadillo (who is a recycled version of Dooley the Armadillo from Jim Henson's Animal Show) interviewing various members of the production staff and crew (Watch for his "big scene" in which he is inserted into the pet store sequence with some clever post-production editing).

References[edit]

External links[edit]