The Muppet Show
|The Muppet Show|
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Theme music composer|
|Opening theme||"The Muppet Show Theme"|
|Ending theme||"The Muppet Show Theme" (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||120 (list of episodes)|
|Location(s)||ATV Elstree, Borehamwood, England, UK|
|Running time||22–26 minutes|
|Distributor||Disney–ABC Domestic Television|
|Original release||13 September 1976– 15 March 1981|
|Followed by||The Muppet Movie (1979)
Muppet Babies (1984–91)
The Muppet Show is a family-oriented comedy-variety television series that was produced by puppeteer Jim Henson and features The Muppets. After two pilot episodes produced in 1974 and 1975 failed to get the attention of network executives in the United States, Lew Grade approached Henson to produce the programme in the United Kingdom for ATV. The show lasted for five series consisting of 120 episodes which were first broadcast in Britain between 5 September 1976 and 15 March 1981 on ATV and was shown by the other ITV franchises in the United Kingdom. The programs were recorded at Elstree Studios, England.
The series shows a vaudeville or music hall-style song-and-dance variety show, as well as glimpses behind the scenes of such a show. Kermit the Frog stars as a showrunner who tries to keep control of the antics of the other Muppet characters (and his temper), as well as keep the guest stars happy. The show was known for outrageous physical slapstick, sometimes absurdist comedy, and humorous parodies. Each episode also featured a human guest star. As the show's popularity rose, many celebrities were eager to perform with the Muppets on television and in film.
Many of the puppeteers also worked on Sesame Street. Muppet performers over the course of the show include Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Fran Brill, Eren Ozker, Louise Gold, Kathryn Mullen, Karen Prell, Brian Muehl, Bob Payne, and John Lovelady. Jerry Juhl and Jack Burns were two of the show writers. The music was performed by Jack Parnell and his orchestra.
Since 1969, Sesame Street had given Jim Henson's Muppet creations exposure; however, Henson began to perceive that he was pigeonholed as a children's entertainer. He sought to create a programme that could be enjoyed by young and old. Two specials (The Muppets Valentine Show and The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence) were produced and aired on ABC that are considered pilots for The Muppet Show. Neither led to the sale of a prime-time network series. However, the prime-time access rule had just been enacted, which took the 7:30 to 8 pm ET slot from the networks and turned it over to their affiliates. CBS suggested it would be interested in Henson's proposal as a syndicated series it could purchase for its owned-and-operated stations, to run one night a week in that time slot. According to the original pitch reel, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In co-creator George Schlatter was originally going to be involved.
Lew Grade, head of the British commercial station ATV and accustomed to the idea of puppet television considering he underwrote the various 1960s Supermarionation series produced by Gerry Anderson such as Thunderbirds, offered a deal to Henson that would see his show produced at the ATV studios in Elstree, England. ATV, as part of the ITV network, would broadcast the show to other ITV stations in the United Kingdom, and its distribution arm, ITC Entertainment, would sell the show in the United States and around the world. Henson put aside his misgivings about syndication and accepted.
"The Muppet Show Theme" (written by Henson and Sam Pottle in 1976) is the show's theme song. It is the opening and closing theme for every episode of The Muppet Show and was performed by The Muppets in a scene of The Muppets.
At the end of the song, Gonzo the Great appeared onstage to play the final note, with various comical results. For the first series, he struck the O in the show's logo as a gong; in all other series, he appeared within the O to play a trumpet.
Each episode ended with an extended instrumental performance of "The Muppet Show Theme" by the Muppet orchestra before Statler and Waldorf gave the last laugh of the night. Some last laugh sequences featured other Muppets on the balcony. For example, in one episode, the Muppets of Sesame Street appeared behind the duo who told them: "How should we know how to get to Sesame Street? We don't even know how to get out of this stupid theater box!"
Every series, the TV version of the song was presented with re-worked lyrics. While the opening sequence evolved visually over the course of the show's five series, the musical composition remained essentially the same. Throughout the years, the song has become a staple of the franchise.
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The Muppet Theater is the setting for The Muppet Show, a grand old vaudeville house that has seen better days. In episode 106, Kermit identifies the name of the theatre as The Benny Vandergast Memorial Theater, although by the time of It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, it is simply called "The Muppet Theater." It is then that the theatre becomes registered as a historical landmark.
According to The Phantom of the Muppet Theater, the theatre was built by a stage actor named John Stone in 1802. At some point, a production of Hamlet ran in the theatre, with Stone playing the title role. An alternate exterior is also shown in the book.
Locations seen in the Muppet Theater include backstage right (which includes Kermit's desk), the dressing rooms, the attic (featured in four compilation videos released in 1985), the canteen, the prop room, the stage, Statler and Waldorf's Box, the auditorium, reception, the recording studio, the stage door lobby, and the back alley. A replica of the theatre serves as the setting for the Muppet*Vision 3D attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure.
Scooter's uncle J.P. Grosse owns the theatre, and rents it to the Muppets, as Scooter is only too happy to remind Kermit. In a deleted scene from It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Kermit reveals that J.P. has died and left the theatre to the Muppets in his will. This would have taken place some time after 1996, as J.P. can be seen (and referred to as such by the head of the KMUP network) in episode 107 of Muppets Tonight, the 1990s reworking of The Muppet Show. The Muppet Theater is shown to be in New York City as Rachel Bitterman plots to tear down the Muppet Theater and build a club. She is thwarted when Pepe the King Prawn manages to get the Muppet Theater to be made into a national landmark.
In the film The Muppets, a version of the Muppet Theater is seen in Los Angeles and is located next to Muppet Studios. It is the main storyline of the movie that the Muppets reunite to raise money to buy back the Muppet Theater deed from an oil magnate named Tex Richman.
Characters and performers
Many of the characters who appeared on The Muppet Show have appeared in previous and subsequent Muppets productions.
No guest star ever appeared twice on The Muppet Show, although John Denver appeared both on the show and in two specials (John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together and John Denver & the Muppets: Rocky Mountain Holiday), while Dudley Moore reappeared in the special, The Muppets Go to the Movies. Additionally, several guest stars from the series had cameos in one of the first three Muppet theatrical films. Originally, the producers had to call on their personal contacts to appeal to them to appear, especially considering that doing so meant an overseas trip to Britain to do so. However, the situation changed when the renowned ballet dancer, Rudolph Nureyev, offered to appear; his performance on this unusual TV program produced so much favourable publicity that the series became one of the most sought after for various celebrities to appear in.
Many episodes featured actors, such as Steve Martin, Don Knotts, Harvey Korman, and Dom DeLuise; some featured veteran performers like Ethel Merman and Rita Moreno; some featured well-known pop singers, including Elton John, Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt, and Leo Sayer. Sayer's show used his hit "The Show Must Go On": he changed the lyrics in the second verse slightly, from "I wish I could tear down the walls of this theatre" to "I wish I could tear down the walls of this Muppet theatre". The last episode, in 1981, featured then-James Bond actor Roger Moore. Mark Hamill appeared in one episode as both himself and Luke Skywalker, his role in the Star Wars film series.
One episode featured staff writer, Chris Langham, (who wrote some episodes of this show, starting in series 3) guest starring due to Richard Pryor being unable to make the taping of the episode at the last minute.
An early tradition was to present the guest star with a Muppet likeness of themselves as a parting gift at the end of the show, but this only lasted for the first two episodes produced, featuring Connie Stevens and Juliet Prowse. The high cost and effort of creating these unique Muppets, scheduling conflicts, and potential legal issues contributed to the decline of this practice, although Muppet caricatures and parodies would continue to appear.
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The first episode opens on a character called Wally and develops as he types the script on his typewriter. In the second pilot, a new character called Nigel acts as the backstage boss. Statler and Waldorf grumble from a living room while watching the show on television (This setting for Statler and Waldorf would be revisited in the first series of Muppets Tonight). In both pilot episodes, Kermit the Frog only plays a supporting role.
- Series 1
Kermit the Frog becomes the host for the show from the start of the first series, while former host Nigel gets a part as the orchestra leader. Statler and Waldorf now watch the show from a balcony. Other characters from the pilots, including Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Sam Eagle, The Swedish Chef, George the Janitor, Mildred Huxtetter, Crazy Harry, Brewster, Nigel the Conductor, and Droop continue to make appearances. Characters from previous Jim Henson productions also make appearances, including Rowlf the Dog, Sweetums and Robin the Frog (from The Frog Prince), Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great, and Thog (from The Great Santa Claus Switch). New characters include Fozzie Bear, The Muppet Newsman, Scooter, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, wardrobe lady Hilda, Uncle Deadly, Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphones, Trumpet Girl, and the singing duet of Wayne and Wanda. Recurring sketches include "Veterinarian's Hospital", "At the Dance", "Talking Houses", "Panel Disscussions", "Fozzie's Monologue", "Talk Spot", "Muppet Labs" and "Gonzo's Act".
- Series 2
Several changes were made for the second series. Each week, Scooter would now greet the guest star in his or her dressing room before the opening theme song by announcing the time until curtain call. The opening theme sequence was replaced with one involving the cast in arches. Sketches such as "At the Dance", "Talk Spot", "Panel Discussions", "Talking Houses", and "Fozzie's Monologue" either made fewer appearances or were dropped altogether. Several characters were rebuilt, with noticeable changes in Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo the Great. Characters like George the Janitor, Hilda, Mildred, and Wayne and Wanda were dropped from the series. Robin is identified as Kermit's nephew. New sketches include "Pigs in Space" and "An Editorial by Sam the Eagle". New characters include Bunsen Honeydew's assistant Beaker, Link Hogthrob, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Doglion, and Annie Sue. Muppet performers Eren Ozker and John Lovelady departed from The Muppet Show after the first series. In early episodes of the second series, female puppeteers were auditioned to replace Ozker. Louise Gold was eventually hired as Ozker's replacement. Jack Burns quit his role as writer after the first series.
- Series 3
All of the characters and sketches from the previous series remained. New characters included dimwitted stagehand Beauregard, boomerang fish thrower Lew Zealand, cafeteria lady Gladys, Bobby Benson and His Baby Band, and sports commenter Louis Kazagger. New segments included "Muppet Sports" and "Bear on Patrol". Two new puppeteers, Steve Whitmire and Kathryn Mullen joined the troupe of Muppeteers during this series. Also, in early episodes of the third series, Peter Friedman was auditioned to replace John Lovelady as a sixth male Muppet performer. Steve Whitmire was eventually hired, replacing Lovelady officially as a sixth male performer.
- Series 4
Most of the characters and sketches from the previous series remained. Canteen worker Gladys however, was replaced by a new character, Winny. Rizzo the Rat also made his earliest appearances. Rizzo made his first appearance as "Super Rat" in the episode which featured Christopher Reeve as its guest star.
- Series 5
The cold open featuring Scooter visiting the guest star's dressing room was replaced by a new opening in which Pops, the doorman, would greet each guest as they entered the theatre. New characters included Pops, Lips, and Gaffer the Cat. Two new puppeteers, Brian Muehl and Karen Prell joined the troupe of Muppeteers during this series, and also Betsy Baytos was auditioned to perform in eight episodes during this season.
- "At the Dance" – The sketch was a regular during the first series but was used less frequently from the second series onward. Muppet characters (some of them being Whatnots) circulated on a semi-formal dance floor offering rapid fire one-liner jokes and come-backs as the couples passed in front of the camera. Debuted in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, and played a large role in the plot for a series five episode.
- "Bear on Patrol" – Fozzie Bear is a luckless police officer named Patrol Bear and Link Hogthrob is the incompetent Chief of police who always get into the silliest situations with the criminals brought in. The voice of the announcer was performed by Jerry Nelson. Debuted in the third series.
- "Blackouts" – A bunch of short, comic sketches traditional to Vaudeville that end with the lights turning off or a quick closing of the curtain. Only appeared in the first series.
- "Cold Openings" – The Cold Openings would appear at the beginning of each episode, and would officially introduce the guest star. During the first series, Kermit would introduce the guest star during the opening theme. His introduction would be followed by a clip of the guest star, usually surrounded by a group of Muppets. Beginning the second series, the Cold Openings would appear before the opening theme song. Scooter would visit the guest star in his/her dressing room, usually saying "Fifteen seconds to curtain". This would then be followed by a brief joke. In the fifth series, the guest star would enter the Muppet Theater and would be greeted by Pops the Doorman. Pops would always say "Who are you?" as soon as he saw the guest star. After the guest star introduced himself/herself to Pops, a joke would follow.
- "An Editorial by Sam the Eagle" – Sam the Eagle gives an editorial on a specific topic which ends up occurring during the editorial. Only appeared in the second series.
- "The Electric Mayhem" – A bunch of musical sketches featuring Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem.
- "Fozzie Bear's Act" – Fozzie Bear gets on stage and performs his famously bad jokes. Statler and Waldorf heckle him in a perpetual rivalry. The sketches became less frequent as Fozzie's off-stage presence became more prevalent. In one first series episode, however, Fozzie turned the tables on Statler and Waldorf with help from Bruce Forsyth and they waved the white flag in surrender. Mainly appeared during the first series, but made occasional appearances in later series.
- "Gonzo's Stunts" – These sketches detail the stunts of The Great Gonzo.
- "Muppet Labs" – Muppet Labs is "Where the future is being made today!" These segments featured the latest invention from Dr. Bunsen Honeydew with his assistant Beaker getting the worst of its inevitable malfunction. During the first series, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew hosted Muppet Labs by himself. The writers soon realised that another character was necessary to show Bunsen's failings which resulted in Beaker being introduced in series Two.
- "Muppet Melodrama" – A sketch where Uncle Deadly would capture Miss Piggy and put her in perilous plights to force her to marry him. Wayne would often have to be the one save her. Only appeared in the third series.
- "Muppet News Flash" – The Muppet Newsman delivers a news brief about a bizarre incident or human-interest story. During the first series, these segments frequently featured an interview with the episode's guest star, who portrayed a person connected to the story. Beginning with the second series, the Muppet Newsman would almost invariably suffer some calamity associated with the story, such as being knocked out by a falling light fixture after he reported that the company manufacturing it had dropped production.
- "Muppet Sports" – A sports sketch that features different sporting activities that are covered by Louis Kazagger. Debuted in the third series.
- "Musical Chickens" – A bunch of Muppet chickens would peck the keys of a piano and play a classic song to show off their musical talents.
- "Panel Discussions" – A sketch where Kermit the Frog, the featured guest star, and other Muppets discuss various topics. Only appeared in the first series.
- "Pigs in Space" – Parody of science fiction programmes like Star Trek, but also 1930s sci-fi serials. The spacecraft is called USS Swinetrek and the title voice-over is a parody of Lost in Space. It features Captain Link Hogthrob, Miss Piggy as first mate, and Dr. Julius Strangepork (the name a take-off on "Dr. Strangelove"). Usually, the sketches would involve the long-suffering Piggy putting up with the wacko Strangepork and the brain dead Link treating her as an inferior because she is a woman. The early sketches also usually featured odd introductions for all the characters, such as calling Link the flappable captain, Miss Piggy the flirtatious first mate, and referring to Dr. Strangepork as "describable." Dr. Strangepork usually got the most unusual description out of the three during these introductions as he was the oddest member of the group. This portion of the introduction was dropped during series three, and the announcer would simply claim it was "time for...Piiiiiigs...iiiin...spaaaaaaace!" Debuted in the second series.
- "Planet Koozebane" – A sketch about a planet containing strange alien lifeforms like the Koozebanian creatures, the Koozebanian Phoob, the Fazoobs, the Koozebanian Spooble, the Four Fazoobs, and the Merdlidops. This was a common stop for the Swinetrek crew. The planet would also be featured later on Muppet Babies, the "Space Cowboys" episode of Jim Henson's Little Muppet Monsters, and CityKids (which featured different Koozebanian aliens). Kermit the Frog would later report from Koozebane on a 1992 Good Morning America appearance. Planet Koozebane was also referenced in the "Science Fiction" episode of The Jim Henson Hour and in the video game Muppets Party Cruise.
- "A Poem by Rowlf" – Rowlf the Dog would recite a classic poem while other Muppets end up interrupting him. Only appeared in the first series.
- "Rowlf at the Piano" – Rowlf the Dog would sing classical songs and would be occasionally accompanied by the other Muppet characters.
- "The Swedish Chef" – A cooking show parody. It consists of the Swedish Chef, who speaks mock Swedish, semi-comprehensible gibberish which parodies the characteristic vowel sounds and intonation of Swedish. He attempts to cook a dish with great enthusiasm until the punchline hits. A hallmark of these sketches was the improvisation between Jim Henson (who performed the Chef's head and voice) and Frank Oz (who was his hands). One would often make something up on the spot, making the other puppeteer comply with the action. Famous gags include "chickie in du baskie" ("two points!"), Swedish meatballs that bounce, and smashing a cake with a baseball bat after it begins insulting the Chef in mock Japanese. Debuted in the pilot Sex and Violence.
- "Talk Spots" – While sitting on a wall, Kermit the Frog would talk to the guest star and would occasionally be joined by the other Muppets. Mostly appeared during the first series, but made occasional appearances during the second series, and made two rare appearances in the third series (one of which featured Sam the Eagle and the Swedish Chef in place of Kermit).
- "Talking Houses" – A bunch of houses that tell jokes to each other. Only appeared during the first series.
- "UK Spots" – Due to shorter commercial breaks in the United Kingdom, every episode of The Muppet Show lasted two minutes longer in the UK than in the United States. The extra segments that were filmed to cover this time differential have been referred to as "UK Spots." Most of these UK Spots consisted of a short song and never featured the guest star.
- "Vendaface" – The Vendaface (voiced by Jerry Nelson) is a vending machine that can give any Muppet a facelift. The Vendaface was apparently only meant to be used once, but David Lazer said that they shouldn't build such an expensive puppet only to use him once. The writers then decided to have him on the show a few more times in the first series. The Vendaface later appeared in episode 66 as the Vendawish (voiced by Jerry Nelson) which was a wish-granting machine.
- "Veterinarian's Hospital" – Parody of the soap opera General Hospital and other medical dramas, this segment consists of Dr. Bob (played by Rowlf the Dog) cracking corny jokes in the operating room with Nurses Piggy and Janice, much to the bemusement of the frazzled patient. Each instalment ends with Dr. Bob and his nurses looking around in puzzlement as a disembodied narrator tells viewers to "tune in next time, when you'll hear Nurse Piggy / Dr. Bob / Nurse Janice say....", whereupon one of the three 'medics' will prompt a corny response from one of the others. On a number of occasions, the "Veterinarian's Hospital" sketch would crossover with the cast or set of another, such as "At the Dance" or "Pigs in Space." On one occasion, Dr. Bob was the patient while the guest star (Christopher Reeve) played a doctor going to operate on Dr. Bob, and once Nurse Piggy was replaced (much to her chagrin) by guest star Loretta Swit, parodying her Nurse Houlihan character from M*A*S*H. In the first series, the narrator was usually performed by John Lovelady, but Jerry Nelson performed the role in both the Harvey Korman and Rita Moreno episodes, before taking over the role permanently from the Phyllis Diller episode. In the introduction, Dr. Bob went from "a former orthopedic surgeon" to "a quack" who's "gone to the dogs."
- "Wayne and Wanda" – Each sketch would feature Wayne and Wanda singing a song, only to be interrupted by some sort of pun relating to a lyric. Sam the Eagle introduced these sketches, as he felt that they were among the few cultured aspects of the show. Only appeared during the first series, however, a few new sketches appeared in later series (with just Wayne).
Awards and nominations
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The Muppet Show program was nominated for nine BAFTA Awards during its run, winning three. It was nominated for twenty-one Primetime Emmy Awards, winning four, including the 1978 award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Series. It was presented with a Peabody Award in 1978. Also in 1978, the show received the Television Award of Merit by the Mary Washington Colonial Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Primetime Emmy Awards
|1977||Outstanding Comedy – Variety or Music Series||The Muppet Show||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series||Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, Jack Burns, Marc London,||"Paul Williams"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music||Rita Moreno||Won|
|1978||Outstanding Comedy – Variety or Music Series||The Muppet Show||Won|
|Outstanding Directing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series||Peter Harris||"Elton John"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series||Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, Don Hinkley, & Joseph A. Bailey||"Dom DeLuise"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music||Peter Sellers||Nominated|
|1979||Outstanding Comedy – Variety or Music Series||The Muppet Show||Nominated|
|1980||Outstanding Comedy – Variety or Music Series||The Muppet Show||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series||Peter Harris||"Liza Minnelli"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series||Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, Don Hinkley, & David Odell||"Alan Arkin"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Video Tape Editing for a Series||John Hawkins||"Liza Minnelli"||Won|
|Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program||Malcolm Stone||"Beverly Sills"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costume Design for a Series||Calista Hendrickson||"Beverly Sills"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement – Creative Technical Crafts||Leslee Asch, Edward G. Christie, Barbara S. Davis, Faz Fazakas, Nomi Frederick, Michael K. Frith, Amy Van Gilder, Dave Goelz, Marianne Harms, Larry Jameson, Mari Kaestle, Rollin Krewson, Tim Miller, Bob Payne, Jan Rosenthal, Don Sahlin, Caroly Wilcox||"Alan Arkin"||Nominated|
|Edward G. Christie, Barbara S. Davis, Faz Fazakas, Nomi Frederick, Michael K. Frith, Amy Van Gilder, Dave Goelz, Larry Jameson, Mari Kaestle, Rollin Krewson, Tim Miller, Bob Payne, Jan Rosenthal, Don Sahlin, Caroly Wilcox||"Kenny Rogers"||Nominated|
|1981||Outstanding Comedy – Variety or Music Series||The Muppet Show||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series||Jerry Juhl, David Odell, & Chris Langham||"Carol Burnett"||Won|
|Outstanding Video Tape Editing for a Series||John Hawkins||"Brooke Shields"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program||Malcolm Stone||"Brooke Shields"||Nominated|
|1977||British Academy Television Awards (BAFTA)||Best Light Entertainment Programme||The Muppet Show||Won|
|'Harlequin (Drama/Light Entertainment)||The Muppet Show||Nominated|
|1978||Most Original Programme/Series||Jim Henson||Won|
|Best Light Entertainment Programme/Series||Jim Henson||Nominated|
|Best VTR Editor||John Hawkins & Tim Waddell||Nominated|
|Best Design||David Chandler & Bryan Holgate||Nominated|
|1979||Best Light Entertainment Programme/Series||Jim Henson||Nominated|
|Best VTR Editor||John Hawkins||Won|
|1980||Best Light Entertainment Programme/Series||Jim Henson||Nominated|
|1979||Grammy Awards||Best Recording for Children||Jim Henson||Won|
|Peabody Awards||Henson Associates||Won|
|Golden Camera||Best Entertainment Show||Jim Henson||Won|
|1977||Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival||Golden Rose||Won|
|1981||Young Artist Awards||Best TV Series for Family Entertainment||Nominated|
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In 1984, Playhouse Video released a collection of video compilations under the Jim Henson's Muppet Video banner. Ten videos were released, featuring original linking material in addition to clips from the show.
- The Muppet Revue (titled Kermit and Fozzie's Favourite Moments in the UK) – Hosted by Kermit and Fozzie as they clean up the attic, with guest stars Linda Ronstadt, Paul Williams, Harry Belafonte, and Rita Moreno
- The Kermit and Miss Piggy Story – Hosted by Kermit and Miss Piggy as they reminisce over their moments on the show, with guest stars Raquel Welch, Tony Randall, Cheryl Ladd, and Loretta Swit
- Childrens' Songs and Stories with the Muppets – Hosted by Scooter as he looks through a scrapbook of children's songs from the show, with interruptions by others as he constantly tries to introduce his favourite song, "Six String Orchestra", with guest stars Julie Andrews, John Denver, Twiggy, Brooke Shields Judy Collins, and Charles Aznavour
- Rock Music with the Muppets – Hosted by Dr. Teeth with assistance by Beaker in a recording studio, with guest stars Debbie Harry, Linda Ronstadt, Alice Cooper, Ben Vereen, Helen Reddy, Leo Sayer, Loretta Swit, and Paul Simon
- Muppet Treasures – Hosted by Kermit and Fozzie as they once again clean out the attic, with guest stars Zero Mostel, Loretta Lynn, Paul Simon, Buddy Rich Peter Sellers, and Ethel Merman
- Gonzo Presents Muppet Weird Stuff – Hosted by Gonzo and Camilla at Gonzo's trailer home, which Gonzo tries to pass off as a mansion, with guest stars John Cleese, Jean Stapleton, Dom DeLuise, Julie Andrews, Vincent Price, and Madeline Kahn
- Country Music with the Muppets – Hosted by Rowlf at a barnyard radio station, with guest stars Mac Davis, John Denver, Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn, Roger Miller, Roy Clark, Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans
- Muppet Moments – Once again hosted by Kermit and Fozzie as they clean the attic, with guest stars Pearl Bailey, Bernadette Peters, Andy Williams, Zero Mostel, and Liza Minnelli
- Rowlf's Rhapsodies with the Muppets – Hosted by Rowlf, with guest stars Marisa Berenson, Peter Sellers, George Burns, and Steve Martin
- Fozzie's Muppet Scrapbook – Hosted by Fozzie in the attic as he looks through a scrapbook of his material from the show, with guest stars Raquel Welch, Beverly Sills, and Milton Berle
In 1993, Jim Henson Video released two compilations under the It's the Muppets banner, Meet the Muppets and More Muppets, Please! Later, three volumes of The Very Best of The Muppet Show were released on VHS and DVD in the UK (volume 3 was a release of full episodes as opposed to compilations). Unlike the Playhouse Video releases, It's the Muppets and The Very Best of The Muppet Show did not include any original footage or guest star clips, but all compilation collections did include material cut from the original US broadcasts.
In 1994, Jim Henson Video released The Muppet Show: Monster Laughs with Vincent Price, featuring the episodes with Vincent Price and Alice Cooper. Both episodes were edited. In addition to replacing the first series opening and the ending logos with Zoot, the Vincent Price episode was edited to remove the songs "I'm Looking Through You" and "You've Got a Friend" (the latter of which would be cut again when released on the first series DVD) as well as a sketch with the talking houses, while the Alice Cooper episode removed Robin's performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
Time-Life and Jim Henson Home Entertainment began marketing 'best of' volumes of The Muppet Show for mail-order in 2001, with six initial volumes with three episodes on each VHS and DVD. Unique to each episode was an introduction by Jim Henson's son, Brian. Nine more volumes were added for 2002, the Muppets' 25th anniversary. The collection was available for retail in 2002 via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Jim Henson Home Entertainment by which time Time-Life had released its tenth volume.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the first series on DVD in Region 1 on 9 August 2005. The rights to the episodes and characters used in The Muppet Show, and subsequent film outings, were bought in February 2004 by the Walt Disney Company.
Several songs were cut from the series 1 DVD release due to music licensing issues. There have also been some cuts in the intro sequence, and backstage scenes leading up to these songs. However, episodes that used Disney music remained unaltered (for example, episode 14 of series 1 used "Never Smile at a Crocodile" from Peter Pan).
- "Stormy Weather" (Joel Grey episode) sung by Wayne and Wanda
- "Gone with the Wind" (Jim Nabors episode) sung by Jim Nabors
- "The Danceros" (Jim Nabors episode) sung by The Danceros
- "All of Me" (Paul Williams episode) sung by Two Monsters
- "Old Fashioned Way" (Charles Aznavour episode) sung by Charles Aznavour with Mildred Huxtetter
- "You've Got A Friend" (Vincent Price episode) sung by Vincent Price, Uncle Deadly and a chorus of Muppet Monsters
The only uncut release of Season 1 on DVD so far is the German DVD release by Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment division from 2010 (which also contains English audio). However, the intro and end credit sequences on this release are in German.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date||Content|
|Season One (1976–1977)||24||9 August 2005|
|Season Two (1977–1978)||24||7 August 2007|
|Season Three (1978–1979)||24||20 May 2008|
The following Season Four and Season Five episodes have never been released for home video: Linda Lavin, Shields & Yarnell, Crystal Gayle, Arlo Guthrie, Victor Borge, Phyllis George, Dyan Cannon, Christopher Reeve, Dizzy Gillespie, Anne Murray, Jonathan Winters, Andy Williams, Doug Henning, Carol Channing, Alan Arkin, Shirley Bassey, Joan Baez, Glenda Jackson, Loretta Swit, Hal Linden, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Chris Langham, Melissa Manchester, Gladys Knight, Wally Boag, and Buddy Rich.
- "BBC: Comedy Guide: The Muppet Show". Archived from the original on 17 December 2004.
- Clark, John (14 August 2005). "Speaking of Dvds: Lisa Henson, 'The Muppet Show'". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
- Collins, Andrew (10 February 2012). "Welcome back, Muppets". Radio Times. radiotimes.com. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- 1976; Fuzzy Muppet Songs; Walt Disney Records Label
- Weiss, Ellen (1991). The Phantom of the Muppet Theatre. Illustrated by Manhar Chauhan. Smithmark Publishers Inc. / Muppet Press. ISBN 978-0831761516.
- Mifflin, Lawrie (10 March 1996). "Following in the Frog's Footsteps". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
- McKim, D. W.; Henson, Brian. "Muppet Central Guides – The Muppet Show: Rudolf Nureyev". Retrieved 19 July 2009.
- "Bafta Awards Data Base". Bafta Awards.
- "Emmy Awards Official Site". Emmys.com. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "Peabody Awards Official Site". Peabody.uga.edu. Archived from the original on 3 May 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "Jim Henson's Red Book". Henson.com. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Muppet Show|
- The Muppet Show on IMDb
- The Muppet Show-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television
- The Jim Henson Works at the University of Maryland 70+ digital videos available to students, scholars and visitors at the University of Maryland (College Park, MD)