The Frog Prince (Muppets)
|This article does not cite any sources. (March 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
- For other works sharing the title, see The Frog Prince (disambiguation).
|The Frog Prince|
The Frog Prince title card.
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Written by||Jerry Juhl|
|Directed by||Jim Henson|
|Theme music composer||Jerry Juhl (lyrics)
|Country of origin|| United States
|Running time||51 min.|
|Original network||Television syndication|
|Original release||May 12, 1971|
The Frog Prince (released on home video as Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince) is a 1971 special directed by Jim Henson. It is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of The Frog Prince featuring Kermit the Frog as the narrator, Kermit's nephew Robin as the Frog Prince, Sir Robin, and Sweetums, among others. This television special marked the debut of both Robin and Sweetums to the world of The Muppets. Also, a full-bodied version of Taminella Grinderfall from the Tales of the Tinkerdee and The Land of Tinkerdee pilots appeared here alongside a full-bodied variation of King Goshposh called King Rupert the Second.
The Frog Prince is often claimed to be the first time that Kermit was specifically identified as a frog. However, the distinction actually dates back as far as 1968, even before his appearances on Sesame Street.
The special opens at the well as the swimming Kermit greets the viewers, revealing to have a great story which is all about frogs. He also introduces the beautiful Princess Melora who appears to be living under some terrible and magical enchantment, and looks so sad about it. Kermit ensures the viewers that they'll mostly hear about frogs, because the story is not only about them, but it bears the title: "The Frog Prince".
In the story, Kermit and several other frogs were sitting around a well, when a small frog they do not recognize appears. The frog introduces himself as Sir Robin the Brave, explaining that he is actually a prince. He recounts, in flashback, how he once fought an ogre named Sweetums and was transformed into a frog by Sweetums's master, the villainous witch Taminella Grinderfall. Taminella intended to give Robin to Sweetums as his breakfast, but Robin hopped away before they could catch him. The other frogs laughingly dismiss Robin's story as a fairy tale. Kermit is more sympathetic, though he himself does not fully believe Robin. Robin reveals to Kermit that he cannot swim, and Kermit gives him swimming lessons. Nearby, they hear King Rupert the Second proclaiming to his loyal peasants that he will step down as their king that afternoon; and his daughter, Princess Melora (who is turning nineteen that day), will be crowned their queen. Robin is overjoyed, as he must be kissed by a princess in order to be returned to human form.
The princess later comes to the well, and Robin learns that she is under an enchantment that prevents anyone from understanding what she says (her speech consists mostly of spoonerisms). As she sits by the well, singing to herself, she accidentally drops her golden ball in the water. Robin offers to retrieve it for her if she will befriend him and take him to the palace (two conditions that must be met before she can kiss Robin). Though initially reluctant, Melora agrees; and Robin succeeds in fetching the ball, despite his limited swimming skills. Melora puts him in her basket to take him back to the palace; but before they leave, Robin learns that Taminella is also at the palace, posing as the king's sister. Robin reveals Taminella's identity to Kermit, who follows him to the palace to keep an eye on him.
At the palace, it is revealed that Taminella placed the enchantment on Melora so that she could not warn anyone of false aunt's true identity. Robin asks Melora to kiss him, saying he will turn into a prince. She does not believe him; but in an effort to befriend her, he points out that he can understand her jumbled speech. They sing a duet of the song that Melora had been singing at the well; but before they can kiss, Taminella catches them. Recognizing Robin, she vows she will feed him to Sweetums before being summoned by Rupert's herald Featherstone to speak with the king about the upcoming coronation. Melora tells Robin the only way to destroy Taminella's power is to "bake the hall in the candle of her brain," which Robin does not understand. As Melora and Taminella leave for lunch, Robin asks Melora to kiss him good-bye; Taminella suggests she bring Robin with them instead.
At lunch, Rupert recalls meeting Taminella at the forest, which at that time they've never expected each other as a brother and a long-lost sister, until he reveals the name of his father, King Rupert the First. Taminella then announces that she and Rupert have decided Taminella shall be crowned queen, as Melora cannot be understood. Outraged, Melora frantically tries to tell her father the truth about Taminella, but he does not understand her mixed-up speech. And to make matters worse, when Robin also tries to tell the king the truth, Taminella silences him by stuffing his mouth with popovers. Unable to get through to her father, Melora storms out, leaving Robin behind. Taminella takes Robin to Sweetums's lair in a cage.
Sweetums prepares to devour Robin, but the little frog lulls him to sleep with a lullaby, and Kermit (who had followed them) tries to free Robin. Unsuccessful, he pretends to be Taminella and tricks Sweetums into freeing Robin himself (while sleepwalking). But as soon as Robin was freed and realizing he was tricked, Sweetums wakes up and intent on eating him. He chases Kermit and Robin around his lair, smashing furniture to pieces with his club in the process, until a falling pillar knocks him unconscious.
Kermit and Robin escape, but learn that the coronation is starting. Robin tells Kermit to go back to the swamp and summon the other frogs, while he tries to figure out what "bake the hall in the candle of her brain" means. Kermit and the frogs return just before Taminella is to be crowned, and help Robin disrupt the coronation. Amidst the chaos of the hopping frogs, Melora yells out "The candle of her hane!"; and Robin realizes "bake the hall in the candle of her brain" really means "break the ball in the handle of her cane." He bites Taminella on the arm, causing her to drop her cane and shatter the glass ball in its handle. Taminella's power destroyed, she collapses and turns into a bird, which flies off. Melora's enchantment is broken, and she tells the truth to her dumbfounded father. She expresses her thanks to the frogs, particularly Robin, whom she kisses in gratitude. Robin turns back into a prince, to everyone's amazement, and professes his love for Melora. King Rupert the Second, still confused but not wanting to spoil the happy ending, crowns Melora queen; everyone (including Sweetums who was recovered, having changed his evil ways) sings in celebration.
Back in the present, Kermit reveals that Robin and Melora were eventually married as king and queen, and that he still sees them sometimes. They then appear with their infant son, whom they have named after Kermit. After telling the viewers that it's not every frog that has a prince named after him, Kermit leaps backs into the well and swims around, humming Melora's song from earlier, while Robin and Melora went back into the palace as the credits roll.
- Trudy Young as Princess Melora
- Gordon Thomson as Sir Robin the Brave
- Heather Henson as Baby Prince Kermit
- Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Garth the Frog, King Rupert the Second
- Frank Oz as Gawain the Frog, Robin the Frog (puppeteer)
- Jerry Nelson as Robin (voice), Featherstone, Sweetums (in-suit performer)
- Carl Banas as Sweetums (voice)
- Richard Hunt as Taminella Grinderfall (in-suit performer)
- Jerry Juhl as Kay the Frog, Taminella Grinderfall (voice)
- Executive Producer: John T. Ross
- Producer and Director: Jim Henson
- Book & Lyrics: Jerry Juhl
- Music: Joe Raposo
- Set Designer: William Beeton
- Associate Producer: Marilyn Stonehouse
- Muppet Associate Producer: Diana Birkenfield
- Cast: Trudy Young, Gordon Thomson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Carl Banas, Richard Hunt, John Lovelady, Daniel Seagren, Faz Fazakas
- Puppet Supervision: Donald Sahlin
- Set Decoration: Stephen Finnie
- Costume Designer: Lorely Fritze
- Puppet Costumes: Bonnie Lewis, Caroly Wilcox, Kermit Love
- Special Effects: George Clark
- Lighting Director: Tom Wright
- Technical Supervisor: Alvin Clausen
- Floor Director: Al O'Mailley
- Switcher: Brian Mitchell
- Audio Recording: Chris Skene
- Video Tape Editors: Frank Lorenowicz and Dino Digregorio
- Technical Facilities: VTR Productions LTD.
- Design Services: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- A R.L.P. Canada/Henson Associates Production
|This section does not cite any sources. (June 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|