The Muppets Go to the Movies

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The Muppets Go to the Movies
Genre Family film
Television special
Created by Henson Associates
Marble Arch Productions
Written by Jim Henson
Jerry Juhl
Chris Langham
Directed by Peter Harris
Starring Dudley Moore
Lily Tomlin
Muppet performers:
Jim Henson
Frank Oz
Jerry Nelson
Richard Hunt
Dave Goelz
Steve Whitmire
Louise Gold
Theme music composer Larry Grossman
Jack Parnell
Derek Scott
Country of origin United States
Producer(s) Jim Henson
Editor(s) John Hawkins
Running time 49 min.
Production company(s) Marble Arch Productions
Original network ABC
Original release May 20, 1981 (1981-05-20)

The Muppets Go To The Movies (or The Muffets Go To The Movies as misspelled by Fozzie Bear) is a 1981 one-hour television special that aired on ABC. It was used to help promote The Great Muppet Caper.


With the aid of Dudley Moore and Lily Tomlin, Kermit the Frog and the Muppets show spoofs of different movies at the Muppet Theater.

  • The special opens with a 20th Century Fox logo. The Announcer (Jerry Nelson) provides an introduction over clips from the special.
  • Kermit the Frog comes on stage to introduce the show, informing the audience that the Muppets plan on paying tribute to some of their favorite movies.
  • The entire Muppets sing their rendition "Hey, a Movie!" from The Great Muppet Caper.
  • Fozzie Bear introduces the first film, a spoof of The Three Musketeers. Statler and Waldorf attempt to leave, but are stopped by elastic ropes tied around their ankles. In this first parody, Gonzo the Great, Scooter, and Link Hogthrob play Athos, Porthos, and Gummo. The trio have to stop The Scarlet Pimpernel. Link flies on a chandelier, landing him backstage, and onto Miss Piggy. Miss Piggy karate chops Link, sending him flying back onstage, and onto Kermit during an introduction for the next movie parody.
  • The film Invasion of the Unpleasant Things from Outer Space has Dudley Moore and Lily Tomlin facing giant alien rats. In addition to Science fiction movies, the parody also pokes fun at foreign films. Dudley spends most of the sketch speaking in a foreign language, with English subtitles appearing on the screen. Statler and Waldorf comment on the strangeness of English-dubbed movies.
  • Janice introduces her favorite film The Wizard of Oz. She mentions that she likes the Land of Oz and might move there. When Janice is about to mention the part of Dorothy Gale, Miss Piggy's voice is heard saying "I'm not ready." Janice attempts to fill in for the role, but Miss Piggy automatically says, "I'm ready." As the scene begins, Miss Piggy (as Dorothy) and Foo-Foo (as Toto) start out in black and white. Miss Piggy sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow. When it changes to color, Miss Piggy is joined by Scooter as the Scarecrow, Gonzo as the Tin Man, and Fozzie Bear as the Cowardly Lion in a rendition of "If I Only Had a Brain/a Heart/the Nerve" and "We're Off to See the Wizard".
  • Gonzo introduces the next parody. In Metro-Goldwyn-Bear's The Fool of the Roman Empire, Dudley Moore portrays a jazz piano-playing Julius Caesar. Dudley plays a melody on the piano, while Gonzo, Beauregard, and Lew Zealand have a chariot race. Gonzo's chariot is pulled by a chicken, Beauregard's chariot is pulled by rats, and Lew Zealand's chariot is pulled by a shark. Statler and Waldorf comment on the parody.
  • Backstage, Rizzo the Rat complains to Kermit about the previous sketch, claiming that it was an insult to rats. Rizzo and his rat buddies try to convince Kermit to put them in a glamorous rat production number. Kermit tells the rats that the Muppets have already done a similar production number in The Great Muppet Caper. A clip from the film, featuring "The First Time It Happens" is shown.
  • Lily Tomlin attempts to flirt with Kermit, but Miss Piggy interrupts them. Kermit suggests that Lily introduce the horror movie genre. In her introduction, Lilly insists that she hates horror movies. She's soon attacked by a group of Muppet monsters. In J. Arthur Rank's The Nephew of Frankenstein, Fozzie Bear visits his uncle (played by Dr. Julius Strangepork) who is working on a comedian monster (played by Mulch). They attempt to do a "Hot Cross Bunnies" joke. The experiment blows Mulch up and burns the film screen. Firefighters are called, but joke that they are unable to put out a fire that was caused in the 19th Century as "our hoses won't reach!". The segment ends with Kermit parodying Porky Pig's "That's all folks!" line.
  • Rowlf the Dog presents a silent movie featuring Kermit the Frog and Sopwith the Camel. Mulch drops in finally getting the "Hot Cross Bunnies" joke.
  • Sam Eagle comes on stage to translate an Ingmar Bergman film. Floyd Pepper comes on stage, informing Sam that the film is not by Ingmar, but by his brother Gummo. The film Silent Strawberries parodies Bergman's films. It features The Swedish Chef, Beaker (as "The Angel of Death"), Fozzie Bear, and Kermit the Frog. As the film is not in English, Sam has to translate. Much to Sam's disgust, the translations make absolutely no sense. The film ends with a rendition of "Hooray for Hollywood".[1] Waldorf claims he doesn't believe in "The Angel of Death", but is automatically frightened by someone over his shoulder (a popcorn girl).
  • A spoof of Casablanca is shown where Kermit the Frog is saying his goodbyes to Miss Piggy while the wind of the airplane is blowing.
  • Backstage, Floyd and Janice sing "Act Naturally".
  • Dudley Moore tells the audience about his love for artistic French films. He then explains that because of his fondness for those films, he asked the Muppets not to parody them, but instead to do a "tasteless tribute to the Western". In Tantamount Picture's Small in the Saddle, a couple of cowboys, their horses, two outlaws, and the outlaws' cows sing "Ragtime Cowboy Joe." Lew Zealand shows up paddling a boat. Much to Statler's shock, Waldorf has apparently turned into a cow.
  • Kermit introduces a spoof of Tarzan with Gonzo as Tarzan and Lily Tomlin as Jane.
  • Backstage, Kermit tells Beauregard that it is time for his tribute to the Hollywood stuntman. A clip from The Great Muppet Caper featuring Beauregard driving Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo in a taxi is shown.
  • Kermit introduces the next musical number. Miss Piggy performs "Heat Wave" in the style of Marilyn Monroe and is backed up by a chorus of penguins.
  • Backstage, Kermit congratulates Piggy on her performance. Piggy wants everyone to see what a great performer Kermit is, by showing a Fred Astaire tribute that he did in The Great Muppet Caper. A clip from the film, featuring the song "Stepping Out With a Star" is shown. After the clip, Statler does his own "tap dance" routine.
  • In Goon with the Wind, Dudley Moore and Miss Piggy portray Rhett and Scarlett as they watch a fire in the background. The sketch is interrupted by the firefighters from earlier on. Statler and Waldorf decide to give the sketch three big cheers. Three big chairs are thrown at the two.
  • Lew Zealand introduced the final sketch. The film, Cholesterol Pictures' A Frog Too Far, has Kermit the Frog playing a World War II air force pilot and Lily Tomlin playing various love interests.
  • The characters in all the film spoofs sing "We'll Meet Again."

During the credits, the Muppets leave the Muppet Theater as Kermit the Frog locks up the stage door unaware that he has locked Dudley Moore and Lily Tomlin in.


  • The same sets from The Muppet Show are used for this special.
  • Later syndicated alongside The Muppet Show.
  • This is the first time a camera shot of the entrance to the Muppet Theater is shown at the end of the special.
  • Taped between March 9 and 17 of 1981.

Muppet performers[edit]

Additional Muppets performed by Kathryn Mullen, Brian Muehl, Bob Payne, and Rollie Krewson.


  • Produced by: Jim Henson
  • Executive Producer: David Lazer
  • Written by: Jerry Juhl, Chris Langham, Jim Henson, and Gummo
  • Directed by: Peter Harris
  • Associate Producer: Martin Baker
  • The Muppet Performers - Featuring: Frank Oz with Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Louise Gold, Kathryn Mullen, Brian Muehl, Bob Payne, Rollin Krewson, and Jim Henson
  • The Muppet Designers: Amy Van Gilder, Caroly Wilcox, Leslee Asch, Cheryl Blaylock, Ed Christie, Deborah Coda, Christine Cooper, Nomi Frederick, Jane Gootnick, Janet Kuhl, Will Morrison
  • Muppet Costumes by: Calista Hendrickson, Barbara Davis, Joanne Green, Connie Peterson, Carol Spier, Mary Striepp
  • Muppet Workshop Supervisor: Robert McCormick
  • Muppet Design Consultant: Michael K. Frith
  • Creative Consultant: Frank Oz
  • Music Consultant: Larry Grossman
  • Art Director: David Chandler
  • Orchestra Conducted by: Jack Parnell
  • Musical Associate: Derek Scott
  • Lighting Director: John Rook
  • Audio: Roger Knight
  • Video Tape Editor: John Hawkins
  • Assistant To The Producer: Joan Chaplow
  • Senior Floor Manager: Richard Holloway
  • Floor Manager: Prancesco Reidy
  • Stage Manager: Caryl Cruickshane
  • Senior Video Engineer: Gerry Taylor
  • Senior Cameraman: Bill Brown
  • Vision Mixer: Moyra Bird
  • Graphics: Darley Clark and Dick Whitbread
  • Costumes: Ann Hollowood
  • Make-up: Sandy Staples
  • A Henson Associates Production
  • Produced In Association With Marble Arch Productions
  • Henson Associates, Inc. and Marble Arch Productions, Inc.


External links[edit]