The picture to the far right of my page did not start out as a Muppet…but that error was quickly corrected and it likely will remain henceforth. So far we’ve had Rowlf, Kermit and…on posting time for this entry, Fozzie.
The first time I was privileged enough to see The Muppet Show, I was five and sitting on my parents bed with my, then, four year old brother. I recall the premier episode even had a few of the Sesame Street regulars crossed over. Of course, Kermit the Frog is the only one that made the jump from Sesame to the old theatre that was the backdrop for the vaudeville show. I mention my brother, now a professional jazz musician now, that was obviously inspired by Doctor Teeth and Electric Mayhem…much as he may deny.
Then there was the revival in The Muppets Tonight. A show that started out slow, admittedly…the clip, below, is from the second episode. Slowly, the humour began to show signs of the original series…a humour that was seemingly lost with Jim Henson’s passing in 1990. A few cameos by old favourites that had aged (see Miss Piggy putting her glasses on to read the cue cards, for example), and an introduction of a number of new ones. The show lasted only 22 episodes, 10 of which appeared on network television with the remainder banished to The Disney Channel. The show would have been timed, except for an ill-timed Sandra Bullock episode about a bomb scare at the theatre that was to air on the first anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. It never seemed to recover after that.
Then there were the films…with a new one yet to come this November…There will be driving. This will be the sixth theatrical release…seventh if you include the 3-d extravaganza that is shown at MGM Studios on the Disney grounds in Orlando. Muppet Treasure Islandis my favourite of what they have done, again, since Henson’s death.
In 2004, Disney finally purchased The Muppets. There were attempts to buy the rights previously…and even a couple of Disney produced projects of which Treasure Island was one. Considering Disney’s humour with projects like Pirates of the Caribbean and others, this leads me to hope for decent future Muppet projects yet…although, with the parody ads they have been doing for the new film, I am a touch skeptical. All in good time.