Help me understand something re. the genesis of "The Muppet Show" please...

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by ParloFax, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Vidiot

    Vidiot See It in Dolby Vision!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I was the only guy I knew who liked the "edgy" Muppet monster sketches on Saturday Night Life in late 1975 and early 1976, and thought they were hilarious. The SNL writers hated them, and eventually they got dropped from the show. But that was one of the first attempts by Jim Henson to prove the Muppets could be hip and funny and have sort-of adult comedy without crossing any lines. The Muppet Show didn't happen for more six months after that, but he finally got the success he was looking for... and the show led to the films, and eventually a vast empire (which the family sold to Disney). Jim Henson Productions no longer owns the original characters or the word "Muppets," so they're doing some different things these days... but they are still using puppets and doing some kind of edgy plays and performances in LA.
     
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  2. mBen989

    mBen989 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scranton, PA
    Just to clarify, only the first season DVD has segments missing because of music licensing issues (and in the case of the Joel Grey episode, the wrong video master was pulled so the "Muppet News" segments are missing).
     
  3. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So does the reason why the last two seasons never got released was that they didn't need bothering to get the licensing rights from all these people since perhaps the sales of the first 3 DVD sets hadn't been good enough? Just wondering...
     
  4. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mt. Kisco, NY
    Jim Henson is one of the few people who can be called a genius. I loved watching the show as a kid, in college and now I share it with my kids.
     
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  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Actually he'd been doing that before, with the TV specials.

    The Muppets were not really a children's act until the TV series. As the specials and SNL appearances attest, Henson was trying to market them to the baby boomer 20-something audience. The Muppet Show pitch film w/George Schlatter shows him still attempting this style of comedy.

    Excepting Sesame Street, it was only on the Muppet Show itself that Henson began targeting the kid audience, which was not only shrewd for the family TV market, but would prove extremely lucrative via merchandising.
     
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  6. O Don Piano

    O Don Piano Forum Resident

    Yes, you may be the only person that liked the Muppets on SNL!
    I was looking forward to seeing them outside the PBS vibe, but as much as I would have liked it to work, it just didn't for me. Maybe it was the characters and setting that was off- putting to me. I wasn't expecting Ernie and Bert, but perhaps a gentler passage into the weirdness their 10 minute slot was might have helped!
     
  7. mBen989

    mBen989 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scranton, PA
    It's probably worth mentioning that these episodes from Seasons 4 and 5 are scattered amongst the Time-Life/Sony DVD sets.

    Season 4:
    John Denver
    Dudley Moore
    Beverly Stills
    Kenny Rodgers
    Lola Falana
    Liza Minnelli
    The stars of STAR WARS
    Lynda Carter
    Diana Ross

    Season 5:
    Gene Kelly
    James Coburn
    Brooke Shields
    Senor Wences
    Debbie Harry
    Paul Simon
    Tony Randall
    Mac Davis
    Carol Burnett
    Marty Feldman
    Linda Ronstadt
     
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  8. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    What are these, please?
     
  9. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    I dug it. But they were only on a few times.
    "My Son, a crater head"
    Smoking craters. heh heh.
     
  10. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Duke City
  11. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

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  12. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I saw a bit on Youtube which I did find quite violent, in a tasteless way.
     
  13. Rocker

    Rocker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I have a few of those DVDs, but most of the volumes are really difficult to find. I've been collecting them for years and have only managed to find 8 volumes so far. I'd like to collect the entire series just in case we never get official DVD releases for Seasons 4 and 5, which seems more likely all the time. :sigh:
     
  14. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Duke City
    The muppets did have a tendency to be violent. I think it had much to do with Henson's views on modern society and probably just the human condition in general.

    Speaking of:
    Jim Henson's Time Piece (Отрезок времени)
     
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  15. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    Never a fan of the Muppets. But I seem to recall a B&W variety show: The Jimmy Dean Show (used to be a country crooner before he started shilling sausages!), That featured the puppet (muppet?) Ralph the dog that I'm pretty sure I've seen hanging out with the rest of the muppet crew back in the day. This was years before the word muppets was ever uttered. If I'm right, Ralph is probably the 1st muppet to have made it on TV!;)
     
  16. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Duke City
    His name is actually "Rowlf". And I think "Muppet" was coined in the mid- or late-fifties. But while he was the first Muppet "star", Kermit was the first on TV.
     
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  17. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That was incredible! I had never heard about this film or such highly creative filming activities from JH before...
     
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  18. Vidiot

    Vidiot See It in Dolby Vision!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Rowlf the Dog...

     
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  19. antoniod

    antoniod Active Member

    The first season was shot on 525-line NTSC, but subsequent seasons were taped in the 625-line British standard and converted to 525 for the US. You could tell by the peculiar effect when anyone moved.
     
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  20. antoniod

    antoniod Active Member

    American shows were always very popular in the UK, so that really wouldn't have been a problem.
     
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  21. antoniod

    antoniod Active Member

    Here's a video about the possible genesis of the MUPPET SHOW theme song.
     
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  22. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Brilliant!
     
  23. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    Every time I watched a MUPPET SHOW, it looked like a program that was made in the UK and converted to air in the US, with that jaggy movement phenomenon. I'd never realized the first season didn't have the problem, it seemed to me to always have that effect. But whatever...

    Here's the first television appearance of Miss Piggy. It was on a Herb Alpert & the T.J.B. TV special in 1974:

     
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  24. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    There were a lot of American accents on British TV, even kids' shows like Thunderbirds, Stingray etc., and usually played by a Canadian, so the only reason to have a muppet with an English accent would be if the muppeteer was from England.
     
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  25. Vidiot

    Vidiot See It in Dolby Vision!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I honestly wasn't sure, but I know there was some grousing about one of the seasons being shot in 525. It's easier to shoot 525 on a 625 PAL camera than it is to shoot 625 PAL on an NTSC 525 camera.
     

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