Lights, Big City, One Green Frog
the Frog takes New York City by storm in rare, personal appearances at
two Barnes & Noble stores
November 21, 2003
this colossal day… November 14, 2003. Kermit the Frog along with
his “friend” Steve Whitmire made two rare public appearances.
Some Muppet fans on the East Coast might even consider this their own
two local Barnes and Noble stores in the New York City area to promote
their Muppet Holiday displays.
The first stop was at Lincoln Center where Kermit and Steve partook in
a Sing-Along as well as a short question and answer session. The second
stop was at Union Square where Kermit and Steve gave a more in-depth question
and answer session with fans.
by Daniel Dunnam
begin my recap, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Steve
Whitmire and all the folks at The Jim Henson Company who were associated
with these two appearances. They were a huge success and I look forward
to other events like these in the near future.
& Noble at Lincoln Center
Barnes and Noble employees led us into a room filled with Muppet merchandise
including the Sababa
plush dolls, Muppet
Monopoly, the collector’s
puzzle, the chess set and various Muppet DVD’s. Flipper prints
were on the ground to guide you to your seat.
entered a little before 5:30. I was sitting behind Jesse, another Muppet
Central member. He is a huge Muppet fan and brought along with him a home-made
Rizzo puppet as well as a drawing of Steve’s characters. With his
Rizzo puppet, Jesse got Steve’s attention and started talking with
him. Another forum member, ChellisPal brought up Steve's
letter to Muppet Central from a few weeks ago, and Steve told us the
story behind writing it from Sesame Street. He accommodated all the fans
who asked for a photograph or autograph as well as taking the time to
chat. Some of the people in the room didn’t realize who Steve was
until the presentation began.
To the enjoyment
of the audience, Sweetums (performed by Muppeteer Victor Yerrid) then came
out from the back and started walking around greeting visitors. He posed
for photos with anyone who asked and tried to welcome each guest. Sweetums
was the opening act for both ceremonies.
by Mike Lopez
Lincoln Center appearance started off with Sweetums singing Mahna Mahna.
The crowd was into his performance, especially the accapella vocals. At
one point, he stopped off right next to forum member, ChellisPal and proceeded
to maul him (in a "friendly way" of course).
then introduced as “The World’s Most Famous Frog” and
came out with his “good buddy” Steve. Kermit thanked everyone
for coming and first acknowledged the children in the first row. He said
that Muppets can't usually remember their lines so Steve would be there
to read the lines for him. Kermit joked with Steve that he is just a hired
hand. Kermit then asked how people heard about the appearance and many
members of the crowd mentioned Muppet Central.
song of the Sing-Along was “Bein’ Green” sung naturally
by the famous frog. At one point during the song, Kermit turned and looked
at Steve and said "Your voice is horse." Kermit said he could
sing the song a million times, and in fact he might have.
Next on the
agenda, Kermit read a Muppety version of “T’was the Night
Before Christmas”. Gonzo, Camilla, Miss Piggy, Animal, Fozzie, Pepe,
Scooter, Sweetums, Lew, Rowlf, Zoot, Janice and Dr. Teeth were included
in the story.
remarked how many people where there and how special it was that they
came to see him. Kermit said if this was a TV show and there were special
effects, his cheeks would have been all red from blushing. Kermit said
how he loves being in Barnes and Noble because it makes him feel smart
when he walks in the door. He jested that he could never read all those
books in the store and that Barnes and Nobel came up with the best idea,
”The Library of the 21st Century - Coffee and Books."
opened it up for questions from the audience.
many movies have you made?”
began counting along with Kermit. Someone mentioned "Follow that
Bird" and Kermit said he wasn’t in it (even though he appeared
briefly) and that he was behind-the-scenes. According to Kermit, he
was in seven Muppet movies and several others where he played other
people with the aid of prosthetic makeup. “It’s tough being
an actor in Hollywood as it’s hard to find a short green stuntman.”
come Bein Green was sung in C as opposed to the original?”
a day by day thing and sometimes they do it in F and G, and tonight
he felt like a nice bouncy C. It all depends on where his throat is.
little boy asked, "How is Elmo?"
crowd burst into laughter and applause. Steve was smiling and trying
to hold back laughter as he voiced Kermit’s response. Elmo is
doing great and he would be so happy that the boy asked about him. Elmo's
still small and red, kind of like a little furry red fire hydrant cover.
child asked, “If Elmo is still drinking baby milk?”
to Kermit, Elmo has stopped drinking baby milk and has moved on to the
hard stuff due to being on Sesame Street for a long time.
commented, "Kermit, I hear you do quite an impression of Rizzo the
has been known to do an impression of Rizzo. "Let me get into character
and seeing Jesse's Rizzo the Rat will help.” Steve then did Rizzo's
voice through Kermit and cracked a smile. This garnered both laughter
and applause from the audience. Kermit then made a face and said, "Boy,
its tough to shake that off."
asked, “What is your most favorite moment with the Muppets?”
said it’s a tough choice since he's been doing this for so long,
but that his favorite moment was from the first Muppet movie when he
did Rainbow Connection. Kermit and composer Paul Williams wear the same
size clothing so they can swap out when necessary. Paul is sort of an
you and Miss Piggy have wedding plans in the near future?”
joked and said, "I don’t even think I will repeat that one."
There are no wedding plans for Kermit and Piggy, at least not to each
other. To the delight of the crowd, Kermit declared that he thinks of
them as the Muppet version of Ben & J'Lo. Piggy loves to plant things
in the tabloids about them and he loves to try and dig them up. The
truth is that Kermit doesn’t know where he and Piggy stand and
that he's having an executive meeting next week to try and figure it
is Miss Piggy now and what is she doing?”
said she couldn’t be here and they had a little thing happen in
the hotel where he and her went their own ways and will meet up later.
do you like being in the Smithsonian?”
feels like a fossil. The one there at the Smithsonian is a weird version
of him and not the real Kermit. At this point Kermit turns his head
towards Steve and says, "It has something to do with these people
will we see the Jim Henson Hour on DVD?”
replied, “That’s an interesting question.” He pointed
towards the Jim Henson Company representatives in the back corner. Kermit
said it’s not happening yet, but may happen one of these days.
There is a lot of their stuff that’s not out there. He mentioned
that John Denver Rocky Mountain Holiday and the Ed Sullivan DVD's are
out now. “You can see me back when I didn’t have real feet.”
Kermit’s feet were like little clubs and his tail had not completely
was another Elmo question from another child. "Where does Elmo Live?”
started laughing as Kermit replied, "This kid really likes Elmo…
too bad he's not here." Kermit asked the child, “Where do
you think he lives?” and the kid answered “Sesame Street”
and Kermit said, "I think you got the answer right." Kermit
then went on to reveal how old he was when asked his age. Kermit said
he is in his 40's and was brought into the world back in the 50's and
he’s aging very well. His aging well is due to good clean swamp
living which requires him to stay very moist and he would recommend
it to all.
for the biggest question of the evening, “Will you ever host another
said, “I think I might.” This got a thunderous applause
from the audience. According to Kermit, he would not be surprised if
in the next year or so, something like this happens although he's supposed
to say things like, "We got it in the works.” That’s
Hollywood talk for "I can’t talk about it that much."
Kermit mentioned that they got the Henson family back and he thinks
that the Muppets are heading in the direction of eventually producing
a new series. There was another round of applause from the audience.
next question was asked by another cute kid. "How is Fozzie as a
said Fozzie is pretty good as a bear and this is the time of the year
where he is in hibernation. Kermit then started talking to another kid
in front when the child said hello to him. Kermit responded to the audience
that he was having a little “one on one” with the child.
you go to school?”
Kermit said he went
to frog school and it’s a great place in the swamp where he learned
life lessons like how not to get eaten by an alligator.
then asked a Muppets Tonight question about performing with Gilbert Gotfried.
Kermit said Gilbert
is a great guy and got to see him as a normal guy and it was fun working
with him. He said its fun to work with big stars.
then talked with the kids in the first row. Kermit said "hi"
to them and they replied "hi" back. A girl named Jessica told
Kermit she had a crush on him since she was two years old. She asked
to give him a kiss. Since Kermit's only allowed one kiss per Barnes
and Noble appearance, he said it’s been known that a frog can
somehow change into a prince when kissed. Kermit declared that this
could end up being the best part of his night. Kermit covered his eyes
and looked away saying that he might change. Jessica decided that he
was a prince already.
question was in regards to Kermit’s Palisades figure.
Kermit said it was
terrific and was thrilled with it. He said it was weird to see himself
as a plush doll though.
took one last question. This was a question he thought he would actually
get out of here without having to answer. The question was about Snoop
smiles widely as he voiced Kermit’s response. Kermit said it was
an interesting thing. Snoop was in “It’s a Very Merry Muppet
Christmas” and that he was slashed because of a couple of reasons.
They found out he did an inappropriate movie that wasn’t for children
and they filmed an hour extra that they needed to cut. Kermit said he
has talked to Snoop after the cut. Kermit’s still one of his “dogs”
and “part of his posse” and that they are ok with one another.
want to start the holidays too early, but thought they should sing a generic
song like Jingle Bells to conclude the evening. Kermit looked down to
the children in the first row and joyfully sang along with them. As Kermit
sang, he asked if anyone knew the second verse. Everyone said no, but
Kermit said he had to do it anyway. He then asked what “upsut”
means. No one knew.
thanked everyone for being there and said he was sorry he couldn’t
stick around as he had to head to another Barnes and Noble. He invited
everyone to attend and said that there was more space and that he'd probably
get asked the same questions again over and over.
Steve was there visibly the whole night, I barely noticed him. My eyes
were glued on Kermit. Steve did a great job with his facial expressions,
hand gestures and his interaction with the little children. If anyone
ever has the opportunity to see Kermit live in person, don’t pass
up that opportunity. You will never forget the magical moment of being
in the same room with Kermit.