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Behind the Scenes of "The Muppet Movie"

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Was Once Ernie, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    Ha! You little sneak! That's classic!
     
  2. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Awe-double-some! That is amazing, and you are obviously full of initiative! Moi, I'd probably have been too scared to sneak across to SS for fear of being in no where in the line up if they caught me. (he he). But, yeah, never settle for Emmet Otter when you can go all the way to Ernie! Way ta go!
     
  3. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    you said that every muppet except for the earlier ones and the ones from saturday night live were there. actually, this is not true.

    there are a lot of full-body characters not there. sweetums wasn't there, but that was probably so his ending appearance would be a surprise. The Mutations (three identical full-body monsters) were not there. neither was sam the robot, a sesame street character from 1972-1976 (the puppet should have still been in good condition by that time). Thig (thogs buddy from The great santa Clause Switch) and splurge (the purple monster from hey, Cinderella) also weren't there. I also didn't see any of the bad guys from The Muppet Musicians of bremen. I am not sure whether this scene was filmed before or after the sesame street season (i think the movie was filmed in 1978), but bruno (the garbage man who carried oscars trash can. he first appeared on sesame street in 1978) was not in that scene.

    and most obviously, mr. snuffleupagus was not there. of course, this might have been because at the time of the movie nobody except big bird ever saw him. Sure, he could have been behind everybody, so that nobody could have seen him, but then the muppets in the audience were watching, and could have seen mr. snuffleupagus, although with the scene so crownded they might not have noticed and/ or thought he was just one of many weird-looking muppets in the background (but by that logic big birds friends should have believed that mr. snuffleupagus was real).

    Do you know/ remember if Caroll Spinney performed Big Bird in that scene, or if he wasn't availible for that scene?
     
  4. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Minor Muppetz, sometimes to say "every" isn't meant to be literal. Just like if I say I'm a 'huge Muppet fan,' that doesn't mean I'm actually "huge" per se, but 'really, really, really love Muppets.' :)

    WasOnceErnie, this is a fantastic story!! I hope Phil sees it and (with your permission) applies it to the MC articles section. Thank you for coming in to MC and hanging out with us and telling us all this great information! It's fun to live the process viariously through your experience.

    As far as the director, I wanted to say Steven Speilberg. But then, MinorMuppetz mentioned John Landis who, in a lot of his movies, references Muppets and uses Muppeteers so...I think I might change to say John Landis and agree with Minor Muppetz.
     
  5. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    I didn't know that Stevie Speily was even rumoured to be there. Where did this information leak from?
     
  6. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    I read that George Lucas and Jim were quite fond of eachother and desperately tried to "really" get together on a project (the closest "real" team-up came about in either Labyrinth or DC; I forget), but both visited eachother's sets often, so I'm gonna' go for a long shot and guess George.
     
  7. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I read this in the trivia page of The Muppet Movie section of the Internet Movie database. although trivia there is sometimes wrong, that trivia page mentioned that it was confirmed in an interview with john landis. and i think I read that interview, but i am not sure if i did or if my mind is playing tricks on me.
     
  8. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Awesome. Last time I looked at Muppet Trivia there, there was hardy any except a couple of pieces I put there. Also a couple of goofs I included in VMC.

    Someone I know has soem cool Muppet Caper trivia, but I'm not revealing it yet, since it is his place to do so. ;)
     
  9. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    their "real" team-up was in Labrynth. I wonder if that had anything to do with having the star wars cast on the Muppet Show and Sesame Street? according to the internet movie database, George Lucas appeared as an extra in the crown at the end of Follow That Bird. I am not sure how true this is, but I saw somebody who looks like him (maybe it was him) standing near Miss Finch in that scene.
     
  10. Harvey Towers

    Harvey Towers Active Member

    I didn't know there would be a test!

    Anyway, this is a really great story - please keep on with your Muppety recollections!

    Can you remember which puppets the main muppeteers performed in the scene?
     
  11. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    there has been a lot of trivia added there recently. however, I just looke dback there, and I was wrong. Tim Burton was there, not Steven Spielberg.
     
  12. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie New Member

    We have a winner! It was John Landis ("Animal House"). He, like so many of us, just wanted to be a Muppeteer. It pays to have the right connections.

    I would guess the Sam & Friends characters were just too old and fragile to let strangers handle them.

    :p
     
  13. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie New Member

    Carroll Spinney was not there. Whoever was in Big Bird was really good, except he kept making Big Bird say nasty things. The main Muppeteers seemed to know him, though, because they made comments about him using his name. (That's how I know it wasn't Carroll Spinney... they called the guy in the suit by name.)


    :p
     
  14. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Yeah, see, I could see John Landis doing that since he's used Muppet references and performers in just about all his movies. And to think: Had he succeeded as a performer of the Muppets we might have a totally different kind of movie in Blues Brothers, etc!!
     
  15. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Wow, what wonderful stories. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. That must have been a blast!
     
  16. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie New Member

    Added Bonus Story!

    maxdrive, over on the thread "How the Muppets Operate", reminded me of something else that happened.

    Before we ever did the first rehearsal with bare hands, Jim taught us all the Muppets' method of making the characters talk.

    The trick is, as you open the mouth, you jut your hand forward and slightly down at the same time. What this accomplishes is it makes the bottom jaw appear to be opening like a real mouth. If you hold your hand still and open and close the mouth, it looks like the top of the head is opening up and flipping back.

    Try it with your own hand and you'll see the difference.

    maxdrive said it was called "The Henson Punch". I had never heard that before, but it could be. The movement is a sharp jab, kind of like a quick punch. But it could also mean "punch" in a show business way... like something that has punch or pizazz. Now that I think about it, I like the latter definition better. It gives their characters punch or sparkle.

    :p
     
  17. Kimp the Shrimp

    Kimp the Shrimp Active Member

    It was hard to see what you meant with my hand s i had to grab a puppet and i put a muppet movie in to see the motion very intresting you never p/u on that stuff if your not looking
     
  18. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I didn't know the JHC termed it the Henson Punch, but I do know it's a practice all puppeteers should be using as far as making the puppets talk. Something I've taught puppeteer-wanna-be's in classes, too.

    Another such thing that a friend of mine whose sister did some work of some sort long ago with JHC said that you also want to add some particular things in the puppetry. Ie, "Bob" is one syllable, and we all mostly want to open the puppet's mouth at "bob" one time; however, they want to see more life--Now, YOU say "Bob." Notice when you finish the name your mouth has an extra movement to it? For that (maybe) quarter of a second your mouth is still in movement, so when you perform a puppet and say something like "Bob", give the mouth a little more movement at the end of the word.

    Tilting the head some when it's not talking and paying attention gives it more life, too; as well as eye-focus. Never let the eye focuse leave the audience (except in cases like where the puppet is looking in the air or something as scripted), and also keep the puppet focused on its speaking partner, looking each other in the eyes.

    I think I just went into a blabber-fest of info there...taking things off topic again. Sorry.
     
  19. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie New Member

    Sometimes that's the case, but the opposite can also be true. In the case of multi-syllable words, you can occasionally cheat and only open the mouth once for two syllables. If you are "artistic" enough, it will read as if the puppet is moving its mouth for all the syllables. Otherwise, the mouth just flaps too much, especially on large-mouthed puppets like a lot of the Muppets.

    Okay, now I'm off-topic, too. Next time: Part Three!


    :p
     
  20. BEAR

    BEAR Active Member

    Everything you are all saying about the articulation of the puppets mouth is true. And I know what you mean about the multi-syllables as well because i observe this and practice it myself. With that word "artistic", you never close your mouth so the puppet shouldn't either. The mouth should just be moving with the syllables but never closed. And yes, I have always heard it referred to as the "Henson punch."
     

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