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How popular was Fraggle Rock at it's time

Discussion in 'Fraggle Rock' started by mupcollector1, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Being a huge Muppet / Jim Henson fan growing up in the 90s, now in my mid 20s I'm starting to learn more and more about Fraggle Rock. Unlike The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight and Sesame Street which I seen regularly, Fraggle Rock didn't rerun in regular cable. I do remember seeing a little bit of it when it was on Disney somewhere and I did own the 90s VHS tapes. So now getting the DVD sets, I'm finally getting a good chance to see the episodes now. Though relating to my original question "How popular was Fraggle Rock at it's time"? It was shown on HBO right? Even today it's a channel you would order and it doesn't usually come with regular cable. I never really knew many people who talked about it except for adults who are in their 30s remember seeing it. It seems very popular to people who grew up in the 80s but still did most people have HBO in the 80s? I know that The Muppet Show and Sesame Street had huge successes when they came out so I wonder, was Fraggle Rock that big of a success back then?
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  2. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Popular enough to have (technically) 5 seasons.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  3. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Right, but like I mentioned did a lot of people have HBO in the 80s. Because from what I've known, HBO wasn't part of the basic cable plan. Unless Fraggle Rock was syndicated at the time.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The sliding scale of Muppet popularity...

    Sesame Street is the top. It's been seen by almost everyone all over the globe, it's been on consistently for well over 43 years... you're far more likely to see a reference to Sesame Street than the other 2 combined. Even "A loaf of Bread, a Container of Milk, and a Stick of Butter" is pretty well known.

    Then we have the Muppets. Popular enough. It just hasn't had the resiliency of Sesame Street. Mainly because it had one popular show that lasted 5 seasons, one show NBC was trying to screw hard that barely lasted a season, and another show that barely lasted 2, with the second one being cable exclusive in the states. They did, however have 7 theatrical films and a number of specials. Kermit is synonymous with Frogs (his competition is basically Hoppity Hooper... I don't know many famous cartoon frogs besides Hooper, Michigan J Frog, and Kerororo's gang). Piggy is more or less synonymous with Pigs (but people tend to go more for Porky). Sadly, some circles remember Muppet Babies better.

    Then there's Fraggle Rock. Aside from Henson trying really really hard lately, there hasn't been anything since the animated series except some guest appearance in specials. HBO may have been the only one interested in the franchise, but that premium cable exclusivity kinda hurt the accessibility that Sesame Street and (to a lesser extent, the Muppets) had. Even in reruns, it was exclusively cable. The most accessible thing was the cartoon series. They didn't get a Happy Meal promotion until then. That's hurting their potential now, but Henson is trying very hard. The entire series, including the cartoon is on DVD... the Hub still reruns the series. It just doesn't have much more other than those reruns. Even the comic line seems to have dried up.

    It took me until I was in my 20's to even see the real Fraggle Rock. And quite honestly, it's my personal favorite of the three.
    GopherCoffee and Bliffenstimmers like this.
  5. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Being how a large part of this question is "how did being on HBO affect the popularity of the series during its original run?", keep in mind that especially given that the show was created with an international audience in mind, that's a very USA-centric question. In most countries, the HBO factor wasn't an issue.

    But getting back to the USA, even though not everyone had HBO, back then once or twice a year, there were often Free HBO preview weeks where households would get HBO in their homes (usually on the UHF station) to show what they were missing and encouraging people to buy the station full time. Also, if someone didn't have HBO (or general cable for that matter), they often had friends that did and saw the occasional episode at a friend's house.

    I know FR had a lot of love due to my overhearing conversations and the like back then...but i'm not the best example to use as a barometer because I was in an area that was a bit unique - I grew up in northern Ohio so one of the stations in our television lineup (not even cable mind you, but on channel ten) was CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) so people where I lived could watch FR without having HBO. Still, given the longevity/popularity of FR memorabilia, i'd say people have fond memories of it - enough to have been given a segment on the VH-1 show "I Love the 80s".
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Everything is usually a USA centric view. A movie's considered a flop if it does poorly over here but well overseas. If one of our shows gets popular overseas, we never see or hear much else of it... I heard that Kidd Video did alright here, but they loved it in Israel so much )possibly do to Hiam Saban's involvement), they got the soundtrack (and supposedly concerts) and it quietly disappeared stateside. Then you look at anime that were total flops in Japan that have huge American fanbases. You rarely hear how X show was popular in Europe and South America (i.e. Doraemon... which is essentially televised all over the world but here, Osomatsu-Kun was big in some South American Countries, we got Saint Seyia too late and it didn't make a dent over here, but it was huge all over Europe when they got it when it was relevant).

    As long as the US likes it a lot, it matters. That's a sad statement.

    That HBO premium channel, while it was the only one who bought the show, kept it out of the hands of less well to do Americans, and it hurt its chances of being as huge as it deserves. I'm glad other countries got it on regular TV channels, but the best us poor kids could do is the cartoon series and maybe the VHS tapes. Even in reruns, it was always on cable.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  7. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Right. Sorry I didn't mean for it to sound USA-centered, I sort of forgot it was an international show. I guess I was sort of thinking of people I've meet who remembered the show and me growing up never had a chance of seeing it until the 90s Videos came out. I'm so thankful for the internet now a days because before then, The Muppet playhouse videos that I'd loved renting at Blockbuster was out of print if I tried ordering it in a video store, stuff like that.

    Very Interesting, aside of it being international. There was several ways it can be marketed and known like you mentioned. Someone talking about it and even the merchandise and the 80s videos for people at the time could buy the video if they couldn't see it on TV and even the Free HBO week. I remember having that in my cable and I remember if I seen Fraggle Rock on TV, I would only catch the final 5 minutes or so when it was being reran on Disney Channel.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  8. Beige Fraggle

    Beige Fraggle Active Member

    I distinctly remember Fraggle Rock playing regularly on TNT in the eighties. I even still have the old VHS tapes I recorded back then, complete with commercials that advertise what station it's on. In the early nineties, Fraggle Rock came on the Disney channel every weekday. Oxygen was another channel that played it in more recent years.
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