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I love "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas"!

Discussion in 'Family Worlds' started by Janice & Mokey's Man, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. Really!

    I do!


    I tried it once when I was like 18 or 19, and just couldn't get into it. I turned it off and haven't gone back since. I think it was just different than what I expected it to be. But, one of my dear friends recently sent me a DVD of "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" and I watched it Saturday night, and I am proud to say I am just SO in love with this special! I can't wait to watch it again!

    All those li'l river critters are so darn cute, especially wee li'l Emmet. How can you not love this guy?? He's my favorite character, and usually it's a supporting character who's my favorite, not a lead. His ma was awful sweet too (and I thought it was funny that he sleeps in overalls and a shirt, lol).

    That Riverbottom Gang was rotten-yet-entertaining, and the fish did crack me up ("water seat" in the car? The spits? LOL!).

    Speakin' of dads, this dang special almost made me cry. Emmet: "I've never given Ma a nice Christmas present before...Pa either. Of course...now it's too late". Ack! Be strong, blink away the moisture!

    I really liked the songs. "Ain't no hole in the washtuuuuuuub!", "brotherrrrrrrs!" LOL! The barbecue song and Alice's contest song were good too, and now "When the River Meets the Sea" has a new and more special meaning now that I've seen the source.

    I loved all the puppetry too. From the amusing use of marionette strings from some distant shots as the characters walk, to the ingenius use of their cute li'l furry paws (I especially loved the scenes cutting between Emmet cutting the branch, fixing the fence, and Alice washing on the washboard and sewing...and Emmet dropping firewood logs by the stove, lol).

    I don't care how far somebody travels, you shouldn't allow a last minute entry. But in the end it didn't matter...our heroes got better things. :)

    I am so glad I gave this another chance. I tried it approximately 8 or 9 years ago when someone sent me a copy, but I found it slow, boring, and uninteresting, and turned it off not very far into it at all. You know what? ("What?") I think I was expecting it to be more Muppety in the vein of "A Muppet Family Christmas" instead of, say, "The Muppet Musicians of Bremen". But it's a very different sort of Muppet production from MFC, much more like MMoB. But they're all wonderful.

    I am glad to say that this special will now be an annual viewing for me---at least once each Christmas season. I'm sorry I've missed out on it for nearly a decade due to a false impression, but better late than never!

    Long live "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas"!


    Long live!

  2. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Glad you've "arrived" Byron. Emmet Otter is a wonderful special. We appreciate it more and more as the years go by.

    Merry Christmas.
  3. It sure is, Phil. I'm just sorry I've missed out on it for nearly a decade all because of a false impression/wrong expectations.

    By the by, does anyone know why in outtakes from it, Frank is performing Alice? Did he actually puppeteer her and then the lady recorded her voice to his puppetry, or was he just a stand in for some rehearsals, or what?
  4. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Well-Known Member

    Yes he did the puppeteering and the lady who at the moment can't think of her name record the voice after the puppteering was done. Yo Bryon just to ask you something. "Did you know the original had Kermit at the opening and some what at the end of the speical too?" Just wondering if you did.
  5. superboober

    superboober Member

    I think it was more of a last minute decision to let Marilyn Sokol voice Alice.

    This was one of the most defining Muppet specials for me when I was young. I would try and catch every single HBO airing each year (so when it was back-to-back with The Bells of Fraggle Rock, which I think happened at least once, I was really in bliss). You just know from that first shot of Kermit riding into frame that it was going to be something very special, and the entire crew delivered in strong fashion (still, I have to wonder if Russell Hoban's ever seen a cent from it). There's just something innately charming about such a minature community that still holds true today; it still seems so incredibly real. The puppetry remains nothing short of phenomenal, with my very favorite shot being the Riverbottom Gang on the snowmobiles, and there seems to be no way anyone can be operating them (was it remote control?). And oh the music; is it any wonder Paul Williams's services were retained just 2 years later when Henson wanted to move on to bigger things? From the sheer energy of Ain't No Hole in the Washtub to the soft tenderness of Where the River Meets the Sea (I was delighted to later find it on the Christmas Together album) to the hard rock of Riverbottom Nightmare Band (a well-staged scene; I loved the way the multi-colored lights behind the villains would flash from color to color and glow like stars), it makes you just want to sing along with every single one. Add to all this one of Jerry Juhl's very best scripts that seamlessly mixes sentiment (tell me you don't well up a little during the first singing of WtRMtS when Alice puts Emmet to bed) with hystericality (I still die laughing to this day at the botched "Carrots the Dancing Horse" act; was that in the book?), and it's no surpise at all why it's held in such high regard by so many. Here's to hoping some network runs it again as close as possible to the full and complete version sometimes in the future (one thing I've been wondering for a while, if anyone knows, when was the last year HBO ran it--the last one year I remember for sure was 1990, just before we lost our subscription to it--and how long the Nickelodeon run lasted? (the last time I saw it before I got a 2001 edition VHS tape this March was in 1994) If anyone has a taped version with bumpers from these and any other networks that carried it, they might be worth adding to YouTube when possible).

    And while we're on this topic, who's everyone's favorite character(s)? For me it's a tie between Wendell ("Have you got mashed potatoes?") and the Snake ("GET OFF MY SHOULDER!!!!!" "Uh, sure Chuck! Some guys should be glad they've got shoulders!"). Yours?
  6. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Well-Known Member

    I loved Wendell. He made me feel all gooshy inside. (that is if that's even a word) The River Bottom NightMares I liked Weasel dude too. Pretty cool speical and can't get enough of it. Have to watch it every year. You know I might as well go watch it right.....*runs off computer into room*
  7. anytimepally

    anytimepally Active Member

    Jerry Nelson mentions in the "Two Ma Otters" segment of the documentary that the songs were pre-recorded and her dialouge was recorded later
  8. Barry Lee

    Barry Lee Active Member

    When I was little, I watched this special, I feel asleep, but now I really enjoy everything about it. Its a masterpeice, thats kind of forgotten but it should be worthy of more fame. Everything about this special is top notch. The songs, characters, Wendel (awww), the puppetry, the design, Kermit, just everything. ((It make me feel mushy gushy inside))
  9. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Well-Known Member

    Well I watched it last night and fell asleep but with me going to bed while I was watching that figures. But I just can't get enough of it when I watch it.
  10. I see that, but I mean, why was this so? Was Marilyn a puppeteer and couldn't make the tapings, so Frank puppeteered Alice for her and Marilyn recorded her lines later, or was Marilyn just a voice actress with no puppeteering experience but they wanted her voice so they got Frank to puppeteer Alice knowing that they would have Marilyn to do the voice, or what? :confused:

    And yes, I dig Kermit's appearances and narrations. :)
  11. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Well-Known Member

    I really don't know. I don't watch everything all the time. (Sorry didn't want to seem like I know everything which I don't)
  12. anytimepally

    anytimepally Active Member

    she puppeteered for The Great Santa Claus Switch, but after that she was just a voice actress.. she talks about how bad she was at lip-synching her puppet in the documentary
  13. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    I discovered this special last year. When I was younger I found it kind of boring, but I absolutely fell in love with it. It's so spiritual! So even though there are no christmas carols, it's got the christmas spirit.

    Plus the DVD is SUCH a huge deal! I got it for 6$ Canadian at my wal-mart last year. :D I looove low prices. So I'm lucky because for a special with such good dvd treatment, it has an amazing price.
  14. Ah, so it was all arranged before-hand knowing Frank would puppeteer, and Marilyn would voice. Thanks. :)
  15. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I also saw it years ago, but thought it was a bit too adult. It went over my head. But seeing it now, I think it's amazing. The music and message is moving. Sometimes you have to take risks in life. And the best one of all:

    "Patience, my brothers, and patience, my sons, in that sweet and final hour, truth and justice will be done."
  16. LOL, that was great!

    I loved Wendell too...he's so dim and loveable, just like Goelz's future Beauregard. "Fifty cents, fifty cents...what's half of fifty cents?" Teehee! :D
  17. Banthaholic

    Banthaholic New Member

    I remember this one as a child, a few years back when it came out on dvd it was a must have. I saw this last night and was singing brothers all day today.
  18. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

  19. superboober

    superboober Member

    Unfortunately not; that's the current edition without Kermit at all.
  20. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Bah. No kermit? Bah.

    humbug even.

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