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Little things we've noticed

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Mary Louise, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    In the SS version of "Mahna Mahna," the bit ends with the two AM girls finishing the song, walking off, Roosevelt Franklin Gone Wrong kind of shrugging it off and walking off into the distance. In the TMS version, it ends with Mahna Mahna leaving the theater during the final refrain, then calling up Kermit so he can give the Snowths one last "Mahna Mahna!" over the phone to their chagrin. In all other versions, the bit ends with Mahna Mahna running in a full sprint toward the camera, knocking the Snowths down in the process, causing them to let out a scream in unison.
  2. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    I always liked seeing Mahna Mahna run into the camera with the Snowth's.

    To be honest, I always got the hunch "Fat Cat" was like the Sesame Street version of that song.
    Froggy Fool likes this.
  3. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    If I'm also not mistaken-

    The Snowth's were only voiced by females in one performance. Every other time is a male Miss Piggy performer.
  4. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    Is it me, or does it sound like Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson are voicing the Snowths? I know that Frank puppeteered the Snowths, but I do hear a bit of Jerry's falsetto vocal style in this song.
  5. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Not sure. . . .

  6. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    I'm not hearing Nelson at all.

    And technically the performances with the NBC logo and blue background are the same performance, one just lip-synched from the other.
  7. Froggy Fool

    Froggy Fool Well-Known Member

    I always thought it was Frank Oz doing both voices, just two different recordings combined.
  8. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    So we've discussed a couple of times in the SS version of this thread that Jerry seemed to be the weakest one of the original core performers when it came to the actual manipulation and performances of the puppets, but I must admit, even Jim himself had occasions where he'd open the mouth for about half the amount of syllables, and this clip is no exception:

  9. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    It seems like The Muppet Movie kinda helped determine what Muppet characters are among the core cast and the order of character importance.

    Obviously, Kermit is the most important, but then Fozzie and Gonzo (and Camilla) are the first two to join him on his trip, and they kinda seem like a trio (those three are definitely a trio in The Great Muppet Caper), even if Camilla's usually not the "fourth member" of the group (but then again, those four are the only ones to sit up front in Fozzie's truck at the beginning of A Muppet Family Christmas. Miss Piggy joins them next, though she's really the second most important (actually I tend to sometimes feel she's second to Kermit and sometimes feel Fozzie is second to Kermit, with Gonzo being fourth place). The other characters they meet don't really join them on their trip until later.

    I think of Rowlf and Scooter as fifth and sixth in terms of order of importance (at least for the rest of Jim Henson's era), but they also seem a little smaller in importance. With Rowlf that's more because Jim was busy with Kermit being the lead, while Scooter's role in The Muppet Movie is slightly smaller than on The Muppet Show, but Muppet Babies would make them both as prominent as well. The Electric Mayhem and Bunsen and Beaker have always been important secondary characters, with Animal being the most popular/marketed of the group, but then again, Animal does have his big scene. Kermit and Fozzie meet the Electric Mayhem first and they end up joining the gang before they meet Bunsen and Beaker, and during the Muppet Show days through Jim Henson's passing, The Electric Mayhem seemed to be a bit more major than Bunsen and Beaker, while after Jim's passing it became the other way around (though it seems they might have been becoming a little more prominent by then, with Beaker's subplot in The Muppets at Walt Disney World and them getting a big scene in Muppet Vision 3D while very little of the Mayhem actually appeared in Muppet Vision 3D). And then there's Sweetums, who I consider one of the "main characters" in the movie though he really only gets three scenes and doesn't even catch up in time for the big crowd scene at the very end. He is the most prominent of the large Muppet monsters (which could be due to him being one of the few with a consistent performer), but with Sweetums it kinda seems like a reverse. After the movie, Sweetums only appeared in a few episodes in the fourth and fifth seasons (and it seems he appeared a little less in season three than previous seasons), and I feel he wasn't used much in the 1980s (being left out of all the Muppet specials except for the 30th anniversary special, only being in the opening scene of GMC and completely absent from MTM, etc.), I feel it's a surprise they found him important enough to train another performer for when Richard Hunt became incapable of wearing the character.

    And also, with the exception of Sweetums and most of The Electric Mayhem, it is the main cast of The Muppet Movie who got to become babies on Muppet Babies (with Bunsen and Beaker, the last ones they met before making it to Hollywood, only appearing every once in a while).

    And even when you look at the characters featured in the screening room scenes, most of the ones who get some kind of dialogue are the ones who continued to be a part of the main cast for years, even if they were significantly minor than the ones with parts in the film. I think of Robin as a major character but with the exception of The Muppet Christmas Carol (and It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie) he never has a really big part and only a little dialogue, though he has been prominent in many specials and is typically major in books and productions aimed at younger audiences (which many of the books are). Statler and Waldorf are as major as usual and get about as much dialogue as they usually do, before and after. Sam gets some lines and he's rarely given a big part in a movie or special (though Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets Most Wanted are notable exceptions;in fact his cameo in The Muppet Christmas Carol probably brings him more dialogue than in the first three movies). The Swedish Chef gets his cameo and he's a well-known character though he often doesn't have a really big part (probably because of how he talks). Lew Zealand gets his dialogue, is a memorable minor character, and has shown up in all of the theatrical movies (and usually gets at least a line in the movies). Crazy Harry kinda get some prominece in these scenes, causing some explosions and being referred to by name but only heard by laughing, but he does have a small part in the movie, where he gets a full line... and yet while his prominence in the movie is the same as everywhere else, it seems his prominence as part of the core cast got smaller around this time. He did show up quite a bit in the first two seasons and then started appearing significantly less over the years. Marvin Suggs is kinda heard in these scenes and his prominence remained the same as well, but he seems like a popular character who didn't appear often, he would kinda be seen as part of the cast in a few '80s specials, and he has kinda been brought back since 2011. Doglion also gets a line and hasn't been that major, but it seems like he was used a bit throughout the 1980s and 1990s, having made more appearances than Sweetums on The Jim Henson Hour and Muppets Tonight.

    And look at the ones who don't speak. Many of them would go on to not have featured parts in the movies and many were absent for much of the 1990s and 2000s. Pigs in Space is one of the most famous segments from The Muppet Show, but Link and Strangepork don't have any featured parts, Strangepork doesn't even appear in the screening room, and Link doesn't get any dialogue, and after The Muppet Show ended both seemed to be under-used in newer productions, though it seems they were starting to bring Link back by the end of the 1980s, giving him (and Strangepork) featured parts in the InteractiVision games, having Link be featured a lot on The Jim Henson Hour (and making him one of the few classic characters to be heavily featured in control room scenes), and had him be part of the gang in The Muppets at Walt Disney World.

    This post is quite lengthy and there's still more I want to say. I'll have to do another post soon.
    ConsummateVs likes this.
  10. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    And now to continue on from my last post,where I said that it seems The Muppet Movie helped determine who the "main cast" is and order of importance and popularity...

    After The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Go to the Movies, it seems like there was a period where they shortened their core cast. Maybe it was a case of the Muppets not having a weekly TV spot and limited performers so they limited the amount of characters in a production, but The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show and Rocky Mountain Holiday both had very limited Muppet casts, not many minor characters (though Rizzo was part of the gang in both), and certain significant major characters were left out (Dr. Teeth seems to have been left out of all the early 1980s specials).

    The Great Muppet Caper's main cast (which I consider all the characters who go out to stop the jewel robbery at the climax plus Miss Piggy) included all of The Muppet Movie's main cast except Sweetums (who was limited to the opening scene) and maybe Camilla (none of the chickens are shown to be her) plus more characters. Some characters who had presence in the screening room scenes, one character who was only in the finale, and a few who were introduced after the movie was released. And then The Muppets Take Manhattan's main cast (whom I consider the intended stars of Manhattan Melodies) is pretty much the main cast of The Muppet Movie but less - everyone but Bunsen, Beaker (who don't get any dialogue), and Sweetums (who doesn't appear at all). There are other characters who have big parts or at least get a good scene (too bad Bunsen and Beaker's big scene was cut), and it's the first Muppet movie to introduce new Muppet characters, but those characters are all separate from the main group (including Rizzo). It's almost like MTM was having a much smaller main cast, like the previous few specials, but still had a big finale with as many characters as possible - the major characters who didn't do anything here, the minor characters,some obscure characters, and of course Sesame Street characters.

    And after that, they kinda seemed to be bringing back a lot of more minor characters. The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years and A Muppet Family Christmas both prominently had large amount of characters featured. The home video projects had significantly less characters, especially in terms of familiar characters (I let the compilation videos slide because we get clips with a lot of characters), but the two InteractiVision videos gave a bit of prominence to a few characters who normally didn't get that kind of prominence, particularly not in small projects.

    Then came The Jim Henson Hour, which brought us a lot of new characters while many classic characters took a backseat. I don't know if I should really use this as an example, but with the Muppets again having a weekly series, they could have showcased more lesser characters more often. Link actually appeared a lot. But the classic main characters was shortened for various reasons (including limited involvement from two of the core performers and Jim's desire to not just do TMS again).

    It seems like during the 1980s, they would often put minor characters we know in productions, keeping a lot of obscure ones somewhat within the core Muppet group, but then in the 1990s, it seems like the obscure characters used were often more likely to be ones we wouldn't have really cared that much for, random puppets, recycled characters, puppets from productions that aren't exactly from "The Muppet Show" family of productions. Of course The Muppet Show did the same thing (but before then there wasn't a real established grouping of who The Muppets are, and there hadn't been many regular Muppet shows before), but then by the 1990s Henson would do more shows with new characters and characters from many of those (which Henson retains the rights to) would show up in the Muppet movies, specials, Muppets Tonight, and so on, more often than bringing in background appearances by characters like The Newsman, Pops, Crazy Harry, Marvin Suggs, Droop, and others (and I know some of these did show up in the 1990s, just not that often). If certain obscure classic characters were included in a scene on Muppets Tonight, it kinda felt more like they were just using a puppet that was handy as opposed to "hey, remember this character? He's being used here!" (and maybe that was the case for many minor character appearances on TMS). Around the time of The Muppet Show's 25th anniversary (if not the time between Muppets Tonight's cancellation and Muppets from Space) it seems the company became more aware of the fanbase and started to use more of the kinds of obscure characters we would have really rather seen. Can't really determine if Disney/Muppet Studios had this mindset when they purchased the characters, but by the time of production on 2011's The Muppets, it's clear they've been giving us the characters we want, bringing us more long-unseen minor characters, some of whom were rebuilt and some of whom were actually the original puppets (since then it has been more common to see minor puppets created around 1996, and I have been surprised to learn that certain puppets being used recently/currently were around for a long time).

    Going back to how The Muppet Movie seemed to establish who the main characters and order of importance is, I guess it might help that The Muppet Movie seems to be the most popular of the original Jim Henson trilogy with casual fans (though I feel The Muppets Take Manhattan is most popular, title-wise). Who knows if character popularity/prominence would have been different if the movie had, say, Sweetums not get left behind, Bunsen and Beaker introduced sooner, Gonzo introduced later, or maybe even if it showed how Kermit met characters like Lew Zealand, Gladys, or Thog.

    And on a similar note, it also seems like the first Sesame Street movie, Follow That Bird, might have helped determine the main Muppet cast of that, though Sesame Street had been around for a much longer time before getting its first movie while The Muppet Show was only on the air for three years before the Muppets got their own movie. But pretty much all of the Muppets with big featured parts in the film have remained part of the main cast. Yeah, some characters may have had periods where they might not have been seen as much on the show but still seemed main (like Ernie, Bert, The Count, even Big Bird, while Telly seems to be around a lot less now), and I'm not sure what to say about Barkley or the Honkers (it seems they show up from time to time, though it's debatable on how major Barkley is in the movie). There's a lot of characters who were major at the time who didn't get much to do in the movie, and many of them either don't appear anymore (and have barely been used for the last decades) or have gone through periods of not being used (seems Prairie Dawn has gone through periods where she's used a lot and then barely used at all, while Herry has recently been recast after a long period of barely being around).
    ConsummateVs likes this.
  11. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    In The Muppet Movie, when entering the El Sleezo Cafe, Kermit says it doesn't look promising but he has to eat. So is that the only restaurant in this town (or the first place to eat that Kermit's seen for a while since traveling)? Surely there'd be better places nearby (or he could find a fly somewhere...). In fact we never actually see Kermit eat food, though we could say he had a meal that we didn't see (maybe he got to eat in the time between the Madeline Kahn/Telly Savalas scene and when the piano player started to introduce Fozzie, I think that's the only time cut there could have been).

    I wonder if that location is just a bad, rough place to hang out or if that whole town in general is a bad town or neighborhood. It still seems somewhat rough when Kermit and Fozzie leave and meet Doc Hopper, but that could be because it's night (and that Hopper becomes the bad guy).
  12. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    In "Barnyard Boogie," the Electric Mayhem aren't dressed in their hippie clothing. They've got more formal outfits, and I think this is the only time they all did this together. However, Floyd and Zoot kept these clothes for The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan.

    Also, in the "Barnyard" video I noticed that Lips' fingers moved while playing the trumpet! I wonder how the puppet builder made the puppet, and how Steve operated it in order for that to happen?

    Also, after multiple listenings, this is now in my top 3 EM songs. The others are "Don't Blame the Dynamite" and of course "Can You Picture That?"
    LipsGF4Life likes this.
  13. DrVanneuter20

    DrVanneuter20 Member

    I think Dr. Van Neuter is HOT!! Js :skeptical::electric:
  14. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    O my.
  15. DrVanneuter20

    DrVanneuter20 Member

    What does that mean?? I <3 Dr PVN!!! Want him back on TV sooo badly!!
  16. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    It seems there have been times when characters have been shown talking, but we don't really hear them talking (or can barely hear them). I wonder what went on.

    During the end credits for The Muppets' Valentine Show, it looks like Rowlf is talking to Mia Farrow (we don't see his face when it looks like he's talking, but his body is moving as if he is), but we don't really hear him. Of course Jim Henson was performing Ernie in the scene, makes me wonder if he was going to do the voice live and forgot (or the microphone went out) while the performer operating him still moved him like he was talking (maybe, if it's a case of the microphone being faulty, he heard him from behind). Or maybe Henson was planning to dub some dialogue and the performer had Rowlf "mouth" dialogue that wasn't being heard.

    At the end of the Paul Williams episode of The Muppet Show, when Sweetums and Thog appear, Thog moves his mouth like he's talking, but you can't really hear him. Though when the credits start to roll, I kinda hear his voice but can't hear what he's saying. Maybe the microphone wasn't working.

    And in an episode of Sesame Street from the thirteenth season (I forget the episode number), in which David's grandmother sets up a vegetable stand on the street, there's a couple times when Bruno is talking to Oscar, but his voice is barely audible. It happens when there is a lot of noise going on, so I wonder if maybe it was being drowned out, though everyone else who talks can clearly be heard over the noise. I asked one of the Muppet Wiki contributors with a copy of the script about this, if the script says Bruno was supposed to not be heard talking, seems the script didn't call for his dialogue to be inaudible and that the script had him say "uh huh" (it looks like he's saying more, I kinda feel he's saying something like "I know, Oscar", though the script probably didn't account for adlibbing). I'd like to add this to the Bruno the Trashman page as an example of rare times he's talked but I'm not sure if I should.

    I figured that the reason Bruno was usually silent was because Caroll Spinney had his hands busy with Oscar, but he's clearly moving his mouth a lot there. I don't know if the original plan was for him to be voice-less, but this was a year or two after he had brief dialogue in Here Comes the Puppets. Oscar's voice was heard just fine, so it's not like Spinney's microphone just wasn't working (and if by chance the sound was just dipping in and out, what are the odds that it'd be working for all of Oscar's dialogue while going out for both times Bruno was supposed to talk?).

    Though one possibility hit my mind today. In most instances of Bruno talking, he just gets two syllables ("Put It in the Trash Can" is an exception, with him scatting and getting a full line, though the full line is off-screen). I wonder if it was hard to get the characters lip sync right, even in rare cases where his hands weren't busy with Oscar. And that scene shows him moving his mouth quite a bit (though the script gave him two-syllable dialogue). Could his voice being drowned out by noise (if that is the case, though the script doesn't seem to indicate it) have been a way to avoid poor lip sync? After all, if you don't really hear what he's saying, then how do you know the lip-sync is bad?
  17. snichols1973

    snichols1973 Well-Known Member

    Some trivia tidbits to "probosculate upon": :D

    According to Dr. Teeth's "Trivia" section on the Muppet Wiki website, his look was inspired by jazz keyboardist Dr. John. Michael Frith's revised version of Jim Henson's sketch includes the heading "Leon 'Doctor' Eltonjohn Dontshoot (the Piano Player)", with his design being inspired by Leon Russell and Elton John, the latter of whom released an album titled "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player", and he gets his name because he's never had a cavity. :D

  18. snichols1973

    snichols1973 Well-Known Member

    Halfway through "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" (and when Gonzo and the other chickens break into the barn), containers of Kentucky Fried Chicken can be seen on the table:

  19. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    In the Raquel Welch episode from TMS season 3, there were two songs that Diana Ross originally performed: "Baby It's Me" and "Confide in Me." One season later, Diana Ross herself was a guest star on TMS (and a very memorable one at that!). Any other instances of this?
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I think I pointed this out elsewhere, but in Seinfeld Babies? Baby Elaine didn't do anything.

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