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Muppet Classic Theater Revisited

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Princeton, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Princeton

    Princeton Well-Known Member

    So, I just got done watching Muppet Classic Theater for the first time in about fifteen years; here were my thoughts as I was watching.

    -This must be one of the first projects where Gonzo wore that horrid plaid blazer. Has he worn that beyond the 90's?

    -Ah, Gonzo and Rizzo as a team! Easily the best aspect of the 90's-era Muppets.

    -What kind of an accent is Jerry going for with the Wolf?

    -Re: Show Me Some Respect: Funk music in a Muppet film? Wonder if we'll see that again.

    -Maybe it's my lack of sleep talking, but chocolate kisses on a pizza sounds mighty good..

    -Could King Midas be perhaps the first time Piggy has gone brunette?

    -"The Midas Touch" has key changes that Stephen Sondheim wishes he was capable of.

    -"Thank you, International Press!"

    -"And we have it in stock!" "In avacado green?!"

    -"You oughta do something; we pay our taxes!"

    -Boy, Gonzo's sheep are real jerks!

    -"I thought the story could use an increase in dramatic tension about now."

    -I love Gonzo yelling "Wolf!" to the camera.

    -"Who Do You Think You're Foolin'" has a Jerry Herman feel to the melody.

    -I'm not sure who performs the Blue Female Villager, but man, does she steal the show!

    -"A little predator humor."

    -"Clear the echo!"

    -The Loyal Royal Advisor is all levels of awesome.

    -"Great Bales of Moola in the Morning!"

    -"I can't stand to see a pig grovel."

    -When I was little, I absolutely loved the little weasel in the front during "Gotta Get That Name".

    -"Camp Weirdo, every July and August. Good at crafts, lousy at sports."

    -"Now sir, have we ever met before?" "Well sure, you're dating my sister!"

    -They sure loved to put wigs on Fozzie in the 90's!

    -Only a Muppet song would include the word "naugahyde".

    -Here's a rare appearence by Robin before his mysterious obsession with The Roots.

    What do you guys think of this great video?
    KermieBaby47 likes this.
  2. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking about this special recently (though I haven't watched it in five years). The voice Jerry Nelson used for the wolf sounds like Herry Monster to me (and Mr. Johnson's voice currently seems to sound that way as well). Never thought of it as any kind of accent.

    Noticed during The Emperors New Clothes, Rizzo had a rat pose as hair for a bald man who thought his baldness was cured. So the rat was really going to just sit on top of somebody's head just for one serving of cheese a day? I remember back when I first saw that and the man says "Hey! I'm BALD! Arrest that rat!", I thought he meant arrest the rat who pretended to be his new hair.

    This special had a shortage of familiar characters. I asked Jim Lewis (in the Ask Jim Lewis thread) about the lack of known characters and he said that they wanted to just include a few known characters and give supporting roles to generic/new puppets, in part because of the deaths of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt but I think he also said it was because it was a made-for-video production (but is being direct-to-video really a good excuse to leave out familiar characters? Though it seems most made-for-video Muppet productions only have a few familiar characters).

    There's quite a few instances where known characters could have been used. The regular Muppet orchestra should have been used instead of a penguin orchestra (I wonder if the Nigel puppet was still in usable condition at the time). The dog character in The Emperors New Clothes (what was his job, anyway? Cop? Assistant to the emperor?) could have been Sam the Eagle, being a bit over-protective. Notice how emperor Fozzie is never shown asking for Rizzo and his friends to be arrested. But I guess Sam didn't get that role because he had to work with another Frank Oz character.

    There's so many ways classic characters could have been used. When I first heard of the project and what stories would be retold, I was expecting Link Hogthrob (unaware that they were pick-and-choosey about recasting Jim's characters at the time) and Dr. Strangepork to be the other two little pigs (Strangepork could have been Papa Pig). The bald guy in The Emperors New Clothes kinda resembles and talks like Lew Zealand; If not for the fact that he had to be bald Lew could have had that role (Bunsen could have had that role, though I don't think he'd be mad over being scammed like that, even though it would have been a role). Bunsen, Beaker, Beauregard. and Pops would have made good associates for the emperor. Lew Zealand could have asked King Midas to turn his fish into gold.

    It's interesting that in The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Gonzo never actually lied, he just overreacted (which Kermit acknowledged as a problem). But the wolf later says that he's cried wolf too many times (and he was never shown crying wolf before), and the others ask him who he thinks he's fooling, as if he was trying to fool them (which he wasn't). It is funny when one of the sheep says that Gonzo learned his lesson, because the sheep are the ones responsible for Gonzo's overreacting.
    KermieBaby47 likes this.
  3. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    I've always liked this video. I'm just sad that it's STILL not on DVD as of yet... it's been several years since I've owned a VCR, lol.

    I always loved Andy and Randy's idiocy, I just wish that worked better for them, ha ha (as I know a lot of fans can't stand them). The cartooney sets they used for these stories were alright, but I remember missing the "Muppet Show" built-style sets, and thinking that was odd (while understanding the cost issue at the same time, but still!)

    This dtv special was released when MCC first came to video, is that right? I remember being unaccepty of Steve's Kermit at the time (as everyone was pretty much), while at the same time appreciating that Kermit was still around, even though it was weird. I think that hindered the popularity this release could have garnered, and that Muppet Classic Theater would be much more well-received if re-released nowadays. Disney could make quite the tidy little sum if they added this to their release schedule SOON, along with a few of our favorite other Muppet specials too of course. ;)
  4. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I remember when I first heard of this production, it was in a small catelogue-like book that came with the Return to Jafar VHS, and a cover image wasn't included (it was promoted on the back cover, showing an image of Kermit and Piggy in royal clothing). I can't remember if it listed the stories that would be included or not, but when I first knew of this, I thought it would be an anthology series of VHS tapes, one story per tape. I wonder if that would have been satysfiable.

    And for some reason, I expected the stories to be introduced Masterpiece Theater-style by the blue Big Bad Wolf from Sesame Street. I don't know why. That would have been more unusual than Gonzo and Rizzo hosting instead of Kermit.

    With the exception of The Three Little Pigs, I don't think I knew of ANY of the stories included here before. I'd heard of the title "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", and I may have seen Fractured Fairy Tales spoofs of these and forgotten about them by the time I saw this, but still most of the stories were rather fresh to me (despite what Rizzo says at the beginning about "(buying) a new tape and getting stories you've already heard".

    I agree, this does need to get released on DVD, though I don't think I'd want it to be a bonus feature on TMS Season 4 or 5.
  5. panmanthe2nd

    panmanthe2nd Well-Known Member

    At least it was released as bonus features on The Very Best of the Muppet Show: Volume 2 and The Very Best of the Muppet Show: Volume 3 DVDs.
  6. Princeton

    Princeton Well-Known Member

    That's certainly true of his appearance in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", but I was referring to the voice used in "The Three Little Pigs"; it's almost an amalgam of Lew Zealand and Featherstone.

    And getting back to the 'anthology' issue, at the very end of the video Gonzo says "See you next time!". So that almost makes me think that there were other video releases similar to MCT in the works.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Tried it before... it isn't quite as good as you'd think it is. Now, if you use a mole sauce (a savory sauce that includes chocolate as an ingredient), I'm sure the result could be quite tasty.

    One time I tried malted Milkballs on a Pizza... that was an icky disappointment.
  8. blackaerin

    blackaerin Well-Known Member

    Ye gads, this (not counting Muppet Babies) was probably my first ever exposure to Muppets. This or Muppet Treasure Island.
    I remember that almost all the songs were catchy as heck and almost all the stories were hilariously solid (with the exception of Emperor's New Clothes, which I can't seem to remember too well what happened.)
    "Who Do You Think You're Fooling" probably wins best song with "Show Me Some Respect" and "Gotta Get That Name" at a tie for second catchiest.
    KermieBaby47 likes this.
  9. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Thank you for posting this! I didn't even know it existed...watching right now on YouBloob...

  10. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I'm watching the video right now, and one thing I noticed that seems odd: At the very beginning, when Gonzo introduces The Three Little Pigs, Rizzo seems to make a reaction, but shortly afterward when Gonzo starts narrarating, Rizzo says "Oh, you mean the three little pigs..." So did Rizzo quickly forget that The Three Little Pigs was the first story or did he maybe mishear it as bears or goats?

    I know Kermit was just playing a role, but it seems odd that he, as King Midas, would have death be the punishment for sleeping on royal roses (though he does casually acknowledge that the punishment is harsh).

    Between the two stories with the wolf, he doesn't sound too different to me. But still I wonder why Jerry Nelson used two different voices for the character in the same production.

    All these years I've thought of it taking place at the Muppet Theater, but I wonder if that really is the theater. We don't see the backstage, just the technical area which I guess is in the wings (or backstage left). The auditorium looks a lot different from what was on the show, no red at all (not even red curtains, though there have been times when other colored curtains were shown). Maybe they repainted the place since the show ended.

    In The Boy Who Cried Wolf, after it looks like the wolf will get to eat the sheep, it's funny how one of the sheep says "looks like the sheppard learned his lesson", since his overreacting is really the fault of the sheep.
  11. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I've noticed that in the video, the Elvises look blueish-green (actually I see green more than blue), but on the back cover they are clearly blue.
  12. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Just watched the video, and noticed at the beginning that Gonzo says "Welcome to the Muppet Theater!"

    I wonder if they didn't want to rebuild the backstage (assuming the original is no longer in good condition), which would explain why we only see a technical area near the stage. It's a shame they didn't rebuild the auditorium and curtains to resemble the Muppet Theater auditorium.

    Noticed in The Boy Who Cried Wolf that although Gonzo does overreact, the townspeople seem to overreact to Gonzo's announcements, it sort of seems they overreact worse. And telling them that a wolf is after his sheep doesn't seem as far-fetched as many of the incorrect stuff they say Gonzo overreacted to in the song "Who Do You Think You're Fooling?" (the earthquake and tidal wave don't seem that far-fetched, either... If only they really felt an earthquake or if the town was near an ocean).

    The wolf tells Gonzo he'd been watching him cry wolf so many times, but what makes him so sure they all wouldn't believe him this time? Did he watch the townspeople have a meeting about it? Did he see mayor Kermit tell them not to believe what the sheppard said? Kermit seems to be the only one not "fooled" by Kermit, though one line he sings in the song is "You had us running from a hundred-foot cow", implying that he did believe that. Somehow I feel like when Gonzo told them about the wolf, some if not all of the townspeople should have started to believe Gonzo only for Kermit to point out how wrong Gonzo's always been.

    All these years, whent eh wolf told Gonzo he'd give him 24 hours to get some help, I always thought that meant he'd give him some help for 24 hours, as opposed to letting him try to get help from the townspeople (though the wolf DOES help him, posing for a painting and a picture).

    Watching Rumplestilskin again, I noticed that after a potential princess gets rejected by the advisor, an alligator follows and make some kind of grunting noise, it sounded like a Frank Oz voice to me. Not too sure if it actually was, but it's cool to think that maybe Frank performed, even if briefly, a character who wasn't one of his classic characters.

    In King Midas, the royal jewler offers "Three-fifty for the whole frog!" Is he saying three dollars and fifty cents or three hundred and fifty dollars?

    And all this time I thought the Royal Jester was the Royal Chef. Hey, he does wear chef clothing. I wonder why I'd always misheard it all these years.
  13. rexcrk

    rexcrk Well-Known Member

    This was one of the few Muppet tapes I had when I was growing up (that along with one of the sing-along tapes and Muppet Christmas Carol.... honestly I don't know why my parents never bought more Muppet movies on tape or how I even became such a huge Muppet nut with such little material to work with lol) and I want to watch it again now lol. Especially now that I've got a DVD recorder, I want to copy it to DVD.
  14. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    Have a tape, I found it in a thrift store, but I didn't really know what it was, but I got it anyway. I think it's an okay/good video, I mean I've only watched it twicem in the nearly 1 year time-span that I've owned it, so I'm not too fond of it, it's decent, but I wish there were more central muppets in it. I think one thing they should've done was incorporate a few backstage scenes, not too long, but to set a "behind the scenes TMS" feel, I mean all there was besides the actual show was the beginning, and Gonzo and Rizzo briefly in between, but overal I'd give it a 7.2/10.
  15. fozzieisfunny

    fozzieisfunny Well-Known Member

    Muppet Classic Theater, Muppet Babies, The Muppet Show Seasons 4 and 5, and Studio DC all need to be released on DVD!! ( Wait, did I really just say that about Studio DC: Almost Live? I hate that!!!)
  16. WalterFan1234

    WalterFan1234 Well-Known Member

    I love this special. It made my childhood, and it was my first exposure to the muppets so it's super special to me.
    panmanthe2nd and rexcrk like this.
  17. Princeton

    Princeton Well-Known Member

    I think the reason why there weren't that many original Muppets was because this was a pilot for Muppets Tonight in very many ways so the main priority was to try new characters to see how they worked and also to audition new performers to see what their strengths were.
    cahuenga likes this.
  18. WalterFan1234

    WalterFan1234 Well-Known Member

    Good thinking. I bet that's what's up

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