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Save the Muppets

Discussion in 'On the Web' started by Daylight, Sep 1, 2005.

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  1. a_Mickey_Muppet

    a_Mickey_Muppet Well-Known Member

    Thank ya mam!

  2. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie New Member

    Wow! There's the whole problem with this thread and this campaign. This totally pessimistic view of everything.

    Therein lies another myth... You don't represent MY views. Or, judging by this thread, the views of a lot of other people.

    You have every right to have a petition and send it to whoever you want, but don't pretend to speak for the entire fan base. You don't.

  3. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    I was responding to the view that everyone should sit back and do nothing because everything will turn out fine. If the fans just sit back and do nothing then they won't have any comeback if any kind of alternate scenario did happen. That's just my view to one comment, nothing to do with any campaign. It may be pessimistic, it may be looking at both sides of things rather than having a blinkered view that just because it's someone like Disney it can only turn out great.

    From what i've seen nobody is claiming to represent your views, there is no myth. People will always have dissenting views. I was trying to say that if there is a strong feeling on something amongst the fans, grouping together will maybe help to get noticed. If something like Save The Muppets has over 600 signatures on a petition then i think it's safe to assume there is a strong feeling amongst a large group of fans about this and they have every right to express those views. It was being said they're making a mountain out of a molehill.
  4. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie New Member

    Thank you, Luke. That was the nicest and most well reasoned response I've read on this topic.

  5. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo New Member

    I've seen all over the net that whenever people talk about SaveTheMuppets their is a group of people who toss arguments in the mix like "That new Statler was good. In fact I liked it more than Steve's", or "That Sam was closer to Frank's than Eric's Sam"... Alright, Disney might have gotten lucky and gotten someone you prefer (someone closer to the original performer). That still does not justify having two Statlers on the books, or having cast that person as Sam in the first place. I also wonder how people react with a secondary non-already-recast character (such Gonzo, Rizzo, Pepe, or Clifford) appear... because how can it be any closer to the original than the true original? Even Kermit, Piggy, and Fozzie (who have been recast) have been accepted by the viewers as the standard for the characters.

    Now whether it is Steve and Dave playing Statler and Waldorf, or it is Victor and Drew, or it is two other guys – it doesn’t matter here. That's a different issue. Management of character casting and character recasts is a different issue – for anther discussion. SaveTheMuppets is about wanting to keep just one performer per character (like how currently Steve is Kermit, and Dave is Gonzo, and hopefully until they retire - or die - no one else will publicly try to pass off an impersonation of them). Debating over which Statler is better is one thing and fine to do (if you want), but it not relevant to this argument and the principle of this campaign. The campaign is about keeping one Statler. If that one Stater should be Steve or if it should someone else is a totally different issue for a totally different debate. The issue of SaveTheMuppets is to fight for one performer per character (something that current Disney does not agree with). That way the performer (whoever it is) and the character can grow, be consistent, have a real personality, and have a soul - not just be an approximation of a past performance. I want to see real good characters rather than just a good (or just adequate) character impersonator.

    To debate the quality of the secondary performers is not important, because SaveTheMuppets is against having secondary performers (weather or not they are indistinguishable, or better, from the “real” performers or are just plain horrible). If someone is better for a character, than Disney should work to give them that character. Disney should not have a character spit between multiple performers (thus reducing it to a contemptible character impersonation).

    SaveTheMuppets is not against new people performing classic characters – we are against multiple people performing classic characters. One Muppet; One Voice!
  6. LadyVader

    LadyVader New Member

    I got this off the Jim Henson Web site tis to the MHC The phone number for their corporate headquarters is 818.560-1000 just ask for Muppst holding Company.
  7. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Just out of curiosity: I don't see any arguments for the performers of Sesame Street at all. It's all about The Muppets, and keep in mind that Sesame Street was there looking, too. Does "Save the Muppets" only care about The Muppets, or is this the point where "Muppets" as a name segregates what we know as "Muppets" and now no longer constitutes the definition of the Sesame Street puppet characters for sure? Just wonderin'.
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    This is scarey, yet not totally clear. Do they intend to actually recast EVERYONE for EVERYTHING, or just for crappy little live events. Not saying it's great for either, but if it's the latter, I'd feel a little better.
  9. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround New Member

    Excellent point. While I am not totally against the save the puppeteer campaign, (which is what it really is) I do wish that those that support it would question why Sesame Workshop has been intentionally left off the contact list of people to complain to since Sesame was there also looking to hire Ocassional Muppeteers.

    It seems more like a personal grudge only against MHC and no mention of Sesame Workshop. Something's not right there you supporters.

    You can't have your save the puppeteer campaign and be excluding part of the problem... but you are.
  10. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround New Member

    The truth is no one has been recast nor will they be from these current auditions. That's not what it's about.

    Victor Yerrid and Drew Massey who are performing Statler and Waldorf on movies.com where hired for those roles prior to the recent auditions.

    Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz did not want to sign with movies.com, so Yerrid and Massey where hired for the time being.

    In a nutshell, what the Muppet Holding Company and Sesame Street wants to do is find additional puppeteers to perform established Muppet characters in small public venues. Such as working on a cruise ship, performing on local TV and doing photo shoots.

    National events belong to the established muppeteer.

    However we have been told that if an Occasional Puppeteer shows the right stuff, he could someday be elevated to work with the prime-time Muppet puppeteers.

    However... Sesame Street by them looking for Occasional Puppeteers will be more likely to have the Occasional Puppeteer fill in for the roles of Bert, Ernie and Grover and a few other puppets, when their original performer is contracted with another performance elsewhere which would be rare if ever.

    The save the muppets campaign is not about saving the muppets. The Muppets are not going anywhere...they are fine.

    The campaign's message as they put it is "One Muppet, One Voice". Meaning one puppeteer solely assigned to his character. I have no problem with that. I do object to anyone trying to dictate to the MHC and Sesame Workshop how their righful property should be managed without the fans first seeing the final results of what they planning.

    I do believe in letting the MHC and Sesame Workshop do their best to expand the stalled Muppet empire and see what wonders can evolve over time.

    Then once we have seen the actual results of MHC and Sesame Workshop from these auditions, we as a unified group can complain or praise the results.
  11. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo New Member

    I don't care how or when the person was hired, what I care about is the fact that their are two people tying to give one character a soul at once. If both Kevin Clash and Eric Jacobson flip-flopped back and forth as the principle performer of Sam Eagle just based on convenience, I would be upset. Not that one is better than the other, but that this type of non-permanent and non-consistent performer assignment caused character damage in the long run. When Sam switches hands, it may take a production (or two) for him to re-find himself, but with out a permanent player he is doomed to be nothing more than a Frank Oz impression – forever. I don’t want that. I don’t care if these people are long time Muppeteers, or recently auditioned puppeteers – I want one Muppet, one voice.

    Movies.com, which is internationally shown on the world-wide web (and clips on TV too), has not been following the ideal of one Muppet, one voice. This national event has been passing fake Muppets off for weeks now. If Dave and Steve aren't going to do the show (for what ever reason), it is like Kermit and Gonzo (or Statler and Waldorf, or Bunsen and Beaker, or Rizzo and Gonzo…) aren't going to do the show. Unless someone new is behind Kermit and Gonzo, Disney should get Steve and Dave. They should not just send in fakes because Steve and Dave aren't available. I don't want there to be three Gonzos - I want one.

    I'm not so sure about that. If fake Muppets pop-up everywhere the brand will be weakened. The Muppets will not be a puppet group of first entertainers and performers, they will become a group of Disney's novelty puppet characters. If that happens no one will care about Kermit and the rest of the gang. You can pump out as many t-shirts, snow-globes, and TV appearances as you like, but if the soul of the characters is gone, who will care? The Muppets will be dead, stale, boring, and washed up.

    Have you been watching Statler and Waldorf on Movies.com? Results of what we are fighting. We are not against the auditions that took place (I think they were great! Getting new puppeteers into the mix is great - understudies are great - new characters are great - new assistances are great.). We are against multiple performers for a single character - One Muppet, One Voice. I don't want five Kermits (like Disney is planing), I want one Kermit (one at a time)!

    This is not a “save the puppeteer campaign”. I don’t want to sound mean (and sorry if I sound rude here) but I could care less if Steve Whitmire was still employed as the puppeteer behind Statler. (Alright I care a little, but the principle I’m fighting is not “Keep Steve employed”). I am fighting for Statler. I don’t want 3 Statlers, I don’t want Statler impersonators, I want Statler himself – 100% of the time (not just for the big stuff, not just when it is convenient, not just when the budget says so – when I see Statler I want it to be Statler). If Statler is played by Steve fine, if someone “better” is out there have him do it, don’t get someone based on convince. I want to see Gonzo the Great, not Gonzo the adequate or Gonzo the convenient. Jim Henson is no longer Kermit, and I’m 110% fine with the recast. And one day I would love to see Steve pass the character on to someone else to keep alive. I do not want to see 5 Kermits trying to live, claim to be real, and have a soul all at once – that’s not possible with out killing the Muppet magic and reducing all the characters to impersonations and approximations.

    We are looking at two different companies, two different worlds, two different situations. If Sesame Workshop started doing the same thing Disney is than I would hope someone would start a campaign to save the Sesame characters. Having a joint-campaign/petition aimed at both companies and both situations would not really work as they are two different worlds.

    However, From what we’ve gathered, Sesame Workshop was at the auditions looking for new puppet talent (for new characters, background characters, when a performer has 2 characters in a single scene, right-hands, expland the "puppeteer pool"...) and they were also looking for possible understudies for existing performers (understudies to train and one day inherit a future retiring puppeteer’s characters, like Jerry, Carroll... More like the Frank/Eric relationship or Carroll/Matt). Unlike what Disney has been saying (and doing), we have not heard that Sesame Workshop is planning to have multiple performers for single characters (I think they learned from the incident with Ernie on “Play With Me Sesame” a few years back). But we’re watching, and if they “slip up” we’ll be sure to yell and scream (hopefully they will also see the campaign on Disney and learn from it too). But so far nothing has happened at Sesame in terms of mass-multiple casting assignments or simple convenience-based casting, but we really can't tell what the executives are thinking and plotting. However, unlike Disney we have no facts to prove that Sesame is planning to do similar things to their characters.
  12. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Ok I have a question for the campaigners. If Frank Oz decided today that he was going to come back and work for the Muppets again, would you want him to? Or would it be too confusing since Eric has already done Piggy, Fozzie, Grover, Sam etc. and that he shouldn't be allowed back to the characters he gave life to just because he already has a replacement and then Eric would be out of a job and people would claim he brought a different soul to the characters and that Frank shouldn't be allowed back. I'm just trying to understand.
  13. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround New Member

    "Fake Muppet"

    I'd like to address the term used here once in a while; 'Fake Muppet'.

    While this hasn't happened but what if some 19-year old from Iowa came around and did a spot-on perfect Elmo (for example), would he be considered a 'Fake Muppet'?

    Not to me. If someone does an interpretation that is true to the original character then it is not a fake.

    If you believe that even if someone does a perfect spot-on Elmo and is still a fake Muppet, then you are a supporter of the original puppeteer and not of the character.

    Just something to think about.

    There should be a better term to use for this topic than 'Fake Muppets'.
    Fake Muppets are what are won at Carnivals.
  14. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround New Member

    Very well put!
    You move to the head of the class.:)

  15. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo New Member

    Yes, that would be a "fake Muppet", as long as Kevin Clash was still puppeteering. Why should we settle for anything else? The fact is, the Muppets are more than a voice, and more than some gestures. They are living breathing celebrities with a soul and spirit.

    If someone did a spot-on perfect George W Bush impression (so good even his mother could tell them apart), would he be considered the George W Bush would be able to call himself president?

    Alright, Disney might find a guy who is better at Rowlf than Bill (the current performer). Someone who is very close to capturing the spirit of Jim's work. That still does not justify having two Rowlf on the book. If they are better than Bill, give Rowlf to Bill - don't have two Rowlfs.

    Also Disney is not looking for the #1 absolute best Rowlf to be the Rowlf- they are looking for half-a-dozen passable Rowlfs to be a Rowlf - performers who are "good enough". I don't want good enough Muppets, I want the best Muppets.

    Whenever a character is recast it takes time for the new performer to get everything down. Steve was not 100% Kermit back in 1990 when he took the character over after Jim’s passing. But today he unquestionably is Kermit (just as much as Jim was). No one questions Steve as Kermit, he is Kermit through and through. Eric had some shaky moment in his early days of Fozzie, but he’s now embodied the character and given him a soul again. He is as much Fozzie as Frank was. You can’t have solid characters if they are switching performers in every production and appearance. The will never be reborn, live and survive with out consistence. Look at Scooter. When Richard Hunt died the character was thrust to the background for sometime (unlike other characters after a performer’s passing). This was due to lack of having anyone who could pull the character off. In Muppets From Space Adam Hunt provided the voice for a few lines, but that wouldn’t really work to bring him back to where he was when Richard was around. Brian Henson tired him, and did a good job. Given another production or so I think Brian would have been Scooter and the audience would accept it and we would all be rejoicing in the rebirth of Scooter. But then Ricky Boyd took a shot and did him in “Oz”. Ricky did a great job, and could be the one to reinvent the character and bring him back to the frount. But if Scooter is ever to come back and be more than a one-liner, he needs a solid performer. If Ricky Boyd continues with Scooter, maybe in 1-2 more productions we’ll have a solid audience acceptable, Scooter. But if he keeps being passed around, he will be forced to be nothing more than someone’s attempt to reproduce Richard’s work.

    Kermit is no longer a impersonation of Jim's work - he is a living character of Steve's. How will Rowlf get past being an impersonation of Jim's work if 6 different people are concurrently interpreting and working the character?

    Plus, as we've seen on Movies.com they are not getting "the best guys". No offence to the puppeteers for From the Balcony, but the Dr. Teeth in episode 9 was atrocious. It was not cast because he was the best puppeteer to reinvent Jim’s classic character, it was because he was there. I don’t want Muppets cast based on what’s cheapest or simplest for producers – I want casts based on quality.
  16. I'm VERY surprised at you, GelflingWaldo. Why have you all of a sudden gone from being an optimist to a pessimist?:(

    You were once a ray of hope in preventing people from blowing their tops when it came to issues like the edits that were made to the TMS Season 1 DVD boxed set. But now, you're blowing your top along with everyone else.:cry:

    I miss the old GelflingWaldo very much.
  17. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround New Member

    The previous 'Fake Muppet' topic I mentioned was only about just that, 'Fake Muppet.' (As some in this group have coined this phrase.) Wasn't even getting into the issue of save the Muppets, that's a separate issue.

    So it seems for a Puppeteer to not be considered a 'Fake Muppet' (by those who believe in the 'fake muppet' philosophy) the original puppeteer must be dead or retired. Then the 'Fake Muppet' is acceptable.


    I'll stick with what I said about 'Fake Muppets';
    If someone does an interpretation that is true to the original character then it is not a fake.
    Keyword there is "true."

    I also thought of using George Bush in my comparison but ruled it out because he's a human. No human can replace another human, but we have seen some fairly successful attempts at character replication with cartoon character voices and some Muppeteers like Eric Jacobson.

    Again, not talking about save the muppets, just the topic 'fake muppets.' But I was happy to read your views on the topic GelflingWaldo.Thanks for your point of view.:)
  18. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo New Member

    I know, but I think it has to do with how the Muppets are presented. Unlike Batman, Aladdin, or Shrek is that they are not presented as characters. They are treated like humans. Batman doesn't go on talk shows, the actor who played him does and talks about the role. But Steve does not go on talk shows, Kermit does. The Muppets have had acting credits playing characters ("The Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens"), they have celebrity friends (such as Robert Denerio, Whoopie Goldburg, Harry Belafonte...), they won awards and honors (not the puppeteers, the characters), they even out right deny knowing the puppeteers or being puppets. The illusion is more than the 90-minutes they are seen on screen in a movie, or the 20-minutes the TV episode airs. You need the character continuity. Flip-flopping performers all the time will inevitable and subconsciously break this. We are ment to believe they go back to their trailers at the end of a scene and that they have their own apartments and lives -- even though most grown people know better, its all part of that Muppet magic. Even when you see the performers and how it's all done, their is still that illusion that the Muppets are more than just lifeless puppets and characters.

    And, yes, change happens. Recasts are needed. But unnecessary recasts are damaging - especially when a "good enough" attitude is taken to give an adequate or passing performance; rather than just getting the single best man to give the best possible performance.

    I understand that not all fans agree here, As long as the voice is close enough and the writing is good some will be happy – I on the other hand want the absolute best quality Muppets all the time. It’s worked for over 50 years, why change now?

    I may be coming off pessimistic here. But when I look at the things happening (like Movies.com) and the things being said by the Disney executives, I see that if we don’t stand up for the Muppets they could become something I (and others) don’t want them to be. Looking back at this thread, I think I’ve made my argument throughout – so I’m probably going to stop “fighting” it in here (before I start sounding like a “broken record” and repeating myself). I have tried to look at this optimistically and see the good. But I guess the whole point I’m trying to make is: sign the petition, write to Disney (and at least we can tell our grandkids that we tried). Getting all worried and depressed will get us nowhere. I don’t want to yell “the sky is falling” and insight unnecessary riots and fights. But given what I’ve seen and heard this is could be ghastly if Disney actually goes all the way with their initial plans. I’ll try to keep it more positive – the Muppets are after all a happy thing. Hopefully this will have a happy ending and we can all look back and smile with relief.
  19. Gonzo14

    Gonzo14 Well-Known Member

    i just checked and there's over 1,300 names on the petition:D :crazy:
  20. OverUnderAround

    OverUnderAround New Member

    Dude! It's the Internet!! Regardless of the cause you can't trust the numbers or the names to be real!!
    Why? Because it's the Internet! Where everything can be falsified.

    Regardless of whatever cause the petition might be for, it's hard to take an Internet petition seriously when hundreds of people sign on as 'Anonymous' and none of those listed names can be verified.

    It's hard to take an Internet petition seriously (regardless of the cause) when names can be falsified. Example, here's one name on the list; "Upeople Needalife".

    If someone can sign on as "Upeople Needalife' then how easy would it be to add fake names like Ronald McDonald, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Lassie, Julius Ceasar to that list?

    Just spotting one fake name on that list brings into question the validity of the petition.
    So much for trusting that website.

    True petitions need the persons name and home address and optionally phone number and can be verified.

    One real paper petition I signed years ago, I had to show them I.D. before they would allow me to sign, it was going to be forwarded to congress.
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