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Steve Whitmire has left the Muppets, Matt Vogel to continue as Kermit

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by GonzoMan, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. KrazyJoe

    KrazyJoe Member

    I think they're going to pull the oldest trick in the book for releasing something with the least amount of press and controversy....I bet they drop the thought of the week late on Friday afternoon.
    scooterfan360 likes this.
  2. me myself i

    me myself i New Member

    The thing I just can't get out of my head is Brian saying he wanted to get rid of Steve since the mid-90s. I just ...... I don't get it?? If Steve were really as horrible as the Hensons make out, why did they keep him on?

    Like if any other company had a toxic employee who was unprofessional, disrespectful to the bosses, made outrageous demands, blackballed new recruits, created a hostile work environment for years, and above all produced work that was determined to be sub-par - surely it'd behoove that company to fire the toxic individual. You'd think that, but no. Instead, they continue to hire him for 20 more years??

    IDK, maybe they knew there would be an ugly scene and were just putting it off for another day, and another, and another....but for 20 years?? That's just so bizarre. I can't wrap my head around it.

    :search: Something just doesn't add up. The more answers we get, the more questions I have.:(
  3. SarahOnBway

    SarahOnBway Member

    Totally. And it's not like when Kermit wasn't the main role in whatever production that was as a punishment for Steve - because when Kermit wasn't, Rizzo almost always was.
    Powerstars likes this.
  4. mbmfrog

    mbmfrog Active Member

    Wasn't Paul Winchell already a Disney Legend ?
  5. ErinAardvark

    ErinAardvark Well-Known Member

    That's what I've been saying. Something doesn't add up here. I tell ya, I'm confused!

    :batty: That's one! One confused aardvark! Ah-ah-ah-ah!
    (sorry, I couldn't resist)
    BobbyBenson64 and scooterfan360 like this.
  6. Duke Remington

    Duke Remington Well-Known Member

    That's what I feel too. That Steve and his behavior were preventing The Muppets Studio from cranking out more product.
  7. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    Well, over on the Tough Pigs forum, someone said something that made a lot of sense. The Muppets lost Jim at the very beginning of the 90s, and then Richard Hunt just two years later, and Frank Oz was performing less and less. They were effectively missing three of their most important players, and several key characters. If they had fired Steve, than Jerry Nelson and Dave Goelz would've been the only guys left that worked with Jim, and even more characters might've gone missing. Not to mention, i'm sure that would've been terrible for morale.

    And, i'm just adding my two cents here, almost as soon as the 90s were over, the JHC was sold and was in really deep poop. They sold the Muppets to Disney, and during that transitional period i'm sure it would've been unimaginable not to have guys like Steve and Dave around to keep things afloat. And on top of that, they were hardly doing anything with the characters until about 2008.
  8. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    YES! This is exactly why I can't take Brian's words seriously.

    If it were the mid-90s and Steve was being a terrible, horrible person who was ruining the muppets and was an awful performer, why not replace him? It had only been a couple years, the internet wasn't around. How many people would actually realize he'd been replaced anyways? Only diehard muppet fans would and they wouldn't have anywhere to spread the news. Something's fishy about this.
  9. MuppetsRule

    MuppetsRule Well-Known Member

    It's possible that Steve's actions and/or behavior got worse. It may have been a minor problem in the 90s that was tolerated. As Steve felt more and more like he owned Kermit he may have gotten more insistent and more intolerable. Didn't he say say something along the lines of "I am Kermit and the Muppets don't exist without Kermit" in contract negotiations?
  10. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    One other thing I will add is that the Henson family said recasting Kermit was long overdue, and I see there's actually a small number of people here and there who agree with the sentiment.

    Steve's been performing Kermit for 27 years . . . Jim performed him for 35 . . . Steve hasn't been performing Kermit quite as long as Jim: personality conflicts aside, how do they figure the recast is long overdue? I mean, on an unrelated note, Alan's been running Hooper's Store longer than anyone - even Mr. Hooper - does that mean Hooper's is long overdue for new management?
    Zappetman and BobbyBenson64 like this.
  11. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    But he said he should have fired him in the mid 90's. If it were a minor problem, he wouldn't have minded. I still find it fishy that after all this time, it took until now for him to fire Steve

    I honestly "felt" like it was real for a good minute.
    Powerstars and 1000 Eyes like this.
  12. BobbyBenson64

    BobbyBenson64 Active Member

    Disney honestly rebranded the Muppets around 2008-2011, I don't see why they didn't recast Kermit then if Steve was really a problem. Also I don't think anyone ever specified what day the Weekly Muppet Thought was going to be released on, I think the statement just said this week, so maybe it'll come out today :shifty:
  13. Daffyfan2003

    Daffyfan2003 Well-Known Member

    Well, they did seem to want to recast him before. Recall the incident on America's Got Talent. I mean, none of us know what really happened there. But with all this going on, I think I'm seeing more insight into that. I think recasting :) may have been on Disney's minds at that time and they wanted to have people adjust to a different voice, but after fans have voiced their thoughts on that matter, they listened and that's when they decided to keep Steve as Kermit.

    The biggest issue back then, is that they gave fans no advanced warning, we just happened to all of a sudden hear a different Kermit voice. At least now we know about it. (All the more reason for them to hurry up with the TOTW with Matt's :)) I guess that while the issues with Disney and Steve has been going on for quite sometime, they wanted to keep Steve because they knew that's what Muppet fans want. Why it's just becoming an issue now is what puzzles me.
    Powerstars likes this.
  14. ChickyBoy37

    ChickyBoy37 Well-Known Member

    This is really going into a turmoil
  15. Beth C

    Beth C Active Member

    What happened on America's Got Talent?
  16. KrazyJoe

    KrazyJoe Member

    Were I to make a guess (and mind you, I know NOTHING...this is 100% pure speculation and nothing more), it seems to me that Steve probably changed over time.

    Think about it: Of the core Muppet Show performers, Steve was the last addition. He joined late in the game on season 3. He was the youngest. He was the new guy. He was working with his idol, Jim Henson. I'm sure he was respectful and eager to learn. This was probably the Steve Whitmire that Brian Henson knew and the Steve Whitmire that Brian Henson chose to carry the torch of Kermit. But suddenly something changed: Steve got the top job. He went from being one of the younger puppeteers to the main muppet. It sounds like the power went to his head.

    Again, all this is pure speculation on my part but I do think it explains the 'why' of keeping him in the top job for all those years. Henson probably liked Steve and kept hoping he could being him back to Earth. Also, he was probably trying to avoid the ugliness we're currently seeing play out right now. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a feeling of, 'we just need to get through to Steve and bring him back to Earth rather than stir up a controversy in the media'

    But what do I know? All I know is this is all so ugly, I'm tired of it and I just want the Muppets to be fun again.

    Shame on Disney for delaying that Muppet Thought of the Week. Honestly, we need it right now. We need something to make us laugh or at least smile.
    Zappetman and MuppetsRule like this.
  17. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Heh. Personally I defended Artie's performance of Kermit here, and for that I was attacked and told I must not want the Muppets to be good. :rolleyes: Yeah...

    (Note: I know it wasn't you, Daffy)
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  18. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Plus remember the Henson kids were literally kids in 1978, or at least still teenagers. It was probably strange for all involved later on when the kids controlled the company. Relationships and dynamics change.
    Powerstars likes this.
  19. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Unexpectedly Kermit was performed by a different puppeteer, Artie Esposito. Some fans here were afraid Steve had been replaced and got very angry about it. For my part, I said that, regardless of Steve's status, Artie did a good job. And for my trouble was told that I must not want the Muppets to be good. :rolleyes: Yeah...
  20. Beth C

    Beth C Active Member

    I didn't know this. Heck i'm upset knowing Steve's being replaced now. I probably would have flipped out then too, but calmed once I knew it wouldn't be permanent.

    Other people seem to be able to voice Kermit but we can usually tell the difference right away.

    There are just some voices that go with the characters. Like the Simpsons - yeah... can you just recast those without people noticing after 20 + years?

    This is such a mess and not one I needed right now.

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