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The Brand New Ask Jim Lewis Thread

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by dwayne1115, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I feel like The Lion Sleeps Tonight did get cut short.
  2. Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Yes, but not by the backstage actions. The interruption to that song is virtually the punchline of the bit.
  3. terrimonster Member

    Question from a first-timer:

    Jim,
    I recently saw a clip on YouTube of some of the Muppets on one of those info-tainment news/talk cable news programs. (It was great, naturally.) Anyway, it got me thinking, have you ever pitched/done a bit with the Newsman for a news network appearance? I think it would be great to see a Kermit/Pepe/Piggy/etc. appearance interrupted by a "news flash" from the Newsman behind the network desk.
  4. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    If you wrote the recent Muppet viral video with The Swedish Chef, I'd like to know, did you consider having The Swedish Chef try to cook Pepe for his Popcorn Shrimp? And if you didn't write it, then.... OOPS!
  5. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    We need to get a few more questions, and then we will send them off to Jim!
  6. cahuenga Active Member

    How was the colaboration of Frank Oz in Muppets tonight? in the second season of the show, did he ever planned to return to the recordings?

    I felt that in the second season were a los of absences of Frank´s characters, and too many new muppets, I felt very different about the show in that season.

    Thanks!
  7. Super Scooter New Member

    Hiya, Jim!

    I own two sheets of the Jim Henson and Muppet stamps. I was wondering if you wrote the little comments from the Muppets on the back of that. Additionally, what was your opinion of the stamps? It was kind of disappointing to see they were available less than a year because of the cost of stamps going up, but they've made such a nice addition to my Muppet collection (and am hoping to get it framed soon). Any stories to tell in their creation?

    Justin "Super Scooter"

    (psst! Ryan and Dwayne? We have quite a collection of questions now)
  8. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    I can send it if it's okay with Dwayne!
  9. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Jim would like to personally thank all of the question answers this go around. He loves talking to you guys and answering your questions and hopes you all keep it up!


    ANSWERS from Jim Lewis – July 26, 2010

    From Oscarfan…
    Hey Jim, on Muppets Tonight, was there are reason to keep the musical numbers so short? I think of some of the best ones are the ones uninterrupted by the backstage happenings, such as "The Coffee Song", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and others. "Tonight You Belong to Me" in the Paula Abdul show was such a great number, but it got cut short so quickly.

    I can’t guarantee this answer, but I suspect the reason for truncated musical numbers is the fear of a short attention span. Whether true or not, it is widely believed that musical numbers are when people will check out, go to the kitchen to get another cup of Maxwell House, go the lobby to get a second mortgage so you can buy the jumbo popcorn, or simply change the channel. An uninterrupted musical number scares primetime people who need to be shocked and surprised every 2.3 seconds, even if said musical number contains a high ratio of shocks and surprises. You are obviously a person of refined tastes and patience. I agree we should have let the musical numbers play out. “The Coffee Song” by the way, was my idea. Wish it and the others had more room to breathe. Perhaps if YOU ran primetime. Hmmmmm.

    From James Denny…
    Hey Jim,

    Hope all is well. I'm thrilled that all the American Muppet fans will be getting to see the new movie on Christmas Day 2011. Is there any chance you can bribe someone on my behalf, or maybe casually drop the idea into a conversation with some who has sway over these things that a Boxing Day (follwing day) release in the UK would be most appreciated. If the powers that be are unconvinced then remind them how crazy the U.K. went for Bo Rhap, or do i have to spend Christmas in New York thereby incurring the ire of my relatives? I am of course aware that I'm asking the impossible of you, unless you are currently moonlighting as head guy in charge of New Muppet Movie Release Date as well as writing cool stuff for out favourite menagerie but hey I figured I'd give it a try,
    All the Best – James


    I am thrilled that you think I have such power within the business of show (Muppet subdivision) that I could impact the release date of the movie. I am far far from that position of supreme power, however I will use whatever mind tricks and subliminal (“Boxing Day Release in UK”) suggestion to (“Boxing Day Release in UK”) make your dream (“Boxing Day Release in UK”) come true. (“Boxing Day Release in UK”) (“Boxing Day Release in UK”) (“Boxing Day Release in UK”)

    From (first-time asker) terrimonster…
    Jim,
    I recently saw a clip on YouTube of some of the Muppets on one of those info-tainment news/talk cable news programs. (It was great, naturally.) Anyway, it got me thinking, have you ever pitched/done a bit with the Newsman for a news network appearance? I think it would be great to see a Kermit/Pepe/Piggy/etc. appearance interrupted by a "news flash" from the Newsman behind the network desk.


    I believe that we did – on the post 1989 stock market downslide special that “Nightline”/Ted Koppel did. I may be wrong. In fact, I am wrong. But that would’ve been a fine spot had we done it. It also would have worked well when the Muppets took over the “Today Show” last year. Or when Kermit appeared on “Hannity & Combs” a few years ago. Gee, if we only had a time machine…..Wait, we have Muppet Labs! I’ll travel back in time and…..Oh, dear, Beaker just blew up. In any case, I agree it’s a fine idea. Usually those appearances are so short (2-6 minutes) that you don’t have time for any cutaway…plus the news program fears that people will think the Muppet Newscaster is the real newscaster and that there really are cows playing cellos falling from the sky….and the anchors see the Muppet newscaster as competition. Oh, you’ve really created chaos here. Thanks! We can always use more.

    From minor muppetz…
    If you wrote the recent Muppet viral video with The Swedish Chef, I'd like to know, did you consider having The Swedish Chef try to cook Pepe for his Popcorn Shrimp? And if you didn't write it, then.... OOPS!

    “Write” is a word that doesn’t occur with most of those –and particularly that—viral videos. They are usually conceived, riffed upon and then made infinitely better by the performers, director and incredible production team. (I did write the closed-captioning – which explains the whiny nature of its pleadings.) So, as per Pepe being one of the popcorn shrimp – this might have been a good idea except (a) He’s not a shrimp, he is a KING PRAWN! and (b) Mr. Barretta who also lends his talents to the Chef only has two hands. But mostly (a).

    From cahuenga…
    How was the collaboration of Frank Oz in Muppets tonight? in the second season of the show, did he ever planned to return to the recordings? I felt that in the second season were a lots of absences of Frank´s characters, and too many new muppets, I felt very different about the show in that season.

    That you can discern a difference between season one and season two demonstrates your refinement. The way the show aired, all over the schedule, on different networks, it is tough to figure out where 1 ends and 2 begins. That said, I agree, we could have used more Frank. We could always use more Frank. That Frank made himself as generously available as he did was a godsend. Remember, this was in the years before Eric sprung like Athena from the forehead of Zeus to provide the next best thing to Mr. Oz. For many years, we had to work around this, now we don’t.

    From Super Scooter…
    Hiya, Jim!

    I own two sheets of the Jim Henson and Muppet stamps. I was wondering if you wrote the little comments from the Muppets on the back of that. Additionally, what was your opinion of the stamps? It was kind of disappointing to see they were available less than a year because of the cost of stamps going up, but they've made such a nice addition to my Muppet collection (and am hoping to get it framed soon). Any stories to tell in their creation?- Justin "Super Scooter"


    Yes! Yes! I’ve been waiting years for someone to ask this question. I wrote the back of U.S. postage stamps! (Even David Mamet can’t say that – at least not without swearing.) That was great fun – such an odd platform for comedy, going where no joke has gone before. I was thrilled. I agree it’s too bad the stamps weren’t around longer, but they did a great job on them and I’m so glad they did them at all. And thank you again for asking.
  10. Super Scooter New Member

    Thanks Jim!

    Oh, and I should correct myself. I said that the stamps were around less than a year. According to Muppet Wiki, they were around just over 3 months! :eek:
  11. Davina Member

    stamps never even made it to my neck of the woods.. I kept pestering the post office about them but they never got them.. I eventually had to order them online
  12. FletchySRF3088 Active Member

    (I don't know if this has been asked before but I thought I'd give it a shot)

    Hi, Mr. Lewis! Long time reader, first-time asker. As a big Scooter and Richard Hunt fan, I couldn't be more happy to see the go-fer back and with a permanant performer this time it seems. I'm sorry if I sound like a big Scooter freak here (I guess I am) but I couldn't help but be a bit worried about the go-fer's treatment over the years. I was just wondering what was the reason behind his disappearance for a while and the number of recasts he had when he came back? I thought it was a bit odd that he didn't even make a non-speaking, background appearance in Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets Tonight like Rowlf and some other Jim Henson and Richard Hunt characters did. I have heard that Scooter embodied more of Richard than any other character he performed, did this have anything to do with his absence and several recasts over the years? (He seems to have more performers than any other character but I could be wrong)
  13. dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    That is a great question, we have talked about Scooter a little bit, but I think we really have never asked a question like that. Great question!

    Also I want to say that I'm very sorry I have not been as "active" In this thread as I should have been. I'm on my mom's computer, and sometimes getting on can be difficult. Thanks Ryan for sending the last batch, and the next one is mine. Thanks everyone and keep asking them questions.
  14. FletchySRF3088 Active Member

    Thanks so much, dwayne1115! I'm so glad it's been deemed worthy to be sent to Jim Lewis heh :) I've always wondered about Scooter's disappearance and many recasts, I've read fan speculations and what-not which do seem to make sense but I've always wanted to ask someone who's worked in the Jim Henson Company who would know the reason. I fiqure since I might never get to meet the performers or writers, etc in person, this'd be a great oppurtunity to ask the question :D
  15. Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Jim, at the D23 event last year, 9 images were shown of upcoming Muppet videos for YouTube. Are there any more still "in the can" that will be released in the near future?
  16. dwmckim Well-Known Member

    During Muppets Tonight! what was the working relationship like with ABC? Did they have a lot of input/change suggestions on scripts or tone or did they tend to be more hand's off? Did this change between seasons one and two?
  17. Duke Remington Active Member

    I've got one:

    "Another Webby bites the dust" (Floyd's 5-word Webby speech)--scripted or ad-libbed?
  18. theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Dear Jim-possible,

    If you could pick one actor/famous person for a cameo in the upcoming movie, who would it be? What if Justin Bieber and Snooki aren't available?
  19. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I'm not Jim, but I must say that if Justin Bieber is in it then they should reconsider the "greatest" part of the title. I never heard of Snooki.

    Anyway, back to my regularly-scheduled question for Jim...

    If you could pick an existing song for the Muppets to cover, what would it be?
  20. Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Wha...? Never heard of Snooki? I have! Good grief, I want him to have a cameo in the movie! I'm sure he could help everyone on the movie set go their lines.;)

    But here's a question for Mr. Lewis (if it hasn't been asked already):

    We know that Beaker's speech has a lot of "Mee mee mee" in it. But since Beaker says "mee", where did "meep" come from? I've been seeing it lately (like in the Wall-E parody with Beaker). Richard didn't say "meep" and neither does Steve. My best guess where "meep" came from is this song from Muppet Babies. (It's at the 4:30 mark):



    If the "meep" question has already been asked, I have another one for him. This one's about Sesame Street, but it's also about writing, and it just asks his opinion on something:

    The book "Street Gang" references memoirs written by Jon Stone (check out p. 330, if you have the book handy). As a writer yourself, do you think these memoirs have a chance at getting published or would Sesame Workshop frown on that because of Stone's opinions?


    Thank you,
    Josh Hankemeier
    (Convincing John)

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