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The MuppetCast - Show #56 - Digits, Giants, and Slippers

Discussion in 'On the Web' started by stephenjlizard, May 4, 2008.

  1. Hi everyone! This week marks the beginning of a new series on The MuppetCast, where we'll make a continuing effort to present audio and information from the Jim Henson Hour. In this show, we look and listen to the first two episodes.

    Next week is also going to be very exciting on The MuppetCast! We'll be celebrating Mother's Day with no other than Jane Hunt! Could there be a more fitting guest? If you have any questions you'd like to hear Jane answer, send them to me BEFORE WEDNESDAY, and I'll try and ask her.

    As you listen to this episode of the show, I already know I misspoke and said that the Jim Henson Hour was filmed in the 1990s (as opposed to 1989), so don't bother pointing it out. I should make this a game! It happens at least once a week. Sheesh.

    Other than that, I really think this has the potential to be a great series, since this is a show that many people might not be familiar with. Let me know about any suggestions you have concerning the way I cover the JHH.

    Comments/Questions can be emailed to me@muppetcast.com, called to the voicemail line at 614-364-4270, or typed right here in the forums!

    Have a good one!
  2. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Okay... Listened to it...

    Thoughts:
    1 So that's where Kermit's B-day date of May 9 came from. Well, if it's good enough for Aunt Catherine to have submitted as his B-day for the dorms' calendar, it's good enough for me.
    BTW: You're welcome to join the dorms if you want, check out some of the mayhemand drop me a PM to answer whatever questions you may have.
    2 SST Season 39 starts on Monday August 11, 2008. Not sure how I feel about this appearance... But at least we know the Word of the Day campaign will continue into this upcoming season.
    3 Daytime Emmies... Only watch the show for about the first hour until Sesame picks up the award for Outstanding Children's Series.
    4 The MuppetCast has grown in a year's time, and there are certain segments we've come to love and associate in each show. Muppet History, Muppet News, Listener Emails, and Muppet Montage. Additionally, each of these sort of has their ownMuppet instrumental theme, a stylized version of Bein' Green for Muppet News for example. Well, after Episode 56, I think I prefer hearing the instrumental version of Moving Right Along backing up Muppet News instead of the carnivalesque Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini.
    5 The JHH reviews were well done for the condensed format. It shows that you did your research and presented a taste yet captured the majority of the feel of the episodes showcased this week.
    Seems you got the glitchy VHS version of the episodes as evidenced by a few skips in the Heartless Giant audio. No worries, I have that glitchy version as well.
    In some respect, I can't help thinking of The Iron Giant when I listen/watch The Heartless Giant. No, not the movie, the fairy tale that was part of Nickelodeon's Special Delivery's Grimm's Fairy Tales series.
    Lighthouse Island, that was another sort of favorite of mine. Thanks for explaining the ending with the silver slippers, never rully understood what happened then.
    On a related note... If you listen closely to the opening bars of the JHH theme when the Griffin is admiring the crystal ball... Doesn't it sort of sound like the opening notes of The Little Mermaid's theme?
    BTW: The sketch with Bootsie and Brad is labeled as "The Fashion Dolls Sketch" at the Wiki.
    6 Happy for the new MuppetCast Unplugged. Take it away Steve!
    Hee...

    Got something you could use for your Dog City and Monster Maker reviews, LMK when you'll cover those JHH episodes and I'll send it straight to your box buddy.
    Looking forward to Mother's Day.
  3. Dire Corrector

    Dire Corrector New Member

    Ah you included "You And I And George"! :) I always have a very specific George in mind during that song.

    I too relate very strongly to Rowlf. I have shoulder-length brown hair so I'm told when I'm playing piano...it looks quite a bit like Rowlf's ears flopping around.
  4. Hey Count!

    1. Thanks for the invite! I'll pop in over this week if I have time.

    2. I'll make sure to set the DVR for August. David Beckham I can take. I have lots of friends who are soccer fans, and I can appreciate the level of international celebrity he'd lend to the show. If his wife shows up, that's another story.

    3. Ha! Darn right.

    4. You know, I never considered that each segment has its own "feel" to it! You may be right, now that I really think about it. I do try not to repeat the background tracks too often, but I'll take a closer look at how I can fine-tune that aspect of the show. The "carnival-esque" music you hear, incidentally, was the source audio of some background music from Disney's California Adventure theme park. For my part, I have to say I liked the version of "Hang On Sloopy". O-H-I-O! :)

    5. Thank you very much for the feedback on the JHH! I really didn't want to take such a long time and do the play-by-play that I've been doing in recent weeks (which I think can get tedious after an extended time period). I was shooting more for, like you said, presenting a taste of each episode, and focusing more on general information and highlights. I hope that works for everyone. If anyone has an idea to do something different as we cover the episodes, let me know!

    The audio taken from these episodes are from VHS transfers onto a set of DVDs, but they are all 100% intact. I just did some editing to condense portions of the show, in order to keep things moving. I hope it was okay!

    I'm glad you liked the new Unplugged song! Within an hour of posting the new show, I heard the song "Adding", from the album "Letters and Numbers" on MC radio! Maybe I'll have to try that one for next week? The songs are very similar:

    Subtraction Blues (excerpt):
    I had 4 pieces of pizza...

    Addition (excerpt):
    One cookie plus one cookie is two cookies!

    If there's one thing that could motivate me to learn math, it's pizza and cookies. Those Sesame Workshop people are geniuses!
  5. Count von Count

    Count von Count Active Member

    Good I do't know that much on The Jim Henson Hour. Just seen it on youtube
  6. BEAR

    BEAR Active Member

    Hey Steve!

    I am listening to the latest episode now. It's great so far. By the way, I sent you a message here on MC. Wanted to email you, but it didn't go through for some reason. So, consider that my "listener email" for the week. Haha!

    Take care!
  7. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I assume that all Jim Henson Hour audio clips in this episode are from the first two episodes. If that's true, then I guess you could say that the first two shows only have four classic Muppets, as opposed to three: Kermit, Gonzo, Link, and... Rowlf.

    In that pirate sketch, was that Gonzo and/ or Leon, or just characters who had the same voices?

    It seems like the Jim Henson Hour episodes are going to focus on two episodes. One thing that I'm surprised wasn't brought up in this podcast are Inner Tube/ Jim Henson Hour pitch tape and Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting. Both are available on You Tube, if you don't have anything from those (though I thought I heard a clip from the pitch tape in a recent show).

    Iner Tube/ Jim Henson Hour pitch tape is like the series, but is 23 minutes long. It stil splits up the focus like the show would normally do, with the first half hour taking place in a location very similar to Muppet Central (and it may or may not be the same place), but most of the characters are different. Kermit and Miss Piggy both make brief appearances, but the main focus is the new characters, and out of the characters created for the pilot, only Digit would return for The Jim Henson Hour. The pitch tape took place at the Mupet Workshop and had appearances by more recognizable characters, and had Jim Henson talk about his plans for the show, which at the time were planned for a weekly structure.

    The Sesame Street 20th anniversary special is said to have been planned to have aired as part of the series, but was aired on it's own instead. This was said at many different websites, but I don't know what the original official source was. I asked about this at Mupet Wiki, and a news article for the special was linked, where it was said that the special was an epsiode of the series, and one user pointed out that both this special and The Jim Henson Hour had the same font for the ending credits. Many have pointed out that the special was a promotion for the series, but I don't consider it as such. Nowhere in the special promotes the Jim Henson Hour, though the original broadcast did include two commercials for the show.
  8. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Also, it was interesting hearing the ending of Elmo's Song, with Elmo wanting to find Gorodn and Gabbi. That ending must have been cut from all three video releases, and wasn't included in Songs From the Street (but the introduction was also cut from that). Was that audio from an episode of the show that included it, or from an album (obviously not Songs from the Street), or somewhere else?
  9. Gah! You're right, I totally didn't mention Rowlf!

    Gonzo was definitely in it, but I don't think Leon was.

    I'll cover InnerTube and the pitch tape too. Just didn't get to it this week :)

    The audio version of Elmo's Song from the podcast was from a video of it I found on YouTube, so you could say it's taken from the TV version. Check it out.
  10. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I think that one of the reasons for the lack of classic Muppet Show characters on th show was due to some of the main performers not being on the set much. I know that Frank Oz and Richard Hunt were both in only a handful of episodes, which would explain the absense of their characters from most episodes. Out of The Mupet Show performers only Jim Henson, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, and Steve Whitmire were around full-time for the MuppeTelevision segments.

    Pretty much all of Jim Henson's characters made at least one appearance on the show, and I think Dr. Teeth is the only one who didn't get any lines (it is weird how, in the Monster Telethon epsiode, Jim Henson performed a time caster, when his Newsman character would have been good for that role). With Richard Hunt gone most of the time then Statler couldn't be there much, and it therefore makes sense that Waldorf wasn't in many episodes. Dave Goelz performed Gonzo on the show, who was a main character on the series. Bunsen and Zoot also made appearances, though not many. With Beauregard he may have not been there due to the writers having trouble with the character, or because it may have been redundant to have both Lindberg and Beauregard on the same show.

    It's weird that Jerry Nelson's characters weren't invovled much, while Nelson only had one main character on the show, Beard. He performed many characters on the show, but didn't have many recurring characters, new or old (and the same can be said about Muppets Tonight). Robin, Camilla, and Lew Zealand should have had big parts, mayebe ven expand those characters. If Link Hogthrob could be a semi-main character on te show, then why not Dr. Strangepork? The show took palce at a television station... Why not bring back Louis Kazager for some Mupet Sports-style skits?

    At the tiem Steve Whitmire didn't have many Muppet Show-related characters. It seems like Jim Henson had been trying to make Rizzo a main character, and Rizzo was in almost every 1980s production before finally becomming a main character in The Muppet Christmas Carol, but on this show Rizzo was hardly on it (I know that the Monster Telethon episode is an exception). In the meantime, Steve Whitmire got a number of new main characters, including Bean Bunny, Flash, and Waldo. With Miss Piggy and The Electric Mayhem absent for most of the show then it makes sense that Foo-Foo and Lips were hardly on the show (though Foo-Foo was the dog in the fashion doll sketch).

    But in addition to all that, the show did include a few main Sesame Street performers (Fran Brill -- who had performed in two epsidoes of The Muppet Show--, Kevin Clash, and Camille Bonora), as well as some canadian performers (Gordon Robertson, Rob Mils, Bob Stutt, and Dan Redican).

    I don't know if the MuppeTelevision production order was the same as the broadcast order, but I wonder if Science Fiction was the right epsidoe for the premiere. Perhaps an aepisode with more recognizable characters, like The Ratings Game or Health and Fitness, should have been the first episode.

    I think it's odd how in the first episode, in the Space Guy sketch Louie Anderson refers to Bean as an alien being, only for Bean to joke that he's an alien Bean. That was his debut on the series, and had previously only appeared in Tale of the Bunny Picnic. While he was the star, I don't think that one-shot special would have been famous enough for fans to have gotten the joke. Bean should have been referred to by name earleir, and should have been reintroduced to audiences (and introduced to those who hadn't seen the earlier special... I think it was initially broadcast on HBO, so many wouldn't have seen it).

    And how odd that an episode centering around science fiction didn't have any Pigs in Space-related segments.
  11. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    One thing I find odd is that in the podcast, you mention that Ted Danson played against type by trying to be funny. What did you mean by this? I don't know whether he is a comedian or just an actor who has appeared in comedies, but I thought he was funny on Cheers,e ven though he was a staright man to the others. And I thought he was a straight man in the clip provided. I don't see a difference.
  12. Well apparently, in that quote from the show I was demonstrating the value of using bad jokes, by inadvertently telling one :)

    Ta da!
  13. The Captain

    The Captain New Member

    A great episode Steve!

    You inspired me to rewatch the first few episodes of JHH before listening to your reviews (I tend to only listen to the first bit of your reviews if I haven't seen them first as I don't want to know what happens at the end!) and thought I'd done well.

    Sadly the episodes on my discs seemed to have a different episode 2, the Soldier and Death one, with Fozzie making an appearance in the studio segments. Didn't spoil my enjoyment of the podcast at all though, just need to do my research better in future.

    I haven't been the biggest fan of JHH in the past. It's not that I don't like it, but I found the Digit character a bit too odd and some of the human guests mean nothing too me.

    Louie Anderson for example is an unknown in the UK - in my experience anyway - and yet here he is taking centre(ish) stage in the show.

    Still, the Space Guy sketch was typically bonkers, loved the space lobsters.

    I still haven't watched all of the original Muppet Show episodes (not since their first run on UK telly anyway, and I was a bit young to get what was going on in any detail) so I have been wanting to get through those before JHH, Muppets Tonight, etc.

    I'm going to have another go at watching the series right the way through as the studio sections grew on me more this time and the appearance of Gonzo in my second episode was superb.

    There's so much out there for you to cover over the next few years, it's going to be fun coming along for the ride!
  14. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Listening to the audio from the Linda Lavin episode, it's interesting how, when Wayne and Wanda returned, Scooter asked Kermit if he recognized these voices, and Wanda was the first to say something. Ironic since she was performed by Kathy Mulen there instead of Eren Ozker. It's also a shame that we don't ever know why the Muppets mistakenly thought that Kermit's birthdya was during that show. It's odd that Kermit didn't tell the others right away (though I don't think they gave him a chance).

    And it's also sad that the birthday episode didn't include appearances by the Sam and Friends or Sesame Street Muppets.
  15. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I have ben thinking about the shows guets stars lately, and I've been wondering how many of them were even A-list stars back in 1989. I figure Ted Danson was, but what about the others? I saw the show when it was on the air, but didn't know any guest stars name suntil I saw an episode list, and I think Ted Danson was the only one I knew of before seeing the lsit or any episodes (the same cna be said about most of The Muppet Show guets stars and maybe even half the Muppets Tonight guests). It's hard to believe that people who work for The Today Show or any news program would be considered A-list. I don't know how big Luie Anderson, Smokey Robinson, Bobby McFerrin, or K.D. Lang were at the time, and I didn't know until recently that Buster Poindexter was just a character played by an actor. I thought that was the actors real/ stage name.

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