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What happened to Frank Oz?

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by Narpin, Nov 30, 2002.

  1. Narpin

    Narpin Member

    I just watched A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and was shocked when I realized it wasn't Frank Oz doing the voices of Animal, Fozzie, Piggy or Sam. No whoever did Piggy had it spot on perfect. I probobly wouldn't have ever noticed. Fozzie wasn't TOO bad, but Animal and especially Sam Eagle were off quite a bit.

    Now, I know Frank Oz is a very busy guy these days with his directing and all, but he has always made time for the Muppets in the past. WHAT HAPPENED?????

    I'm sure the new guy will get better as time goes on, but Frank Oz will be sorely missed.

    Does anyone know what the story with Frank Oz is? Is he gone from the Muppet cast for good, or was Very Merry Muppet Christmas a one time thing???????

    If anyone could fill me in I'd be very happy.
  2. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member


    I asked about that too on a different thread. Try searching the forum. Chilly Down gave a good descriptive answer when I asked that same question. So if you'll try searching for his message about that, you might be able to find it.

    My comments on this. Well, I can't complain. After all, Animal sounded much better than in the Mastercard commercial. I really didn't think Sam sounded bad either. It was the way he looked that got to me.

    While, we're on this subject, what about Jerry Nelson? I didn't see his name in the credits but that definately sounded like him voicing Pops and Statler. Was that him or is he retired too?
  3. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Well-Known Member

    i heard that he was in bad health from someone else on this form, and he couldn't do a whole lot with his characters including puppetering them, so i think someone else did his characters and he just dubbed his voice for his characters.....

    but i could be wrong........

  4. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I heard rumors that Jerry Nelson quit. Although, I'm not sure because I saw a very, I mean VERY recent picture of him from a Muppet Festival along with him, Steve Whitmire, Kevin Clash, Bill Barreta, and Brian Henson. In this particular picture...he was in a recliner, had on sunglasses, and the title of the picture was "Lazy Jerry Nelson".
  5. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Jerry Nelson has not quit. He is doing well and wants to do Muppets for as long as possible.
  6. Skeeter Muppet

    Skeeter Muppet Well-Known Member

    Scuttlebut has it that was because, since Jerry only had Floyd during the panel discussion, more questions got directed to Steve, Kevin, Bill and Brian and their characters. So Jerry got bored and pretended to fall asleep. The recliner was a gag (and a darn good one, too!)

  7. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your kind words, Daffyfan. :)

    Narpin: Because of Frank's limited availability, Muppet productions have in recent years tried to avoid featuring Frank's characters heavily. Muppet fans have noticed (and complained), and the general public has unconsciously responded by changing the channel. Starting with VMMCM, a renewed commitment was made to feature all of the most popular Muppets properly in a story, regardless of Frank's availability. Eric Jacobson performed Piggy and Fozzie (and I agree with you that he did a great job), and voiced Animal, though John Kennedy performed the puppet. Kennedy also performed the Sam puppet, though Kevin Clash looped the voice.

    Frank has never officially resigned from doing the Muppets, and will still occasionally perform the characters for, say, an important talk-show appearance.

    I've heard it from a good source that Jerry was indeed ill during filming and couldn't make the flight to Vancouver. I don't know who performed Jerry's characters on set, but he did loop the voices for all the characters. (I once argued passionately against this, but after a recent re-viewing I realize now that the others were right. Perhaps there was something wrong with the recording equipment, but that's all Jerry.) The one character that was not redubbed was Lew Zealand, who was played by Bill Barretta.

    Jerry was great at MuppetFest, and the recliner gag was a hoot. If there's ever another one, someone please send along more Muppets with this guy!

    Hope that helped, Narpin. My own memory was foggy on a few points, so I consulted the invaluable Recast FAQ at Tough Pigs:

  8. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I too heard that Jerry was too ill to make it to Vancouver for the gig. He does still tape segments for Sesame, doesn't he?

    It's important to remember that Frank has never "abandon" the Muppets, he's just a busy guy as many people have pointed out here. I still believe he does a few days of taping for Sesame Street each season and I also believe he sat on the Henson board, at least until the family sold the company.

    Availability of performers has been a long-standing issue on Sesame Street (probably one of the reasons Carrol has mostly just done SS). In the late 70s/early 80s things were so bad because of all the other Muppet projects going on (Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal, etc.) they ended up hiring a bunch of performers like Kevin Clash who immeadately started doing principal roles (not the way things are usually done).
  9. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    I should have noted that the same source that confirmed he was ill confirms that Jerry is doing just fine now. Yayyy! :excited:
  10. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    I was under the impression that Jerry has officially retired, but comes out of retirement whenever theres a project to work on - so basically it's the same thing. Maybe i heard wrong though - anyway none of the Muppet performers (not sure about Steve) are actually on permanent staff are they ? I thought thats why 99% of all appearances are done by Whitmire aside from Kermit being the main guy obviously.

    True Frank has not abandoned the Muppets, but he doesn't seem to have the greatest attitude to working with them right now, at least publicly. I guess because of his directing profile. I know he still turns up quite a lot behind the scenes at Henson when they have social functions and things.
  11. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    ..... and that source wouldn't just happen to have the name Nelson would it sir ? LOL ! :p
  12. Secret Squirrel

    Secret Squirrel Well-Known Member

    Nobody's retired. Jerry, like Frank and everybody else, has other projects and works when he can. He does still regularly tape for Sesame Street.

    True, nobody's on staff but that has no bearing on which performers appear when.

    Frank's career is his own. He is still actively involved in the Jim Henson Foundation and attends many of their events.

    secret squirrel
  13. sarah_yzma

    sarah_yzma Well-Known Member

    no one on staff, eh? so, theoretically, they could all quit? (I don't see all quitting at the same time!) and get out home free (except for the mobs of fans? ;) )
  14. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Well-Known Member

    frank went to tahiti for several years, then went to bombay india. then went to tibet to be with some monks and discovered the true meaning of life....which is to direct movies!

  15. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    You think Frank learned how to get into movies by listening to Gonzo??

    Could be. :concern: Just hope Frank doesn't get blown out of any cannons anytime soon.

    I just got a response from Frank Oz today. He's still very active and well, and isn't uninvolved with the JHC, the letter came from the JHC Fan Mail address, and he's still responding to fan mail, so he's still working under the JHC employee mindset.

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