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Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Muppet Master, May 20, 2014.
When will AMFC get released UNCUT on DVD! Move it Disney!!
I also often think about how the movies seem to be the most popular and most common of the Muppet productions. I think of The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies, and to a lesser extent A Muppet Family Christmas and Muppet Vision 3D as being just as well-known, but I keep thinking that, except maybe to those born after 1999, any character who had a fairly notable part in any of the movies shouldn't be too obscure. I feel like even Muppets from Space isn't exactly obscure. Of course with Sesame Street, it's the show that's more popular than Follow That Bird and Elmo in Grouchland.
But the movies have had the most availability over the years. So maybe in the last decade it was less common for the movies to air (The Muppets gets plenty of broadcasts on The Disney Channel and ABC Family these days, though), but each movie has rarely been out-of-print since their initial home video releases. The movies have been released on VHS, Beta, Select-a-Vision, CED (I think), laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-Ray (but never HD), as well as online downloads and Netflix. And during the periods when they are out-of-print (usually when video rights change, or when Disney decides to rerelease a movie), copies can still be found at video stores* and libraries, though they don't always have every movie available to rent or borrow.
Meanwhile, The Muppet Show reruns haven't consistently been airing all these years (and since Disney bought the rights, they've only aired out-of-country). Reruns aired in syndication for a number of years after it ended, then aired on TNT for four years, and then aired on Nickelodeon two years later for about two years, and then came to the Odyssey Channel (a channel many didn't have) three years later. Episodes hadn't been widely available on video for a long time - there were compilations, which are hard to find used copies of (it used to be easy to find used copies of the It's the Muppets compilations, but I haven't seen used copies of any of those in the past few years). Jim Henson Video only released one video of full episodes, which were still edited. The Time-Life videos sold well but weren't available in stores until a few years later. Although we've been waiting forever for the last two seasons to come to DVD, at least the first three are still in print (though it's less common for me to see copies in stores these days). Hopefully the season sets keep that show in the minds of kids, though I don't know how likely a kid is to have a season set of a TV series (maybe as a birthday, Christmas, or Easter present).
*Ironically, there was one video store that didn't have any of the original trilogy until after The Muppet Christmas Carol was released on video (and surprisingly, it was the CBS Fox releases, as opposed to the then-current Jim Henson Video releases), and yet that video store had many of the Playhouse Video compilations and Play-Along Video releases, which I've only vaguely remember seeing at any other video rental stores. As a matter of fact, back when my local Kroger had a video rental section, it didn't have any of the pre-MCC movies for rent (but did have them for sale).
A few times in recent months (including tonight), I've been trying to determine what Muppet productions are most/least obscure. I've been thinking in terms of how often they've been rebroadcast, whether they've had video releases (and how many releases), and a few other things. And maybe all those alone don't determine how popular a certain production is (but the more broadcasts and video releases its had over the years probably helps). And I wouldn't count whether they're on YouTube or Daily Motion (unless Disney officially uploaded it there), or how common it is to find long out-of-print video releases of such productions (just because there's quite a few video releases I can't find used copies of anywhere doesn't mean that they can't be more commonly found in other states). Maybe someday I'll post what all I've determined (maybe here, maybe in its own thread, maybe as a Muppet Mindset article).
But on a similar note, I tend to think about how Fraggle Rock seems to be the "lesser" (or "least lesser"?) of the three big Henson properties of the Jim Henson years (the others being The Muppet Show and Sesame Street). Sesame Street and the Muppets are a lot more iconic (and have been around a lot longer). Sesame Street is one of the most iconic children's television shows of all time, and has consistently been on the air for nearly 45 years. While The Muppet Show definitely wasn't on the air that long, its characters have continued to be used over the years, with various movies, television specials, direct-to-video productions, live stage shows, television guest appearances, sequel shows, viral videos, and so on. In fact, Sesame Street also has all that in addition to being on the air for so long. But Fraggle Rock doesn't have much of that (as a matter of fact, most Henson shows that aren't Sesame Street or The Muppets don't have much of that, either).
Fraggle Rock has had a lot of merchandise over the years, though from what I've read most of the merchandise didn't start to come out until the show was ending. The show had two home video compilations, while The Muppet Show had more and Sesame Street has a whole lot more. But perhaps those shows lend themselves better to video compilations than Fraggle Rock (aside from compilations themed around songs and maybe Traveling Matt's post cards I'd imagine it'd be hard to come up with compilations). Additionally, Fraggle Rock had an animated series and now has the Doozers spin-off, and Fraggles have been making appearances in the past few years (including the Do It Anyway music video), but there have also been a number of Fraggle productions that haven't gotten made (in fact we've waited years for the Doozers series), including a Fraggle origin story and that movie that's been in development all decade.
One thing that works against it is that while The Muppet Show and Sesame Street were on channels everybody had, Fraggle Rock premiered on HBO, a premium cable channel, at a time when many people didn't even have basic cable. And it seems most of the channels reruns aired on have been fairly hard-to-get. I think more people had cable by the time reruns aired on TNT, but reruns have also aired on The Disney Channel, another premium channel (at the time), and on Odyssey, a channel very few people had. I'm not sure whether The Hub is on many cable providers or not (I don't even know if I have that channel).
And there's the fact that the world of Fraggle Rock is mostly its own magical world, though connected to the real world. Most of the characters live in a world that doesn't have all the technology and stuff we're familiar with. That puts a limit on guest appearances the characters can make on talk shows and such, with Traveling Matt and Sprocket usually being the ones to make such appearances, while the Muppets and Sesame Street take place in our world, and therefore does not put a limit on what characters can appear on talk shows without it seeming weird. It sort of also limits how the characters can appear in crossovers with the Muppets (not counting cameos or times when minor characters were used in the background or recycled as new characters).
Of course, unlike the Muppets and Sesame Street, the entire Fraggle Rock series, both live-action and animated, is available on DVD, and all uncut (except for not including the special "down at Fraggle Rock" endings from two episodes). The Down at Fraggle Rock documentary is a bonus feature, and Fraggle Songs and Doozer Music can both be purchased as digital downloads. It seems the only major Fraggle Rock productions not available for purchase are Fraggles Search for Jobs (though that might not actually count... Terry Angus once said on The Muppet Cast that he never expected that to be a bonus feature) and the Do It Anyway music video.
And it is interesting how the Muppets and Sesame Street have many specials and such, while all other Henson shows have very little. I was thinking that maybe since those two are made up of short segments and most other shows have narratives (I think I've read that Fraggle Rock was originally going to be made up of short segments), maybe they didn't feel the need to make specials for the others. But then again, most of the Muppet specials don't have much plot focus, often being made up of short segments, musical numbers, or clips from past productions. And many Sesame Street specials do follow the plot more, even if they still have short unrelated scenes.
What I'm thinking these days (quickly, randomly, and in no particular order):
* That I really hope Bret McKenzie keeps contributing music to the Muppets, regardless of whether it's in a film project
* That "Something So Right" and "We're Doing A Sequel" would make great Oscar production numbers
* How sweet it's going to be to hear Bret McKenzie's name again when the Oscar for Best Song is presented
* That we need another Muppet music album, preferably an Electric Mayhem album now that the recasts have settled in so well
* That the DVD/Blu-Ray roll-out for MMW is going to be a hoot, if TM2011 was any indication (Kermit on The Colbert Report! Piggy on The Talk! The Mayhem on Jimmy Kimmel Live!)
* That there really needs to be a crazy-insane-full-on-comedy Muppet TV special like The Muppets Go To The Movies or The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show
* That, as much as I've loved the TMS tropes running through TM2011 and MMW, I'd really prefer that the next such use of this format occur on a new weekly Muppet series
* That the next Muppet movie should have fewer characters and give one or two of the lesser-used Muppets the chance to shine (and that Rowlf and Pepe should be the leading candidates for this type of movie)
* That Pigs In Space deserves its own movie or a series of virals over the next couple of years (and that we need more Muppet virals or Muppisodes, period)
* That nothing's fallen on the Newsman's head since The Muppet Show Live in 2001
* That Disney should go full-tilt on a Muppets 60th anniversary TV special
* How thrilled I was when a surly, cynical, faux-hipster co-worker of mine recently clicked on the Sam Eagle "American Woman" Muppet viral at my suggestion, then turned to me and smiled: "I gotta hand it to you, Louis, that was kind of funny."
But that's it.
Oh, and that Sofia Vergara should c0-star in Pepe: The Movie, playing the Mexican mermaid with a heart of gold that guides our favourite prawn from his former life as a pearl-diver's assistant to stardom in the States. But, seriously, THAT'S IT.
Right now I think about if Disney and Jim Henson company would make a new video game for the Muppets, then add more of the minor characters like Lips Nigel Lew Zealand Crazy Harry Beau, etc.
The only legitimate muppisode was "Food Fight" the one with Gordon Ramsey. That one (the extended edition) is this one in particular.
Personally, I think it was hilarious, and a great little muppet short, hope to see it as a DVD or Blu-Ray extra someday.
Then around Christmas we got the throwback one which was just a re-upload of an old video promoting MMW and christmas time
If they had intentions to make more of those than we'd have had tons more by now or at least 5 or 10 more original ones.
that i really want to see Constantine in any new project
I'm also sometimes thinking about how before Jim Henson died, different home video companies would have the video rights to different productions, after he died video companies would have the video rights to nearly everything the company owned, and after the company sold the Muppets video deals would mainly just include all "family propeties" retained by the company, while productions that don't fit would be released by other companies (Sony still has the video rights to The Dark Crystal and The StoryTeller after all these years).
And there's the fact that while The Muppets Character Encyclopedia avoided photos from productions not owned by Disney (aside from a still from Beautiful Day Monster's debut on The Ed Sullivan Show), pretty much every Jim Henson or Muppet retrospective/biography put out by The Jim Henson Company didn't seem to exclude clips or photos from productions that the company doesn't own the distribution rights to. They normally WOULD include clips or photos from Sesame Street, various guest appearances, and the Sony-owned MTM and Labyrinth. Nonfiction books on Jim Henson made since 2004 still include images of Muppet and Sesame Street characters. Muppet Race Mania featured clips from the first six movies, regardless of whether the rights were owned by Henson, Sony (which makes the PlayStation, so maybe getting rights to those were easy), and Disney. Same with The Muppet Show 25th Anniversary album including tracks from each of those movies soundtracks.
Though on a slightly contradictory note, lately I've been thinking about how the book The Story of Jim Henson: Creator of the Muppets does not have any photos from The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The StoryTeller, or The Witches. This book was the first time I knew of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth by name (I'd seen clips in Secrets of the Muppets, and had seen Labyrinth in school but couldn't remember the name), and I had wanted to see pictures from those. It is interesting how that book does not include any Creature Shop photos. Of course it also doesn't have any pictures of the Sam and Friends cast.
These last few days I've also been thinking about Muppet/Henson music publishers. It seems Henson had and now Disney has their own publishing companies for songs and music written especially for the Muppets. There's been such names as "Muppet Melodies" and "Fuzzy Muppet Songs", I think there have been others as well. I see those publishing companies mentioned on song pages for Muppet Wiki, though there's no pages for them (and I don't really expect them to get pages). As a matter of fact, it seems like some songs from either The Muppet Show or The Muppet Movie (or maybe it was both) were listed on Muppet Wiki as being published by ATV Music... According to Jim Henson: The Biography, The Jim Henson Company didn't even have the rights to original songs from The Muppet Show until after they purchased the distribution rights, but would/should the original publishing company still be listed if the rights changed?
Of course, even with publishing companies, the rights to all Muppet songs are still owned by Disney. While most Sesame Street songs are published to their respective songwriters publishing companies (though I think I've seen some songs listed as being published to "Sesame Street, Inc." or something like that).
I don't know why, but I'm thinking so much about how I wish that "The Best of the Muppet Show" DVDs were in-print and $5 each at a bunch of stores.
If Piggy and Kermit are EVER getting married like seriously.
I think that will always be a running gag in the muppet franchise, I mean I doubt they'll ever make it happen, and it'd be kind of annoying to incorporate another wedding in a muppet movie.
Trust me, it'll happen eventually and when it does, it will be a television special, not a part of another film. It is a running gag that has been running for too long and is getting tiresome quickly. Besides have you seen Kermit lately? He was acting like a love-sick puppy (for Kermit anyway) all through the MMW interview junket, willingly giving kisses and cuddling up to the pig
Anyway, in other Muppet Fan thoughts, I wonder if that Muppet broadway show is still going to go ahead? I haven't heard anything about them giving up on it.
(Whenever a new Muppet production comes out) Does the EM get any lines or a scene in this one?
What will they do with Contantine since he has fulfilled his role as main villain of MMW?
Dude, if I had money and more experience in film, I would totally finance and direct and EM movie!
That would be sweeeeeeet!
One thing I often think about is character/production ownership, and distribution rights over the years.
I think about how the credits for the first three Muppet movies don't have a note that the Muppets were owned by The Jim Henson Company. And is it just me or do those movies lack production credits for The Jim Henson Company? I know that TMM and GMC now have production logo sequences for Jim Henson Pictures (and back in the 1990s, they had production credits for Jim Henson Productions), but those movies didn't have such sequences (it seems a production sequence for Henson Associates or whatever didn't exist until Fraggle Rock or Muppet Babies). The Jim Henson Company did originally produce those, right?
And there's the fact that even with Disney owning the Muppets and the productions, the Jim Henson Productions/Pictures logo still appears in the movies. The 50th anniversary DVD releases added the "Muppet Studios" logo sequence while retaining old Henson production logos, but Netflix doesn't include the Muppet Studios logo (and ABC Family didn't include that logo either). And yet Zoot's ITC sequences had to be replaced (I asked about this back when The Muppet Newsflash had a forum, and I was told that it's okay for productions to retain their production logo sequences and credits when ownership changes).
And after watching the first five movies recently, it's interesting how the first three give copyright credits to the production companies, while the ones that Disney always produced give copyright to The Jim Henson Company.
And I often think about how, with the exception of the movies that Disney always distributed, the "presents" credit never goes to the distributor, but to an executive producer or the Henson company. This also applies to The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and the two Sesame Street movies (and I think The Witches and Buddy).
And on my mind often is Universal having the US distribution to ITC's films in the 1980s, which includes The Great Muppet Caper and The Dark Crystal. Jim Henson: The Biography mentions that when Jim Henson successfully purchased the distribution rights to TDC from ITC he still had to deal with Universal as the American distributor, but it seems like Henson must have been able to get those distribution rights. Was Universal's deal with ITC always temporary (meaning that ITC, and any company who bought the rights to its films, would eventually get back the American rights?)? Did the Universal logo appear on the original VHS releases of GMC and TDC? I know that even after Jim Henson got the distribution rights, The Great Muppet Caper continued to be broadcast with the Universal logo (and I remember one TV broadcast which had both the ITC and Universal logos).
Muppety things on my mind include:
What will be the Muppets next project
Will we get a new Muppet action figure Series or More Plush soon
When will Seasons 4 and 5 of TMS be released on DVD
Will they make a 60 years TV special next year
Will Bret Mckenzie still write music for The Muppets (I hope so)
Will they make any new Viral Videos e.g. Muppisodes
Basically I'm just wondering two things:
1. I wonder if Steve Whitmire ever got my fan mail???? I've got no way of knowing, and I had some questions I'd like him to answer.
2. WHEN IS JIM HENSON'S CREATURE SHOP CHALLENGE COMING BACK?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
One thing that's on my mind is Thog's appearance in the number "I Feel the Earth Move". Besides being a giant in that appearance, I've always thought there was something different/odd about his appearance compared to his other appearances. In almost all his other appearances he has a rather "cuddly" look, but here not so much. I wondered if it was because he was supposed to look giant, but then they used miniature sets as opposed to video tricks to make him look bigger, so that wouldn't be the case. But then it hit me: This was the last appearance of the original Thog puppet, so it was probably a case of the puppet wearing out.
I've also always thought it was strange how in that one clip Thog's ears didn't go up, when they did in almost every other appearance (well, they didn't in the Muppet Movie finale). For some reason I thought it was a rule for his ears to go up in everything he appears in (and I wasn't accepting the technicality that they did go up in the opening, seen in every episode including that one). But I wonder if there were any reasons, or if the mechanics were broke, or if the performer just happened to not do that in that scene.
This also reminds me of something I thought about Thog (which should probably be noted in the Muppet mistakes thread). At first the primary source of me seeing Thog was in the "I Hear the Earth Move" clip in Rock Music with the Muppets, and I thought he was always giant (I had also seen him alongside Sweetums and a Mutation in the It's the Muppet Show book but didn't think a thing, and had not yet noticed Thog in The Muppet Movie finale). Then one time I rented Rock Music witht he Muppets, and noticed he was in the School's Out number as well, the same basic size as the other full-body characters, and mistakenly thought that he was a magical monster who could grow and shrink at command (which would be a cool character thing, especially since the current Thog puppet is noticeably larger).
I've been thinking about the Muppet Show, and how when it first premiered both in the UK and in the US how it just became one of the most popular shows at that time. In the UK the first Muppet Show album beat the Beatles, and was number one on the charts. In fact people started calling it Muppetmania, and I'm just thinking what would it take for that to happen again? Or a better question is could that ever happen again with Jim Henson being gone?
I tend to think about how England-based performers usually only perform in productions made in England, and Canandian-based performers are limited to Canandian productions, and yet there doesn't seem to be any problems getting American-based performers to perform in productions made outside of the states.
And I can't really decide which setting I prefer for the intros and outros on The Jim Henson Hour: The Muppet Workshop setting used in the pitch tape, or the computer animated room used for the series. Both are good and magical. The workshop setting would have been more of a mix of reality and magic... I feel with that setting, we could have gotten random appearances by characters in the workshop.
In Jim Henson: The Biography, it says that the Lion was used in the intros to give Jim somebody to talk to... But they could have had other characters popping up and interacting with Jim (even with the more magical set used). And it seems like in the Jim Henson Hour's main setting, aside from some Creature Shop characters (was Jojo made by the Creature Shop or the Muppet Workshop?), the only Muppets to appear with Jim in those scenes were presented as puppets being performed by Jim.
And lately I've been thinking about the rotating schedule Jim Henson intended for the show... And I've wondered what kind of show would air in months that have five days that the show is usually broadcast. Or would they have just aired something else in the shows time slot (maybe special airings of other NBC shows, or television specials, or movies, or maybe even repeats of existing Henson specials or movies).
I also wonder what the ratings were like for Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting, which aired in The Jim Henson Hour's time slot one week before the premiere (and had two commercials for the show... in fact that and The Magical World of Disney were the only TV shows advertised during the commercial breaks). Ratings for JHH were usually disappointing, but was that the same for 20 and Still Counting? Maybe the fact that it was a Sesame Street special helped it (or was intended to help with the ratings), but then again, the fact that the Muppets were used on JHH should have helped the ratings as well but didn't.
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