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Will Walter become the new Pepe?

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Princeton, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Somebody pointed out the hype with Walter, but I don't remember there being any big hype for Pepe before Muppets Tonight or Muppets from Space. I didn't get the internet until after the first season of Muppets Tonight and therefore only saw a few newspaper articles on Muppets Tonight before it began, but I doubt any individual characters (except maybe Clifford) were being hyped. And as I said, I don't remember any hype for Pepe regarding his big part in Muppets from Space. I knew he would be in the movie, think I knew he had a big part, was surprised and shocked he was used without Seymour (and so prominiently), and I think I knew he was all over the trailer (which I never saw in theaters). I don't know if Henson expected him to steal the show and be what the audiences liked best about the film (if they did would they have pushed for Pepe merchandise when the film came out?).

    Somebody mentioned Animal as being among the main five. While that may be true, I've never considered him part of the main five or even main six (unless you're referring to The Electric Mayhem, which only had five or six). I've always thought the pre-1990 main six was Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rowlf, and Scooter, with Rowlf and Scooter eventually replaced with Rizzo and eventually Pepe (I put Clifford in the #5 or #6 spot during Muppets Tonight). I prefer Animal when he's part of The Electric Mayhem over him being solo, and while he's clearly the most popular, I'd put him at the #3 spot in terms of character importance in the group.

    I never thought about Pepe being underrated in merchandise, though I have noticed the small amount of Pepe merch. I thought the major characters underrated in merchandise were Bunsen, Beaker (before 2001), and most of the Electric Mayhem. And now that I think of it, I guess Rowlf and Scooter have been underrated merchandise-wise since the 1980s. I was surprised when I learned of Igel releasing plush of Statler, Waldorf, and The Swedish Chef, and was more surprised when I learned there were other toys of the characters before then. I was also surprised to learn there was a Sam the Eagle PVC back in the 1980s (not to mention a Nigel PVC, which for years fans questioned the existience of until someone found a photo).

    It's interesting that even during the 1970s, when The Muppet Show was airing weekly and fans could see more of the supporting and minor characters more frequently, that most of the character merchandise was the main 7. I know that some of the Electric Mayhem had been made as toys here and there (Floyd as a PVC, Dr. Teeth and Zoot as finger puppets and ceramic mugs; In fact, since Teeth, Zoot, and Animal were all in the finger puppet line, I wonder if there might have been plans for more finger puppets, so Floyd and Janice could eventually be included). Bunsen, Beaker, Sam, Lew Zealand, The Swedish Chef, Pops, Annie Sue, Beauregard, The Newsman, Robin, and Sweetums were all being used quite a bit on the show, so it's a wonder there weren't any toys of them during the show's run.

    I say all this, and yet as a child, most Muppet toys I had were Kermit toys (I'm not counting Muppet Babies, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, or Dinosaurs). There were occasions when I saw some in stores or claw machines, but for the most part I didn't have many other characters (I had the Scooter stick puppet and fisher price doll, and I think that's it for the Muppet Show characters).
     
  2. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    True, Scooter was more like the other Muppet Show characters who didn't really care if they happened to drive Kermit crazy, lol. ;)
     
    Yorick likes this.
  3. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    when i said pepe would be like bean i didnt mean character wise...i mean more use wise...we see him in the muppet group now and then maybe later he has a small role as an extra muppet chracter ala homeless boy in christmas carol ...i mean i dont want him to completely disapear and im sad we dont see much bean anymore but i understand why
     
    Yorick likes this.
  4. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    @minor: If you look at the merchandise of the latter 80's through all of the 90's, and even into the 2000's Animal is used as one of the main core. In fact at times, Animal tends to overshadow even Kermit. Within the show and movies, he was always part of the Electric Mayhem and not part of the actual main core. Not sure at what point Animal became a defacto spotlight character.

    On the other hand, Beaker has long ago stopped being obscure merchandise or focus wise. Beaker is probably one of the most recognized characters...who went from cult fan favorite status(like Boba Fett) to having tons of focus and merchandise. Swedish Chef too. Heck I own about 15 different Beaker plushes just from the last decade alone. Almost the same with Swedish Chef.

    I consciously started obsessively scouring for Muppet toys and merchandise in stores and thrift stores around 1981 when I was 3, but like you I don't remember merchandise for anyone outside of Kermit/Piggy/Gonzo/Fozzie/Scooter/Rowlf.
    As Dr Tooth points out, its strangely during the "dark ages" of 2002-2004 that we get the most Muppet merch since the early 1980's. Just the fact they came out with figures of mahna mahna and the snowths, doglion, thog, koozebanes, etc made me happy. In the early 80's when I discovered the fisher price figures and schleich pvcs, my dream was that all or a huge portion of TMS characters get the toy treatment much like Kenner/Hasbro has done with Star Wars characters or Disney with Toy Story universe characters.

    One question I always had....other than the naked characters(Kermit, Rowlf, and Fozzie) why is it Piggy and Gonzo are the only characters whose outfits change over time? And even now, Gonzo is back to his 80's cosby show nerd style(which I like, but I also like mid 80's zany outfit Gonzo) If anyone needed desperate wardrobe changes it's The Electric Mayhem...tho now, they almost look hip again and Janet and Zoot look like hipsters.

    Yeah it's funny, between 1989 and 1997 Clifford was one of the main Muppets. Bean too. They hyped Clifford as one of the top main Muppets next to Kermit with MT. Of course 1996/1997 is also when Clash went super nova red hot with Elmo and had to devote his life to that character. I still hope someday they can bring back Digit, Lindburch, Leon, Zondra, etc. "Muppet Television"/JHH is one of my favorite Muppet things next to M@WDW and MFC.
     
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Scooter got the job because his uncle owned the theater, and that was the character's leverage. Scooter could screw up, slack off, be unco-operative if he wanted to, and Kermit could do anything about it. Even if he so much as lost his temper, all Scooter would say is "My Uncle owns the theater" and a grumbling Kermit would reluctantly let him on his way.

    That's how the character was introduced, though. Scooter has been since accepted into the family, he's completely professional and he joins in skits because Kermit wants to give him his time to shine. Sure, there are performers in the troupe that Kermit's very uneasy about and drive him man, but Scooter isn't one of them.

    Walter seems to be a character who would give anything to work with his heroes. I'd see him more like Grover (in early waiter sketches) than Scooter, almost killing himself to please everyone and giving it a comedic 110%. I'd even say there's a bit of Eek the Cat to the character, the way he keeps getting cartoonishly injured in the trailers.

    I'm really disappointed that for some reason they couldn't put any JHH characters in Muppet Snow White. That was the intent... I bet they would have put Digit in eventually. But Clifford probably would have been a huge hit if it wasn't for Elmo's popularity. It seems that we still have Pepe and Bobo from the new era... Bean hasn't made a major appearance since Steve took over Kermit... the foresight of Steve needing another character besides Rizzo. But since he's Kermit and Kermit's used so frequently, there's no room for him to be Bean anymore. Yet, there's occasional Bean merchandise coming out of the theme parks every so often because of his role in Muppet Vision.
     
  6. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah I agree Scooter got better over time, lol. That's what's interesting about him actually, he's been on both sides of the asylum so to speak, lol. ;)
     
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yeah it seems Scooter only worked with the Muppets initially because he's that kind of guy who's having problems getting hired and needs work for the experience and had to beg and plead his Uncle to give him a hand. But after a while he got accepted into the group in the same kind of closeness that Kermit accepted Fozzie, Gonzo, and Piggy.

    Where as Walter is a die hard fan that would desperately love to work with them. I'd see him taking up odd jobs no one else at the theater would want at first (sort of like those old stories about someone who wants to join the circus only to clean up after the elephants, but doesn't seem to mind), but then being welcomed into the inner circle. That is, all based off of what we've seen so far. In an interview, Walter references the Dr. Teeth Palisades tuxedo repaint figure and fan frustraiton over the lengthy period between season 3 and 4 being released to DVD.
     
  8. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    The way I see it, the Muppet Show characters all have some kind of hang up or insecurity that's at the root of their em, heh, "insanity." Once Kermit got comfortable giving Scooter more responsibility, Scooter's hang up was gone. Fozzie's hang up (telling bad jokes) was much harder to cure, lol.
     
  9. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    dur meant to say Walter not pepe
     
  10. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    It's OK, I actually didn't notice that until you pointed it out. I figured you meant Walter.
     
  11. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    i mustve been tired...either way Walter has finally grown on me,,,not that i learned he is meant to be expressive i can see him continuing on if the story calls for it...my main confusion is his relation to Gary
     
  12. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Lol, that reminds me of the first time I showed my friend Hey, Cinderella! When the (human) prince came up to the (Muppet) king and says, "Oh Dad!" My friend was like, "Ummm....how is that possible?" Lol
     
  13. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I wonder if any of the other comic book artists intended on including JHH characters but were told no. The Snow White one's the only one we know of where this situation happened (and even then, I've heard that Bugsy Them appeared in one issue, and I thought I saw Beard in the preview for issue 3. That could have been Zeke, but something about the design looked more "Beard" than "Zeke" to me). I doubt there would have been any such consideration in Muppet Peter Pan (which mainly just had major characters), but I bet Muppet King Arthur would have been a great way to show them (even if only in the audience).
     
  14. MuppetySmurf

    MuppetySmurf Member

    What does VMX stand for?:confused:
     
  15. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    It's our abbreviation of "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie"
     
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Amy managed to sneak a Sesame Street character (Wolfgang the Seal) and the LaChoy dragon in a couple times. Shelli managed to go off copyright completely in cases (though, altered to a parody extent). I gotta take these things all out and flip through them to check that other stuff out.

    Really a shame no one tried shoving Digit in the background. I wonder if the JHH characters were just a source of confusion... I swear they were owened by Disney too.
     
  17. Muppet fan 123

    Muppet fan 123 Well-Known Member

    So far I do love Walter he's just a great character.
    Would I mind him taking over Pepe? No I wouldn't
    Pepe is definatley not my favorite character (Sorry to all the Pepe lovers out there)
    Walter fits right into the Muppets. Pepe not so well.
    I don't really like the new characters from Muppets Tonight with the exception of Bobo (come on, who doesn't like Bobo?)
     
    heralde likes this.
  18. Muppet fan 123

    Muppet fan 123 Well-Known Member

    I'm kinda upset that Pepe became the next Rizzo
     
  19. Muppet fan 123

    Muppet fan 123 Well-Known Member

    Was Fozzie ever worried about being replaced by Bobo?
    I remeber the Steve Martin episode Fozzie was worried he would be replaced by a funnier bear.
    Did that ever happen in Muppets Tonight?
    Random Question: did Frank Oz perform in Muppets Tonight?
     
  20. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    If I was the artist I woulda been sneaking in all sorts of cameos, even if it was just vague sillohette. I woulda put in Digit, Ploobis, Scred, Leon, etc

    Ha, I remember La Choy dragon! That was so random for her to put that in there, even most diehard muppet fans may not know about that. Im all about for artists subverting copyright.

    I personally do not make distinctions legality wise between the Muppets(tm), Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Bear in the Big Blue House, Hoobs, Mopatop, foreign Sesame, Pajanimals, Henson Alternative brand...to me it's all Muppets in my book
     

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