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Working with Frank Oz.

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by renegade, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Are you saying that Jack Burns got fired from writing for The Muppet Show because of attitude problems? I never knew that. Of course, Jack Burns did get hired to write The Muppet Movie.
  2. Muppet Matt

    Muppet Matt Well-Known Member

    The Indian in the Cupboard was pretty good.
  3. Tim

    Tim Well-Known Member

    In Bernie Brillstein's incredible biography, he writes about his working relationships with his clients. In the case of Jim Henson, he spoke of how non-confrontational he was. There was some kind of problem with Jack Burns-like he thought he knew the characters better or could write better for them-whatever. During a phone conversation with Brillstein, Jim, in his own gentle way simple said "Jack Burns gives me a stomach ache.". Bernie knew exactly what he meant, said he would take care of it, a call was made and he was gone.

    I would assume Jack's work on Muppet Movie was done before all this. I never saw him on the set, or doing any promotion for the film. I met David O'Dell who came in came in kind of late, so perhaps he filled in for Jack(?).

    The only major contributions to the Muppets I know of is Burns named Fozzie's writer "Gags Beasly" (and "Gags" he'd used before), named Gonzo and helped establish his personality.
  4. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I thought that a movie deal wasn't made untill sometime during or after the second season. Then again, untill a few months ago I also thought that the Muppet Meeting Films began sometime in the 1960s, not 1975. And there are other things that I mistakenly thought for a long time.
  5. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    Tim you worked on the Muppet movie? What did you do on it if you don't mind my asking. I also wonder if I've met you or not since I interned in the Henson workshop in NYC in 1999...
  6. Misan

    Misan Member

    Frank is a good man just need to comeback and be Piggy Fozzie Animal and Sam!
  7. MeepBorkMeep

    MeepBorkMeep Well-Known Member

    Well, I mean...if the guy wants to retire or do something other than Muppets for a while, that's perfectly okay, at least I think so. Yeah, we'll miss em, but frankly the man deserves a break.
  8. Misan

    Misan Member

    Then in that case Dave should have retired too.
  9. MeepBorkMeep

    MeepBorkMeep Well-Known Member

    If he wanted to, I'd support it. But then who would poor Stevie have? They're so good together! And Dave's awesome! He /better/ not retire!

    P.S. Clearly, I'm a hypocrite.
  10. Misan

    Misan Member

    Steve will have Kevin and that too talented for his own good Bill. Besides Kevin needs more parts to say us Black puppeteers are good engough to work with Kermit.
  11. Tim

    Tim Well-Known Member

    My whole sorted story is written up here under "MY VERSION OF BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE MUPPET MOVIE" thread:


    Unfortunately, I'm sure we've never met since I never got to go to NY.

    PM me if you would like to chat and maybe exchange production stills!
  12. Tim

    Tim Well-Known Member

    Projects, especially movies can be years in development. Look how long it took Jim to sell anyone on the idea of a "puppet show" for adults! It's possible Jack did an early draft years before they went into production.

    Just a thought, though.
  13. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Yes, it did take years to get this show on the air, but The Muppet Movie was went into production three years after the show began, and I doubt tha Henson would have hired people to write a script before a deal for the movie was made. I know you didn't say this, but I also doubt that a script for a movie based on The Muppet Show was made before the show began production. Many of the main characters from the show (Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo) were either created especially for the show or were not major characters untill then. Saying this makes me wonder how a Muppet movie would have been if it just had Kermit, Rowlf, Nigel, Sam, The Electric Mayhem, Thog, Mildred, Wally, and George as main characters.
  14. Misan

    Misan Member

    It wouldn't be good period.
  15. Tim

    Tim Well-Known Member

    Of course I have no way of knowing what kind of timeline/deal was made, and anything is possible in Hollywood. Maybe Burns had an option to write a screenplay should one ever be considered, for maybe he submitted an idea for a made for TV movie for example.

    Also, treatments and scripts can float around for years in various forms before ever seeing the light of day. "The Flinstones" had something like 14 writers and 10 years before Spielberg ever got involved. Tim Burton wrote "Nightmare Before Christmas" as a poem when he was still animating at Disney. And scripts change so much-the early draft for Muppet Movie I just sold on eBay is very similar to what wound up on screen in some ways, yet almost a completely different movie in others.

    So who really knows?
  16. roastnebrie

    roastnebrie Active Member

    about frank oz

    Listen,im sure there all great puppeteers. but not everyone gets along with everyone.:mad:
  17. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    Your story was great. What an amazing experience. I've met many of the folks over at Henson but never the great man himself (not Frank Oz or Richard Hunt either unfortunately). I don't have any production stills, but thank you for responding to my post and for sharing your amazing story with us here!
  18. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Do you mean that Jim never felt comfortable or Caroll never felt comfortable? And by core group, do you mean get Caroll Spinney performing more characters besides Big Bird and Oscar in non-Sesame productions, like most of the other main performers (Henson, Oz, Nelson, Brill) at the time?
  19. Tim

    Tim Well-Known Member

    As Cheryl Blaylock explained it to me, Jim wanted Carroll to do "regular" Muppets as well as Big Bird and Oscar and along side the first-string performers (Oz, Nelson et. all) and that Carroll was reluctant to do so.

    I wouldn't begin to speculate "why", except to say that Carroll is an extremely shy man (it took Jim over a year just to get Carroll to talk to him about joining the company in the first place), and maybe he didn't want to leave his own "Picklepuss" characters behind. It might be he felt his hand puppetry wasn't in their league, or that he excelled in full-body characters, or that he was never going to top his work with Big Bird and Oscar.

    All this led to a lousy rumor a couple years ago. Someone had stated (as fact) that Carroll was "difficult" and that's why they excluded him, and that he didn't want to do more with the company because Jim Henson was "cheap" and didn't want to pay people what they were worth.

    NONE of this was true of course.
  20. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Caroll Spinney didn't realy talk about why he hardly had any regulars in his autobiography, but there are some things he said that seemed to contradict this.

    Regarding the fact that it took Jim Henson over a year to get Caroll pinney involved with the company, Spinney said that Henson asked him to come to the Muppet Workshop to "talk about the muppets", which was his way of telling Spinney that he was wanting to offer him a job as a muppet performer, but at the time Spinney didn't know what he meant (he thought Henson just wanted to have a conversation about Muppets) and didn't get aorund to "talking" about the muppets.

    I don't think Spinney was against having more characters. In his autobiography, he talks about one of his few other characters, Bruno, and when talking about him he pointed out that he now had another character, which sounded to me like he was being positive about having a new character to perform.

    Also, Spinney said in his autobiography that Jim Henson didn't have any work for him during the production break between the first and second seasons. However, I know that The Great Santa Clause Switch was being taped before the second season started, and that Henson hired a lot of new puppeteers for that production (this was the first Henson production that Fran Brill, Richard Hunt, and Marylin Sokol performed in, and Jerry Nelson became a full-time performer with Henson starting with this production).

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