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EPISODE NOTES

This is one out of only three episodes this season to not contain an official "Talk Spot" although there is a slight exchange between the guest and frog in front of the curtain before Peter's first sketch.

The Newsman finally develops the voice he would have for the rest of the series and gets glasses. (Which fly to the back of his head and back on his face at the end of the sketch.)

This is the first episode of two that Cynthia Adler performs in. Her main character, Cynthia Birdley, appears during the talks spot, a shorter nosed, brasher version of Mildred what with the curly hair, purple skin and rhinestone glasses.

Making its Muppet Show debut, the song "Bein' Green" was already well associated with Kermit. The song had previously been sung on Sesame Street and various guest spots on other shows. Kermit will sing it once again on the show next season and the song would become Kermit's best known song until 1979's "Rainbow Connection" from the Muppet Movie.

A running gag throughout the show, "The Hatrack" is even listed in the closing credits as one of the writers! A similar running gag occurs with the name Gummo in the 1981 special "The Muppets Go To The Movies".

Peter Ustinov would later make a cameo as a truck driver in 1981's "Great Muppet Caper" movie sharing screen time with both Miss Piggy and Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch!

THE MUPPET PEOPLE:

Frank Oz (Fozzie Bear, Animal, Miss Piggy, Mildred, George, Sam Eagle)

and Jim Henson (Kermit the Frog, Waldorf, Rowlf, Newsman)

with Richard Hunt (Statler, pig, Miss Piggy, Wayne, Scooter)

Dave Goelz (Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot)

Eren Ozker (Janice, dancer, Hilda, singer, Wanda)

John Lovelady

Peter Friedman

Cynthia Adler (Cynthia Birdley)

WRITTEN BY Jack Burns, Marc London, Jim Henson, The Hatrack, and Jerry Juhl

PUPPET MAKERS: Bonnie Erickson & Don Sahlin and Caroly Wilcox, Mari Kaestle, Dave Goelz, Rollin Krewson, Faz Fazakas, Larry Jameson

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR HENSON ASSOCIATES, INC./MUPPETS: David Lazer

THEME MUSIC: Sam Pottle

ORCHESTRA: Jack Parnell

MUSIC CONSULTANT: Larry Grossman

MUSICAL ASSOCIATE: Derek Scott

FLOOR MANAGER: Richard Holloway

VISION MIXER: Carole Legg

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Joan Chaplow

VISION: John Willment

CAMERAS: Bill Brown

VTR EDITOR: John Hawkins

SOUND: Ted Scott

LIGHTS: John Rook

DESIGN: Paul Dean

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Jim Henson

PRODUCER: Jack Burns

DIRECTOR: Peter Harris

Peter Ustinov - Episode 12

Taping Dates: July 20-22, 1976
Original Airdates: November 8, 1976 (New York) and November 13, 1976 (LA)
DVD Release:
Columbia Tri-Star (UK HMV Exclusive), 2003; Buena Vista Home Video, 2005

GENERIC INTRO: SWEDISH CHEF'S LANGUAGE

Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. The Muppets have always gotten a lot of fan mail. Over the years, we've received thousands of letters and believe it or not, we do try to read and answer every one of them."

"The staff received a memorable letter from a Scandinavian businessman who saw the show while on a trip to London. He wrote to inform my father that The Muppet Show's so called Swedish Chef did not actually speak any real Scandinavian language, not even Swedish. The Muppet Show head writer Jerry Juhl sent a reply, saying "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We were going to fire the Chef on the spot, but he has got a wife and family and he promises to take Swedish lessons." So here's the Swedish Chef and all of your other favorite Muppets on The Muppet Show."

OPENING THEME

Fozzie's joke: "Hey, the little things in life drive me crazy - like what do you send to a sick florist?"

Gonzo's mallet: Tries to hit the "O" but his mallet gets stuck in the "S".

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit is excited to have Peter Ustinov as a guest as well as an offshoot of the Boston Pops Orchestra (just the wind section).

OPENING NUMBER: "EVENING AT THE POPS"

A conductor points to a group of balloons as they musically pop (Inspired by Gonzo's attempted act last week?) At the end, the conductor turns around revealing his head as a balloon which pops.

[The conductor is a faithful reconstruction of the balloon puppet from At the Dance in the Harvey Korman episode.]

BALCONY

STATLER: They say music has charms to soothe the savage beast.

(Animal enters the box and attacks Statler.)

WALDORF: Such is not the case here.

BACKSTAGE

Piggy sighs that her heart is going pitter-patter. (Kermit: "Maybe you've had too much coffee.") When Piggy mentions she's thrilled at being so close to the man she's loved and admired for years, Kermit explains he's unavailable prompting Piggy to clarify she's referring to Peter!

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit brings out Peter who's still getting used to performing among colleagues who aren't people; his chair walked away from under him. Kermit explains that was a Muppet as well as the wife of the show's writer...the Hatrack! Kermit prepares Peter for the next sketch in which the guest now gets to be a Muppet.

MUPPET LABS

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew presents his breakthrough in international statesmanship, the robot politician (Peter). Demonstrating how the international machine will end corruption in government forever, Bunsen flicks the switch allowing Peter the opportunity to portray a British Prime Minister, American President, and Russian Premier. The machine starts to smoke as Peter launches into a rage of different languages, arms flailing wildly until he explodes.

BALCONY

WALDORF: A wonderful performance!

STATLER: Reminiscent of the late Rudolph Besser!

WALDORF: Rudolph Besser is dead?

STATLER: No, he's late! He was supposed to be here...

WALDORF: Statler, you always get me with that same dumb joke!

STATLER: Well maybe it's not the joke that's dumb if you catch my drift!

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie looks for the Tower of Talent, Peter Ustinov, saying appearing in a sketch with him is the highlight of his career...which he said about Kermit last week.

FOZZIE: I was wrong. How can you compare yourself to...HIM?

KERMIT: Easy, he puts on his pants just like me...one leg at a time.

FOZZIE: You don't wear any pants!

KERMIT: Okay, lets' see HIM get away with that on television!

AT THE DANCE

ROWLF: Hey, you wanna stop by the punch bowl?

DANCER: Why do they call it a punch bowl?

(A boxing glove pops out of the bowl clocking the dancer.)

STAGE CURTAIN

Sam, in his "never ending struggle to uplift these proceedings" introduces a discussion on post-Victorian economics by Professors Arnold Nood and Frederick Nik.

SKETCH

Prof. Nood (Peter) tells the story of Benny with Prof. Nik (Fozzie) egging him on. When Benny shaves his beard after a warning not to from his fairy godmother who angrily turns him into a Grecian urn, the theory is proved that "A Benny shaved is a Benny urned."

UK SKIT: MUSICAL NUMBER - "ANOTHER SOMEBODY DONE SOMEBODY WRONG SONG"

Miss Piggy gets to perform the song Kermit promised Lena Horne last week that he'd let her do! Backed by Rowlf on piano and backed by Fozzie and a Muppet Chorus, Piggy gives an overly emotional reading to the song!

BACKSTAGE

Hilda gushes that Peter took the time to notice her hemstitch. When Kermit tries to compliment the costume mistress, she brushes him off.

MUSICAL NUMBER: "YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME"

A vampiresque villain turns a singer into such creatures as a bird, cat, fish, and potted plant.

NEWSFLASH

The Newsman interviews Dr. Felix Oglebomb (Peter) about his (nearly) infallible cure for the common cold.

STAGE CURTAIN

Sam announces it's inspiration time ("and goodness KNOWS we need some.")

WAYNE & WANDA

The duo sing "The Falling Leaves". You can guess what happens.

CONVERSATION PANEL

Moderator Kermit, Miss Piggy, Cynthia Birdley, and Dr. Kent Von Frong (Peter) discuss psychiatry. Cynthia misunderstands nearly everything said prompting Peter to explain various trade jargon to better understand the various terms as "complex. Sublimation. Regression! Gestalt!" (Cynthia and Piggy: "Gesundheit!") The practicing doctor (Cynthia: "Isn't it time you stopped practicing and got on with it?") closes with a demonstration of the Janus Theory of Primal Scream Therapy.

BALCONY

Waldorf searches for his contact lens.

BACKSTAGE

Scooter announces he wants to be just like Peter; something he said about Kermit last week. ("I was wrong.") When Scooter asks, "Would you like to grow up and be an international star or would you like to grow up to be a frog?", a worn Kermit walks onstage and sings...

MUSICAL NUMBER: "BEIN' GREEN"

Walking onto a set depicting a green grassy field, Kermit pours his heart out in his famous song. [This version of the song closes the original Muppet Show soundtrack and is featured on The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem and More. Kermit will also sing this version in next season's Peter Sellers episode...something about guests named Peter that do this to him.]

STAGE CURTAIN

Peter comes out to say his good-byes with the hatrack, complimenting him of being a writer of many talents ("wears more than one hat"). He then cheers Kermit up by announcing he's been jealous of Kermit since he's always wanted to be a frog.

CLOSING THEME

BALCONY

WALDORF: Well they did improve the level of television entertainment.

STATLER: Well they had no place to go but up.

Guide Written by
D. W. McKim and Phillip Chapman

With contributions from
Jogchem Jalink and Dave Ebersole

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