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EPISODE NOTES

The Snerfs, though rarely seen on The Muppet Show are actually a classic type of Muppet creature that had often been featured in sketches of the Ed Sullivan type variety, as a type of Frackle in "The Great Santa Claus Switch" and even in some early episodes of "Sesame Street" Their most notable characteristic is the ability to extend their bodies into a long pole or contract into a small roundish creature. The horns-as noses were added for this appearance. When toy puppets of Rowlf and Kermit were manufactured in the '60's, the ads indicated that a Snerf puppet existed also.)

Both opening acts demonstrate the black background style of puppetry often used by the Muppets where the characters are manipulated by the puppeteers behind them dressed all in black and rendered practically invisible due to the black sets and effective lighting, making the characters appear to move about on their own. The Gawky Birds are among some of the largest puppets in the Henson arsenal (a related type of creature known as The Bossmen, being the largest).

Both the Snerfs and the Gawky Birds were planned to be performed live in a Muppets on Broadway idea Jim Henson had wanted to explore. He finally gets to use both ideas on screen here. Twenty-five years later, his idea finally hits the live stage as the Bossmen, huge characters similar to the Gawky Birds join the grand finale of MuppetFest's Muppet Show Live.

This is an important step in the evolution of Miss Piggy's ascent to superstardom. Even though Miss Piggy has insisted on her being the show's resident female singer, up until now she's mostly just been in the chorus (with the notable exception being her taking the solo from the ranks of the chorus in the first episode).

Her duet with Bruce is the first time she's featured prominently in a serious number (aside from last episode's UK sketch) and she holds her own, even managing to upstage Bruce with her big finish. Two episodes from now, she'll finally get her first solo number (though it's through her forceful insistence).

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Jim Henson

PRODUCED BY Jack Burns

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

DIRECTED BY Peter Harris

THE MUPPET PUPPETEERS

FEATURING Frank Oz (Fozzie, Mildred, George, Piggy, Sam)

with Richard Hunt (Statler, Piggy, Pig, Wayne)

Dave Goelz (Zoot, Gonzo)

Eren Ozker (Janice, Hilda,
Wanda)

John Lovelady (announcer)

Peter Friedman (Pa)

Cynthia Adler (Duck)

and Jim Henson (Kermit, Waldorf, Miss Kitty, Female Whatnot, Rowlf, Jug-Band Member)

PUPPETS BY Bonnie Erickson and Caroly Wilcox, Mari Kaestle, Dave Goelz, John Lovelady, Rollin
Krewson, Faz Fazakas, and Larry Jameson

SPECIAL PUPPETS BY Don Sahlin

MUPPET COSTUME DESIGNER: Bonnie Erickson

MUPPET CREATIVE CONSULTANTS: Frank Oz, Mike Frith

ART DIRECTOR: David Chandler

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY Jack Parnell

MUSICAL ASSOCIATE: Derek Scott

LIGHTING DIRECTOR: John Rook

ASSISTANT TO PRODUCERS: Joan Chaplow

MUSIC CONSULTANT: Larry Grossman

THEME BY Sam Pottle

AUDIO: Roger Knight

MAKE UP BY Shirley Muslin

VIDEO TAPE EDITOR: John Hawkins

SENIOR VIDEO ENGINEER: Dai Winn-Smith

SENIOR CAMERAMAN: Bill Brown

VISION MIXER: Carole Legg

COSTUMES BY James Dark

MAKE UP BY Shirley Muslin

SENIOR FLOOR MANAGER: Richard Holloway

FLOOR MANAGER: Martin Baker

STAGE MANAGER: Caryl Cruickshank

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR HENSON ASSOCIATES, INC: David Lazer

Bruce Forsythe - Episode 13

Taping Dates: July 27-28, August 5, 1976
Original Airdates: December 6, 1976 (New York) and December 11, 1976 (LA)
DVD Release:
Columbia Tri-Star (UK HMV Exclusive), 2003; Buena Vista Home Video, 2005

GENERIC INTRO: PERFORMING

Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Let me tell you a little bit about how we train to perform the Muppets. It's kind of an interesting process, because what we do is, we watch a monitor. It shows us what the camera is seeing and we reach up and we work the puppet with our other hand. It's a complicated process but the idea is, that you're meant to look into the monitor and bring to life that character and be the audience and the audience's point of view."

"Course it's real difficult, because when the character turns to the right, but the camera you see, is turning to the left which means you always have to think backwards. Of course it's the Muppets so thinking backwards comes naturally. Here's The Muppet Show."

OPENING THEME

Fozzie's Joke: "Hey, question: if a man born in Poland is a Pol, is a man born in Holland a Hole? Think about it."

Gonzo's Mallet: Gonzo hits the "O" and puts a hole in it.

CURTAIN

Kermit admits to sounding a little British due to the fact that Bruce Forsythe is the guest and takes time to cringe at the name of the Snerfs.

OPENING NUMBER - "IN A LITTLE SPANISH TOWN"

A group of long blue fuzzy creatures with horns for noses that can contract and expand vertically play a tune while dancing...one of the Snerfs isn't quite up to par with the others, trying not to get stepped on by the others and often finding himself out of step.

BALCONY

Waldorf: Well now I've seen everything.

Statler: Good, can we leave?

BACKSTAGE

A squeaky voiced duck rehearses her big punch line for later in the show while Fozzie assures Kermit that he's ready to face Statler and Waldorf tonight. However, when he demonstrates his razor-sharp wit for Kermit, his comeback is more sappy then snappy.

CURTAIN

Kermit encourages a warm "Muppet Show welcome" to Bruce Forsythe.

MUSICAL NUMBER - "ALL I NEED NOW IS THE GIRL"

Bruce attempts an elegant song-and-dance amid a stylish and minimalistic set but is soon interrupted by the presence of an enormous (twice his size when extended) Gawky Bird. He tries to escort it out of the way but the Bird proves herself to be a fair (if somewhat libidinous) dance partner. By the end of the number as he's being chased by the Gawky Bird and her sister, he screams for Mr. Hitchcock!

BALCONY

Waldorf: Bravo!

Statler: Brilliant!

Waldorf: There aren't too many performers who can hold a candle to Bruce Forsythe. Statler: Of course not - they'd burn him.

Waldorf: Statler, you must be the old fool there's no fool like.

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie assures Kermit he's worked more on his comebacks and has Kermit heckle him again.

Fozzie: My cousin's so dumb, he thinks eggs benedict is a Mafia gangster!

Kermit: I'VE SEEN CHEESEBURGERS FUNNIER THAN THAT!

Fozzie's response? Hit Kermit with a rubber chicken!! (How he expected to reach Statler & Waldorf with such a technique is unknown).

AT THE DANCE

A running gag occurs of the following variety:

MILDRED: Do you like duckling?

GEORGE: I don't know, I never duckled.

UK SPOT: MUSICAL NUMBER - "I'M MY OWN GRANDPA"

The Gogolala Jubilee Jug-Band perform a classic novelty song about the joys of inbred family trees. The lead vocals of Pa are voiced by Peter Friedman. Jim Henson performed the puppet of Pa for this UK sketch. [This song was included on 1984's Silly Songs, Muppet Hits Take Two from 1994, and the video Children's Songs and Stories.]

TALK SPOT

A pun on Bruce's being able to buy a talking frog and a chicken sharing his dressing room leads to a complex barter of barnyard animals between Kermit and Bruce. Bruce's jokes on the exchange rate of pigs prompts some karate protestations from Miss Piggy.

BALCONY

Waldorf: That Miss Piggy takes umbrage at the slightest annoyance.

Statler: I usually take aspirin. Maybe I'll try some umbrage.

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie receives the good news that Statler and Waldorf will not heckle him tonight. The bad news being that the reason for the lack of harassment is due to Fozzie's act being cut because of time constraints.

CURTAIN

Sam introduces Wayne and Wanda - decent, DECENT people.

WAYNE & WANDA - "TREES"

A tree falls on Wayne after he sings the opening line. (Appears on the Muppet Show Album & Muppet Hits).

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie tries to persuade Kermit that the audience expects a comic, but Kermit replies that they have that tonight in Bruce Forsythe.

CURTAIN

Kermit: "Tonight we thought we'd give Fozzie Bear a rest."

Statler: "You're not giving him a rest - you're giving US a rest."

COMEDY SPOT

Bruce Forsythe does stand up comedy on the Fozzie Bear set. Statler attempts to heckle him but is aptly buried by Bruce's sharp comebacks. Fozzie wanders on stage in awe and Bruce gives him pointers on how he too can handle the geezers. Fozzie successfully gets Statler and Waldorf to admit the defeat and smoothly cues Bruce's and Fozzie's musical number "Side By Side".

VETERINARIAN'S HOSPITAL

Dr. Bob confuses his mallard patient for a chicken, prompting loud protests of "DUCK!" causing Bob and the Nurses to duck down. The duck receives ample applause at the end of the sketch justifying her earlier practice.

CLOSING NUMBER - "LET THERE BE LOVE"

Backed by a pig chorus, Bruce and Miss Piggy sing a tender duet as Bruce plays piano. Bruce is sure to note that he "doesn't want that big one back" when Piggy gets to the "Let there be birds" verse.

CURTAIN

A newly confident Fozzie interrupts Bruce's curtain call by getting in some digs at Kermit. Bruce: "Kermit, you're a wonderful emcee."

Fozzie: "Yeah, but he's an MC squared!"

CLOSING THEME

Statler: This show brought a tear to my eye.

Waldorf: Really?

Statler: Yeah, I'm sitting on a tack.

Guide Written by
D. W. McKim and Phillip Chapman

With contributions from
Jogchem Jalink and Dave Ebersole

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