Bear was originally intended as being the show's second banana
(the main star next to Kermit), but even though we've seen him
tell jokes in the opening theme and figure in the backstage plots,
this is the first episode where we actually see him in one of
his regular comedy spots. Since the "hook" of this particular
act is that he needs audience members to call out joke subjects,
this sets up interaction between him and Statler and Waldorf in
the balcony. This is a lucky and significant development for each
character since it serves as the first time we've seen Statler
& Waldorf interacting with people onstage (instead of with just
gives Fozzie's comedy spot an extra touch. Instead of just "A
Comedian On Stage Telling Jokes", we have "Comedian
Tries to Perform while Suffering the Heckling of the Geezers In
the Balcony". This would become a regular component of the
comedy spots, which in a way was fortuitous. The writing team
would soon learn that Fozzie's "bad comedian" hook by itself,
was hardly strong enough to create a strong character. What will
end up being Fozzie's saving grace is how he interacts with other
characters. His interaction with Statler and Waldorf is the first
major relationship that's explored with his character onstage
while backstage his relationship with Kermit will continue to
develop throughout the series.
Heap is a modified furry version of a classic Muppet monster originally
known as Big V. Also, regarding names of Muppet monsters, for
the purpose of this episode guide, "Gloat, the Green Frackle"
will be referred to throughout this guide by the name "Gloat"
as was revealed in the "Great Santa Claus Switch", even though
he was usually referred to on set and in scripts as "Green Frackle".
When this guide does mention the "Green Frackle", the reference
will be to the puppet that looks like a green version of Boppity
(the "Blue Frackle").
"Pachalafaka" was taped as the UK sketch, the actual original
airing of this episode in the States included this number and
instead took out the Sherlock Holmes sketch.
Newsman is seen here in his original version, without glasses
and a slightly different voice.
Nelson does not perform in this episode.
Henson, once quoted as having stopped puppeteering when it was
time to do voices, does a rare puppeteering stint in this episode,
but with no voices.
was in some regard the first "official regular" episode
of The Muppet Show, the show runs 30 seconds longer than most
(partly due to the extra verse in the opening.) This is pretty
typical with Henson productions - the first episode of Bear in
the Big Blue House is a minute longer as is the first filmed episode
of Farscape, "Exodus From Genesis". Some strange edits
also appear in the episode as well with one-frame shots popping
up in a couple of places as if some revisions were being made
to the order shots were appearing in and weren't done well. The
first time this happens is in the opening theme - a frame of Zoot/Crazy
Harry can be seen after Animal's shot. Then a frame of Kermit
in front of the curtain is seen before the second Newsman spot.
Oz (Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gorgon Heap, villain, George, Mildred,
Hunt (Boppity, Statler, Miss Piggy, Crazy Harry, pig, Wayne,
Goelz (Miss Kitty, Lenny Lizard, Zoot, Gonzo)
Ozker (Scoff, Mary Louise, Janice, whatnot, Wanda, Hilda)
Lovelady (green Frackle, Baskerville, villain)
Henson (puppeteering, no voices)
Henson (Kermit, Rowlf, Beautiful Day Monster, villain, Waldorf,
Gloat, Newsman, Dr. Teeth, Hashim)
PRODUCER Jim Henson
BY Jack Burns
BY Jack Burns, Marc London, Jim Henson, and Jerry Juhl
BY Peter Harris
BY Bonnie Erickson and Caroly Wilcox, Mari Kaestle, Dave Goelz,
Rollin Krewson, Faz Fazakas, and Larry Jameson
PUPPETS BY Don Sahlin
DIRECTOR: David Chandler
COSTUME DESIGNER: Bonnie Erickson
CREATIVE CONSULTANTS: Frank Oz and Mike Frith
CONDUCTED BY Jack Parnell
ASSOCIATE: Derek Scott
BY Sue Lecase
DIRECTOR: Phil Hawkes
TO PRODUCER: Sue Taylor
CONSULTANT: Larry Grossman
MUSIC BY Sam Pottle
BY Shirley Muslin
VIDEO ENGINEER: John Crane
CAMERAMAN: Bill Brown
MIXER: Moyra Bird
FLOOR MANAGER: Richard Holloway
MANAGER: Martin Baker
MANAGER: Caryl Cruickshank
TAPE EDITOR: John Hawkins
PRODUCER FOR HENSON ASSOCIATES, INC.: David Lazer
Grey - Episode 3
Dates: May 18-20, 1976
Original Airdates: October 18, 1976 (New York) and October 23,
DVD Release: Buena
Vista Home Video, 2005
THE GREAT GONZO
Brian Henson: "Hi,
I'm Brian Henson. The Great Gonzo is one of our most popular characters. He's
also one of our weirdest. My father first built the original Gonzo for a special
called The Great Santa Claus Switch. They called him Cigar Box Frackle because
he lived in a cigar box."
Muppet Show started, performer Dave Goelz turned this puppet into The Great
Gonzo, a daredevil obsessed with both art and danger. But throughout the first
season, Gonzo's drooping eyelids tended to made him look sad. So Dave Goelz
rebuilt the puppet himself with moving eyelids, so that he could be the artistic
maverick he was meant to be. From that point on the character literally took
he is, The Great Gonzo and The Muppet Show."
is the only episode of The Muppet Show that contained an extra
verse in the theme. Kermit sings, "Our show tonight will
feature some stuff that looks like this." Curtain reveals
some shots from the opening number, "Comedy Tonight".
joke: "In our house we use paper plates and every night
after dinner my wife erases the dishes."
gong: Gonzo misses the "O" and falls.
announces that Joel Grey is the guest, who's just as exciting
as 4000 woodpeckers doing an aerial ballet and 87 gorillas and
2 dozen elephants performing the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
NUMBER - "COMEDY TONIGHT"
a gloomy set with a haunted looking house and arches, a group
of villains, monsters (including Boppity, Gloat, Droop, Miss
Kitty, Gorgon Heap, Beautiful Day Monster, Scoff, and Lenny
Lizard) sing while clubbing each other, dodging bullets, arrows,
and Crazy Harry's explosions. A clown and young girl Mary Louise
try to escape the mayhem.
The show's speeding along very quickly this evening.
Oh yes, someone must have told them a moving target's harder
irritates Kermit as he cracks jokes having to do with whatever
Kermit says. He announces he's practicing for his new act, "Jokes
On Any Subject."
PLEASE, Take my wife PLEASE!
encourages Fozzie to work on it some more alone. Fozzie struggles
to think of a joke having to do with "alone."
the usual round of "Laugh-In" style jokes, the
sketch ends with Mildred's head getting stuck in the chandelier.
[This may or may not have actually been scripted!]
reports on the unfortunate demise of Boffo the human cannonball.
tuxedoed Kermit introduces Joel Grey.
reprises his role as the Cabaret emcee (sans makeup) as he sings
"Wilkommin" to (and with) a nightclub of Muppets (including
Dr. Teeth, Gloat, Wayne & Wanda, Zoot, Janice, Mildred,
Gonzo, Jerry, Kermit, and Droop.) Some gags incorporating the
original lines from Cabaret with Muppet sight gags ("Have
you ever seen such a beautiful orchestra?" revealing a
canine band. "Even the [pig] dancers are beautiful... if
your standards aren't too high").
Another star in the tradition of the late great Boris Klinger.
Boris Klinger? Why you old fool, Boris Klinger was the worst
music hall act to ever step onto the stage!
In your opinion maybe, but more than 2000 people attended
his final performance.
Yes yes, half of them brought the tar and the rest brought
SPOTTING: During the end of the "Cabaret" number, we can see
the tip of Dave's head under Zoot's and Janice's waist.]
can't find her glasses (They're on top of her head.) Of course,
rather than help Hilda find them, Fozzie continues his Jokes
on Request. ("I knew a minister once who was so religious,
when he read the Bible, he wore stained glasses!")
rattles off Joel's theatrical and personal accomplishments leaving
Joel nothing to discuss. (Kermit: "Boy...what a dull guest.")
Dull, my foot! Why that young man's one of the all time greats!
Well, you'll get no argument from me on that!
That may be the first time we ever agreed on anything in our
No, we once agreed in the summer of 1912.
What was that?
We agreed that Kaiser Bill looked silly in a hat! Heh heh
heh - remember?
Heh heh heh heh...no.
a tourist enamored with Turkey sings of this word that a beautiful
lady whispers in his ear, even though he has no idea what it
means. At the end of the song, the dancer removes her veil to
reveal massive facial hair! [This song appeared on the UK version
of the original Muppet
Show soundtrack (1977), Silly
Songs (1984), as well as Muppet
Hits 2 (1994).]
Eagle introduces Wayne & Wanda [this intro can be heard
on the original Muppet
Show soundtrack (1977), Muppet
Hits (1993), and The
Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem and More (2002).]
[debut] - "STORMY WEATHER"
starts to sing "Stormy Weather" but is interrupted
by a thunderstorm.
I told you they were all wet.
Miss Piggy, and George complain to Kermit about Fozzie, so he
suggests the silent treatment.
I lived in a town that was so quiet, when someone turned the
lights off everyone yelled 'what was that?'
She had 'yes yes' in her eyes and 'no no's on her face!
Kermit's reaction when Fozzie cracks his first joke!]
asks Joel why he's wearing a hat to which Joel explains is because
of his new car. When Joel asks Gonzo to go for a spin, he spins
around in circles. Joel assures Gonzo he was speaking figuratively
offering other examples...
I mean, one doesn't talk through one's hat.
HAT: I hope not, I can talk for myself!
introduces Fozzie's new request act.
COMEDY SPOT [debut]
and Waldorf call out "amoeba" which flabbergasts Fozzie.
Sorry no foreign words!
The word is only foreign to you.
of being labeled a fake, Fozzie pleases the crowd with "Two
amoeba walk out of a bar. One amoeba says to the other, 'hey
is that the sun or the moon?' The other amoeba says, 'I don't
know, I don't live around here'."
Say, what DOES amoeba mean anyway?
I dunno, I don't live around here either.
introduces the Muppet Players.
SKIT: SKETCH - SHERLOCK HOLMES
plays Sherlock with Baskerville the Hound (a skinny dog in glasses
who originated from dog food commercials done with Rowlf) as Watson.
Gorgon Heap plays the butler who eats all the evidence and murder
suspects (including Watson).
Logic is never wrong, Watson. If there is no evidence that the
butler did it and I certainly didn't do it, then the inescapable
conclusion, Watson - is that YOU'RE the murderer.
bus driver holds the state of New York hostage until he receives
$50 million in cash.
introduces The Great Gonzo
Tonight, dear patrons of the arts, I will with this sledgehammer,
demolish this vintage automobile, to the music of the Anvil
Chorus after which I will eat the crankcase acapella.
rescues Gonzo from the audience's jeers by singing "Razzle
Dazzle" [A backing chorus of Muppets accompany Joel and
it's obvious that at this early stage, the characters were still
being fleshed out and that only so many puppets had been built
- along with the expected choices of characters, a sedate Animal
and Crazy Harry offer a rare tuxedoed behaved choral contribution.]
in tux says goodnight and advises Joel to keep working on his
it may come in handy.
is the first episode that featured various Muppets coming out
for a curtain call along with the guest star rather than having
Kermit alone on stage presenting the guest with their Muppet
No, not so loud, they may hear ya.
D. W. McKim and Phillip Chapman
Ryan Dillon, Jogchem Jalink, and Dave Ebersole