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EPISODE NOTES

Fozzie 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 each other).

This 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.

Gorgon 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").

While "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.

The Newsman is seen here in his original version, without glasses and a slightly different voice.

Jerry Nelson does not perform in this episode.

Jane 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.

Because this 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.

THE MUPPET PERFORMERS

Frank Oz (Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gorgon Heap, villain, George, Mildred, Gloat, banana)

Richard Hunt (Boppity, Statler, Miss Piggy, Crazy Harry, pig, Wayne, Mildred, hat)

Dave Goelz (Miss Kitty, Lenny Lizard, Zoot, Gonzo)

Erin Ozker (Scoff, Mary Louise, Janice, whatnot, Wanda, Hilda)

John Lovelady (green Frackle, Baskerville, villain)

Jane Henson (puppeteering, no voices)

Jim Henson (Kermit, Rowlf, Beautiful Day Monster, villain, Waldorf, Gloat, Newsman, Dr. Teeth, Hashim)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Jim Henson

PRODUCED BY Jack Burns

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

DIRECTED BY Peter Harris

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

SPECIAL PUPPETS BY Don Sahlin

ART DIRECTOR: David Chandler

CHOREOGRAPHER: Gillian Lynne

MUPPET COSTUME DESIGNER: Bonnie Erickson

MUPPET CREATIVE CONSULTANTS: Frank Oz and Mike Frith

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY Jack Parnell

MUSICAL ASSOCIATE: Derek Scott

COSTUMES BY Sue Lecase

LIGHTING DIRECTOR: Phil Hawkes

ASSISTANT TO PRODUCER: Sue Taylor

MUSIC CONSULTANT: Larry Grossman

THEME MUSIC BY Sam Pottle

AUDIO: Ted Scott

MAKEUP BY Shirley Muslin

SENIOR VIDEO ENGINEER: John Crane

SENIOR CAMERAMAN: Bill Brown

VISION MIXER: Moyra Bird

SENIOR FLOOR MANAGER: Richard Holloway

FLOOR MANAGER: Martin Baker

STAGE MANAGER: Caryl Cruickshank

VIDEO TAPE EDITOR: John Hawkins

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR HENSON ASSOCIATES, INC.: David Lazer

Joel Grey - Episode 3

Taping Dates: May 18-20, 1976
Original Airdates: October 18, 1976 (New York) and October 23, 1976 (LA)
DVD Release: Buena Vista Home Video, 2005

GENERIC INTRO: 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."

"When The 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 off. Here he is, The Great Gonzo and The Muppet Show."

OPENING THEME

This 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".

Fozzie's joke: "In our house we use paper plates and every night after dinner my wife erases the dishes."

Gonzo's gong: Gonzo misses the "O" and falls.

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit 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.

Kermit then introduces...

OPENING NUMBER - "COMEDY TONIGHT"

Amongst 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.

WALDORF: The show's speeding along very quickly this evening.

STATLER: Oh yes, someone must have told them a moving target's harder to hit.

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie 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."

KERMIT: Fozzie, please!

FOZZIE: PLEASE, Take my wife PLEASE!

Kermit encourages Fozzie to work on it some more alone. Fozzie struggles to think of a joke having to do with "alone."

AT THE DANCE

After 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!]

NEWSMAN

He reports on the unfortunate demise of Boffo the human cannonball.

STAGE CURTAIN

A tuxedoed Kermit introduces Joel Grey.

SONG - "WILKOMMIN"

Joel 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").

WALDORF: Another star in the tradition of the late great Boris Klinger.

STATLER: Boris Klinger? Why you old fool, Boris Klinger was the worst music hall act to ever step onto the stage!

WALDORF: In your opinion maybe, but more than 2000 people attended his final performance.

STATLER: Yes yes, half of them brought the tar and the rest brought the feathers!

[PUPPETEER SPOTTING: During the end of the "Cabaret" number, we can see the tip of Dave's head under Zoot's and Janice's waist.]

BACKSTAGE

Hilda 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!")

TALK SPOT

Kermit rattles off Joel's theatrical and personal accomplishments leaving Joel nothing to discuss. (Kermit: "Boy...what a dull guest.")

WALDORF: Dull, my foot! Why that young man's one of the all time greats!

STATLER: Well, you'll get no argument from me on that!

WALDORF: That may be the first time we ever agreed on anything in our lives.

STATLER: No, we once agreed in the summer of 1912.

WALDORF: What was that?

STATLER: We agreed that Kaiser Bill looked silly in a hat! Heh heh heh - remember?

WALDORF: Heh heh heh heh...no.

SONG - "PACHALAFAKA"

Hashim, 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).]

STAGE CURTAIN

Sam 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).]

WAYNE & WANDA [debut] - "STORMY WEATHER"

Wayne starts to sing "Stormy Weather" but is interrupted by a thunderstorm.

WALDORF: I told you they were all wet.

BACKSTAGE

Hilda, Miss Piggy, and George complain to Kermit about Fozzie, so he suggests the silent treatment.

FOZZIE: I lived in a town that was so quiet, when someone turned the lights off everyone yelled 'what was that?'

PIGGY: No no!

FOZZIE: She had 'yes yes' in her eyes and 'no no's on her face!

[Watch Kermit's reaction when Fozzie cracks his first joke!]

ONSTAGE

Gonzo 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...

JOEL: I mean, one doesn't talk through one's hat.

JOEL'S HAT: I hope not, I can talk for myself!

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit introduces Fozzie's new request act.

FOZZIE'S COMEDY SPOT [debut]

Statler and Waldorf call out "amoeba" which flabbergasts Fozzie.

FOZZIE: Sorry no foreign words!

WALDORF: The word is only foreign to you.

Afraid 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'."

STATLER: Say, what DOES amoeba mean anyway?

WALDORF: I dunno, I don't live around here either.

CURTAIN

Kermit introduces the Muppet Players.

UK SKIT: SKETCH - SHERLOCK HOLMES

Rowlf 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).
ROWLF: 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.

NEWSMAN

Retired bus driver holds the state of New York hostage until he receives $50 million in cash.

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit introduces The Great Gonzo

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.

Joel 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.]

BALCONY

WALDORF: Wonderful.

STATLER: Marvelous.

WALDORF: Yeah!

STATLER: Beautiful.

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit in tux says goodnight and advises Joel to keep working on his German accent;
it may come in handy.

This 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 likeness.

CLOSING THEME

WALDORF: More more!

STATLER: No, not so loud, they may hear ya.

Guide Written by
D. W. McKim and Phillip Chapman

With contributions from
Ryan Dillon, Jogchem Jalink, and Dave Ebersole

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