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EPISODE NOTES

Rita Moreno won an Emmy for her performance on the show. This was a significant achievement considering this was only The Muppet Show's fifth episode. Three years later, Rita would co-host the special, "The Muppets Go Hollywood" and once again find herself trying to keep Animal under control!

 

Frank Oz and Richard Hunt switch off performing Piggy in this episode. The only time she is not performed by Hunt is the Talk Spot.

Marvin Suggs' Muppaphones, although there are many, are all voiced by Jim Henson and Jerry Nelson. This is Marvin Suggs' and the Muppaphones debut.

The Conversation Panel features a rarely seen character, The Guru, who only had three minor speaking parts the whole run of the show. This character was known as Brewsters on The Muppets Valentine Show (1974), the first pilot for The Muppet Show.

Sweetums' second appearance still recalls his debut from "The Frog Prince" as he keeps referring to Rita as "Nice Lady."

Some names of Marvin Suggs' Muppaphones include Lucy, Bernard, and even one named Marvin!

Miss Piggy's shining star is already taking off. She's in the first three onstage acts of the show as well as the discussion panel.

The unseen announcer is usually performed in season one by John Lovelady though in its debut, it's done by Jerry Nelson. Jerry would do the announcer a couple more times in season one then become the regular announcer from season two onward.

THE MUPPET PERFORMERS

Jim Henson (Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Newsman, Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, The Muppaphones, and Jim)

Frank Oz (Fozzie Bear, Animal, Animal's Dancing Partner, George the Janitor, Mildred, Marvin Suggs, Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle, and Frank)

Jerry Nelson (The Muppaphones, Talk Spot Whatnot, Bartender, Vet's Hospital announcer and Jerry)

Richard Hunt (Miss Piggy, Statler, Piggy's Dancing Partner, Sweetums, Wayne)

Dave Goelz (Zoot, Brewsters, Full-body Whatnot)

Eren Ozker (Janice, Wanda)

John Lovelady

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 Ann Hollowood

LIGHTING DIRECTOR: John Rook

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 Willmont

SENIOR CAMERAMAN: Dennis Bartlett

VISION MIXER: Carole Legg

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

Rita Moreno - Episode 5

Taping Dates: Week of June 3, 1976
Original Airdates: October 9, 1976 (LA)
DVD Release: Time-Life, 2002; Buena Vista Home Video, 2005

RITA MORENO INTRO

Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Rita Moreno. She's one of my all time favorite guest stars. It also was the first episode that featured the long-running, long-punning sketch "Veterinarian's Hospital" which by the way, is pretty much where Miss Piggy got her start as well. Rita Moreno was the first performer to win an Oscar, a Tony, a Grammy, and an Emmy. She won her Emmy as 'Best Performance By a Guest on a Comedy-Variety Show" for her appearance in this episode. So here it is, The Muppet Show starring Rita Moreno."

OPENING THEME

Fozzie's joke: "My cousin is so dumb, he spent two weeks in London trying to find the European Common Market."

Gonzo's gong: Gonzo hits the gong as it begins to vibrate back and forth.

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit welcomes us to the show and expresses excitement over "two-hundred and twenty dancing elephants who unfortunately left their costumes at home because they forgot to pack their trunks."

FOZZIE: I gave him that joke!

KERMIT: I wish I gave it right back!

OPENING NUMBER: RITA'S APACHE DANCE

Rita walks into a bar patronized by a bunch of pigs. A jazzy Latin rift begins and Rita notices Piggy in the corner with a gentleman friend (a full-sized Whatnot). Rita hits on him and when rejected, she picks a fight with him. They punch, bit, kick, smash chairs until Rita gets kicked through the wall. The bully collapses.

BACKSTAGE

The phone rings and Fozzie rushes to answer it. He is sprayed with water from the receiver, and tells Kermit it was the Water Department.

VETERINARIAN'S HOSPITAL [debut]

In this debut of Veterinarian's Hospital, we see an operating table with the usual teal-colored doctor's blanket and clothes, while hospital equipment and cabinets are in the background. We meet Dr. Bob (Rowlf the Dog), Nurse Piggy (Miss Piggy) and Nurse Janice (of the Electric Mayhem) with Fozzie playing the role as the reluctant patient.

JANICE: I'm sorry I'm late. Dr. Bob. I was operating in the other room.

DR. BOB: I know! It's the talk of the hospital!

BACKSTAGE

The phone rings yet again, and Fozzie answers it, this time encountering smoke. It was the Fire Department!

NEWSMAN

The Newsman reports that Mister Thomas Galey has been teaching his pet chicken to dance ballet for the better part of his life.  Recently, the chicken was accepted to the Copenhagen Ballet. Mrs. Galley didn't wish to move to Denmark, so she "fricasseed the ballerina for lunch".

STATLER: I wonder what the Swedish Chef has up his sleeve today.

WALDORF: A summons from the Board of Health, I wager.

THE SWEDISH CHEF

Chef makes flapjacks, which stick to the ceiling every time he flips them. He solves this dilemma with a shotgun and he is buried in pancakes.

BACKSTAGE

The phone rings (yes, again), and Fozzie answers it. Coins begin to spew forth, which Fozzie collects in his hat. It was, of course, Las Vegas calling!

AT THE DANCE

A shark trolls the ballroom, much to Piggy and Mildred's dismay.

UK SKIT: MUSIVAL NUMBER - "TO MORROW"

A trio of Muppets that bear a strong resemblance to their performers (Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Jerry Nelson) sing a funny tune. They would become known as The Country Trio.

ONSTAGE

Kermit introduces "The Amazing Marvin Suggs and His Muppaphone." The Muppaphone are little balls of fluff and fuzz which Marvin hits over the head with a mallet to play music. After tuning up, they perform "Lady Of Spain", and at the climax of the song, Marvin is hit by a huge, omnipotent mallet himself. The Muppaphones rejoice. [This song was released on The Muppet Show Album (1977) and Muppet Hits (1993)].

CONVERSATION PANEL

Kermit, in tux, welcomes us to the part in the program where they discuss topics of lasting importance. This time around, it's the burning question: "Is conversation a dying art?" Kermit's guests are Miss Piggy, a Whatnot Muppet, The Guru (Brewsters from The Muppets Valentine Show), and Tiffany Gonzalez (Rita).  Tiffany speaks with a heavy Latin accent, and Piggy can't understand her.

PIGGY: Who let this whacko taco onto the panel?

TIFFANY: How would you like a high heel in your hamhocks?

Kermit concludes by saying that conversation is not a dying art, but it IS severely wounded. He urges us to tune in next time, when the topic will be improving US and Latin relations.

BALCONY

STATLER: That Miss Moreno is easy on the eyes but hard on the ears.

WALDORF: Yes, in fact I just got a concussion from that discussion.

BACKSTAGE

The phone rings, and an explosion comes out when Fozzie answers it. It must have been the Atomic Energy Commission!

NEWSMAN

NEWSMAN: Here is a Muppet Newsflash... there is no news tonight!

TALK SPOT

Kermit and Rita sit around and casually chat, but Rita becomes upset because these spots always seemed so rehearsed. She asks if they can ad-lib it. Kermit agrees, but Sweetums doesn't, since he is the cue card holder.

[PUPPETEER SPOTTING: Jim's hand is visible performing Kermit after Rita yells at him for reading cue cards.]

ONSTAGE - "GOODY GOODY"

Sam the Eagle introduces Wayne and Wanda, one of the only morally uplifting things on this weird, sick program. The curtain opens and Wayne sings "Goody Goody," and smacks Wanda backwards with a grand arm gesture.

FOZZIE'S COMEDY SPOT

Kermit introduces Fozzie, who is heckled thoroughly by Statler and Waldorf.

FOZZIE: I'm good enough to play the Palace!

WALDORF: You're not good enough to CLEAN the Palace!

BACKSTAGE

The phone rings, but Kermit has had enough and refuses to let Fozzie answer it. Animal solves their problem by ripping the phone from the wall.

CLOSING NUMBER - "FEVER"

Rita sings "Fever," accompanied by Floyd and Animal. Animal gets excited and begins to play the drums wildly, ruining Rita's song.  Rita has some harsh words with him in Spanish, but Animal continues.  Rita stops her song and smashes Animal's head between two cymbals.

ANIMAL: That my kind of woman!

[If you are wondering what Rita says in Spanish, here it is: "Listen Buddy. All I wanna tell you is that you shouldn't do that. It's not nice, you understand? Look at me when I'm talking to you. This is my number, and if you bother me any more I'm gonna hit you so hard, it's gonna leave you stupid. Cool it."]

STAGE CURTAIN

Rita shares some final moves with her dancing partner.

CLOSING THEME

Statler and Waldorf are underneath their chairs. They surface and Waldorf says "I still couldn't find the chewing gum."

Guide Written by
David Beukema, D. W. McKim and Phillip Chapman

With contributions from
Jogchem Jalink and Dave Ebersole

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