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EPISODE NOTES

The Paul Williams episode was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series.

This marks the beginning of Paul Williams' collaborations with the Muppets. He would later write the music for "Emmett Otter's Jug-band Christmas," "The Muppet Movie" (and provides a cameo), and "The Muppet Christmas Carol".

Twenty-five years later, Paul would be the special guest star at the Muppets' first fan convention, MuppetFest, where he participated in a panel discussion and played a special grand finale medley during a live performance of "The Muppet Show".

Fran Brill, the main female Muppeteer at the time, makes her Muppet Show debut in this, her first of only two episodes.

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's design was reportedly based on Sir Lew Grade's appearance. During the first season of The Muppet Show, Bunsen would be working alone in the lab. His assistant Beaker will debut in Season Two.

Mary Louise must love frogs! She'll sing with them again in the Sandy Duncan and Steve Martin episodes.

Having been mercilessly heckled by Statler and Waldorf in his monologues, the writers start to experiment with Fozzie's comedy spot, sensing it may not be working. Last week, Fozzie did impressions and this week he does a duo scene with Scooter. With a few exceptions, the rest of Fozzie's monologues this year will follow their standard format but Fozzie will also start to be used more in sketches and backstage plots in order to salvage the character.

In later seasons, Floyd and Janice would become a couple, but in the show's first season, Janice would often be paired with Zoot! In this episode, they appear together in "At the Dance" and "Rowlf's Poetry Corner." Especially in these early episodes, Zoot is featured quite a bit, perhaps due to Jerry Nelson's fleeting availability as Floyd. In later seasons, Zoot would become more mellow and quiet since Dave Goelz tended to agonize over the delivery of Zoot's lines. He saw Zoot as someone who best expresses himself through the saxophone.

The final number incorporates a chorus of Muppets gathering around the guest as he sings, providing backup. This would typically be done throughout the show's run and often allow some of the show's "non-performers" like Hilda the costume lady and George the janitor opportunities to come onstage.

THE MUPPET PERFORMERS FEATURING

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

with Jerry Nelson ("All of Me" monster, Paul, lineman,
Screaming Girl, whatnot, frog)

Richard Hunt (Scooter, Statler, Ohboy Bird, pig, Miss Piggy, frog, Beautiful Day Monster)

Fran Brill (Mary Louise)

Dave Goelz (Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot)

Eren Ozker (Wanda, Janice, Hilda, dancer)

John Lovelady (frog)

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

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, Larry Jameson

SPECIAL PUPPETS BY Don Sahlin

ART DIRECTOR: David Chandler

MUPPET COSTUME DESIGNER: Bonnie Erickson

MUPPET CREATIVE CONSULTANTS: Frank Oz, Mike Frith

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY Jack Parnell

MUSICAL ASSOCIATE: Derek Scott

COSTUMES BY: James Dark

LIGHTING DIRECTOR: John Rook

ASSISTANT TO PRODUCER: Sue Taylor

MUSIC CONSULTANT: Larry Grossman

THEME MUSIC BY Sam Pottle

AUDIO: Roger Knight

MAKE-UP 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: Alani Bray

VIDEO TAPE EDITOR: John Hawkins

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR HENSON ASSOCIATES, INC:
David Lazer

Paul Williams - Episode 8

Taping Dates: June 22-24, 1976
Original Airdates: October 25, 1976 (New York) and October 30, 1976 (LA)
DVD Release: Buena Vista Home Video, 2005

PAUL WILLIAMS INTRO

Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This early episode of The Muppet Show is hosted by singer, songwriter, actor Paul Williams. This appearance marks the beginning of a long relationship between Paul and the Muppets. (Various clips of Paul's Muppet works are shown.) He composed the music for The Muppet Movie, Emmett Otter's Jug-band Christmas and a film that I directed, The Muppet Christmas Carol. In this episode one of the moments that I always remember is Paul singing probably his best-known hit an Old Fashioned Love Song." (A clip of this song from Paul's episode.)

"Another great moment to watch for is Bunsen Honeydew's first appearance. (A clip of Bunsen's first sketch.) You'll see that he's on his own and he's not with Beaker. Beaker didn't actually join the show until the following season. Here's Bunsen and Paul Williams in The Muppet Show."

OPENING THEME

Fozzie's joke: "New York is so crowded, even the cemeteries have standing room only!"

Gonzo's gong: Gonzo finally hits the gong, but shakes violently as a result. [Same as episode 5, Rita Moreno.]

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit promises to not make fun of Paul Williams' size even though they will be making him an honorary Muppet.

MUSICAL NUMBER: "ALL OF ME"

A monster serenades another as he rips off his body parts and gives them to the other one. ("Hey, you wanna put MY chest in YOUR chest?") [This number, done in one shot, took 22 takes.]

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie, wisely lacking confidence in his monologue on the War of 1812, lets Scooter talk him into doing the classic Telephone Pole Bit. There's just two snags; it's a duo scene with Scooter and Fozzie's playing the telephone pole.

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit introduces "one of the most talented people in the business, Mr. Paul Williams."

MUSICAL NUMBER: "OLD FASHIONED LOVE SONG"

As Paul sings, Muppet versions of him pop out of the radio providing three part harmony. (And you thought Kermit was kidding about making him a Muppet!)

BALCONY

WALDORF: He's a credit to his race.

STATLER: What race is that?

WALDORF: One hundred yard dash.

MUPPET LABS [Debut]

Scientist Dr. Bunsen Honeydew introduces the labs' new All Purpose Tenderizer which keeps dishes from breaking and allows them to be folded up and snuggled with. ("Ooh, it sets me all a-quiver!")

WALDORF: Science, huh? They can put a man on the moon...

STATLER: Yeah, but they can't put a moon on a man!

ROWLF'S POETRY CORNER

Rowlf recites an ode to "Silence", which in typical Muppet fashion becomes quite loud as other Muppets wander onstage partaking in the activities alluded to in the poem.

ONSTAGE

Paul admits he has a special motive for being on "The Muppet Show"; so that he can be the tallest person in the cast...but then he meets Sweetums, Thog (from The Great Santa Claus Switch and The Muppets Valentine Show), and a Mutation.

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie, unsure what to expect, practices by method acting as a telephone pole. Hilda doubts anyone would confuse a bear with a pole until an electrician lays telephone wire over his nose.

AT THE DANCE

GEORGE: I'll be darned. Ya say that's yer boy? How could ya have a son that age?

MILDRED: I didn't. When I had him he was just a baby.

UK SKETCH: MUSICAL NUMBER: "I'M IN LOVE WITH A BIG BLUE FROG"

Mary Louise sings a charming song about her frog beau ("The neighbors are against it and it's clear to me/And it's probably clear to you/They think the value of their property will go right down/If the family next door is blue") backed by a frog chorus including Kermit and Robin (from "The Frog Prince"). [And no, while some of the frogs are blue, none are particularly bigger than the others. This song appears on the original Muppet Show soundtrack.]

BALCONY

Statler and Waldorf mock the frog chorus' "Grump grop grump grop, ribbit ribbit ribbit's."

TALK SPOT

Kermit and Paul discuss famous short people in history including Wally Blatner, inventor of the elevator shoe which Paul's wearing. ("Going up!")

BACKSTAGE

For a lousy comedian, Fozzie's a very convincing actor - a woodpecker knocks away at his head!

SKETCH

Beautiful Day Monster alerts his travel agent (Paul) that he wishes to go to Pittsburgh. When none of the travel options fit the monster's budget, Paul drops a 5000 pound weight on him and mails him off.

TALKING HOUSES

HOUSE 1: My mother is very religious.

HOUSE 2: She's a fanatic?

HOUSE 1: No, she's a church.

STAGE CURTAIN

Sam brings on "my kind of people, Wayne and Wanda."

WAYNE & WANDA

As Wayne saws Wanda in half, she attempts to warble "You Do Something to Me".

NEWSFLASH

The Newsman interviews retired shoe salesman Arnold Stockton (Paul) about an extraordinary event which turns out to be a total non-story.

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie, having just learned what the Telephone Pole Bit is, is convinced the pair will die onstage, a paranoia further confirmed by the vultures lurking about backstage.

STAGE CURTAIN

Kermit introduces the comedy classic.

FOZZIE'S COMEDY SPOT

SCOOTER (wearing Fozzie's hat): Hello, and what's your name?

FOZZIE (in pay phone costume): Mike Oznowiski.

SCOOTER: Oh, so YOU'RE the telephone pole!

[Mike Oznowicsky is a reference to Frank Oz' puppeteer father, Mike Oznowicz.]

BALCONY

STATLER: Good ol' Fozzie, he's never been better.

WALDORF: Or shorter.

STATLER: Same difference.

MUSICAL NUMBER: "SAD SONG"

Backed by Rowlf on piano, Floyd on bass, Animal on drums, and Zoot on sax, Paul sings his hit with a chorus of Muppets.

STAGE CURTAIN

Paul assures Kermit he loved every minute of the show until the big monsters come back out.

CLOSING THEME

WALDORF: This show is good for what ails me.

STATLER: What ails you?

WALDORF: Insomnia.

Guide Written by
D. W. McKim and Phillip Chapman

With contributions from
Jogchem Jalink and Dave Ebersole

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