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EPISODE NOTES

Milton Berle portrays a sleazy used car salesman, Mad Man Mooney in 1979's The Muppet Movie.

Week two of the female performer auditions continues this time with musical actress Abby Hadfield stepping up to her uncredited challenge. Although she's noted to have both contributed vocal talent and physical puppeteering to this episode, it's unclear as to whether she actually manipulated Zelda in her main number as the puppetry is quite well done and more likely to have been in the hands of one of the vets to a prerecorded track. She also performs Scoff in the opening number and provides double tracked vocals for (and most likely puppeteered either) female whatnot and Lydia in "The Entertainer".

This is really the first good look (aside from the opening theme) of the new Gonzo puppet. During the break between the seasons, Dave Goelz rebuilt Gonzo taking him from his rough continually droopy look to a more refined version with an eye mechanism that would allow him to look excited. The change will allow Dave more freedom to take Gonzo from a one-note gag to a more complex character, ultimately becoming one of the Classic Muppets' most three dimensional creations. Though certainly aided by Jerry Juhl's goal of adding more depth to all the main characters, it's clear that the new design is already helping Dave's concept of the character as he's already starting to adjust the tone of Gonzo's voice, dropping much of the nasal and whiny tones.

"Pigs In Space" debuts in this episode with a slightly different opening than what will appear the rest of the season. Though the basic concept and visual style will remain the same, the most notable difference is the audio. Different sound effects accompany the flying meteors and floating heads and it won't be until the next installment that the "Pigs In Space" music will underscore the intro. The floating heads were also recorded particular to this piece while future openings will use the same footage established in its second episode.

With Pigs In Space, Miss Piggy is given a true star vehicle sketch-wise. Although she still appears in Veterinarian's Hospital, she's more a member of that sketch's ensemble whereas Pigs In Space allows its trio of characters more opportunity to interact as distinct characters in definite situations and conflicts as opposed to just trading jokes.

Of the two other characters, Dr. Strangepork is evolved from the Dr. Nauga character in Sex & Violence during the "Return to Beneath the Planet of the Pigs" sketch. (The puppet was refurbished for The Muppet Show's first season with brown hair and eyebrows and now is changed back into the original white hair and brows.) Link Hogthrob is a completely new character and while Strangepork will be used mainly for the Pigs In Space segments, Link will be seen more throughout the season in a variety of other acts. With Hogthrob, Jim Henson gains a vehicle to play an overly macho and pompously vein character which he reportedly relished since it was in such stark contrast to his own mellow humble personality. The character is both a great foil for Miss Piggy - herself no stranger to ego - and at the same time is strong enough to be a hilarious character on his own.

The interplay between Piggy and Link aids Piggy's overall ascent to stardom since even though her "First Mate" role is subservient to Link's "Captain", it's clear that she possesses a higher intellect. At a time when the feminism and Woman's Rights movement was coming into its own, Pigs In Space allowed Piggy to be more of a strong and aggressive character in the more positive sense of the words. Not only does she seem more logical and more grounded in reality than her buffoon male captain and even the science officer, but just the fact that she's even of a "First Mate" rank to begin with was quite a step forward from many of the shows and movies of the time
that Pigs In Space was parodying. Indeed, plot elements of many of this seasons' installments are based on Piggy's overcoming the gender stereotypes that the other two characters try to project on her.

PRODUCED BY Jim Henson

WRITTEN BY Jerry Juhl, Joseph A. Bailey, Jim Henson and Don Hinkley

DIRECTED BY Philip Casson

THE MUPPET PERFORMERS FEATURING

Frank Oz (crocodile, Fozzie, Miss Piggy)

with Jerry Nelson (Strangepork, owl)

Richard Hunt (Scooter, Statler, green Frackle)

Dave Goelz (warthog, Gonzo)

Jim Henson (Timmy Monster, Kermit, Big Mama, Boppity, Waldorf, Newsman, Link, Rowlf)

PUPPETS AND THEIR COSTUMES BY Caroly Wilcox, Mari Kaestle, John Lovelady,
Rollin Krewson, Amy Van Gilder, Calista Hendrickson, Faz Fazakas, Larry
Jameson and Bonnie Erickson

SPECIAL PUPPETS BY Don Sahlin

MUPPET CREATIVE CONSULTANTS: Frank Oz, Michael K. Frith

MUSIC CONSULTANT: Larry Grossman

ART DIRECTOR: David Chandler

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY Jack Parnell

MUSICAL ASSOCIATE: Derek Scott

LIGHTING DIRECTOR: John Rook

AUDIO: Ted Scott

VIDEO TAPE ENGINEER: John Hawkins

ASSISTANT TO THE PRODUCER: Sue Taylor

SENIOR FLOOR MANAGER: Richard Holloway

FLOOR MANAGER: Martin Baker

STAGE MANAGER: Caryl Cruickshank

SENIOR VIDEO ENGINEER: John Crane

SENIOR CAMERAMAN: Mike Whitcutt

VISION MIXER: Moyra Bird

COSTUMES BY Claire Sorrell

MAKE-UP BY Sandy Staples

THEME MUSIC: Sam Pottle

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR HENSON ASSOCIATES, INC.: David Lazer

Milton Berle - Episode 27

Taping Dates: June 9-11, 1977
Original Airdates: November 14, 1977 (New York) and November 11, 1977 (LA)
DVD Release: Buena Vista Home Video, 2007

GENERIC INTRO: GROWING UP WITH THE MUPPETS

Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. I grew up in a house full of Muppets. And friends of mine use to always ask "What's it like?", "It must be great fun.", 'It must be crazy." And the truth is the Muppets were always kind of awesome to me. And I have a lot of respect for the Muppets. My father use to work endlessly, hours and days on end... working all these pieces and making them just exactly right."

"Years later The Muppet Show went into over 100 countries, in 20 different languages. It was the first show to do that. Have a listen to this and you'll hear the way some of the characters sounded in other countries around the world. (A clip of Fozzie's monologue in French is shown with Staler and Waldorf heckling him in Mandarin.) Unfortunately for Fozzie, his jokes weren't any funnier in French or Mandarin. Enjoy the show."

DRESSING ROOM

Timmy Monster helps Milton with his "maaake-up"!

OPENING THEME

The balcony: Statler says "Another show, another headache!"

Gonzo's horn: Water blows out of the horn.

CURTAIN

Kermit announces tonight's guest is one of the truly great comedians and introduces one of the beautiful people.

OPENING NUMBER - "UGLY"

A group of Muppet Monsters extol the virtue of being among the sizable population of aesthetically challenged creatures with assistance from a crocodile and warthog.

BALCONY

WALDORF: There's something wrong with this hearing aid.

STATLER: Yeah, what's wrong?

WALDORF: I can't hear with it. (Accidentally knocks it off the balcony)

STATLER: Oh, no wonder! It's too far away.

BACKSTAGE

Terrified of coming face to face with his idol without having anything substantial to say, Fozzie attempts to hide from Milton Berle.

CURTAIN

Kermit reminds the audience of Milton Berle's well-earned moniker of "Mr. Television".

MILTON'S COMEDY SPOT

Milton Berle attempts a stand up comedy routine, but finds even a seasoned veteran can't escape the wrath of Statler & Waldorf's merciless heckling.

MILTON: Now just a minute please, I have been a successful comedian half my life!

WALDORF: How come we got this half?

NEWSFLASH

Inheritance battle between a son and a pet cat.

PIGS IN SPACE [debut]

A take-off of Star Trek type spaceship shows, the classic sketch debuts here as another star vehicle for Miss "First Mate" Piggy, and two new characters, Captain Link Hogthrob and Dr. Julius Strangepork aboard the U.S.S. Swinetrek. The trio try to identify an oncoming celestial object.

STRANGEPORK (consulting book): It's not listed here under any known objects!

LINK: Look under "Unknown Objects".

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie finds the sliding panel door to be not quite the most benevolent of hiding spots.

MUSICAL NUMBER - "THE ENTERTAINER"

Backed by Rowlf on piano, Milton points out that while most people think of the tune as an instrumental, the song does indeed have words which he sings with a chorus of Muppets.

[In contradiction with the backstage plot, Fozzie joins the small chorus onstage - presumably to as the token bear to sing the line about the "dancing bear". Perhaps Fozzie felt more comfortable in a group setting? At least Scooter saves him from delivering the line about the "comedian that never lets them down".]

UK SKETCH: MUSICAL NUMBER - "THE ENTERTAINER (PART TWO)"

Still onstage with his piano, Miss Piggy requests Rowlf to play an encore as she molds the lyrics to better suit her and sells the song with all she's got with much energetically provocative dancing and even an attempt to accompany Rowlf on the keys!

ROWLF: Don't hog the piano!

BACKSTAGE

Scooter penetrates both Fozzie's latest disguise and what's left of his ego.

CURTAIN

Kermit brings on Zelda Rose and Her Singing Owl "straight from a three month engagement at the Desert Springs, Vermont Humane Society".

MUSICAL NUMBER - "WHO?"

Armed with a baton, Zelda cues her owl to hoot at the appropriate moments.

[A re-recorded version of this song appeared on The Muppet Show 2 album and Muppet Hits with the vocals done by Louise Gold.]

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie still insists on hiding from Milton until he hears him mention to Kermit that he's always wanted to do a song-and-dance with the bear.

MUSICAL NUMBER - "TOP BANANA"

Milton and Fozzie take the song they started backstage out to the theatre with Milton wearing Vaudeville costume and make-up while the duo trades classic shtick and physical comedy.

CURTAIN

Fozzie shares his bows with Milton.

CLOSING THEME

WALDORF: Well, I finally got my hearing aid working.

STATLER: Hmm? Speak up, my hearing aid's not working!

WALDORF: Huh?

Guide Written by
D. W. McKim

Video Captures by
Alex Taylor

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