George Burns - Episode 34Taping Dates: Week of August 2, 1977
Original Airdates: September 19, 1977 (New York) and September 16, 1977 (LA)
DVD Release: Time-Life, 2002; Columbia Tri-Star, 2004; Buena Vista Home Video, 2007
GEORGE BURNS INTRO
Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. George Burns is the guest star in this episode of The Muppet Show. One of my favorite bits to watch out for is the "Monster and Machine" sketch where the monster slowly eats the machine bit by bit has a wonderful and typically Muppet twist ending. After the shooting of this episode, my father received a thank you letter from George Burns. "At my age", it said, "Miss Piggy is starting to look good to me." Here he is, George Burns on The Muppet Show."
Gonzo fiddles while George...uh...burns.
The balcony: Waldorf says, "Isn't the opening pretentious?"Gonzo's horn: Gonzo is startled by a gunshot from his trumpet.
Statler finds humor in the cold opener gag.
OPENING NUMBER - "CUENTA LA GUSTA"
Miss Piggy pulls off a bravura Spanish number. Piggy's fantastic can-can is upstaged only by an upside down trumpet soloist!
Kermit finds Fleet Scribbler, gossip columnist for the Daily Scandal snooping about backstage. Kermit tries to usher him out but the reporter manages to find a sensationalistic headline in everything the frog says or does.
Kermit presents George Burns with a cigar and a song.
MUSICAL NUMBER - "TRAIN BACK HOME"
George banters a bit with Rowlf about working with dogs before smoking his way through a ditty.
[Rowlf's joke about being another Jascha Heifetz, the violinist...("Nobody will know the difference, George.") is alluded to in The Muppet Movie.]
Miss Piggy (aside to unseen person): "How should I know what Cuenta La Gusta means?"
Fleet probes Piggy for some inside gossip on the inner workings of The Muppet Show and butters up the ham to start dishing.
[When Fleet offers Piggy a photo spread for "Page Three", he's referencing an English tabloid practice of nude modeling!]
MUSICAL NUMBER - "CHATANOOGA CHOO-CHOO"
A quartet learns that a train track is not the best place for a musical number.
[But then again, Muppets don't often learn from their mistakes...Wayne and Wanda probably could have warned them against it - and the entire cast will do a show from a train station next season (though they don't perform Chattanooga Choo-Choo). This song is done as a closing number in the Louie Anderson episode of 1989's The Jim Henson Hour.]
Kermit attempts to warn George about Fleet Scribbler but the guest is already well-versed in squelching questions with quips and fighting fire with (cigar) smoke.
Dr. Bob discovers another inanimate object as his patient - this time a telephone provides the connection for some party lines.
UK SKIT: MUSICAL NUMBER - "WOTCHER (KNOCKED 'EM IN THE OLD KENT ROAD)"
Fozzie Bear again demonstrates that he can be quite a gifted performer when he's not attempting stand-up as he entertains the audience with some classic English Music Hall. His singing puts his comedy to shame as he even gets Statler and Waldorf's approval as they sing along!
[This song appeared in the 1977 UK Muppet Music Hall EP.]
Gonzo stops by George's dressing room for a reminiscence of showbiz lore...mostly his own.
MUSICAL NUMBER - "I WON'T DANCE"
What at first looks to be an installment of At the Dance turns out to be a hilarious duet between Miss Piggy and Kermit - a musical duet obviously since Kermit...well...won't dance despite Piggy's aggressive pursuits.
[The results of this number is what probably drives Kermit to do a song-and-dance duet instead with Miss Mousey two episodes later.]
SKETCH - "MONSTER & MACHINE"
Luncheon Counter Monster discovers a curious and delicious looking machine in auto-demonstration mode. As the machine points out its various features, the monster responds by eating them.
[This sketch hails from The Muppets' early talk show appearances and an IBM Meeting Film with a proto Cookie Monster then in the role of the hapless monster. A decade later, Luncheon Counter Monster would have similar troubles with a Coffee Machine in a Muppet Meeting Film.]
Kermit learns that Scooter has been a healthy source of information for Scribbler's search for scandal. Truly, it seems this is one reporter who knows how to get a story - even if it requires some studying of Mock-Swedish.
[Keep an eye on Swedish Chef's hand gestures as he dishes on "der froog und der pig".]
CLOSING NUMBER - "IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOU/YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU"
After some star struck gushing from Miss Piggy, Rowlf again accompanies George on a tune as a Muppet chorus gathers around for back-up, though Gonzo's lyric sheet is a bit overly repetitive.
George skirts some final probing from Fleet attempting to link him with Piggy.
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