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EPISODE NOTES

Peter Sellers was nominated for an Emmy for this episode in the category of "Outstanding Single Actor - Continuing or Single Performance - Variety or Music".

Peter Sellers shared the honor along with Bernadette Peters of being one of only two guest stars to appear on the Muppet Show 2 album with a piece from his episode rather than having one of his songs re-recorded as an all-Muppet version. (No such guests appeared in the original Muppet Show album.)

This episode features a number of songs written by Abe Burrows ("Gypsy's Violin", "When", "Memory Lane").

The recording of "Bein' Green" is the exact same one as what had previously appeared in the Peter Ustinov episode. Though some musical numbers have been repeated on The Muppet Show (usually with different singers), this is the only time the actual audio recording would be repeated. (Not counting when entire skits would be repeated as was the case with some of the UK skits.)

Jerry Nelson performs Strangepork in the closing number but with a different voice than usual.

PRODUCED BY Jim Henson

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

DIRECTED BY Peter Harris

THE MUPPET PERFORMERS FEATURING

Frank Oz (Fozzie Bear) with Jerry Nelson (gypsy, chicken, Quongo, Strangepork)

Richard Hunt (Scooter, Statler,
gypsy, Beaker, gypsy, Gramps)

Dave Goelz (Gonzo, Bunsen)

Jim Henson (Kermit, Waldorf, gypsy, Rowlf)

[uncredited] Louise Gold (gypsy)

PUPPETS AND THEIR COSTUMES BY Caroly WIlcox, Mari Kaestle, Dave Goelz, John Lovelady, 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: Bryan Holgate

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY Jack Parnell

MUSICAL ASSOCIATE: Derek Scott

LIGHTING DIRECTOR: Phil Hawkes

AUDIO: Roger Knight

VIDEO TAPE EDITOR: John Hawkins

ASSISTANT TO THE PRODUCER: Joan Chaplow

SENIOR FLOOR MANAGER: Richard Holloway

FLOOR MANAGER: Martin Baker

STAGE MANAGER: Caryl Cruickshank

SENIOR VIDEO ENGINEER: Jim Reeves

SENIOR CAMERAMAN: Roy Simper

VISION MIXER: Carole Legg

COSTUMES BY James Dark

MAKE-UP BY Shirley Muslin

THEME MUSIC: Sam Pottle

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR HENSON ASSOCIATES, INC.: David Lazer

Peter Sellers - Episode 43

Taping Dates: December 6-8, 1977
Original Airdates: February 27, 1978 (New York) and February 24, 1978 (LA)
DVD Release: Time-Life, 2002;
Columbia Tri-Star, 2003; Columbia Tri-Star (UK HMV Exclusive), 2003; Buena Vista Home Video, 2007

PETER SELLERS INTRO

Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Peter Sellers. A very funny story about this episode is Peter basically said he wants to do anything on the show except for one piece. It was a piece called The Wall where Kermit would interview the guest star for 30 seconds just about themselves. Peter said, 'I can't do that, I can't be myself. Ask me to do anything but don't ask me to be myself. I'll be Queen Victoria but I don't know how to be me.' Naturally The Muppet Show writers did a wonderful piece where they had him play Queen Victoria. Here it is, The Muppet Show with Peter Sellers."

DRESSING ROOM

Gonzo uses Peter for some target practice.

OPENING

The balcony: Statler & Waldorf are coughing and blowing noses.

Gonzo's horn: Gonzo blows trumpet with Beautiful Day Monster behind blowing trumpet.

CURTAIN

KERMIT: [Peter Sellers] is the epitome of the witty, urbane Englishman, so naturally we've asked him to play a demented Gypsy violinist.

OPENING NUMBER - "GYPSY'S VIOLIN"

Peter plays Boris, a gypsy with a "sobbing violin" at a gypsy camp (with live goat) who plays for the group despite some heckling from one of the gypsies.

[This song appeared on The Muppet Show 2 soundtrack.]

BALCONY

STATLER: I love good gypsy music.

WALDORF: So?

STATLER: So I wish they'd play some.

BACKSTAGE

After trying to get the raucous gypsies to quiet down ("Next time I think I'm going to schedule a nice quiet Gregorian chant.") and being nearly run over by Gonzo on an out-of-control motorcycle, he's startled by Bunsen Honeydew who - literally - appears and disappears out of the backstage.

MUSICAL NUMBER - "WHEN"

Rowlf sings a nice quiet number...with a loud punch line!

[Rowlf would later perform this song on The Muppet Show 2 and Ol' Brown Ears Is Back.]

BALCONY

WALDORF: Yeah, you never know when something funny is gonna happen on this show.

STATLER: Did something funny happen?

WALDORF: Yeah!

STATLER: You'd never know it.

BACKSTAGE

Kermit berates Rowlf for his lack of tranquility then is further frazzled by Beaker's popping in and out of the area in a manner similar to Bunsen's antics.

DRESSING ROOM

Kermit inquires about Peter's odd costume.

PETER: It was to have been, my dear Kermit, it was to have been a grand impersonation of her late majesty Queen Victoria, whilst on vacation at Bognor Regis in the year 1888.

KERMIT: But, but er what went wrong?

PETER: I couldn't remember what she looked like!

After Peter explains he can't just "be himself" offstage ("There used to be a me, but I had it surgically removed."). Peter shows Kermit his new act...reciting Shakespeare's Richard III whilst playing tuned chickens. He vanishes out of the dressing room as a lit bomb suddenly appears.

UK SKIT: CURTAIN

Kermit gets his flipper caught on some gum.

UK SKIT: MUSICAL NUMBER - "MEMORY LANE"

Gonzo sings in his own unique deadpan style as he's backed by Rowlf on piano. Gonzo takes advantage of the instrumental section to pace around (literally) as he enacts "strolling down Memory Lane"...pushing Rowlf's piano out of the way in the process.

[The original version with audience applause would be included on the Silly Songs LP and the video The Muppet Revue. This is another song that would appear with Rowlf singing and no dislocated piano shenanigans on the Ol' Brown Ears Is Back album.]

MASSEUR SKETCH

Instead of appearing with Dr. Strangepork, Link Hogthrob encounters a very Dr. Strangelove-ish masseur (Doctor De Ericlever) in the form of Peter Sellers whose version of a massage involves tying Link up in knots.

BACKSTAGE

Despite needing help offstage, Link praises "Peter O'Toole" for the best massage he's ever had. After actually catching Beaker in the act of appearing and vanishing before his eyes, he finds the running order to have a vacancy.

KERMIT: But that was a terrific act! That was Prunella and her Prancing Poultry!

FOZZIE: Yeah, I know, yeah ... Kermit see, about that poultry....yesterday (removes hat) duck hunting season began...

CURTAIN

Kermit attempts to explain to the audience how he doesn't have anything to fill in for the sudden cancellation ("The next act can't make it. Er, they, they are otherwise engaged...with a lot of orange sauce, I'm afraid.") The curtain opens to a bare stage and Kermit, at the end of his rope, plops down on a crate and sings his signature tune...

MUSICAL NUMBER - "BEIN' GREEN"

As Kermit croons his put-apon lament, a forest backdrop is lowered behind him and the stage is transformed to a field, Kermit's crate being replaced by a tree stump.

MUPPET LABS

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew announces the test results have been successful for the Labs' new teleporter and Kermit interrupts finally realizing what's been going on.

Bunsen: Please, Mr. Kermit, I'm in the very midst of an important demonstration.

KERMIT: Oh yeah. Well listen I'm in the midst of a nervous breakdown!

Bunsen calmly teleports Kermit away and brings Beaker back from Africa...along with a gorilla guest.

CURTAIN

Fozzie, filling in for Kermit, asks Peter to get changed and to keep things short.

CLOSING NUMBER - "CIGAREETS, WHUSKY AND WILD, WILD, WOMEN"

Peter plays a temperance preacher who lectures on Nicotine along with
wine, and women through song.

[Along with members of the jug-band, the group of Muppets in this number include George the Janitor making a rare season two appearance and Dr. Strangepork, athough the original script indicated Link would appear in Strangepork's place.]

CURTAIN

Peter teleports in and out through his curtain call.

CLOSING

STATLER: Well, what did you think? (Waldorf vanishes) Yeah, I know what you... (Statler vanishes)

Guide Written by
D. W. McKim

Video Captures by
James Carroll

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