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EPISODE NOTES

John Cleese would make a memorable cameo in the 1981 film "The Great Muppet Caper" as an Englishman whose house Miss Piggy "borrows" to impress Kermit.

This is hardly the first time Gonzo would have problems with extended limbs; he would experience them again several other times including the third season Lynn Redgrave episode and in the 1996 film "Muppet Treasure Island" where he has a much more favorable reaction.

Robin and Sweetums originally worked together (and both characters made their debut) in the 1971 special "The Frog Prince". Though Sweetums spends the special wanting to eat Robin, no such adversity appears here; rather the two get along like old chums. The pairing of Robin and Sweetums is a powerful image and one that would be a mainstay of merchandising images (most Muppet artists would tend to always draw them together as best pals) though this is really the only significant scene the two would ever share within The Muppet Show itself.

PRODUCED BY Jim Henson

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

DIRECTED BY Philip Casson

THE MUPPET PERFORMERS FEATURING

Frank Oz (Fozzie, whatnot, Miss Piggy)

with Jerry Nelson (Slim Wilson, Floyd, chicken, announcer, Eric Parrot, whatnots, Robin, pig)

Richard Hunt (Scooter, Statler, Bubba, pig, Luncheon Counter Monster, whatnot, Sweetums)

Dave Goelz (Gonzo, agent,
Marvin, Spooble)

Jim Henson (Kermit, Waldorf, Newsman, Rowlf, Link)

[uncredited] Louise Gold (Louisey, pig)

PUPPETS AND THEIR COSTUMES BY Caroly Wilcox, Mari Kaestle, Dave Goelz, 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 Frith

MUSIC CONSULTANT: Larry Grossman

ART DIRECTOR: Malcolm Stone

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY Jack Parnell

MUSICAL ASSOCIATE: Derek Scott

LIGHTING DIRECTOR: Jim Boyers

AUDIO: Henry Bird

VIDEO TAPE EDITOR: John Hawkins

ASSISTANT TO THE PRODUCER: Joan Chaplow

SENIOR FLOOR MANAGER: Richard Holloway

FLOOR MANAGER: Stephen Springford

STAGE MANAGER: Caryl Cruickshank

SENIOR VIDEO ENGINEER: Jim Reeves

SENIOR CAMERAMAN: Dennis Bartlett

VISION MIXER: Carole Legg

COSTUMES BY James Dark

MAKE-UP BY Shirley Muslin

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR HENSON ASSOCIATES, INC.: David Lazer

John Cleese - Episode 47

Taping Dates: Week of October 20, 1977
Original Airdates: December 5, 1977 (New York) and December 2, 1977 (LA)
DVD Release: Time-Life, 2002; Columbia Tri-Star, 2003;
Columbia Tri-Star (UK HMV Exclusive), 2003; Buena Vista Home Video, 2007

JOHN CLEESE INTRO

Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars John Cleese. John particularly became very close with The Muppets and he immediately created a bond with the writers of The Muppet Show and he wanted to get involved in the writing. So together they came up with this ridiculous concept where John doesn't want to be on the show so the great thing is this whole Muppet Show is about The Muppets trying to get John to be on the show but John's trying to get off the show. One great scene to watch for is where John tries to fix Gonzo's arms and ends up stretching them six feet long and ends up knotting his arms all around his body. But the more he hurts Gonzo of course the more Gonzo loves it and here's the episode; I hope you love it."

DRESSING ROOM

John appears to be tied into doing the show.

OPENING

The balcony: Statler says "They'll never get this started."

Gonzo's horn: Gonzo surprises himself when he blows his horn successfully.

CURTAIN

Kermit gets a note from the stagehands apologizing for the weights they dropped from the rafters...before they actually fall to the floor.

OPENING NUMBER - "SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL"

Lubbock Lou and his Jug Huggers open the show.

BALCONY

STATLER: What's wrong with you?

WALDORF: I've got a sore thumb.

STATLER: Why don't you get it taken care of?

WALDORF: It helps keep my mind off the show.

CURTAIN

Gonzo catches a cannonball with his bare hand. He actually performs the stunt successfully but ends up with a five feet long arm as a result.

GONZO: Thank you! The Great Gonzo! (Bows) The bare hand! The muzzle loading cannon! The lovely assistant Crazy Harry!

BALCONY

WALDORF: Well I've seen my share of cannonball catching acts but that had something different.

STATLER: What was that?

WALDORF: A survivor.

BACKSTAGE

Floyd and Fozzie exchange wisecracks about Gonzo's long arm. John Cleese complains that the show is infested with pigs and he has a "No Pigs" clause in his contract.

JOHN: Here we are, it says I only work with the frog - that's you right? - the bear and the ugly disgusting little one that catches cannonballs.

NEWS FLASH

Dr. WIlliam Edgar helps aid the food crisis by fashioning Italian dinners out of wool.

ROWLF'S PIANO

Rowlf shares a duet with one of the musical chickens who departs from the norm.

PIGS IN SPACE

Co-written by John Cleese, the guest star appears as a pirate who boards the wrong kind of "ship".

JOHN: (to his parrot) Of course I love you, I am working now!

PARROT: And you're doing a lousy job of it!

JOHN: (pointing gun) You want to be an ex-parrot?

[This is the only Pigs in Space episode that features a solo adventure of Captain Link.]

BACKSTAGE

STATLER: Now that was hilarious!

WALDORF: Yes, that was really funny!

STATLER: You suppose they meant it to be?

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie and Gonzo have differing ideas for his arm.

AT THE DANCE

A series of fly-in-the-soup jokes.

UK SKIT: MUSICAL NUMBER - "WAITING AT THE CHURCH"

Kermit joins Miss Piggy for a duet as she appears as a jilted bride complete with wedding dress and huge bulge. The duo argue over real-life marital plans (or lack thereof) during the instrumental.

[This song appeared on the Muppet Music Hall EP.]

CURTAIN

Gonzo won't do his duet with Robin while his arm is huge but the frog informs his uncle he found another partner.

MUSICAL NUMBER - "WE GOT EACH OTHER"

The diminutive Robin sings with nine-foot-tall Sweetums.

BACKSTAGE

Fozzie and Floyd continue to share some laughs at Gonzo's expense.

GONZO: Just what the world needs - humorous hip persons!

DRESSING ROOM

Gonzo seeks help from John who recalls some of his Himalayan teachings as he stretches Gonzo's other arm out to where they're both the same long length. When Gonzo complains, he stretches out his legs which gets Gonzo's arms back to normal but this still doesn't quite work ("I can't tie my shoes!")

GONZO: No Mr. Cleese, it's not my nose, it's my arm!

JOHN: Is it? Why is it in the middle of your face?

KOOZBANE

Kermit once again conducts an interview with a unique Koozebanian alien, the Spooble who's made up almost entirely of liquid inside of a clear jar.

SPOOBLE: Listen do you like my jar? Oh, it's the latest! See through sides, convertible top, I'm not even wearing the cap! My wife said that for a TV interview I should wear my crystal vase but you know I wanted to be casual.

BALCONY

WALDORF: Hey what do you suppose would happen to a Spooble if you put him in a kettle and turned the heat on under him?

STATLER: Oh he'd probably get steamed.

CLOSING NUMBER - "IMPOSSIBLE DREAM"

Kermit introduces John Cleese who has absolutely no idea what's going on when the curtain opens. When the frog explains he refuses to sing show tunes. The curtains close and when they reopen, John is dressed in a viking outfit as Sweetums attempts to duet with him in Wagnerian opera.

This doesn't meet the guest's approval either so they try putting him in a cheesy Marvin Suggs-ish Mexican costume for a Maraca number. When John gripes he won't do a solo, the pigs and monsters he didn't want to work with are brought out on stage.

JOHN: How could you do this to me? Kermit, I am your guest!

CAST: (singing to "Impossible Dream") This is your guest - To follow that star...

CURTAIN

Thrilled with the audience's reception to his reluctant musical number, John takes a moment to plug his new vocal album.

BALCONY

STATLER: Well, see you next time.

WALDORF: Yes, unless I get lucky and break my leg.

Guide Written by
D. W. McKim

Video Captures by
James Carroll

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