Watch Kenny Rogers perform "The Gambler" on The Muppet Show

On October 18, 1979, Kenny Rogers, who died on Friday, performed "The Gambler" on The Muppet Show. See the human hands on those muppets? This was one of the rare instances in which "the puppeteer lends his/her body parts," according to the Muppet Wiki.

Read the rest

Watch the Cookie Monster's first appearance, in a 1967 IBM training film

Jim Henson's "The Coffee Break Machine" (1967), a skit in an IBM training film, was the first appearance of a proto-Cookie Monster, then green, who evolved from a puppet named the Wheel-Stealer. (A slightly different version of the clip appeared on the Ed Sullivan show that same year.) From the Muppet Wiki:

A proto-Cookie Monster wanders upon a talking coffee machine that has been set in "Auto-Descriptive" Mode. As the machine describes its parts, the monster eats them. Once the machine is finished, the voice of the machine from inside the monster tells him that he has activated the anti-vandalism program, which harbors the most powerful explosives known to man. The monster instantly combusts. The version on the Ed Sullivan Show is slightly different; in this version, the machine itself is an explosive device.

(r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Puppeteer Caroll Spinney (Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch), RIP

Legendary puppeteer Carroll Spinney, who brought Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life on Sesame Street, died today. He was 85. Here's the New York Times obituary. And from the Sesame Workshop:

Caroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades, and his legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending. His enormous talent and outsized heart were perfectly suited to playing the larger-than-life yellow bird who brought joy to generations of children and countless fans of all ages around the world, and his lovably cantankerous grouch gave us all permission to be cranky once in a while.

In 2018, Spinney retired from Sesame Street. Below is Sesame Workshop's video tribute to him and the following is from a New York Times profile from the time:

Although they had previously crossed paths in the 1960s, Spinney pinpointed a fateful encounter at a Salt Lake City puppeteers’ festival in 1969, when (Muppets creator Jim) Henson watched him try to perform a multimedia show that went gradually awry.

As Spinney recalled, Henson came to him afterward to say, “I liked what you were trying to do.”

Soon after, Henson invited Spinney to play two Muppet characters that were being developed for “Sesame Street,” which made its debut on public television later that year. One was Oscar, who was envisioned as a cranky, trash-loving purple character. (He was orange in his earliest appearances, before taking on his familiar green hue.)

Read the rest

"Start Wearing Purple" as sung by Sesame Street's Count

This. is. amazing. Purple Count singing Gogol Bordello's "Start Wearing Purple" — the entire song! Someone spent a long time making this mashup video but we don't know who exactly. Their YouTube account is anonymous, simply named Purple Count. Mystery mashup master, I bow to you. Read the rest

Will Star Wars 'Rise of Skywalker' finally explain what Dr. Julius Strangepork was up to?

I remain convinced that Dr. Julius Strangepork was up to no good. It is entirely possible he is in league with Sir Topham Hatt.

I am also rather certain that was a chicken lovin' Sith Lord. Read the rest

Cookie Monster performs Tom Waits's "Hell Broke Luce"

7 years ago, I posted Cookiewaits's video mashup of Cookie Monster performing Tom Waits's "God's Away on Business," but I somehow missed that Cookiewaits followed it up the next year with this brilliant mashup for "Hell Broke Luce," which is something of a favorite around these parts. If that's your bag, don't miss the Sesame Street gang performing the Beasties' "Sabotage." (Thanks, Richard Callaghan!) Read the rest

Watch this totally inappropriate and bizarre Bert and Ernie parody in German

From the Muppet Wiki:

Bernie und Ert was a recurring sketch on the show created by Attik Kargar, who performed the puppets and supplied the voice of Bernie. Bernie and Ert are an obscene parody of Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street, and especially as re-dubbed on Sesamstrasse. The pair are a same-sex couple, with no nose and one eye each. Each sketch focused on such topics as crime, drug abuse (Bernie is a cocaine addict), and S&M practices. In February 2003, Bernie and Ert were dropped from the series because of legal concerns; however, older episodes circulate on the Internet. The characters lived on and appeared in another recurring sketch called Popo Club in where they wear S&M gear and go by the names Unknown No. 1 and Unknown No. 2. These versions of the characters later appeared in the German adult puppet series Eye TV – Der durchgeknallte Puppensender and two spin-off web series.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

Read the rest

All I want (to make) for Christmas: Yip Yips stockings

OMG, these hand-crocheted Yip Yips stockings by Carissa Browning sure do make me smile. The big mouths of Sesame Street's Muppet martians are perfect for stuffing in holiday gifts (and later for storing toys, Browning suggests).

One catch: If you want these, you'll have to crochet or knit them yourself. Fortunately, Browning has provided patterns for them which can be downloaded for free from her Ravelry page.

The spaceship has landed, and any fan of late 20th century children’s public television will recognize these lovable aliens.

Crochet them or knit them, use them as holiday stockings, toy storage, kids’ laundry, whatever really!

You should also be prepared to play with ping pong balls and pipe cleaners, and do a little light sewing.

Yip yip uh-huh uh-huh

(Cool Mom Picks, Daily Crochet)

photo via Carissa Browning, used with permission Read the rest

Bert and Ernie are a gay couple, says ex-'Sesame Street' writer

It's a question that's floated around forever: Are Bert and Ernie gay?

Former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman says yes.

In a recent Queerty interview, Saltzman (whose partner is Arnold "Arnie" Glassman) reveals that the Muppet duo were based on his own (gay) relationship:

Ok, so we have to address—that’s the big question, right? In the writer’s room, you’re all adults. Were you thinking of Bert & Ernie as a gay couple? Did that question ever come up?

I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked “are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as “Bert & Ernie.”

That’s telling.

Yeah, I was Ernie. I look more Bert-ish. And Arnie as a film editor—if you thought of Bert with a job in the world, wouldn’t that be perfect? Bert with his paper clips and organization? And I was the jokester. So it was the Bert & Ernie relationship, and I was already with Arnie when I came to Sesame Street. So I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple.

Read the rest

Muppets from Space's "Brick House"

My daughter and her cousin are watching Muppets From Space, a $2 DVD bin find last weekend. It is well worth rewatching.

There is a low quality version free on YouTube, or you can stream it in HD from Amazon. Read the rest

Blooper reel from Jim Henson's "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas"

Enjoy these fun outtakes from Jim Henson's hour-long Christmas special from 1977, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. They give "drum roll" a whole new meaning.

By the way, that's Frank Oz (AKA Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam Eagle, Cookie Monster, Bert, Grover and Yoda) puppeteering the increasingly-frustrated mother.

Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz and Jim Henson

image via Gribbaziggy Read the rest

Prince meets The Muppets (1997)

On September 13, 1997, Prince, who had changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, was the special guest on "Muppets Tonight." I like how he didn't take himself too seriously! But then, how could he with this crowd. P"Episode 201: The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" (Muppet Wiki) Read the rest

Lawyer sounds a bit like Kermit the Frog

If ever I require courtoom representation in Canada, I'm definitely hiring Alf Kwinter of Singer Kwinter. Read the rest

Watch the pitch reel for Jim Henson's cyberpunk muppets TV series

In 1987, Jim Henson produced and directed this pitch reel for Inner Tube (aka IN-TV), a cyberpunk, culture-jamming series that just wasn't meant to be but did inform The Jim Henson Hour's MuppeTelevision segments. From Jim Henson: The Biography:

At the heart of IN-TV was a clever concept; each week, a live guest star would get sucked into the television set and would have to work his way back out again, usually by moving from one bad television channel to another. It was a fun idea, giving Jim an opportunity to satirize the seemingly endless parade of upstart cable channels and lame public access shows that were common in the early days of cable.

(Muppet Wiki and r/ObscureMedia)

Read the rest

Jim Henson teaches kids how to make puppets (1969)

Using common objects like socks, tennis balls, wooden spoons, and even potatoes, Jim Henson and his assistant Don Sahlin show children how to make basic puppets and bring them to "life" in the 1969 Iowa Public Television show, "Volume See."

Previously: These over-the-top Muppets shoes are downright inspired

(swissmiss) Read the rest

These over-the-top Muppets shoes are downright inspired

My friend JoAnne Yada shared this quirky collection of Muppets shoes the other night on Facebook and I nearly jumped out of my seat. They're so wild and creative, just like a brand for (a certain type of) inner children should be!

Here's a look at some of them:

This pair of heeled boots is aptly named "She's Hip He's Hop" because it features both Miss Piggy and Kermit...

These "Super Couple" heels also feature the famous pig and frog duo...

Then there's "The Great Gonzo" style, stars and all...

And Kerm-y flats...

These "foot stomping vixen heeled boots" are called "Fierce Piggy"...

While these pig-pink satin heels are called, "All About Moi,"

The next three pairs really crack me up. First Statler and Waldorf get their mugs on a pair with these "Boo Hiss" flats...

Folks who identify with Animal may be drawn to these "Louder Louder" red fake-furried heels...

And the best for last... the "Mahna Mahna" shoes, if for no other reason that they'll implant that earworm in people's head...

The collection is by UK-based Irregular Choice and the shoes range in price from £129.00 to £220.00.

And yes, there are more shoes, as well as matching purses and tights.

Star Wars more your thing? Go here. Crazy heel aficionado? Here. Read the rest

Ben Vereen, and some Muppets, sing one of my favorite tunes

Pure Imagination is my go to song on the guitar these days. Read the rest

More posts