The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 5

S06E13 Buck Owens

Born in Texas, it was no surprise that Buck Owens grew up to be a country and western musician rather than any other genre. Owens was self-taught, learning both how to sing and how to play the guitar, horns, mandolin, and drums without instruction. He then added the steel guitar to his repertoire, a somewhat rare instrument to master but it was definitely about to make its mark on the country scene. He ended up quitting school before graduating from high school to help out at the family farm and work on his music career. He got his own radio show and became a regular musician at a couple of Arizona bars. A truck driver job brought him closer to California where he started playing as a session musician for Capitol Records, allowing him to play with legends like Tennessee Ernie Ford, Wanda Jackson, Tommy Collins, Tommy Duncan, and more. He teamed with musician Tom Rich and his career took off and he put out hit after hit.

Owens would be great for the Muppet Show because he had a peppy, uptempo sound even when he was playing something sad. He co-hosted the television variety show Hee Haw so it has been proven that he can carry his own weight on television. He and his band, the Buckaroos, often wore flashy costumes and had a lot of showmanship so he could probably take anything the Muppets could dish out. His easy demeanor would make him a great straight man for the wacky Muppets.

Cold Open: Buck shows up to check in with Pops. A herd of cattle stampedes through backstage and he proclaims that he is going to be right at home.

Guest Arc: Buck arrives to find that the denizens of the Muppet Theater are experiencing a crisis of confidence. Buck sets about to instill a little less anxiety and talk the Muppets into feeling better about themselves.

Guest Acts:
“Act Naturally” with Fozzy
“I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail” with a tiger and a bunch of cowboys
“Hello Trouble” with Gonzo

S06E14 Debbie Reynolds

When Debbie Reynolds was starting her career, she was almost immediately put in the center of a fight between two companies. Talent scouts had spotted her at the Ms. Burbank contest and were obviously impressed and so it was that Warner Brothers and MGM did battle for her contract with MGM winning out. They put her in a string of movie musicals which led her to her big break in Singin’ in the Rain, a pastiche of older Broadway shows and movies. She was only eighteen at the time. She kept working in movie musicals for MGM including The Unsinkable Molly Brown which earned her an Oscar nomination. She had her own television show in the seventies but quit after one year because she refused to have cigarettes advertised on her show. She went on to have a great career from there, guesting on a lot of television shows and doing voice work for cartoons. She also was introduced to a whole new generation through her appearances in the Halloweentown franchise for Disney.

Reynolds would have been perfect for the show. In 1983 she would have had a career for over thirty years and plenty of experience to draw on. She also had a lot of energy in her career and was a true triple threat. On a personal note, Singin’ in the Rain is my favorite musical. She would later have a lot of experience in voice acting which would serve her well in understanding the unique techniques at the Muppet Theater.

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give Debbie her warning and she is watching Gonzo and the chickens dance.

Guest Arc: Kermit thinks some of the Muppet performers have started to fall short on their dancing skills. He enlists guest Debbie Reynolds to tap dance them through things a bit.

Guest Acts:
“Belly Up to the Bar, Boys” (Meredith Wilson) with a bunch of rowdy monsters
“Good Morning” (Brown/Freed) with Kermit and Fozzy
“Where Did You Learn to Dance?” (George Stoll) with Sweetums and Miss Piggy

S06E15 Donna Summer

Donna Summer got her start in her music career when she left home for New York City and joined a blues/rock band Crow. When that did not work out, she auditioned for the musical Hair and was hired for the Munich production. She stayed in Germany and did a few more musicals. She started to tour a bit and recorded some German versions of popular songs from the United States. She partnered with an Italian producer who helped kick her career into a higher gear. She did more recording in Europe and appeared on European television shows. With the song “Love to Love You Baby” (which she co-wrote) she really started to take off globally. Her career took flight from there and she was eventually one of the queens of Disco through the seventies with hits like “Hot Stuff”, “I Feel Love”, “Last Dance”, and more. Because she had such a varied background, her disco music was the cream of the crop and she was able to easily transition when Disco was murdered by childish people.

Donna Summer would be perfect for the Muppet Show because she truly was a musical genius. She wrote or co-wrote a lot of her songs and put new spins on things that she covered. She learned German while working in Germany and was willing to take a lot of chances. That shows that she can really go with the flow. On top of that, her energy had a white-hot intensity which also had an easiness to it which would really serve the show.

Cold Open: Donna arrives to check in with Pops and is notified that they are installing something to make her feel more at home. Gonzo suddenly plummets from above and then a disco ball lights up the room. Donna thanks Gonzo.

Guest Arc: Robin asks Donna why people hate Disco and Donna tells him that that music just keeps evolving and keeps making people feel things. She sets out to show Robin and the rest of the Muppets that the Beat still lives.

Guest Acts:
“Hot Stuff” with a bunch of firemen
“On the Radio” with Miss Piggy
“Last Dance” with the whole cast

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