The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 8

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke got his start in show business without having to go too far as he became a radio DJ in his hometown of Danville, Illinois in the 1940s. He eventually joined up with a performer named Phil Erickson and they formed a mime act. Their act involved lip synching to records in nightclubs on the West Coast. After that, the two of them shot over to Atlanta in the Fifties where they created a television show where they did a more original act with comedy skits and music. In the late Fifties and early Sixties, Dick made a splash on Broadway where his fusion of music and comedy were successful. He originated the role of Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie which won him a Tony award. He started to make comedy appearances on television, guesting on several shows. He then achieved even greater fame by starring in the Dick Van Dyke show as part of a contract deal with CBS and in partnership with Carl Reiner. He won several Emmy awards on that show. He went on to work heavily in television for the rest of his career. He appeared in plenty of movies most memorably in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Van Dyke would be perfect for the Muppet Show because of his mix of comedy and music. At the time, he was not only vastly talented, he was also somebody who had a lot of experience creating his own things. He also had worked with animation which would give him a leg up working with the Muppets. On top of all of that, Dick can be maudlin and serious when he needs to be without getting too dark.

Cold Open: Fozzy and Pops warmly greet Van Dyke as fans but Kermit snubs him.

Guest Arc: Kermit and Dick Van Dyke have an old feud over Kermit’s resentment that Van Dyke got famous and Kermit did not because Kermit was left out to dry. Eventually, Dick apologizes for not being a better friend and they make up.

“I’ve Got Your Number” (Cy Coleman) with Annie Sue
“Easy Street” (AR Jones) with Rowlf
“Put on a Happy Face” (Adams/Strouse) with Kermit https://www.youtube.com/embed/8RPw9IE53ok

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was born in her family home in Memphis, Tennessee in the heart of a very musical part of the United States. Her mother was a piano player and vocalist which obviously inspired Aretha. Her family moved to Detroit, the home of Motown during a very formative time in music history. She started her own musical journey in church shortly after her mother’s death singing hymns. She was inspired by Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Marvin Gaye (who her sister dated) to move into more commercial work in soul, r&b, pop, Motown, jazz, and more. However, it was in the late sixties where she really started to catch fire and started to churn out hits that she would be remembered for like “Respect”, “Think”, “Chain of Fools”, and more. She elevated herself from a singer to a musical goddess and a legend in her own time. She was often looked to as an inspiration for countless musical acts

Aretha would bring a sense of greatness to another season of the Muppet Show. On a personal note, she was one of my favorite singers to listen to when I was a teenager. Her appearance in Blues Brothers showed that she had a sense of humor and her musical talent would definitely drive an episode. She is very personable and I would have loved to see her interact with the cast.

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give the warning but Animal is there to feed Aretha chocolates. Unfortunately, he’s a bit too aggressive.

Guest Arc: Beaker has finally had it and wants to quit working for Bunsen Honeydew. Kermit brings in the Queen of Respect to not only guest but help teach Bunsen to be a little nicer so he can keep Beaker around.

Guest Acts:
“Respect” with Miss Piggy
“Think” with Sweetums
“Jump to It” with Camilla and the Chickens https://www.youtube.com/embed/KSTIsZULYmY

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf got through a troubled childhood in Dallas, Texas where he was cast in high school theater productions and learned that he could sing. He used his inheritance from his mother’s death to move out to Los Angeles where he immediately started his music career. He started a band called Meat Loaf Soul after a high school football nickname. The name stuck with him. Their very first gig was opening for Van Morrison. They changed their name to Floating Circus and opened for The Who, Grateful Dead, The Stooges, and more. He got cast in the Los Angeles cast of Hair which boosted his career and then ended up in the Broadway production of the musical. He started performing in cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show in the original LA cast and acted in the movie as well. Around this time he started working heavily with Jim Steinman whose music would come to help Meat Loaf define himself as a unique rock and roll musician. He released album after album and even started a bit of a film career in the 1990s.

Meat Loaf would be great for The Muppet Show because I have often thought of him a bit like a human muppet. Whatever he has done in life, he has played it to the hilt and done his utmost to entertain. His songs are epic performances and his stage presence and voice are legendary. His movie roles in Spice World, Fight Club, and Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny show that he does not take himself too seriously. He would be a great foil for the cast.

Cold Open: Meat Loaf rides into the theater on his motorbike when Kermit goes to complain, Piggy greets him happily.

Guest Arc: Meat Loaf arrives on the Muppet Show to woo Miss Piggy who looks like she might leave the show. It is all revealed to be a scam to make Kermit jealous.

“Bat out of Hell” with the Electric Mayhem
“You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” with Miss Piggy
“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”

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