Posts Tagged ‘The Muppet Show’

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 3

May 13, 2021

S06E07 Angela Lansbury

Dame Angela Lansbury was born in Central London in 1925 and luckily for all of us, she decided to move to the United States to escape the Blitz during World War II. She studied theater in New York City before she trekked across country to Hollywood in the early 1940s. As a young woman, she got a deal with MGM and acted in 13 films. She received Oscar nominations for Gaslight and The Picture of Dorian Gray and received a Golden Globe while still in her twenties. She kept working in film but it was theater that finally made her a star when she landed the leading role in Mame. From there she dove into musicals both on stage and on screen and started to become more of a household name. She received even more widespread fame for playing famed crime solver Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote. After that ended, she went back to live theater where she is currently still working.

Lansbury would be perfect for the Muppet Show. She had tons of experience working in pretty much any medium and genre. She did stuff for kids like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, darker fare like Gaslight and Sweney Todd, and anything in between. She had already worked with animation and special effects so puppetry would not have been a problem. Her versatility has helped to keep her career fresh. She would have been working on Broadway at that point but having her on would have been great promotion for Sweeney Todd which was big at the time.

Cold Open: As Lansbury is checking in with Pops, Hilda shows up and says that nice ladies have to stick together.

Guest Arc: Lansbury tries to prove she’s not just a nice lady. She shows that she can be mean if she wants to and bullies the Muppets.

“By the Sea” (Sondheim) with Fozzy
“Bosom Buddies” (Jerry Herman) with Miss Piggy
“Little Yellow Bird” (Murphy/Hargreaves) with a little yellow bird puppet

S06E08 Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks is definitely one of the all-time kings of American comedy. He got his start in the 1950s as a comedy writer for Sid Caesar’s Show of Shows, a trial by fire similar to more modern shows like Saturday Night Live. It obviously allowed him to train his comedy and writing chops. He continued to work with Caesar until the 1960s where he got his first celebrity when he and Carl Reiner created the 2000-year-old man routine where Reiner would interview Brooks as he played a man who had been alive for thousands of years. The routine was a hit on The Steve Allen Show. He had a brush with writing for Broadway and then he co-created the hit television show Get Smart. The success of that show helped vault him into a career writing and directing (and sometimes starring in) his own movies. His name became known for parody and satire and goofy yet smart humor. Films like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and more became huge cult classics and innovated comedy movies.

Brooks would have been a solid choice for The Muppet Show because he never once took himself seriously. As a writer and a guy who came from a live television background, he has always been comfortable with rolling with the punches. Brooks was happy to adlib and goof around with his friends and just about anybody. At this point, he had already worked with several people who were guests on the show in the first five seasons.

Cold Open: Scooter comes to give the warning but stays to try and pitch an idea.

Guest Arc: The Muppets think that Brooks is there as a big shot producer but he is really there as a performer. They keep pitching things to a flabbergasted and confused Brooks.

Guest Acts:
“If You Love Me Baby, Tell Me Loud” (Brooks) with Sweetums and Electric Mayhem
Pitch Meeting: Crazy Harry, Lew Zealand, and Gonzo
“Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst” (Brooks) with Rowlf at the piano

S06E09 Scatman Crothers

The man who would become Scatman Crothers started his musical career when he was still a teenager. He was a self-educated musician and eventually took the moniker of Scatman for the obvious reason that he used a lot of scat singing in his act. He moved from Ohio to Los Angeles and his career picked up. He did USO tours with Bob Hope. Starting n the 1970s, his career as an actor picked up because he had roles in Hello Dolly, The Great White Hope, The Aristocats, The Shining, Silver Streak, and more. He eventually moved into voice acting and became the voice of Hong Kong Phooey and Meadowlark Lemon of the Globetrotters. He guested on tons of popular television shows and gained legend by being everywhere for a while.

He would have been perfect for the Muppet Show because he had nearly bottomless levels of charisma. Energy just seemed to pour out of the Scatman and he had great acting and musical talent. When somebody is a consummate performer, it is easy to imagine them in almost any scenario.

Cold Open: Pops and Scatman are greeting each other enthusiastically when they have a run in with JP Grosse.

Guest Arc: JP Grosse, the owner of the Muppet Theater, shows up wanting to raise ticket prices. Kermit enlists Scatman to show him the errors of his ways.

“Ain’t She Sweet” (Ager/Yellen) With Miss Piggy
“Blue-eyed Sally” With the Electric Mayhem
“The Best Things in Life Are Free” (Gordon McRae) with Kermit

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 2

May 3, 2021

S06E04 Sally Field

Sally Field jumped right into a television career in 1965 with the starring role of Gidget in Gidget. The show did not do very well when it aired but the show gained a cult following and was one of the few single-season shows to go into syndication. Studios were still high on Fields so they cast her in The Flying Nun, once again in the title role. She kept working regularly in television until moving into Hollywood movies. She started in 1976 and quickly followed up with more iconic movies like Smokey and the Bandit and Norma Rae. She had established herself as more than a pretty face with comedy skills as she had enough experience in dramas too. She had even more memorable roles in Steel Magnolias, Mrs. Doubtfire, Forrest Gump, and (important to me) Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, her first real voice acting role. She continues to be a welcome addition to movies and television shows.

Field would have been great as a guest for The Muppet Show because of her great comic timing combined with her deceptive sweetness. She could definitely hold her own in comedies and was always a hard worker, something necessary for the difficulties involved with working with puppets. She actually did later do some work on Sesame Street in a bit where she did impersonations of Sesame Street characters. On occasion, she definitely showed that she could carry a tune in a good old-school Broadway style.

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give Field her warning. She thanks him. The camera pans over to Uncle Deadly who tells her that’s more than enough time for love.

Guest Arc: Miss Piggy thinks that Sally Field will come and ask her to be in a movie but Sally is always talking to somebody else. (ie Gonzo and Animal asking her if she can really fly, Annie Sue and Miss Mousey having tea with her, etc.)

Guest Acts:
“Find Yourself A Rainbow” with the Electric Mayhem
Tea with Miss Mousey, Annie Sue, and an interrupting Miss Piggy
“You’re Moving Out Today” with Sweetums

S06E05 Robin Williams

Robin Williams started as a standup comedian in 1976 in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was through stand-up that he developed his fast-paced delivery with a thousand and one tangents. He did impressions, he sang impromptu songs, and he somehow did not run out of breath. He was not on stage long before he was picked up for television in 1978 for Mork and Mindy (working for Richard Pryor before that). His penchant for the absurd won over America and the World at large as his star kept rising. He starred in his first movie (Popeye) in 1980 and kept on going from there. He eventually landed the part of one of the most iconic Disney characters, Genie in Aladdin which fully utilized his unique delivery. He later moved into more dramatic roles, stretching his talent further and further which established his legend status.

Robin was actually scheduled and announced to guest an episode of Season 4 of The Muppet Show but for unknown reasons, it was canceled. He did go on to guest on Sesame Street quite a few times in some very quirky and fun bits. Robin would have been perfect for The Muppet Show. His energy is practically a mix of Animal, Rowlf, and Fozzie already. He could have sung any number of songs and traded quips with the Muppets with no problems. What could have been!

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give Robin his 5 minute warning but shakes his head as he finds Robin throwing fish around with Lew Zealand.

Guest Arc: Robin makes it known that he wants his appearance to be an audition to become a muppet so he keeps hamming it up in hopes that he’ll be a permanent part of the show.

Guest Acts:
Stand-up Routine Doing Impressions of Muppets, Ending with Sparring with Waldorf and Statler
“This Heart is Closed for Alterations” with The Electric Mayhem
“Come Together” – with Gonzo

S06E06 Leslie Nielsen

Though he was legally deaf, Nielsen joined the Canadian Air Force to escape his abusive father but he was too young and left before seeing any action. He briefly had a radio career before he went to school to further that career. He got a scholarship from the Neighborhood Playhouse and then he attended the Actors Studio, both of which trained him in acting and pulled him from Canada to the US. His early work ended up being unexciting but he finally broke through with Forbidden Planet, a science fiction adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. His career started to pick up with roles in projects for MGM, Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, and more. His early career reached its pinnacle when he starred in the Poseidon Adventure.

However, what makes him perfect for the Muppet Show is what came next. In 1980, he appeared in the parody movie Airplane! as a doctor on board a disastrous airline flight. What those filmmakers were able to do was to help Nielsen weaponize his deadpan and serious delivery and make it into pure humor. His career quickly settled into a new gear as he went on to use a combination of earnestness and bumbling slapstick to climb new heights. He moved on to be a much more beloved and memorable actor than he would have been as a normal leading man. Seeing him act alongside the muppets would be a beautiful contrast.

Cold opening: Pops frantically searches his office as Leslie Nielsen walks up. He has been robbed.

Guest Arc: Several items have gone missing backstage. Word gets out that Leslie is an undercover private detective and is at The Muppet Show to solve the case.

Guest Acts:
“Wanted Man” (Johnny Cash) – With a bunch of rough customer monsters
“Watching the Detectives” (Elvis Costello) – With Miss Piggy and Fozzy
The scene where Leslie arrests Animal

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 1

April 15, 2021

This started out as a Top 11 list of performers that I wish had been on The Muppet Show before it ended in 1981. The project has since expanded a bit and I decided to write a few ideas on my fantasy Season 6 of The Muppet Show.

S06E01 Elaine Stritch

Long before she was “just” Jack Donaghy’s mother, Elaine Stritch was a true legend. She started her Broadway career on stage in 1946 with a role in Loco. She got her big break when she understudied for Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam at the same time as she was starring in Pal Joey. Before that, she had already gotten into television in 1948. Both careers flourished and she became one of the venerated names in theater circles especially. She could sing, she could joke, and she could do drama. She was a consummate performer. In her later years, she proved she could basically be a stand-up comedian doing a one-woman show called Elaine Stritch at Liberty.

Her self-deprecating humor proves that she does not take herself too seriously and would have been a great fit for The Muppet Show aesthetic. She was also consistently working in England at the time which is where the show was filmed. Her schedule was probably pretty tight but I am sure a deal could have been worked out to allow her to film an episode.

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give Elaine her 25 second warning. Elaine is not sure about her makeup artist as Bunsen and Beaker aim and fire a “makeup cannon”.

Guest Arc: Miss Piggy is made to be Elaine’s understudy. She pays Gonzo to sabotage Stritch but keeps getting hurt by his efforts.

Guest Acts:

“Zip” (Rodgers/Hart) with Rowlf on Grand Piano and the Electric Mayhem
“It’s Today” (Jerry Herman) solo with Gonzo’s traps going off
“Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch” (Sondheim) – A duet with Ms. Piggy

S06E02 Christopher Lee

Since they already had Vincent Price on the show, I am shocked that they did not contact the man who was basically his British counterpart, Christopher Lee. Like Price, Lee exuded a powerful aura of charisma that made him perfect for roles like Dracula, Scaramanga, and Saruman. In fact, he still holds the record of playing Dracula the most times on film at 10. He lent his rich, deep voice to voice-over work starting with a German dub of a Danish animated film. He continued to work in animation and eventually added video games to his resume. He was more than just an actor as he could also sing. He sang for the soundtracks of movies he starred in and he would later put out several metal albums that often mixed opera with heavy metal.

He would have been a natural for The Muppet Show and his deep baritone would have been a change from the usual higher-pitched guests. He has the ability to go dark and spooky (like Price or Zero Mostel) but also the abilities needed for comedy.

Cold Open: Christopher Lee arrives backstage and doorman Pops quickly hides from him. Lee remarks on how odd it is for backstage to be so empty.

Guest Arc: The Muppets are afraid of Lee backstage but he does not do anything scary. Eventually, he does The Monster Mash to give them what they want.

Guest Acts:

“Man of La Mancha” (Leigh/Darion) with rat townspeople and Rizzo as his Sancho Panza.
“Ghostriders in the Sky” (Johnny Cash) with Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers
“The Monster Mash” (Bobby Pickett) with assorted monsters

S06E03 Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor began his career as a stand-up comedian in New York City in 1963. He performed alongside luminaries like Nina Simone and Bob Dylan. He started as a clean comic and achieved some success, appearing on Ed Sullivan, The Tonight Show, and Merv Griffin. He had regular gigs in Las Vegas. However, he was not creatively fulfilled because he decided to evolve his act. He started lacing it with profanity but also being more honest and with higher energy. In the 1970s he was writing for television shows like Sanford and Son and The Flip Wilson Show. In 1972 he appeared in his first film (Lady Sings The Blues). He co-wrote comedy hit Blazing Saddles and had several memorable movies alongside Gene Wilder. He continued to star in movies, proving how brilliant of a comedic actor he could be.

Pryor’s manic energy made him a great candidate for The Muppet Show. His very expressive face also lent itself to delivering hilarious reactions, something that would serve him well among jokesters like Frank Oz and Jim Henson. While he was not really known for it in his later career, he actually started his career briefly as a singer. He had a jazzy sound and a good voice and it would have been amazing for him to be able to show that off again. He also had a cameo in The Muppet Movie.

Cold Open: Kermit is dealing with a packed backstage full of people who want to meet Richard Pryor. He clears them out in time for Pryor to arrive. Kermit meets Pryor and asks him to keep it clean.

Guest Arc: Kermit is nervous because of Pryor’s reputation as a dirty comic. He tries to keep Fozzie, Robin, and Sam away from him but in the end, Pryor proves he’s a professional.

Guest Acts:

Pryor and the Electric Mayhem try to teach Fozzy and Gonzo to be cool
“Having a Party” (Sam Cooke) with Janice, The Electric Mayhem, and a crowd
Stand-up (Clean)


The Hidden Message

klaatu barada nikto

Growing a family

Im just trying to evolve

Panorama of the Mountains

Liam Sullivan's Ideas and Reflections

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Prose, Spirituality & Whimsy

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

%d bloggers like this: