Posts Tagged ‘Weird Al Yankovic’

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 4

May 17, 2021

S06E10 Tito Puente and his band

Tito relied on the GI Bill to pay to study at the Julliard School of Music. He was classically trained in conducting, orchestration, and music theory. He drew on his heritage growing up in Spanish Harlem to bring Afrolatino to the people. He was an expert in playing a lot of styles initially popularized in Hispanic countries like Boogaloo, Salsa, Latin Jazz, and more. He asserted during his lifetime that Latin Jazz was African in origin. He was inspired by Cuban and Puerto Rican sounds in his neighborhood and the Big Band sounds on the radio. While he was a bandleader, he played the timbales and the vibraphone which helped to keep the band’s rhythm. His first album was released in 1951 and he kept going from there and ended up making or appearing on what looks like nearly a hundred albums. He was a prolific musician, composer, and conductor and gained a lot of fame in the music world. He even guested on The Simpsons not long before his death. He was known as the “King of Latin Music”.

Puente would be perfect for The Muppet Show because he seemed to have boundless energy. His music was suffused with passion. His most famous song was “Oye Como Va” which was later further popularized by Carlos Santana. The Muppet Show definitely had a go-to style but they also tried to celebrate other cultures and I bet they would have loved to incorporate Puente’s unique sound and style.

Cold Open: As Tito approaches Pops to check in, Floyd and Dr. Teeth protest him trying to replace them.

Guest Arc: Tito and Kermit try to broker peace between the bands since Tito is a big fan of the Electric Mayhem. In the end, they form a supergroup for one night. Tito also enlists Miss Piggy to illustrate that the emotion in music extends beyond whatever language the song is in.

Guest Acts:
“Oye Como Va” (Tito Puente) with mambo dancers
“Guantanamera” (Traditional) with Miss Piggy
“Ran Kan Kan” (Tito Puente) with the Electric Mayhem

S06E11 Billie Hayes

Billie Hayes was born to be an entertainer. She started performing professionally at the age of nine. She took up tap dancing and apparently never stopped feeling the rush of performance. She was from Illinois so her options for growth were not so many but she started touring with Vince Genovese’s orchestra and then struck out on her own tour. She could sing, dance, and act which made her one of those sought-after ‘triple threats’. She got a big break in Lil’ Abner on Broadway and did several national tours of various Broadway shows. It was no small wonder that Sid and Marty Kroft picked her to be one of the main players on their television show HR Pufnstuff. It was here that she would play her most memorable role of Witchypoo, the main villain of the series and a role she would reprise on Lidsville and the Banana Splits Adventure Hour. She also played a similar witch character as a guest spot on Bewitched. She also played the heroic but pathetic Weenie the Genie on Lidsville. She went on to have a great career in voice acting for various very popular cartoon series.

She would be a superb guest for the Muppet Show for many obvious reasons. First, she is a triple threat and just about able to do anything required of a guest on the show. Second, she obviously did not take herself too seriously and was able to do comedy. Third, she could portray a larger-than-life character that still lives in the minds of those who grew up watching her. Fourth, and probably most important, she worked with puppets and people in suits already so she would be suited to the rigors and particular challenges of working with Henson’s crew.

Cold Open: Kermit complains to Scooter and Fozzy that they have no special guest when there is a familiar cackle and a witch buzzes them on her broom.

Guest Arc: There is no guest star but when the Muppets try to continue on with the show anyway, they are terrorized by a witch who succeeds in taking over the show. At the end, Billie reveals herself as the witch and thanks Fozzy for booking her which Fozzy forgot about.

Guest Acts:
“I Put a Spell On You” (Jay Hawkins) as the cast runs in terror
“I’m So Bad” (Oingo Boingo) with hypnotized followers
“Season of the Witch” (Donovan) with the Electric Mayhem

S06E12 Weird Al Yankovic

Alfred Yankovic took his father’s advice to heart when he told him that the key to being a success is to do what makes you happy for a living. He started playing accordion at age 7, at first having the instrument pushed on him by his parents. There was already a famous accordion player named Frankie Yankovic (no relation) and his parents felt another accordion-playing Yankovic made sense. Al was often stuck inside because his mother was overprotective and did not want him playing outside. This gave him plenty of time to practice his instrument. It also allowed him to listen to a lot of comedy and rock and roll albums and set out to figure out how to combine the two on the accordion. It was at this point that his love for comedy and the fringes of pop culture lead him to the Dr. Demento Show, an absolutely insane comedy radio show who agreed to play Al’s music on air. He went on to have a particularly unique music career that had a foundation built from parody songs. However, he does write his own songs (often pastiches of another band’s style). He even got to write and star in his own movie, UHF.

Weird Al would have been great for the Muppet Show because his sense of humor is just as strange as the Muppets. His enthusiasm for entertaining is contagious and it is hard not to laugh along with him. Unlike many parody artists, his work (and the work of his band) was high quality and his musical skill was (and is clear to see. At this point, his career was really just taking off since in 1983 he would have been only four years into his career as a recording artist. His movie UHF proves that he was willing to roll with just about any idea as long as it makes somebody smile.

Cold Open: Scooter gives Weird Al his warning but he is being petitioned by various foods to write songs about them.

Guest Arc: Weird Al makes it his mission to make Waldorf and Stadtler enjoy the show and goes all out with the help of the Muppets. In the end, Waldorf and Stadtler challenge him to sing something original but they don’t like that either.

Guest Acts:
“Another One Boards the Bus” (Yankovic) with the Electric Mayhem
“My Balogna” (Yankovic) with his accordion
“School Cafeteria” (Yankovic) with the food


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