Muppet Guys Talking feels like a conversation you never want to end, I’m glad they have many additional hours of footage, I hope we get to see it all. I sat down for over an hour and by the time the documentary ended, I felt as though I had only been watching for five minutes. For the first time, in a long time, I felt the urge to watch a Muppet related production on repeated viewings, straight away. The Muppets (2015) was good, it included Muppets, this documentary on the other hand lacked Muppets, but still kept their
spirit, I could not wait to watch it again immediately.
This proves how valuable the team beneath The Muppets are, they are the characters, and they bring life to The Muppets. Victoria Labalme as well as everyone else involved, achieved their goal, I can’t speak for all fans, but it my case, I was moved, inspired and have an even greater appreciation for what The Muppets stand for, than I had in the past. The Muppets as a franchise are known for these lovable characters but as a team, there is a lot more to being part of The Muppets.
Jim Henson was very selective on who he chose, as Dave Goelz explained, determined to meet the people he eventually met. I for one am very glad, he never gave up on the people who he hoped to become part of The Muppet team. Years after his death, a select few, have gathered together, in his honour, to keep his legacy alive. In this case not necessarily a Muppet legacy, but rather what Jim Henson stood for, and what he hoped his Muppets would represent, even years after he was gone. The silliness, the fun and love, shared between this group of people is just as entertaining to watch, even without Muppets covering their hands. This was a truly enjoyable documentary, it was fun, entertaining, deep, informative, and a step in the right direction, these were The Muppets, except without the characters on screen. Unfortunately we don’t have Jim Henson anymore, but we still have the people he worked with, the people who learned from him. These people are the ones who continue Jim
Henson’s legacy, by treating fans of Jim’s work, just as he would. I’ve met various people from this team in the past, including Steve, Bill, Peter, Matt, Eric and Dave, they are all so kind, welcoming and Jim-like. It’s a happy, positive, comfortable vibe, when you’re around them. Jim Henson didn’t just leave a legacy of characters behind for fans to appreciate, he left a legacy of great people behind too. These people share Jim’s views and appreciate life, as Jim did, being a Muppeteer, isn’t simply about puppeteering a Muppet.
In this documentary we learn poor Fran Brill had to wear specially tailored boots, which made her stand tall, alongside her fellow male Muppeteers, whilst performing. Bill Barretta explains the difference between performing Dr Teeth and Rowlf, specifically what he learned from Jim Henson, when performing the actual voices of these two characters. Dave Goelz shares his insecurities through his characters and Jerry Nelson informs us, he had a bad marriage. My favourite part in the documentary comes from Jerry himself, when explaining about his audition for Jim Henson. Jerry explains, sending a recording with a voice, very similar to a voice, Jim already performed, and Jim himself told Jerry not to do that voice anymore, he did that voice. Hearing Jerry Nelson imitate Jim’s Kermit was the highlight for me, of this whole documentary. The Muppets hold a special place in the hearts of these performers, as does their relationships, this documentary details this well. As Frank Oz has explained, if you do something you love, when your career is gone, when there is no money left, you will still look back with fond memories, you had spent time doing what you loved, everything else was just a bonus.
What I found most interesting was that these Muppeteers began as fans of Jim Henson’s work, and through their inspiration and dedication, they’ve ended up keeping his legacy alive. Bill Barretta for instance, has now taken over the role of Rowlf, Dr Teeth, The Swedish Chef and Mahna-Mahna. Working at Sesame Place, one day, whilst cleaning toilets, Bill witnessed Jim Henson walk in through the main entrance. Bill left his post and walked up to Jim and finally met the man, who had replied to his Brother Gene’s letter, all those years ago. Dave Goelz once took a day of vacation from work, to drive up to a puppet festival Frank Oz was performing at, specifically to meet him. Dave asked Frank what Grover’s nose was made out off and Frank replied “I really don’t know, we have people who do that kinda stuff”. Frank’s response did not stop Dave from asking him a second question, he asked Frank, if he were ever to reach New York, might he be able to visit Sesame Street, Frank replied “just call me when you get there”. That’s exactly what Dave Goelz did, a few months after, he finally made it to New York and after searching through the phonebook, he ended up calling Frank. That day, Dave found the answer, fans have been asking for years, can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? Apparently you just travel to New York and then call Frank Oz. Jim Henson once asked Fran Brill to create a sweet little girl, Prairie Dawn was born. As the years went by, Fran made Prairie Dawn her own character, one that became very wilful, she even began directing people, she became part of Fran. I’ve always wanted to know more about Frank Oz’s connection to The Muppets, unfortunately for the longest time, this important member of The Muppet team, had been a mystery to me. Muppet Guys Talking finally helps me understand who Frank Oz is, and why he was Jim Henson’s greatest collaborator, thank you Frank Oz for agreeing to make this documentary, it was well worth the wait, you are a remarkable talent.
Frank Oz returns to his Muppets roots, in an all new Muppets Guys Talking documentary, premiering MARCH 16 th . I have been a Muppet Fan since I was three years old and as I’ve grown older, I’ve become familiar with most of the main Muppeteers, through their interviews and continued connections to Muppet productions. Frank Oz however has always been a mystery to me and now for the first time, myself and every fan who has ever wondered, will know who exactly Frank Oz is. As well as learn about his connection to Jim Henson and The Muppets, whilst surrounded by other great performers.
Welcome from "The Guys" from MUPPET GUYS TALKING - YouTube
Frank Oz, original performer of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam the Eagle, Cookie Monster, Grover, Bert and Yoda, amongst many others, shares his stories. If anyone can give us an insight into Jim Henson, nobody can do a better job at it than Frank Oz. This simple quote from the man himself, indicates just how much of Jim’s teachings he can pass on to us. “You can’t coerce someone into creativity. You won’t get their talent, their gifts, or their authenticity. Jim was such a leader, but he didn’t lead. Jim and his outlook on life caused us to want to fall in. His nature, who he was, how he lived his life—that’s how he led. He became a leader as a result of this, but he didn’t work at leading.” Joining Frank Oz in his documentary, are four other talented character originating Muppeteers, including Bill Barretta, Dave Goelz, Fran Brill and the late, great Jerry Nelson.
Muppet Songs: The First Time It Happens (Great Muppet Caper) - YouTube
Jerry Nelson was a wonderful performer and a master of a variety of distinctly different voices. Floyd, Robin, Uncle Deadly, Crazy Harry, Lew Zealand, Dr Strangepork, Camilla, Pops, Emily Bear, Mad Monty, Gobo Fraggle, Pa Gorg, Trash-Heap, Count Von Count, Herry Monsters, The Two Headed Monster, just to name a few. Jerry Nelson appeared alongside his daughter, making a cameo appearance in The Great Muppet Caper, explaining to her that “bears wear hats”. Sadly, Jerry Nelson past away in 2012, luckily we will be able to see and hear from him again, as Muppet Fans get the chance to listen to him, one last time, when Muppet Guys Talking premieres.
Muppets - Robin - Somewhere over the rainbow - YouTube
Dave Goelz is the last of the original The Muppet Show performer, who has luckily not had his characters recast. Gonzo has been weird and wonderful for over 40 years, and all this time, we have Dave Goelz to appreciate for those performances. Dr. Bunsen Honey, Beauregard and ironically, the mostly silent Zoot, have all originated from this man’s creativity. Down at Fraggle Rock, Dave Goelz performs Boober and Uncle Travelling Matt. I hope that one day in the future, Dave Goelz can return back to his Fraggle Rock characters, in some kind of big, major, production.
I'm Going To Go Back There Someday - Gonzo - YouTube
Fran Brill was the first female Muppeteer hired by Jim Henson, back in the 1970’s, originator of such characters including Prairie Dawn, Zoe, Betty Lou, The Countess, amongst others. Although both Prairie Dawn and Betty Lou have resided in Sesame Street since the very beginning, it wasn’t until the introduction of Zoe, that Sesame Street finally introduced a main female character, later joined by Rosita and Abby Cadabby. Fran Brill retired from acting, back in 2014, luckily fans can still listen to what she has to say, when Muppet Guys Talking premiers on March 16 th .
Sesame Street: My Name Is Zoe - YouTube
Bill Barretta brought to life Earl Sinclair, and then went on to create one of my most favourite long, lost, forgotten characters, Clueless Morgan, debuted in Muppet Treasure Island. In 1996 the Muppets returned to television in Muppets Tonight and fans were treated to a bunch of new characters, many originating from Bill Barretta. Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo Bear, Johnny Fiama, Big Mean Carl, Howard Tubman and Angel-Marie amongst many others. Also including Sesame Street’s Louie (Elmo’s Father), and a favourite of mine, Bubba Rat, debuted in Muppets From Space. Bill Barretta has since then become one of the leading Muppet performers, taking over many of Jim Henson’s original characters including Rowlf the Dog, Dr Teeth, The Swedish Chef and Mahna- Mahna.
Pepe the King Prawn Flirts With 'Good Morning America's' Lara Spencer - YouTube
Victoria Labalme is somebody connected to The Muppets by marriage, I was never aware of who she was, until promotion for Muppet Guys Talking first began, a few months back. Muppet Fans have Victoria Labalme to thank for this new documentary, giving un an insight into how it felt, working alongside Jim Henson, as a team. After a year and a half, trying to convince Frank Oz to be part of this documentary, she luckily succeeded and Muppet Fans around the world, are very grateful for what she has accomplished for us. I for one, cannot wait to hear, this conversation in full, from the short interviews and promotional videos I’ve watched online, I can sense this is going to be a very fun and enlightening conversation. A conversation all Muppet Fans Listening can be part of, right in the comfort of their own living room. Muppet Guys Talking premiers March 16 th exclusively at wwww.MuppetGuysTalking.com, this is going to be Muppetational, inspirational, sensational and most certainly celebrational.
Muppet GuysTalking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched (Trailer) - YouTube
The final issue of Archaia's 12-part comic book series Jim Henson's "The Power of The Dark Crystal " is in stores this Wednesday, March 14. Here is a sneak peak of it below. This final issue is written by Simon Spurrier with art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews.
Sonar Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company in the US have linked up to develop a live-action sci-fi series for teens.
Created and written by Simon Racioppa and Richard Elliott (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance), Rift follows a 17-year-old girl who learns she has the power to travel between two worlds.
In one, she struggles with the drama, comedy and romance of high-school life, while in the other she is a rebel in a parallel world where she teams up with alternate versions of her friends from Earth to stop a dark organisation.
The parallel world will be brought to life by Jim Henson’s visual effects group Creature Shop.
Andrea Gorfolova, president of kids, family and factual at Sonar Entertainment, said: “It is inventive, original and truly genre-blending. This series also marks an important new evolution in our growth, as we are now moving full on into live-action television for an older audience within the kids’ space.”
“Simon and Rich fit in seamlessly with The Jim Henson Company’s long legacy of fantasy world building,” said Halle Stanford, president of television at The Jim Henson Company.
A few days ago I was talking to my other half about going up to London when I found out that funnyman- I mean bear extraordinaire, Fozzie Bear was going to be on the BBCs The One Show, having paid off a ton of bills this week I knew I was just able to afford the trip up to London, she was more than enthusiastic saying I’d have a brill time.
So on an exceedingly bitter cold February 23rd, dressed in all manner of thermals (including my faithful Kermit Onesie) and goodness knows how many layers of clothing I made the one or so hour trip up from Southend to London to see Rae Morris perform, funnyman Dara OBriain and of course meet Eric again at the BBCS The One Show.
I was up there for a number of hours in the bitter cold British air, and even with the amount of layers on I was still kind of cold, was interesting as always to see the crew at work on sorting out the piano that was going to be used by Rae and how everything is put into place for it to happen.
Because I thought it would be cool to get Eric to hold my Fozzie Doll I took Fozzie up with me and my Intuition had also told me to take both my Kermit Muppet and Miss Piggy Doll up as well and they were in my rucksack nice and toasty warm away from all the cold and the elements, Fozzie was in my carrier bag which was where I had my album for Rae to sign and something for Dara to sign too. A few hours later Rae had turned up she was so lovely to meet and kindly personalised her album ‘Someone Out There’ then posed for a selfie, just before she went inside she kindly advised me to get warm (which was very sweet of her) sometime later she had come out to do her rehearsal/soundcheck which was really beautiful to hear…
And just as she had finished, a large group of people had arrived at the studio with all kinds of interesting looking containers, I spotted Eric straight away and it meant a lot to me that he remembered me from the last time I saw him, we had a brief chat and he was a friendly as always we took a normal selfie, and then I took Fozzie out of my carrier bag and kindly asked him to hold my Fozzie which he did so I was over the moon my Fozzie has now (in effect) been performed (kind of) by Eric!
At one point a researcher from the Beeb came out and could see I was a fan of the Muppets and asked if I had any Muppets that they (The One Show) could use? I went to my rucksack and took out both Kermit and Miss Piggy to which Matts response was very enthusiastic, he told me that they wanted to use them for a prerecorded segment in the show and that they would be held/otherwise used by the onscreen talent which I was very happy with although I did explain to Matt that my Kermit Muppet was briefly performed by Steve (Whitmire) in 2014 and then in 2015 by Louise (Gold) and as such have never taken out the two bits of plastic bag stuffing as I like to keep Kermit immaculate, he assured me that they would be very careful with Kermit and Miss Piggy so Matt then went inside (Kermit and Miss Piggy didn’t need to sign in nor even get any kind of security pass LOLZ)
Short time later funnyman Dara O Briain arrived and we got a selfie together, and as I handed him my large Bourbon biscuit (tin) I asked ‘Have you ever signed a large Bourbon before?’ his response clearly let me know this was his first time to.
At around 18:33 Eric came out with Rae and the cameras were set up to film a prerecorded segment that was to be played in a short time later during the live broadcast, it was Rae starting to play the first few lyrics from her song ‘Someone Out There’, Eric got himself into position to sit on a small stool behind the drum kit with a prerecorded sound of drumming, I managed to get video footage of this even though it was bitterly cold and very windy, would loved to have been a fly on the wall hearing what Eric was saying to Rae before they started filming, but it was so enjoyable to see Eric perform Animal and so up close - after the Director was happy with the second take with the words ‘Thats the one!’ I had a brief chat with Eric who hoped I enjoyed what I saw - which I so did.
The crew then went back inside where Eric would be performing Fozzie live, during this all those inside at the Beeb had spoken to the researcher about helping me out as I helped them out lending them my Kermit and Miss Piggy and the Producers had been speaking to each other, the wind was really picking up and unfortunately the audience that should have been there for Rae wasn’t what it could have been due to the cold, it was nice seeing Rae perform live and how the prerecorded segment with Animal was blended in seamlessly.
It was just after Raes live performance that Matt, the researcher came out and said to me that I would be allowed to go into the BBCS The One Show Studio, so I went into reception and was told what was gonna happen I was introduced to the lady at the desk who asked me for some photo id to prove my name then had to look into the camera mounted on the desk so my photo could be taken and thus was given an ID pass whilst this was happening I saw Eric making his way out and we both smiled at each other, Matt then escorted me through the swivel doors and then into Studio V (The One Show Studio) on the way in I passed One Show Presenter Alex Jones, so that was kind of a moment.
I then walked down the corridor and through a normal door and then I found myself actually being in the One Show Studio, my time in there was brief (as the crew were packing the equipment away and thus were very busy) but monumental, Matt let me sit on the iconic One Show sofa (I took Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzie out of my rucksack as after all its only because of them that I got to be in this position) then climbed up (cos obviously the One Show sofa was several feet of the ground to allow Eric to perform Fozzie and next to where Eric had performed Fozzie there was a space that Dara had sat on) Matt took several pictures of me, then handed my iphone back to me where I took a few selfies then some pov pictures of the Studio taking in all my surroundings.
Once I came out of the Studio Matt told me how my Muppets were used and how when I saw it they were put into the final show, coming out of the Beeb I put Kermit, Piggy and Fozzie into my rucksack then took a pic of me outside the Beeb with my pass then made my merry way back to Oxford Circus Station then back home. Admittedly on the train back I checked out the One Show on iplayer and was amazed at the big Muppet Show sequence they did with the theme music and how Kermit and Piggy was used especially with the final shot of Dara blowing the party popper with Miss Piggy and Kermit next to him :)
This blogpost is dedicated to my beloved #Catwoman Fiancee who everyday makes me realise I’m the luckiest man alive and encourages to embrace every available opportunity its because of her that this wonderful dose of happiness occurred on Friday.
I’d also like to thank Eric Jacobson for his wonderful talent and letting me see first hand one of THE most craziest Muppets being performed, the lovely Rae Morris for her wonderful interplay with Animal, Dara O Briain, Alex Jones and Dev.
And finally a MASSIVE HUGE THANK YOU to Matt (the researcher from the B.B.C.) who made it so that my Kermit & Miss Piggy Doll were broadcast live to the nation, escorting me into the Studio so kindly, and the producers and all those within the chain of command who allowed this very proud TV licence fee payer the opportunity to go inside the B.B.C. One Show Studio.
- King Richard
#TheMuppets and #RaeMorris aka Animal Performed by #EricJacobson at #BBC #TheOneShow - YouTube
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