1 The Muppet Mindset: Lance Cardinal and the Incredible Muppet Theater Custom Playset

Apr 7, 2011

Lance Cardinal and the Incredible Muppet Theater Custom Playset

I can't tell you how excited I am for today's post as we welcome the hugely talented Lance Cardinal to the Mindset to talk about his gorgeous, amazing, perfect custom Muppet Theater Playset. His playset is custom-built to perfectly fit the Palisades Toys Muppet figures which were produced from 2002 to 2005. The Palisades figures are some of the greatest pieces of Muppet merchandise ever produced and Lance's terrific playset is such a great supplement to them. But enough blabbering from me... I'll hand over the keyboard (metaphorically, of course) to Lance Cardinal so he can tell you all about his beautiful project.

Lance Cardinal - First of all thank you again for your kind words and support. Its really nice to see other creative people out there providing amazing web sites like The Muppet Mindset for us hard core Fans to share our passion for Jim Henson and the Muppets. The Muppet Mindset is the coolest thing since sliced foam!!

When I was a young boy I lived in a very small northern community, Calling Lake, Alberta, Canada. We only had one channel and it was the CBC. The Muppet Show was on every weeknight after school and before supper and I was always so excited to see it. I couldn’t believe this magical world where all these fun and amazing characters lived! I was mesmerized by the sets, costumes and puppets, and I couldn’t believe there was so much fun, magic and inspiration in one show! I was inspired! Of course I made some of my own versions of the characters out of laundry soap boxes and old socks (who didn’t) and put on many puppet shows and performances. I always loved pretending I was Kermit, introducing the guests and with a swish of my hand the curtain the big red curtain would magically open. This was super important to me when designing the Muppet Theatre model. I had to make sure that anyone could have the magical power to open the curtain like Kermit did, night after night.

I guess the whole reason I began this Muppet Theatre project was to fulfill my secret childhood desire to actually BE a Muppet. I wanted to live in that magical theatre in one of the mysterious doors that led to nowhere, and dance and sing with Fozzie, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo. There was so much heart and soul in that program, directly from Jim Henson’s mind to our living rooms. When Palisades started releasing the Muppet figures in 2002 I knew I had to have them. I began to collect them and I could not believe the quality of the figures and the accuracy to the actual Muppets! I am a very detail oriented person and I instantly gained a new respect for the action figure world. As each figure was released I found myself remembering so many moments of my life that was associated to that character. It just kept getting better and better. I knew the Muppet Theatre was on the list for playets to be released by Palisades and I felt this would be the magical moment when it would all come together!! I would finally get to open that red velvet curtain myself and enter the world of magic, fun and inspiration.

When Palisades went bankrupt in 2006, I was pretty upset to find out they were not going to be releasing the Muppet Theatre. I was disappointed but I continued collecting, gathering whatever characters I needed off the internet and trade shows. One day I was rearranging my new Muppet Palisades display case (my third one) and I noticed a large space where the Muppet Theatre should go. I dwelled on it for days and finally realized I had the power to make one myself. So I began planning it out, designing, calculating, just as intensely as any design job I have done. Eventually I began to build, and I didn’t really stop for a month. Lots of sleepless nights and trips to the modelling store. Then... it was finished. I finally had it in front of me, the curtain was there and the rope was there too. I put Kermit in his place on stage and then pulled the golden rope. Finally it all came together and the collection was complete.

After the stage was done, I decided to put it on my blog--actually, it was the reason I started my blog. Much to my surprise, I started getting messages from other people all over the world who also like the Muppets and also collected the Palisades toy line. Eventually the blog started getting major traffic and I ended up getting 42,00 hits in one week!! This was so amazing to me, especially because representatives from The Jim Henson Company and Palisades both sent me very positive comments and support. These were the very people who I was trying to pay tribute to and the acknowledgement made it all worth it!!

From here I plan to continue with my Muppet Theatre “Add –ons”. Statler and Waldorf’s Box seats will be next and I have already started planning it. Hope to have it up soon!

My respect for Jim Henson and the Muppets is obviously very huge! This man and his group of happy outcast puppets are an integral part of American History and international pop culture. The world is so full of financial problems, political problems, etc., and it really seems like people are needing the happiness, positivity, and comfort that comes from The Jim Henson Legacy. I hope my Muppet Theatre Model has spread around some of that magic and has reminded us all of why we love the Muppets and Jim Henson so much.

Thank you so much Muppet Mindset for keeping the legacy alive and thank you to all the people who sent me such positive comments and support!

 The pictures we've shown are just the very tip of the iceberg of this gorgeous set. Please check out Lance's blog for all of the other amazing, amazing pictures of this piece of art.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier


  1. I can't say enough good things about that playset. It looks so awesome!

  2. Really awesome, and fantastic work: I can't even really find the right words to describe it... it really is beautiful, and perfect, as already stated. :)

    But, out of curiosity... when is the article about my SST scale model ever going to be published?

  3. Well Done Lance! We are so proud of you!! ~Sara Cardinal

  4. I totally wish I had that.
    Can you sell it, pleeeeaaaasssse

  5. Hi Lance,
    no idea how to reach you, but is there any possibleway of getting a muppet theatre of my own. So do you sell it (or make another one). Please let me know: lombru@home.nl

    thx dennis

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