Sep 24, 2012
An Open Letter to The Walt Disney Company
To Whom it May Concern within The Walt Disney Company,
In its prime, The Muppet Show was the most popular television program on TV. It aired in over 100 countries in various languages and featured 120 of the biggest celebrity guest stars of the day joining the show to goof around with Kermit the Frog and the other Muppets. The Muppet Show ran from 1976-1981 and currently only three of the five seasons of this groundbreaking show have been released on DVD. The box set for Season 3 of the show was released in 2008, over four years ago. To say that this delay is inexcusable would be harsh, but it is extremely odd.
Last year, of course, the new feature film, The Muppets, returned Kermit and company to prominence on the big screen. Incredibly, part of the main focus of the film was The Muppet Show. Knowing this, wouldn't it have made sense to release at least one of the remaining seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD as a way of promoting the film and exposing the "uninitiated" to this show that is so central to the film? I understand that you wanted people in the theater rather than at home watching DVDs, but I have to assume that watching The Muppet Show would have only increased the audience's desire to see what the Muppets are up to nowadays.
I also understand that there are numerous issues with musical rights on the show. I am sure that the cost of some of these songs in the episodes are pretty crazy... but I can also almost guarantee that the Muppets will make that money back. Thanks to The Muppets, the love for these characters has not been this large in many, many years, thus the time has never been better to release the show that made them household names on DVD. Music rights aside, there is really no good reason not to release Seasons 4 and 5 of The Muppet Show on DVD. It has been almost five years since Season 3 was released, and if the releases do not continue soon, people will forget that the first three seasons have been released at all.
Maybe you're waiting for the next Muppet movie to start another marketing blitz and release Season 4. I don't even pretend to understand the goings-on inside a massive conglomerate such as The Walt Disney Company... but I would like to point out that the market for this show and these characters is ready for classic material like never before. Muppet fans are chomping at the bit to get more and more Muppet stuff after having their spirits reinvigorated by The Muppets last year. I truly believe that by holding back The Muppet Show on DVD, you're missing an enormous opportunity to not only make some money, but expose more and more people to the work of Jim Henson and his troupe of performers that made the Muppets what they are today.
I adore Disney. In fact, the only thing I love more than Disney is the Muppets. Therefore, I know that Disney is incredible at releasing classic material while still promoting and celebrating new material. It is high time to show that same balance with the Muppets. Release The Muppet Show Seasons 4 and 5 on DVD and acknowledge this ground-breaking history of what came before. Acknowledge the origin while celebrating the fact that these characters continue to shine brilliantly today. Muppet fans will respect Disney even more if they show this sort of love to classic Muppet material. (Honestly, Muppet fans would be happy just to see these episodes released officially on DVD.)
The general public will appreciate this release as well. In Season 4 of The Muppet Show alone, guest stars such as the stars of Star Wars, John Denver, Liza Minelli, Alan Arkin, and more will make people want to buy the set. The popularity of these huge celebrities will only add to the popularity of the Muppets and create more interest in The Muppet Show and the DVD set. It's a major missed opportunity to not release this as soon as possible.
It's not like The Muppet Show Season 4 DVD set has been totally forgotten by Disney. In fact, at the D23 Expo in 2009, it was announced that the set would be released "soon." That was three years ago and nothing has been said about the release since. I, and I'm sure all other Muppet fans agree with me, think that it's high time to pay up on that promise and release Season 4 of The Muppet Show on DVD for the world to enjoy.
Change.org has a petition urging The Walt Disney Company to release Seasons 4 and 5 of The Muppet Show on DVD. I urge all Muppet fans to sign this and I urge The Walt Disney Company to read the names and responses from Muppet fans who desperately want to own the entirety of this historical and hilarious show on DVD.
Thank you, Walt Disney Company, for all you do for the Muppets and for reading this letter. I sincerely hope that you will continue to do right by the Muppets by finally releasing a DVD set that has been almost five years in the making. It is high time to let the world see The Muppet Show Season 4. Honor the past while celebrating the future of the Muppets.
It's time to finally show Disney that we mean business about wanting the rest of The Muppet Show on DVD. Sign the petition from Change.org, and we'll prove to them that we will buy these DVDs. I'll do whatever I can to make sure the right people see the petition.
~ Ryan Dosier
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, email@example.com