Interview with Dave Goelz
By Ryan Dosier
Dave Goelz’s Answers © Dave Goelz 2013
RYAN: Once again, we’re here with the magnificent Dave Goelz in the third and final part of our interview. Dave, how’ve you liked everything so far? I swear that monkey doesn’t always live here.
DAVE: There you go again. I’m just sitting at my computer answering your questions. Going into my second winter on this interview.
RYAN: There were so many, many wonderful projects that you worked on with Jim. Are there any specific moments or memories that you would like to recount that we haven’t gotten to already?
DAVE: We did a project called “Dial-A-Muppet,” which consisted of many one-minute bits. The idea was you dialed in and heard a Muppet bit. One evening Frank, Jim and I were recording these at CTS Studio in Wembley. Our scripts were on music stands arranged in a circle around a timer that faced up, so we could glance past the script to see the timer and speed up or slow down as necessary to make the bit end on time. We had just spent a 12-hour day shooting a film, and by ten o’clock we were pretty tired. I fluffed a line and Jim started laughing uncontrollably, which started me laughing. I asked him to leave the studio, since I was the only character in that bit. He said “I’ll just crouch down behind my music stand.” That was ludicrous, as I could see the edges of his jacket shaking. Meanwhile, Frank had started to laugh, and moved to the drum room behind me. It didn’t help; I could hear his high-pitched laugh squeaking through the glass.
It took twenty minutes for the three of us to recover. This used to happen fairly often.
RYAN: Who were some of Jim’s favorite characters to work with? Did he and Gonzo get along well?
DAVE: Jim seemed to get along with every character, but he and Frank usually had the most fun working together. Whether it was Kermit and Fozzie or Ernie and Bert, they often wound up in hysterics. Their timing was perfect, and each seemed to sense where the other was going. They took such pleasure in making each other laugh. Frank and Jim were one of the greatest comedy teams ever.
RYAN: What was the best thing Jim Henson ever taught you?
DAVE: I can’t think of a time when Jim intentionally “taught,” but there were many things he demonstrated by being Jim.
He felt that life was to be enjoyed. He treated people with respect, believed there was enough for everyone, and celebrated diversity. He did not seek to “win” in a business deal––instead he wanted both parties to profit. While he was a functioning adult, he lived with the same sense of wonder and possibility that we all started out with as children.
RYAN: If it’s alright now, Dave, I’d love to ask some of your characters a few questions if they’re around. Is Gonzo home from bog-snorkeling yet?
DAVE: Okay, that’s one too many internal reality questions. Taxi!
RYAN: Gonzo, which of the artistic feats and under-appreciated performances that your brilliant and unparalleled mind has graced us with over the years are you most proud of?
GONZO: I thought you’d never ask. I’m most proud of the next one.
RYAN: Dr. Honeydew, how do you feel your contributions to science will be remembered years and years from now? Is it premature to call you the next Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, or John W. Hammes (inventor of the garbage disposal)?
DR. BUNSEN HONEYDEW: Oh… well uh, I don’t know. Say, is there a nearby place where I can buy dynamite squibs?
RYAN: Boober, how do you recommend I increase my laundry proficiency? I constantly feel that my routine is missing something. Any tips you can share?
BOOBER: Get a good fabric softener, fold neatly and don’t turn your back on the window.
RYAN: Zoot, are you awake?
RYAN: Any gigs comin’ up, man?
ZOOT: Uhhhh… Floyd?
RYAN: Traveling Matt, in your many travels in our world, what is the most important thing about Silly Creature life that you’ve learned?
TRAVELING MATT: That you are a WONNNNNDERFULLL species that has found a meaningful way to survive in Outer Space!
RYAN: And, finally, one last question for Gonzo… What would you like to be remembered for? If you could shape your legacy, what would it be?
GONZO: I managed to have a career without even knowing what I am. Plus I only got about twelve thousand traffic tickets.
RYAN: Dave, same question.
DAVE: I’ll be fulfilled if I was a good dad.
RYAN: One last question for you, Dave. If you had to pick one moment that defined your friendship and career with Jim Henson, what would it be?
DAVE: I can’t pick one. Let me go now.
RYAN: Dave, thank you so very much for doing this interview with me. You and your characters are truly inspirations to me, so this has been a real honor. Thank you for your work with Jim Henson and all your continued work at carrying on his legacy.
DAVE: Thank you for your kindness.
So, are we finally finished? My son has grown up and left for college.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org