1 The Muppet Mindset: June 2014

Jun 30, 2014

What Do the Muppets Mean to Marcelo Botaro?

Marcelo Botaro - Words cannot describe how much I love The Muppets, so I'll share my essay I wrote from when I was in sixth grade.

My Hero

My hero is really heroes, and my heroes are The Muppets. I know that these are just puppets I’m talking about but as a huge Muppet fan they have been a major part of my life, they taught me how to read, count, love my friends and family, and how to always have a great time.

Whenever I’m sad, angry, or just need a laugh, I play an old classic Muppet commercial or I watch one of my favorite Muppet Show episodes and movies and whether it’s Gonzo with a funny stunt, Fozzie Bear’s jokes, or the Swedish Chef making another dish The Muppets always make me laugh in the end.

It doesn’t matter if I watch a classic Muppet movie, show or if I watch something new from Sesame Street, The Muppets have always made all the difference growing up. Also the work of such talented performers that take the role of these characters after a passing or when an old performer retires, the new performers know how to get the characters rolws right away and it always stays strong and fresh.

I can’t really say Kermit’s my hero or Gonzo or Fozzie, Miss Piggy or Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem, but as what The Muppets can do together as a team and as a family males them great, talented and what makes them my heroes.

I've seen each of the Muppet films over and over again and they always leave a huge smile on my face and warm up my heart because they always know how to bring joy and happiness to me. My favorite film that actually made me cry and I've seen every year is The Muppet Christmas Carol. It's is one of my favorite novels and for the Muppets to make a movie based on it was a joy to watch for the holiday season.

My favorite songs from the Muppets are always Rainbow Connection and When the River Meets the Sea, which I would love to sing with the Muppets. (With the Muppets, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock and any other Henson characters)

Growing up I always loved the Muppets, but I grew up in the era where everyone felt they were too old for them, but I did not. Yes, I was made fun of for drawing the Muppets in my sketch book or made some random doodles of my own Muppet creations and monsters, but deep in my heart I loved them because they were a part of my nostalgia and I knew that deep down I felt like a Muppet myself.

But the man behind my heroes is my idol Jim Henson. This man took the puppet world of marionettes and turned puppets into fleece and foam masterpieces which the world can agree with me on. And if it wasn’t for Jim, their would not be any other puppet performers to this day like myself. Not only do I thank Jim for inspiring my puppetry, but also for cartoon characters I've created. I give Jim Henson thanks for the magic that I have loved for years.

I’d like not only to meet the Muppets one day, but to also get to work with them. To finally be working with one of Jim Henson’s most popular creations... it would be a childhood wish come true.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Jun 27, 2014

News Update: June 27, 2014

JUNE 27, 2014

This week, the annual Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony was held and, of course, Sesame Street won quite a few of them! In fact, Sesame was tied for the most trophies won this year! Below are the awards they won. Our huge congratulations to everyone at Sesame Street on their fantastic and much-deserved wins.

  • Outstanding Preschool Series
  • Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series
  • Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series
  • Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Camera Editing
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Live Action 
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action

D23, the official Disney fan club, posted a great article all about Rowlf the Dog last Thursday and somehow we missed it until this week. The article covers quite a few fun facts about Rowlf, and gives lots of credit to Jim Henson, The Jimmy Dean Show, and lots more. It's really a wonderful look at Muppet history, which is always exciting to see from Disney. It's also quite nice to see Rowlf get some more love.

Remember a few months ago when those awesome photos of Ricky Gervais, Constantine, and Matt Vogel started making the rounds? Well, Brad Trent, the hugely talented photographer who shot the photos, recently posted some behind the scenes shots from the awesome photo shoot. Check out the full article for all of them, but below are five our favorites from the post.
Earlier this week, Ryan Dosier (hey, that's me!) held an impromptu live-tweet of a few episodes of Season 1 of The Muppet Show on The Muppet Mindset's Twitter account (@MuppetMindset). It was a lot of fun and a lot of people seemed to enjoy it, so we're going to do it again--and invite you to join us! On Monday, June 30 at 7:30pm Central Time/5:30pm PST, I'll be watching The Muppet Show Episodes 201 and 202 (the first two episodes of Season 2) and live tweeting from @MuppetMindset. Join us in the watching, join us in the tweeting, join us in the fun! We hope to see you then, Muppet fans!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Jun 26, 2014

Muppet Retro Reviews: Sesame Street Sing-Along

Michael Wermuth - Sing-Along is a Sesame Street video themed around songs. The linking footage involves the cast having a sing-along on the roof of 123 Sesame Street. Bob even goes so far as to bring a piano to play. While the sing-along is going on, Biff and Sully are also on the roof, fixing a TV antennae. They fix it early on, but then they keep breaking a TV set, having to fix and re-fix it. The scenes with them testing out the TV allows for transitions to the inserts, though not all segments begin on the TV.

This video focuses more on the linking plot than on segments, however. But for the most part, the linking material is good, and much of it is great. Most of the songs are traditional kids songs, like “The Alphabet Song” and “Old McDonald.” At one point, Big Bird wants to sing a song that Granny Bird had taught him, “Cheer Up,” but Bob (on the piano) doesn’t know that song. Fortunately, Sully does know the song, and gets a chance to play the piano while Big Bird leads the others in the song. And for the big finale, the cast sings a show stopping rendition of “What’s the Name of That Song?” which begins on the roof but soon leads to other parts of the street, with special appearances by Luis and Susan, Oscar the Grouch, the Honkers, and the Two-Headed Monster.

This video only has five inserts from the show, but they are all good choices. The inserts are “Sing After Me” with Madeline Kahn and Grover, “Sing” with Olivia and Linda, “We All Sing with the Same Voice,” “Rubber Duckie” with Ernie, and “Doin’ the Pigeon” with Bert. Most of these segments start when Biff turns the TV on, but one notable exception comes before “Rubber Duckie,” when Ernie can be heard from down in his apartment, saying he has a song but can’t come up to sing it because he’s in the bath tub. Although it’s just a vocal role, this introduction makes this one of the few Sesame Street videos to feature involvement from Jim Henson in the linking footage.

All five of the inserts on this video would go on to appear in later video releases as well. In fact, each of them has been included in one of the three volumes of Sesame Street: Old School. But even if you have all of those segments on other videos, Sing-Along is still worth it for the linking footage, especially the Biff and Sully material and the finale.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Jun 25, 2014

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Geri & The Atrics

Written by Abigail Maughan.


Performed by...
Jerry Nelson (Geri)
Louise Gold (Guitar player)
Steve Whitmire (Tuba player)
Dave Goelz (Drummer)
Frank Oz (Pianist)
Kathy Mullen (Knitter)
Richard Hunt (False Teeth)

First appearance...
The Muppet Show Episode 404: Dyan Cannon (1980)

Most recent appearance...
The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1986) (As a group)
Muppets Most Wanted (2014) (One single member, the drummer)

Best known role...
Old lady rock band

Memorable quotes...
“Get with it, you turkey! We’re what’s happenin’!” –Geri

“Yeeeeaaaaah!” –The Singing Dentures

Geri and the Atrics are an energetic group of elderly women (and one talking pair of dentures) who perform ‘50s and ‘60s rock and roll hits with orchestral instruments on The Muppet Show. The band consists of a woman who we assume is Geri herself, played by Jerry Nelson, a pink tuba player played by Steve Whitmire, a humanoid guitarist played by Louise Gold, a big-nosed blue pianist played by Frank Oz, a wrinkly-faced knitter played by Kathy Mullen, a green drummer played by Dave Goelz, and a singing pair of dentures played by Richard Hunt.

Who is Geri? One would assume that she’s the lead singer of the group, but the leader is actually a completely different puppet from the band’s first two appearances to the next one, although they are both voiced by Jerry Nelson. The first is the yellow cellist who led the band’s renditions of “Hound Dog,” and “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and was never seen after that. She was subsequently replaced by a humanoid tambourine player who was seen as the leader in the final performance and every group appearance after that. Are they both Geri? Is either of them Geri? If that’s the case, then who is the real Geri? The world may never know.

The band performed three times on The Muppet Show. In the Atrics’s first appearance, they sang “Hound Dog” as the opening number of the canine-centric episode guest-starring Dyan Cannon. An old hound dog sat in on this performance. Their performance of “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” was the UK spot of episode 413, which guest-starred Dizzy Gillespie. In their final appearance on the show, episode 517 featuring Hal Linden, the group was appropriately (but later regrettably) hired by Statler and Waldorf to perform a flashy “Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp Bomp Bomp” as the opening number.

While they never took the stage as Geri and the Atrics again, members of the group, all but the singing teeth and the original Geri, have been included and reused in various projects throughout the years, including but not limited to Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppets Tonight, and even The Ghost of Faffner Hall TV series. Some notable appearances:
  • Some of the Atrics were in attendance at Kermit and Miss Piggy’s wedding in The Muppets Take Manhattan, singing a line about time passing in the song “He’ll Make Me Happy.”
  • The band’s guitarist was transformed into Howard Tubman’s butler Carter on Muppets Tonight.
  • Also on Muppets Tonight, the guitarist and Geri 2.0 became the fast-footed act of the Dancing Grandmas, the only performance that would satisfy the invading Rock Lobsters in the episode featuring Pierce Brosnan.
  • The Atrics’ pianist was among a group of women singing about Ebenezer Scrooge’s possible goodness in the opening number of The Muppet Christmas Carol. (“Naaah!”)
  • In The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years, Geri and the Atrics sat with fellow old geezers Statler, Waldorf, and Pops.
  • The band’s drummer appeared as recently as 2011’s The Muppets, singing in The Muppet Show theme song and interacting with Sweetums backstage, and 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted, again in the Muppet Show arches.
Geri and the Atrics are a very random, nutty, unique act, but a surprisingly pleasant one, making music, bringing laughter, and loving their work. In other words, they are exactly what the Muppets stand for. While some would be quick to ascribe old age as an obstruction to rocking and rolling, Geri and the Atrics would quickly prove anyone with that assumption wrong.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Jun 24, 2014

Rowlf the Dog - Calm Among Crazies

Christopher Woods - When someone thinks of The Muppet Show, the first word that could come to mind is "chaos." The bizarre happenings on the stage were often only topped by the troubles offstage. From the Swedish Chef being attacked by gun-toting lobsters, to Miss Piggy locking Kermit in a steamer trunk, to Gonzo being prematurely reported dead, there was never a dull moment throughout the show. However, there was one character who seemed to be immune to the frenzied pace of the Muppet Theater: Rowlf the Dog.

Perhaps it was from his early work as Jimmy Dean's right-hand dog on The Jimmy Dean Show that gave him his laid-back nature, spending 10 minutes a week singing and joking. Or maybe it was from his time playing the piano and sitting and watching at the hole-in-the wall he worked at in The Muppet Movie. Either way, he just seemed to be able to stay above the fray, or should I say, right next to the fray, always with a smile on his face and a little joke.

This attitude translated well into his solo numbers, which usually just involved him and a piano, or sometimes even just him singing behind an unseen band. While the piano numbers generally showed off Rowlf the best, one solo number in particular truly shows off that attitude the best.

This song is in the midst of an episode that features various beasts attacking Don Knotts, a bass exploding during a musical number, and someone affectionately known as the "Screaming Thing" singing about "The Windmills of Your Mind." And yet, when it's Rowlf's turn to take center stage, he's got a puppy with him! A sleepy little puppy! And he just sings, and nothing explodes or comes running through in front of him. It's just two beautiful minutes.

Sure, some might find this boring compared to the rest of the shenanigans of the rest of the Muppets, but it's good to have someone to bring down the frenzy for a few seconds. After all, it never hurts to get a chance to catch your breath.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Jun 23, 2014

What Do the Muppets Mean to Mitchell Stein?

Mitchell Stein - Where do I even begin? The Muppets have been a major part in my life for as long as I can remember. I believe I really became a Muppet fan during one of my several early visits to Walt Disney World and seeing the truly brilliant Muppet-Vision 3D. I enjoyed the attraction so much that as soon as I arrived back home I was sure to rent The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan, and I really loved both of them. From there I discovered more about the Muppets, including The Muppet Show and other films such as The Muppet Movie and The Muppet Christmas Carol.

From those days and onward, the Muppets have continued to mean so much to me as they constantly left me entertained every time. For reasons such as this one, the Muppets mean everything to me. The Muppets allow me to escape from the problems of every day life, and entertain me on so many levels. Most of the humor that the Muppets pull off (especially in its second-fourth season run of The Muppet Show) is so brilliant and still holds up so many years later. The Muppets are witty, wacky and zany and all around hilarious. There are also some really emotional moments throughout the films that get me almost every time.

Many people who worked with Jim Henson have said that Jim’s main reason for creating Fraggle Rock was to create world peace. With the three different types of groups, Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs and showing off their different lifestyles and how at the end of the day, they can live together in harmony. How can a show with such a strong positive motive not mean something? This is just one of those other things from the Muppets that are just beyond entertainment, but even inspirational sometimes.

I also really appreciate all the hard work put in from all the performers over the years. I don’t think there’s enough time in the world to thank every person who’s helped the Muppets become the brilliant, beloved characters they are today.

When Disney re-introduced the Muppets to the world in 2011 with The Muppets, I was beyond thrilled. The Muppets were finally resurrected and brought back to the spotlight with new stories in a modern-film type setting, but at the same time retaining the magic that built them up to the massive franchise that they are. My favorite franchise finally returned to its former glory, and followed by another great sequel. I’m so happy that there’s still new Muppet stuff coming out and they continue to become a part of my daily life.

Not long ago, I stumbled upon this great Muppet fan community which we call... well, Muppet fans (seriously, someone think of a cool fan name that we can call ourselves). From Muppet fan outlets like The Muppet Mindset I’ve reached out to some really fantastic people, and it led to some minor, but awesome opportunities.

In the end, the Muppets mean everything to me and pretty much always have. They have become a part of my daily life, and they continue to move me and sometimes inspire me. The Muppets have not only entertained me, but they’ve led me to so many different great things in life and taught me it’s sort of fun to do the impossible.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Jun 21, 2014

Reese Scott's Muppet School Project

Our buddy Reese Scott recently completed a board project for school all about the Muppets! Reese received an A+ on the project, and we're very proud to showcase it here! The project guidelines was to compare something to school classes and subjects. Reese, obviously, chose the Muppets, and it paid off. Congratulations to Reese on the great grade on the project and thanks to him for letting us showcase it!
SOCIAL (History)

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

Jun 20, 2014

A Muppet Fan's Guide to New York City

Spencer Cohen - As many people (especially Muppet fans) know, New York City is a great place to take part in various Muppet-related activities. I'm lucky enough to live near the city, so I've seen and done quite a few of the awesome Muppet things that you can do in the big city. Below are some of my very favorite Muppet-related places to go and experiences I've gotten to have in New York City!

The Muppet Whatnot Workshop at the FAO Schwarz Flagship Store
An awesome workshop where one can build their very own Muppet character, like the ones shown in this picture!
There’s also a lot of cool pictures, Muppet memorabilia, and other merchandise on display as well!

The Museum of the Moving Image
An excellent museum dedicated to the art of film and television, this fun attraction is another great place for Muppet lovers. Several people who have worked with the Muppets have made appearances at events held at the museum. I was lucky enough to go to the special tribute to the late, great Muppet performer Jerry Nelson. The tribute was absolutely beautiful, and being there was an absolutely amazing experience that I will never forget.
Jerry Nelson Muppet from The Muppet Show that was on display at the tribute at the museum. I had the opportunity to meet Muppet performers Bill Barretta and Steve Whitmire there! In addition, there’s also a set model from The Muppets take Manhattan on display in the museum!

Kermit’s Footprints in Cement on the Sidewalk
Located around East 67th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, in front of the building that used to be the old workshop for The Jim Henson Company!
Kermit's Picture at Sardi’s
Located on 234 W 44th St, this famous restaurant was seen in The Muppets Take Manhattan! Kermit’s signed caricature from the movie is still hanging inside the restaurant. To see it, all you need to do is walk up the stairs, and it will be on your left once you get to the top!
My puppet character, Doughnut, and me with Kermit’s caricature!

Other Events/Muppet Appearances
The Muppets, Muppet performers, and other people who have worked with our favorite frogs, pigs, monsters, etc. appear at various public events throughout NYC. Back in October 2012, Roscoe Orman (Gordon on Sesame Street), Elmo (dressed as a superhero) and Darth Chicken appeared at New York Comic Con and performed a fun show!
In addition, My good ol’ buddy, Jeff and I were lucky enough to get a ticket to a meet and greet with Elmo and Roscoe, which took place after the show!

Then in March of this year, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, Walter, along with his just as awesome puppeteer, Peter Linz, appeared at a special sing-along screening of the 2011 hit film, The Muppets! Both my buddy Zak and I, along with some other Muppets fans, were given the opportunity to meet them after the screening!
Me, Walter, Peter Linz, and my buddy Zak!

And there are my favorites from all the Muppet-related activities in New York City, that are open to the public! I hope that this guide serves all you well!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com
The Muppet Whatnot Workshop-Only Available at FAO.com
The Muppet Whatnot Workshop-Only Available at FAO.combanner