1 The Muppet Mindset: Michael Wermuth Remembers 5 Years of Articles

Aug 25, 2014

Michael Wermuth Remembers 5 Years of Articles

Michael Wermuth - Well, 2014 is a great year for Muppet anniversaries, whether there’s official celebrations or not. It is the 60th anniversary of The Junior Morning Show (thus the 60th anniversary of Jim Henson’s television career), 45th anniversary of Sesame Street, 35th anniversary of The Muppet Movie, 30th anniversary of The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppet Babies, 25th anniversary of The Jim Henson Hour, and the 15th anniversary of Muppets From Space and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.

But most importantly, this is the five-year anniversary of the start of The Muppet Mindset, a website you are probably viewing right now. For the past five years, many Muppet fans have been allowed to write articles relating to Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and other works from Jim Henson and get them published on a great website (without having to start their own websites), and of this website’s many contributors, I am one of them. And today I thought I’d take a look back on some of the articles I have written.

Top Ten Sesame Street Songs Not on Any Album Lists
My first article to be published here was my first of two lists of my top ten favorite Sesame Street songs that have not been released on any album. It was partially inspired by a few online lists I’ve seen listing the top ten (or whatever) most underrated Sesame Street songs. I included a mix of songs that I truly am surprised have not been released as well as some favorites that are more-or-less favorites because of the characters who sang the songs. Unfortunately, these songs remain unreleased.

Top Ten Sesame Street Inserts Not Released on Video
Like the above list, I made two separate top ten lists of inserts that have never been released on home video. I had this idea at the time of the “songs not released on any albums” list, but since a 40th anniversary DVD was coming out, I decided to wait until after that was released to make this list. These lists include a lot of childhood favorites of mine that had not been released on video. Only two inserts from either list have been released on a physical DVD (“Outrageous Makeover” on Best of Sesame Street Spoofs! and “Chariots of Fur” on Old School Volume 3). If there are plans for a 45th anniversary set, these segments would be most welcomed.

41 Favorite Sesame Street Inserts
This article came when the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street was ending and the 41st season was beginning, and felt I had to celebrate somehow, so I compiled a list of 41 of my all-time favorite segments. With the 45th anniversary coming up, I kinda wish I didn’t do a top 41 segments list so I could celebrate with a top 45 inserts list. Then again, this doesn’t mean that you readers can’t make such a list.

Top 40 Muppet Show Songs and Segments
It took a little longer for me to even consider making a massive list of my all-time favorite segments from The Muppet Show. And at first I had trouble deciding on whether I wanted to list my top 40, top 50 (I could have included ten segments per season), or whatever, before settling on just 40. This list ended up being a four-part list, but was originally written as one, before adding some info and opinions written about each entry. I do regret not including any male guest stars (some segments I’d have liked to have included include Joel Grey’s “Wilkomen”, Alice Cooper’s”School’s Out”, and Roger Miller’s “Hat”), which I don’t think I realized until it was too late.

In Search of Missing Muppets
This was an article I wrote about certain characters who had not been used (in puppet form) in at least ten years. And since this list was compiled, many characters listed have been seen again, including Lips, Uncle Deadley, Marvin Suggs and the Muppaphone, Annie Sue, and both Nigels. Could my list have influenced the return of many of these characters? Naaahhh...

Muppetology 101: Advanced Property Ownership
I often think about the Muppet sale to Disney in 2004, and who owns what, and since this year is the ten-year anniversary of Disney’s purchase of the characters, I thought it’d be a good time to do an article on who owns what. When I wrote this article, I mentioned that I was unsure of who actually owned the rights to the Sam and Friends characters (well, besides Kermit), having for years assumed Henson still owned those characters, only to be surprised that they got a section in The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.

Top Five Good and Bad Things lists
This year I started making a few lists where I write five things I like about a certain production followed by five things I don’t like (or don’t like as much). The idea came to me one day when I was thinking about making a top ten list and started thinking about what I liked and disliked about certain productions. And maybe Tough Pigs’ “two things” articles subliminally inspired me as well.
Weekly Muppet Wednesdays
After Ryan decided to let other contributors write Weekly Muppet Wednesday articles, I was the first guest contributor to do so (my first being on my favorite obscure character, Lips). I’ve done articles on various characters, from major characters like Statler and Waldorf, Beaker, and Grover to more lesser-known characters like Bruno the Trashman, Zondra, and Baskerville the Hound. I was the first to do an article on a creature shop character, Baby Sinclair. For some characters I wrote articles on, such as Cookie Monster and Grover, Ryan had helped contribute as much as I did, and although I already thought those articles were great, his editing and contributions made those articles a lot better.

Future Articles
So what do I have in store for the future? Well, before the year ends I’d like to do at least one more Muppet Retro Review and at least one more Weekly Muppet Wednesday. In October, I’d like to do a list of Muppet moments that scared me as a child. For the holiday season, I’d like to do a “Top Five Good and Bad Things About...” article on a Christmas production. I’d like to do something to tie in to the 45th anniversary of Sesame Street and the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Muppets. And then there’s a lot of article ideas that I’ve had for years that I still haven’t done. Lots of characters I’d like to write about for Weekly Muppet Wednesdays, plenty of productions to review for Muppet Retro Reviews, a few topics for Muppetology 101, and as it was jokingly mentioned in my section of the websites “About Us” page I have actually considered making a grocery list (right now I know the site needs more cookies, radishes, and birdseed milkshakes).

But here’s to 5 years, and hopefully another 5 years (at which I’ll probably say “here’s to ten years and hopefully another ten years”).

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

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