Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Muppet Mad Libs Now Available!

The Muppets Mad Libs hits stores today!

 If you've always wanted to ____ and _____ with ________and ______ while _______  ______!                               (verb)      (verb)          (noun)           (noun)            (noun)              (verb) 
Now you can, or something like it in 21 different stories!

You can order your own from Amazon

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Muppets 2017 Wall Calendar by Day Dream!

It may not even be Halloween yet, but now you can dress your wall up for 2017!

Day Dream's 2017 Muppet calendar uses a nice mix of standard stock images with some less seen illustrated  version of the characters.

As in previous years, this isn't the only Muppet calendar being released so stay tuned to see even more Muppet themed months!

The Day Dream 2017 Muppet calendar is now available from Amazon

Friday, October 21, 2016

"My Favorite Item" Celebrating The Muppet Show's 40th Anniversary - Part 4!

To celebrate The Muppet Show's 40th Anniversary we conclude our look at the Muppet communities favorite Muppet Show related items.

Rachel Herrick (Adorkable Rachel)

My favorite Muppet item is my copy of Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal. 

I was really lucky to visit the set of Muppets Most Wanted when they were filming in 2013. 

While there, I got all of the Muppeteers on set to sign my book, including Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson, David Rudman, Bill Barretta, Peter Linz, and my friend Kevin Carlson. That was one of the best days of my life, and now I have proof that it happened.

Austin M. Costello
I’ll start with two honorable mentions and then a real favorite…

The Statler and Waldorf Igel figures (with their sofa): I originally purchased them from FAO
Schwarz in New York City as a kid for $35 each and the couch later on eBay. They’ve sat atop a bookshelf in my room ever since.

The “It’s The Muppets” VHS series: I have SO many fond memories of watching these tapes with my family, plus it was my first exposure to The Muppet Show.

And now they are on Youtube!

It's the Muppets! - Meet the Muppets!

It's the Muppets! - More Muppets Please!

And finally,

The Playhouse Video series!

This set of 10 VHS tapes was a “best of” compilation of The  Muppet Show by theme. Rock Music, Country Music, a Fozzie collection, and 7 others were  among this ‘80s roundup of clips from our favorite show hosted by an amphibian. “Children’s Songs and Stories” was the first of these that I watched, having had rented it so many times from a local Blockbuster. 

“Muppet Weird Stuff,” hosted by The Great Gonzo from his trailer park mansion, was the next one I caught from eBay, and then the rest came over time. They’re super sweet and fairly hard to find compilations of the show with new footage of the Muppets to wrap around the clips. Each VHS has a gatefold cover with goofy Muppet facts on the inside (“Did you Know? Kermit The Frog’s middle name is actually THE, and Miss Piggy’s first name is actually MISS!”). 

Part of the fun of collecting these videos was the trailer at the end of the tape which announced each of the other videos in the series… for a teenage Muppet fan in the 2000s, this was a real hunt to find them all!

Here’s one of the videos from the collection! 
(Editor's Note: My favorite from the series) 

Rock Music with The Muppets

Stay tuned at the end for the trailer of other video 

Noel MacNeal (Bear in The Big Blue House)

The Muppet Show Game by Parker Bros:

I got it at the Lampson's (the other store that was not Woolworth) in our neighborhood. I loved playing with it and rediscovered it when I was cleaning out my mom's apt and my old room. It was in a box filled with my "Muppet collection" including my membership to the fan club!

Chris Stulz (Muppet Stuff)

Whenever people ask me what my favorite Muppet Show item is it's really hard to narrow it down to just one. But I'd have to say it's The Muppet Show album. 

You see kids, before the internet, DVD, and even before home video became popular, this album was one of the only ways of experiencing some of The Muppet Show's best segments over and over again. And boy was this record played over and over again at my house!

You can listen to the whole thing below:

Well that's gonna wrap up our look at the Muppet communities favorite Muppet Show related items, but before we go we'd like to thank everyone who shared their stories with us! 

Here's to the next 40 years of The Muppet Show! Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Update on Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography!

Last week we shared an article through our facebook page about Max Stein's biography of Richard Hunt. 

Max Stein contacted us and let us know that the article was written 5 years ago and used an outdated version of her manuscript. We all want to make sure the newest information was available and to make sure you knew about the amazing effort she's been putting into this book.

About the book 
(from http://jessicamaxstein.com/funny-boy/):

Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography is the life story of Muppet performer Richard Hunt.
A born comedian, singer and entertainer, Richard Hunt enjoyed a masterful two-decade career with the world’s most popular puppet troupe, starring as a main performer on children’s television blockbuster Sesame Street and adult megahit The Muppet Show. He played a startlingly wide and wild variety of characters, embodying everyone from young gofers to mellow valley girls to wisecracking old men, using hand puppets, full-body costumes and remote-control technology to physically bring characters to life. Muppeteer Frank Oz calls him the “heart and soul of the irreverence of the Muppets”; his comic sensibility was integral to their phenomenal popularity. And he did it all while having a determinedly good time – even while time was running out.
Hunt’s fairy-tale rise to fame is a rags-to-riches story born of stubbornness and desperation. The oldest son of a large poor family, he felt driven to provide when his alcoholic father fell short of the task. He cold-called the Muppets at 18, apprenticed rapidly, and was barely 25 when Time magazine called The Muppet Show “the most popular television entertainment on earth”. Over 200 million people in a hundred-plus countries tuned in each week to watch the five men perform their iconic puppet characters alongside a who’s who of western entertainment.
Hunt began the 1980s ready to savor his happy ever after. But the decade quickly became a cat-and-mouse game with the AIDS epidemic, which picked off close friends, took his partner, and dangled a sword of Damocles over his own life. Yet Hunt seemingly never lost his signature irreverence, his dream of making “millions of people happy”. Both on and off screen he created a sanctuary of humor that continues to make life better for legions of people the world over. His strong will, hard work and unrelenting fun make his story a wry and engaging twist on the “tragic” AIDS narrative, for any story with Hunt at its center could only be an empowering comedy at heart.
I am established as Hunt’s biographer, having conducted 80 interviews with family members, colleagues such as Frank Oz and Brian Henson, and a broad range of lovers, classmates and friends, in addition to accessing numerous archival materials such as Hunt’s letters and a rare, lengthy interview with him. I have lectured on Hunt across the country, and my research on him has been cited in MSN TV News and the New YorkTimes.
Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography is a fitting biography of a man whose expansive spirit shines through his work. The book is lively and literary, scholarly and silly, elegant and edgy, a snapshot of a vibrant cultural moment, raising questions that remain controversial and relevant. Though his work is phenomenally famous, Hunt himself is curiously invisible – and his story is long overdue.
A few excerpts are also available on her website:
For more information about Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography and Jessica Max Stein visit Jessicamaxstein.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History Now Available!

As we first reported back in May, Insight Editions' new coffee table book Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History is now available.

You can order your copy from Amazon.

Help Make "Street Gang" a Movie!

Street Gang is an upcoming documentary based on Michael Davis' best selling 2008 book about the history and making of Sesame Street.

Just like the filmmakers did for I am Big Bird did two years ago, Macrocosm Entertainment and Citizen Skull Productions, the team behind Street Gang have started a crowd source campaign to to their raise the funds needed to make the film.

As with many crowd sourced campaigns, you can also get some perks for donating certain amounts.

The perks the creative team has prepared are pretty incredible, including a visit to Sesame Street itself!

They even have a few stand alone perks. Which means lower tier items aren't included. 

The filmmakers are also donating 15 percent of the proceeds Sesame Workshop's Yellow Feather Fund, which benefits vulnerable children around the world.

Head over to their Indiegogo page and help support Street Gang!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"My Favorite Item" Celebrating The Muppet Show's 40th Anniversary - Part 3!

To celebrate The Muppet Show's 40th Anniversary we continue our look at the Muppet communities favorite Muppet Show related items.

Chris Harris (The Muppet Cast)
Editor's Note: You may recall seeing Chris Harris in part one, but we wanted to included his second submission as well...

My second favorite item has a lot of sentimental value. It is my “The Muppet Show” lunchbox I carried in elementary school. I must have been around 5 or 6 when I got it.

James V Carroll

My first phone was this Kermit phone in the early 80's and I still have it today. It's a gorgeous sculpture that I've actually referenced for some of my legit work in Muppet products.

David Stephens

When I was asked to write about my favorite piece of “Muppet stuff,” it was a real challenge to choose just one. I have been a collector of Muppet memorabilia for over 30 years and the collection is quite extensive. Ultimately, it came down to one question: if the house was on fire, which item would you grab as you ran out the door? Answer?

Well, there's a story:
In 1990, I was a seventh grader at Foley Middle School and even more of a die-hard Muppet fan than now. I knew Muppet trivia like other kids knew baseball stats. And I was always thirsty to know more.

These were the days with no internet, no Muppet Wiki, no YouTube, no ToughPigs or Muppet Central, and the mom-and-pop video rental place in town had only three volumes of the Playhouse Video “Best of the Muppet Show” series (which I would check out incessantly).

Christmas break had come and gone and school was well into full second semester swing in February when I was tapped for the National Honor Society. For a sixth grader in rural Alabama, this was kind of a big deal because it meant your name would appear in the Mobile Press Register (as if I needed to date myself even further). And so it did appear and my parents gave me a gift one day as a kind of additional award.

I opened the wrapping paper to reveal a copy of “Of Muppets and Men: The Making of the Muppet Show,” written by Christopher Finch. This book instantly became my Bible and it was nearly impossible to pry it from my hands. I took it to school with me every day through the rest of my middle school years. Eventually, I had to fashion a butcher paper cover to (sort of) protect the dust jacket. I poured over the books amazing behind-the-scenes photographs as well as the text, which was a revelation as to how “The Muppet Show” was created. It also gave me glimpses of the performers whom I held in such very high regard.

This book was probably so important to me at that age because I was crossing over into a different mode of fandom. While still enchanted with the show at face value, my curiosity for how things were done was growing. How were the Muppets made? Who were the people who made them? How were certain effects accomplished? How many voices could Jerry Nelson perform? What did it actually look like below the camera lens? So many of these questions were answered in the pages of “Of Muppets and Men.”

Years later, my parents admitted to me that they had just used my acceptance into the National Honor Society as an excuse to give the book to me. They had apparently been wandering through a used book store after the holidays and found it. But Christmas had already passed and my birthday wasn't until July. They said they could not have waited that long to give it to me. I think they were as excited to give it as I was to receive it. So, this also illustrates the support I have always had from my parents to pursue my interests.

It's also a bit bittersweet to look at the inscription date my dad wrote inside the title page: “February 1990,” and know that in just a few short months, Jim Henson would die suddenly. Though I never met him, my interest in Jim's work and his person would never fade. “Of Muppets and Men” started my journey into becoming an even more serious Muppet fan as well as becoming a puppeteer in my own right.

Steve Swanson (The Muppet Cast)

I have two favorite items. First is the figure from 2004. It captures Jim in an appropriately fun and silly way, with his banjo, director’s chair, and even a little copy of Muppet magazine. The likeness for the figure is taken from his “Jim” puppet from the Muppet Show Country Trio. I especially love mine because it was given to me by a very dear friend who worked alongside Jim. 

The other is a plush Scooter, which used to be sold at the Studio One store outside MuppetVision 3D. This one looks quite a bit like Scooter, which isn’t always true for the plushes they sell there. And again, this one is special to me because of who gave it to me: Jane Hunt, Richard Hunt’s mother. It was sitting in a box in his bedroom for years and years, and she gave it to me as a memento when I visited her several years ago.

Kevin L. Williams

My favorite Muppet Show item(s) has to be the Fisher Price action figures from 1978. As a kid, I built my own cardboard Muppet Theater for them to perform in. I also let them cross-over to my Fisher Price Sesame Street Playset, but that's a story for another series of "favorite items."

Look for the conclusion of our series next week!