Thursday, May 28, 2015

ABC's The Muppets wins award before premier!

The Critics' Choice Awards were announced Tuesday and ABC's The Muppets along with seven other new shows made the shortlist of "Most Exciting New Series."

FX's American Crime Story, NBC's Aquarius and Blindspot, Fox's Scream Queens and Minority Report, CBS' Supergirl and Lifetime's Unreal were also all honored as the series the Broadcast Television Journalists Association are most looking forward to. 

And that's it. No envelope. No split screen of nominees. No acceptance speech. None of that. This award is the epitome of it's an honor to be nominated. 

That makes The Muppets (along with those other shows) an award winning show before the first episode even premieres!

The Critics' Choice Awards will air live on A&E Sunday, May 31 at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT. Let's hope The Muppets  make an appearance!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jim Henson Company Taps Blanca Lista to Oversee Feature Films!

From Variety:

Let's hope this means there will finally be some movement on getting these
Henson films made. Maybe even "The Happytime Murders" could have a shot!

Furchester Hotel UK Toys!

Sesame Workshop and Hasbro have released the first batch of toys based on the new Sesame's UK series The Furchester Hotel.

Today we'll look at the small non-articulated figures of each of the main characters:

Cookie Monster:




Each comes in it's own plastic bag like the one below.

A playset of the hotel is available as well and comes with Phoebe and Elmo. 

You can find them in UK stores and online. 

Stay tuned as we look at the Furchester plush line!

Thanks to Warrick Brownlow-Pike for the photos!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Kermit and Ed Sheeran Sing “Rainbow Connection”!

Last night Ed Sheeran teamed up with Kermit to sing “Rainbow Connection” as part of the Red Nose Day telethon. 

The effect of having them both perform the song on stage equipment boxes was great and gave it a two guys hanging out backstage vibe. 

Check out the full performance:

Ed Sheeran is clearly a fan and it looks like he and Kermit had a great time while shooting. 

 Please consider donating to Red Nose Day here

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Celebrate Red Nose Day with Kermit and Ed Sheeran!

Today is Red Nose Day, a fundraising event that helps raise money to benefit children living in poverty around the world.

It's been big in the UK for many years and the celebrity filled show is finally making it's way to the US. Two such celebrities are Kermit and Ed Sheeran, who will be performing

Be sure to put on a red nose and tune it tonight at 8:00pm ET/PS on NBC!

More info about Red Nose Day and the show can be found here.

Throwback Thursday: Too Late for Kermit Letterfrog!

Last night was David Letterman's last "Late Show," and with it caps a 33 year career in late night television. 

What better way to honor him then with a Throwback Thursday "Too Late" Top Ten list!

Here we go:

10: The Muppets spoofed Letterman's The Late Show with "Too Late for Kermit Letterfrog."

9. The image first appeared in "Kermit the Frog's 1996 Advertising Parodies!" calendar

8. "Too Late" was used for the month of January

7. it was released as a poster

 6. and as a t-shirt

5. with its own Top Ten list on the back!

 4. "David Letterguy" made his was to Sesame Street in 1996

3. Johnny Fiama was accused of stealing Letterman's bit with his "Top Ten Reasons Chicks Dig Me" segments on Muppets Tonight's 'The Johnny Fiama Show'

2. The "Too Late" image was a big part the Muppet Parodies product line - the tag line was "The Sincerest Form of Flattery"

And the number 1 Top Ten Throwback Thursday is:

1.  We can't think of a better tribute to a 33 year career then that!

Thanks Dave!

Monday, May 18, 2015

FAO Schwarz and Muppet Whanot Workshop Closing!

FAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the United States, is closing its flagship store in Manhattan and The Muppet Whatnot Workshop along with it! 

The reason: rising rent prices. The popular tourist destination has three-levels consisting of 45,000 square foot space, in prime Fifth Avenue real estate. 
The much-loved store has made cameos in multiple movies, most notably the 1988 movie "Big" starring Tom Hanks.
The iconic store will shut its doors on July 15. 

Toys "R" Us, which acquired FAO Schwarz in 2009, is also closing it's Times Square flagship store due to increasing rent costs. 

The good news is that both retailers are actively looking for new spaces to reopen. Here's hoping FAO brings The Muppet Whatnot Workshop to their new location!

Center for Puppetry Arts Steve Whitmire's Memorabilia Auction Batch 5!

The fifth and possibly penultimate batch of Steve Whitmire's memorabilia is now up for auction! 

This batch includes some cast and crew items from DinosaursMuppets From Space
Kermit's Swamp, The Jim Henson Company, The Jim Henson Hour, Muppets TonightSesame StreetFraggle Rock, and Muppet Babies.  

This batch features another costume from The Great Muppet Caper. This time its a black jumpsuit as warn by either Carla, Darla, or Marla during the jewelry heist finale!

Last but not least is a One of a kind, Jim Henson Productions™ coat embroidered with the Steve Whitmire's mother, "Barbara"'s name. Steve is literally auctioning off his mother's coat!

Be sure to check out all the great stuff here.

This wave ends Friday, May 22 at 3PM EST so act quick!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Remembering Jim Henson - News Reports 1990!

The excellent YouTube channel "Henson Rarities", run by our friend Garrett, has a great compilation of news reports from all over the country covering Jim Henson' death. 

Warning, have tissues handy. 

Jim Henson's death, 25 years later.

Some days are burned into our memory 9/11, comes to mind though if you're older then me then the fall of the Berlin wall, the moon landing, or Pearl Harbor may be one of those days for you as well. But another milestone date reaches it's anniversary today; for 25 years ago today, the world lost Jim Henson.

It's one of those days were I can recall exactly where I was when I found out. I was a Muppet fan since birth. To this day when people ask how I got into the Muppets I have a hard time explaining exactly how I grew to love them because I just always had. 

During the late 80's Jim Henson began working on all kinds of fantastic projects and I followed wherever his imagination went. My mom says The Muppets Take Manhattan was the first movie and I yelled at the screen hoping Kermit would hear me, though I don't recall any of this as I was too young.  But do remember Seeing Follow That Bird and Labyrinth in the theater.

By 1989, The Muppets hadn't been on TV regularly since Fraggle Rock ended in 1987. I wasn't a huge fan of Muppet Babies (particularity since people of the era called everything Jim Henson did at the time "Muppet Babies") and didn't watch Sesame Street as it was while I was at school and these were the days were no one quiet knew how to set a VCR to record while you weren't home. 

Anyway, 1989 was an exciting time as The Muppet were returning to TV in along with episodes of The Storyteller NBC hadn't yet aired. From the moment The Jim Henson Hour premiered, I knew I was witnessing something special. There was just so much that no one had ever seen done on TV before. The use of technology was astounding. In hindsight it was a little cold, using so much blue screen, but it didn't matter. The Muppets were back along with all the cool fantasy stuff as well and there was Jim front and center.  

As you can imagine, I was crushed when after bouncing from Friday night to occasional 
Sundays, The Jim Henson Hour was cancelled.  

Less then a year later though there was news floating around that Jim was going to sell the company to Disney so he could spend more time on the creative side coming up with even more new and crazy worlds and inventing new technologist to visualize them. 

This was all going to be announced via the TV special The Muppets at Walt Disney World which would be airing that May. 

The promos started running and I couldn't wait to see another great Muppet special. Their last special was the amazing, world combing Muppet Family Christmas in 1987 (which I watched every year since). I knew there wouldn't be any Sesame or Fraggle characters appearing but it didn't matter. 

This was going to be The Muppets, outside like in the movies and interacting with the world as we know it. Not only that, they were going to the happiest place on earth! For a 10 year old, it was an exhilarating time. Jim even made an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show on May 4th 1990 to promote the special. 

As a child, I'm not sure if I begged my parents to let me stay up and watch or not (though I probably snuck down and watched part of it anyway). 

The Muppets at Walt Disney World aired and it was everything I was hoping it could be! It had all the great Muppet Show characters back, seamlessly incorporated Bean and Clifford from The Jim Henson Hour, and even had the Muppets interacting with an animated Mickey Mouse - almost like a mini Muppet version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit!

They even advertised the Muppets' arrival at the actual park! (gotta love Disney synergy)

The Muppets were on a streak! This time, not only would they have specials and 
fantasy/creature shop stuff, they were going to do all this cool new Muppet stuff at the new Disney MGM theme park - including their very own section, live stage shows and a 3D movie! I couldn't wait to go and see it all. 

12 days later I was still on a Muppet high. I came home from school and my dad asked me to sit down on the couch. He had something to tell me. I didn't want to sit and have talk. I wanted go out side and play or watch Muppets - anything but have a serious conversation. What was so important that couldn't wait? Was I in trouble or something?  But I sat down on the couch and heard:

Jim Henson died. 

I was in total shock. All these thoughts began rushing through me head. How could this be?? I mean I just Kermit on TV last week. There was all this stuff in the news about Disney World. What do you mean he's dead?? As it began to sink in I can remember just crying 
uncontrollably for what seemed like an hour. 

I made sure to record the news, in case there was any mention of how, why, or even the slightest chance it was a mistake. But make no mistake, Jim Henson was gone. Everyone was shocked. Seasoned television personalizes were visibly shaken reading the news. 

My world was forever changed. I didn't want to go to school the next day I was in a daze and could just hear the kids at school. Everyone knew I was a huge Muppet fan, and the Muppets, since as not being related to some sporting event or pizza loving mutant ninjas (at least not yet) weren't popular or cool to like in my class. I was made fun of constantly for my Muppet obsession, so I could only imagine the torture I was going to endure from classmates knowing my hero had died. 

Surprisingly I don't recall any real blow back. In fact, the only thing I remember about that day was it was a total blur. I still wasn't sure if I was in some sort of nightmare that I couldn't wake up from. I do recall some classmates saying they were sorry to hear the news, which just made it all the more real. 

In the weeks ahead I heard about Jim's memorial service in New York, which even though it was only a few hours away I sadly wasn't allowed to go. 

In November of that year The Muppets made a special for the millions of fans around the 
world to say goodbye and pay tribute to Jim's legacy. At the end, The Muppets read real letter from fans. I knew I couldn't be the only one reeling from the loss, but this was before the internet, or even MuppetZine. The reading of those letters was a validity that I wasn't alone in my feelings. To this day I can't watch the scene with crying just like a did when I first saw it. 

25 years later, and it's still as sharp as if it were yesterday. There's a scene in The Muppet Christmas Carol were they talk about the death of Tiny Tim, and even though it's right out of the original text, it's gut-wrenchingly clear they're also talking about Jim Henson. Richard Hunt had died before the movie was made and you can they are also referring to him as well. 

Since then Jerry Juhl, Jerry Nelson, and Jane Henson (J words!) have left us and though each hurt, the sting was wasn't as harsh. As Robin said, a part of them is there every time we watch The Muppets. For as Jim Henson was prone to do, he taught us a lesson in copying with loss, this time without even knowing it. 

The out pouring of tributes to Jim this week, not just from fan sites such as this, but from major sites such as Variety and Entertainment Tonight, plus the fact that a new Muppet series is coming this fall prove that the world still misses you, Jim Henson. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday (on a Friday) Henson Tributes from Entertainment Tonight and Bill Prady!

Tributes to Jim Henson have been popping up all over the web this week in recognition of the 25th anniversary of his death.

First, take a look back at how Entertainment Tonight covered the news in 1990 from 
their blog

Then head over to Variety to read Bill Prady,co-creator of “The Big Bang Theory” and exec producer of ABC’s upcoming “The Muppets,” memories of the days that followed, and what's to come. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for our own very personal recollection of the day in a special Saturday post. 

Terry Angus Interviewed with Canada's Global News!

Canada's Global News sat down with puppeteer Terry Angus to talk about working with Jim Henson, Fraggle Rock and puppet building.

The interview also reveals what character Terry plays during the Fraggle Rock theme song!

You can read more about the exhibit here.

Two More Muppet YouTube Videos!

Two more Muppet YouTube videos have been released. 

The first features Pepe taking over YouTube's studios:

The second features a new stand up routine with Fozzie Bear!

RIP B.B. King

Legendary blues guitarist B..B. King has died. 

He first appeared on Sesame Street during the first season finale where he recited the alphabet. He appeared again in season 15, and in Season 32, performing a song about the letter B with Bert, Benny Rabbit, Big Bird, Baby Bear, and some bearded 
background businessmen.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy Birthday, George Lucas!

Labyrinth executive producer and creator of a little film series called Star WarsGeorge Lucas turns 71 today!