Monday, August 31, 2015

"I Am Big Bird" Bonus Features Blu-ray Review!

"I Am Big Bird" finally arrived on DVD and blu-ray earlier this month. The blu-ray being an exclusive to those that contributed to the Kickstarter campaign to fund the film.

The cover comes signed by Caroll Spinney and the bonus features are exclusives to the blu-ray.

Throughout the making of the film, the filmmakers mentioned how much footage they had to go through and that there would be whole separate blu-ray for the bonus features. 

Before it's release the filmmakers announced that the entire package would only be one disc instead, noting:

Jun 29 2015
"We also wanted to let you know that if you ordered the 2-disc Blu-Ray it will only be ONE DISC. This doesn't mean that there are fewer special features--it just means that all of the stuff we promised fit on one disc, so rather than clutter up your life, we put it on one disc. Eco-friendly and whatnot."

So ALL the planned footage is going to fit on the same disc as the feature? I was skeptical, and rightly so. 

This is the final list of Bonus features as listed on the package:

First, let me say that while I was looking forward to seeing more of Caroll and Deb's video footage, the best feature on the disc is their commentary with the directors. It's one of the best commentaries I've heard in a long time. Insightful, sometimes scene specific, but also giving more information about what's going on and around the pivotal moments we see in the film. 

The rest of the bonus feature section consists of 14 clips, ranging from home movies to professional appearances. Sadly, there is no play all option and each time you finish a clip, the menu returns to the first option - at least for the first half or so at least

The first clip entitled "Deb's Song" is spectacular. It's heartfelt and hilarious, featuring a screw up that reminds me of the story of how Carroll got the job for Sesame Street.

The second, "The Crazy Crayon" is equally fascinating as it's a show I never heard of before from the 50s or early 60s that features animation by Caroll. Some of it is seen in the finished film, but it's nice too it in its full context.

"The Goon Show" is comprised of clips of Carol's own personal TV show that he would perform with his family. It's cute and thankfully only lasts a few minutes, but you could easily see how it could have dragged on if more was included. I know the filmmakers had to sit through hours of it and I'm glad they picked just the best clips to show us Caroll's imagination and use of zero budget special effects.

The selection "Carroll on Camera" is Caroll talking about times when he had walk on roles as neither Big Bird or Oscar, yet there are no clips or images shown.

"Training Chinese Big Bird" shows the process of finding and training the Chinese Big Bird.

"Finding Oscars Name" gives a new contact to the story we've heard about coming up with Oscar's voice but as the title implies this gives a new dimension to how Oscar got his name.

"Big Bird Biggest Fan" is a heartwarming tale about a young man with special needs that has a personal connection with Caroll.

"Carol and Michael Jackson" talks about Michael Jackson's appearance on the Sesame Street Christmas Special and you would think there would be a clip or a picture or something to supplement the story, but just like with "Carroll on Camera" there isn't. Not even a still or cover of the DVD. It's quasi insightful about what Michael Jackson 
envisioned his life to be, but disappointing nonetheless.

The bonus features video highlight by far- and you can tell it's going to be just from the title - is the behind-the-scenes home movies from Follow that Bird. It's exactly what I wanted to see from these bonus features, and I wish there was more of. The shots of Richard Hunt acting goofy - just as you always hear he did, were amazing to see. I didn't want that feature to end. Sadly it's only about 5 minutes long. 

You can see some of it here:

For the three years worth of home movies the producers culled through to make the film, I was hoping for a little more behind the scenes footage from the Follow that Bird or Muppet Family Christmas that we see in the film.

That being said, the film, commentary, and what little behind the scenes footage is on the disc are fantastic I was just hoping for a little of the "much, much, more" as touted from the filmmakers and on the cover. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Muppets Make Las Vegas Weekly's "Five Shows with Promise"!

The Muppets made the cover of Las Vegas Weekly's Fall Arts & Entertainment Preview.

The Muppets was the second show (after Life in Piecesmentioned in their "five shows
with promise"!

The show is currently the #2 show behind "Scream Queens" in TV Line's Which New Shows Are YouMost Looking Forward To? poll.

You can cast your vote here.

Throwback Thursday: Jerry Nelson Tribute!

This week marked the third anniversary of Muppet performer Jerry Nelson's passing.

The photo above (expertly colorized by Meagan Barbeau) shows Jerry, working with the
late Richard Hunt, to bring Floyd and Janice to life. 

Below is a similar scene as it appeared on The Muppet Show :

As a tribute to Jerry, here are Floyd and Janice performing "Act Naturally" from the 1981 special The Muppets Go to The Movies.

While Floyd and Janice are now performed by Matt Vogel and David Rudman respectively, we still miss you Jerry and Richard!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rowlf's Dramatic Reading from The Haunted Mansion!

Apparently today is Rowlf the dog day! To celebrate, the Muppets have posted another dramatic reading.

This one features Rowlf and a spirited friend's take on “Grim Grinning Ghosts” from The Haunted Mansion!

Two More Promos for "The Muppets" with ABC Stars!

More promos for "the muppets." featuring the casts from other ABC shows!

Muppets Most Wanted Bookmark

Even though Muppets Most Wanted came out over a year ago Disney is still releasing items related the film.

If you look closely at the bookmark rack at your local Barnes and Nobel, you may find this Muppets Most Wanted bookmark. 

It has with a jeweled tassel and comes in a plastic slip case for safe keeping.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fast Company: A Look at Henson's Digital Creature Shop!




When you sit your kids down in front of Netflix to watch Word Party, an animated series debuting in 2017, the last thing they're going be thinking about is the intricacies of how it was made. And that's good: That means that the team of puppeteers, artists, and producers behind the scenes are doing their jobs. In fact, even the most perceptive of grown-ups wouldn't guess that many of the characters are actually digital puppets controlled by real live people—or just how dramatically this unique approach to animation has changed in recent years.

To get a clearer picture of how these characters came to be, you would have to venture to the Jim Henson Company's headquarters in Los Angeles. It's in this building, on the site of the historic Charlie Chaplin Studios, that shows like Word Party are shot and edited. And what you'd find here isn't just rows of animators sitting at computer workstations (although there's plenty of that going on), you see people wearing proprietary gloves and body sensors, acting out scenes as their motions are mapped to the movements of animated characters on a large screen.

This is what's known as the Digital Creature Shop, a modern complement to the cloth-and-fur puppetry that made the late Jim Henson a household name.

"What we've created over the past decade is a toolset that's a combination of hardware and software," says Steffen Wild, the visual effects supervisor at Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The conceptual underpinnings of digital puppetry go back to the late 1980s, when Henson himself experimented on the clunky, expensive machines available at the time. But 25 years ago, the technology just wasn't up to the task of executing Henson's vision for digital puppets, so the company put its efforts on hold for while.

Continued at Fast Company.

Disney Cover Album Coming In October!

We Love Disney, new album featuring popular musicians covering Disney songs will be released October 30th!

According to the track list, two Muppet songs made the cut!
1. NE-YO “Friend Like Me” (Aladdin)
2. Jessie J “Part of Your World “(The Little Mermaid)
3. Jason Derulo “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (The Lion King)
4. Gwen Stefani “The Rainbow Connection” (The Muppet Movie)
5. Ariana Grande “Zero To Hero” (Hercules)
6. Jhené Aiko “In a World of My Own/Very Good Advice” (Alice in Wonderland)
7. Fall Out Boy “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” (The Jungle Book)
8. Tori Kelly “Colors of the Wind” (Pocahontas)
9. Kacey Musgraves “A Spoonful of Sugar” (Mary Poppins)
10. Charles Perry “Ev’rybody Wants To Be a Cat” (The Aristocats)
11. Jessie Ware “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (Cinderella)
12. Lucy Hale & Rascal Flatts “Let It Go” (Frozen)
13. Various Artists “It’s a Small World” 
Bonus tracks:
14. Brenna Whitaker “It's Not Easy Being Green” (The Muppet Show)
15. Yuna “A Whole New World” (Aladdin)

The two bonus tracks, including Brenna Whitaker's take on “It's Not Easy Being Green”, are ONLY available in the Deluxe CD + Digital Album and Deluxe Vinyl (Green) + Digital Album configurations.

You can pre-order your copy here.

Sonia Manzano on "CBS This Morning"!

Sonia Manzano was on CBS This Morning to discuss her new memoir, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx,” which comes out today!

Embedding doesn't seem to work, but you can use this link to view it. 

You can purchase your copy of "Becoming Maria" from Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover,or audio form, which is read by Sonia Manzano herself! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

More Muppet Promos - Even One With Sweetums!

A few more promos for "the muppets." have surfaced. These feature more of the aftermath of Kermit and Piggy's breakup as well the casts from Black-ish and Scandal with Rowlf, Gonzo, and Sweetums!

Friday, August 21, 2015

More Promos For "The Muppets" Featuring ABC Stars!

ABC is gearing up for the Sept 22 premiere of "The Muppets" by having our favorite 
felt friends team up with stars from other ABC series. 

In case you missed them, the three previously released promos featured Kerry WashingtonNathan Fillion, and Patricia Heaton!

Now there's two more with Scandal star Kerry Washington:

As well as a two-parter with Castle Firefly Castle star Nathan Fillion,

with an almost unrecognizable Eden Rebecca Sher from The Middle.

Gonzo forgets his lines with the cast of Fresh Off The Boat:

And Black-ish's Tracee Ellis Ross got chance to hang out with Pepe in this promo: 

By the way, her mom, Diana was a guest star on The Muppet Show in season 4.

Release it from the vault, Disney! It would another great promotional tie in to "the muppets." Tuesdays' at 8 on ABC. (See what I did there.)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Jim Henson's Pool!

Earlier this week, in what turned out to be one of our most popular posts so far, we told you that Jim Henson's former residence was for sale

Did the pool look familiar? 

Well, what if I told you that not only was that pool the site of many pool parties for the Henson family and friends, but that it even graced the cover of a national magazine! 

It's true!

In 2013, the Henson Company posted an entry from Jim's journal, or red book, about the pool. 
8/24/1975 – ‘Pool party.’

On July 8, 1975, construction started on a pool at the Henson home in Bedford, NY. Jim and his wife Jane enjoyed entertaining, so they were eager to invite their friends and colleagues over for a day of swimming and sunning as soon as the pool was ready. It was the kind of casual get-together that helped create comfortable connections and inspired laughter and silliness. The Hensons hosted their friends at their Bedford pool in the ensuing years, and when they spent the summer of 1978 in a house on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles during The Muppet Movie shoot, they invited the cast and crew over to enjoy the pool there.
In 1976, the Henson's had one such pool party and many of the cast, crew, and family members of the Henson workshop were there.
Puppet builder Rollie Krewson is in front on the right
(l. to r.)Caroll Spinney, Jim Henson, Rollie Krewson, Heather Henson, Christine Nelson, Jerry Nelson, Bonnie Erickson
Remember how I said the pool was featured on the cover of a national magazine? Here's Miss Piggy and Kermit enjoying it on the August 1-7, 1981 cover of TV Guide! 

That's one famous pool! 

Thanks to the listing, we now have a view of the amazing residence it is part of!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Floyd & Animal's Dramatic Reading of "It's a Small World"!

The Muppets have posted another dramatic reading of a Disney theme park song. 

This time it's Floyd and Animal, who take on "It's a Small World." 

Happy Birthday, Louise Gold!

Today is Muppet performer Louise Gold's birthday. 

Louise has performed in many Muppet productions, including the new Sesame UK series The Fuchester Hotel, her most memorable Muppet Show character is Annie Sue pig.

Most recently Annie Sue returned in Muppets Most Wanted, once again performed by Louise.

Check out a few of Annie Sue's appearances on The Muppet Show.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jim Henson's Former Home for Sale!

Jim Henson's former home in Bedford, NY is up for sale!

The 3,843 sqft mid-century modern home was built in 1969 has 5 beds, 3.5 baths, sits on almost 2 acres, and is listed at $1.2 million. 

Description from Zillow:
Sophisticated Mid-Century Modern gem. Formerly the home of Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. A passive solar design built in 1969, significantly renovated and beautifully maintained by current owners.
Spaciousness and bright natural light. Ideal for entertaining. All well-proportioned rooms handsomely finished and flow very well. Sleek clean lines, open floor plan, high ceilings, skylights, floor to ceiling walls of windows direct attention to beautiful backyard, garden and heated pool. 

 Stunning living and dining rooms. 

 Chef's kitchen with neolith countertops flows into open family room. 

Master bedroom suite with sunken tub, three bedrooms and laundry room on main level. 

Beautiful deck with outdoor wood burning fireplace built into the exterior of the house.

Lower level houses recreation room, office with fireplace, bedroom, bath & doors to the rear yard. 

Serene privacy in a tranquil woodland setting of rock outcroppings,evergreens, ornamental grass and towering oaks.

 Three car garage.

If anyone has $1.2 Million lying around, you can contact the realtor here