Friday, April 29, 2016

Muppet Match-Up #3 Results!

The results of our third Muppet Match-Up are in, and it seems that Brooke couldn't shield herself from the pigs in a blackout!

This was a fairly close match, but that makes three consistent wins for ABC's The Muppets and zero forThe Muppet Show. Stay tuned to see who our next competitors will be. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Jamie Foxx May Star In ‘The Happytime Murders’!

Way back in July in was announced that the Jim Henson Company's long gestating project The Happytime Murders was finally being put in active development at STX Entertainment.

Now word is getting out that Jamie Foxx is in early negotiations to star in the R-rated film to be directed by Brian Henson.

From Deadline, "The story follows puppet stars of an iconic TV show The Happytime Gang who are some of the biggest celebrities around. Off-camera, however, the family-friendly cast leads the kinds of lives that would make a tabloid writer blush. When the Happytime Gang stars begin to be mysteriously murdered, two mismatched detectives – one a type-A, take-no-prisoners human with a secret and the other a crass, hard-drinking puppet with a connection to one of the victims – must put aside their differences to stop the killings and catch the culprit, all the while trying to resist the temptation to murder each other.
If he takes the role, Foxx would play LAPD Detective Edwards, the clean cut LAPD cop who must re-team with his former partner Phil, a drinker and philanderer." 

According to the A.V. Club, "The film is being pitched as a gritter, less family friendly turn for The Jim Henson Company, with one of the original screenwriters saying back in 2009 that Henson had told him to include “all the puppet sex, violence, and cursing you can put in there” in his script. And while that script has since been rewritten by Red writing team Jon and Erich Hoeber, it still sounds like Henson is aiming to wrack up a pretty heavy “bodily fluid removal” cleaning bill for his debauched puppet protagonists."

Sesame Street Wins Webbys!

Sesame Street won a couple more Webby Awards!

Their website game A Play Date with The Muppets from Sesame Street won in the Youth Website category and their mobile app Sesame Street Makes Music won a People’s Voice Award for best Mobile sites & Apps for Family & Kids!

The 20th Annual Webby Awards will be available to watch on YouTube May 17th.

Throw-back Thursday: Labyrinth Blankets!

Here's a new twist on Throwback Thursday. Two new Labyrinth "throw" blankets are coming soon from Entertainment Earth. 

Both are available for pre-order in small or large and cost $49.99 and $89.99 respectively.

Amazon also has the images above available as fleese blankets.

Labyrinth Movie Poster Fleece Throw Blanket:

Labyrinth 1986 Family Fantasy Adventure Fleece Blanket:
And what pairs well with Labyrinth blankets? 

Why, a Labyrinth pillow of course!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SciFiNow Profiles The Storyteller!

On newsstands now is the latest issue of the UK magazine SciFiNow. 

Inside you'll find an exclusive interview with Dunken Kenworthy about making The Storyteller.

If you can't find it at your local bookseller, the issue is also available on their website

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Funko Dark Crystal ReAction Figures!

We first heard rumblings about possible Dark Crystal Funko ReAction figures two years ago at Toy Fair. 

They've been pretty silent about any new details, until last last week when toy sculptor Tim Clarke started sharing his work on the figures on his instagram page. 

If you're not familiar with Funko's ReAction figure line, they'e vintage-looking fingures meant to resemble Kenner's Star Wars line from the 1980's.

Hasbro planned to release a set of Dark Crystal figures in 1983 to coincide with the original theatrical release of the film. The figures were designed, prototypes were built, and cards backs were printed, but at the last they minute decide not to put them into production and the toys were never officially released.

Clarke actually sculpted and designed the Mystics and the Slaves for The Dark Crystal film itself. He also worked on puppets for Sesame StreetThe Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock where he created Traveling Matt. 

Tim's first toy sculpting gig, came right after Dark Crystal creating the Garthim, Mystics and Lanstrider toys with Hasbro.

As you can see from the image above, the ReAction figures are based on his original sculpts, but will now have more detail!

So far Jen, Kira, Fizzgig, and Aughra are in the early stages are production. 

We hope the the rest of the original line gets ReActioned as well. We'll keep you posted with any more details as they emerge. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

New Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Coming Soon!

According to USAToday, Labyrinth will be getting a new 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray in September along with a special theatrical re-release!

The Blu-ray will be a 24 page digibook with rare behind-the-scenes photos, an anniversary Q&A hosted by MythBusters' Adam Savage, Jennifer Connelly and the Henson family discussing Jim Henson's puppetry and filmmaking, a David Bowie remembrance by Connelly and Henson's children. The set will also include content found on the previous releases such as the making-of documentary and commentary by designer Brian Froud.

The film will also be get a theatrical re-release thanks to Fathom Events September 11th and 14th and some of the new bonus features will be shown as well. 

If that weren't enough, Amazon will have a limited-edition 
"mirrorbox" Blu-ray set with packaging based on the final scene from the film.

The set will be released September 20th!

We now how images of all the covers including Amazon's exclusive "mirror box" gift set:

Labyrinth (30th Anniversary Edition) (DVD):

Labyrinth (30th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]:

Labyrinth (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + UltraViolet):

Each version is now available for pre-order at the links above. Buying anything on Amazon from the links helps support the blog. Thanks!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day!

In 1990, the Muppets appeared on the the two-hour ABC Network The Earth Day Special which featured an all-star cast addressing concerns about global warming, deforestation, and other environmental issues.

Issues we're still dealing with today. Try to remember:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

RIP Prince (1958-2016)

We were shocked and saddened to learn of Prince's death today at 57. 

The legendary musician appeared in the second season of Muppets Tonight  while he had changed his name to  Prince symbol otherwise known as "The Artist Formally known as Prince."

In 1985, his score for the film Purple Rain overtook The Muppets Take Manhattan for Best Score at the Academy Awards.

You can see the full episode here:

His talent will deeply missed. 

Below Kirk Thatcher, who wrote and produced the episode, shared his memories working with Prince.

So very sad about Prince...another gone much too soon. I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days working with him as a writer /producer on Muppets Tonight about 20 years ago and thought I would share.

We were very excited that Prince had agreed to do our Muppet comedy and variety show but had been told by his managers and support staff before we met with him that we must never look at him directly or call him anything but, "The Artist" or just, "Artist"...As the writers of the show, we were wondering how we were going to work or collaborate with someone you can't even look at, especially while trying to create comedy with puppets!!! It's not a easily discussed or achieved endeavor!
Considering all this we were obviously nervous before our meeting with him. I think it was a Sunday or Monday night after regular work hours...he had a core group of staff who arrived before him to make sure everything would be to his approval...We joked that Prince wasn't just his name, he lived his life like a Royal and had convinced the people he employed that he was to be treated as such! All this led us to be rather worried how we would get comedy from him, or even get him to agree to the bits we had written. They had been sent to him previously for approval and we hadn't heard any advance notice that he didn't like any of it, but he wanted to meet the night before to discuss the show and so we waited after work, in a large conference room, amply supplied with the specific food and beverages his people had requested. 
 Very often, people in entertainment will agree to do shows without having ever read the scripts, instead dealing with it on the day or the night before...Visions of him trashing everything and forcing us to start over filled our minds!!! It wouldn't have been the first time we had to rewrite a show before or during production due to that!
"The Artist" finally arrived and the first thing that struck me was how diminutive he was, especially standing next to his enormous security guard. He was only half again bigger than most of the Muppets! We awkwardly all introduced ourselves, careful not to address him in anyway, and trying not to look at him, but it just seemed so weird to do that, so I waved a little and said my did most of us, and Brian Henson took the lead as we sat in the conference room and went over all the sketches he was in. He and his people seemed to get the jokes and enjoyed the fun we were having with him and he thankfully, had very few notes. He just smiled and giggled quietly at the script and seemed very open to it all.

We became more comfortable with him after this and even looked him in the eye when we spoke to him! He didn't seem to mind and we wondered if it was a test he had invented to see how people would deal with him and that absurd demand. Both that evening and during the entire shoot day, Prince had a bemused yet quiet air around him with a very quiet voice and impish grin. He had fun additions and improvs and loved playing and ad-libbing with the puppets and was very easy to talk to and work with. The impetuous and mercurial, "difficult artist type" we had been warned about was never to be seen!
His team was relieved as this was their chief concern, that he remain happy! The whole situation with his advance team and management reminded me of the relationship I had created between Kermit and Sam the Eagle in Muppet Treasure Island. Sam had convinced everyone that Kermit, playing Captain Smollet, was a furious and angry tyrant, beset by inner demons and outer tirades...but when we meet him, he was just good, old, sweet-natured, Kermit the frog...just in a captains outfit. The same for Prince. He was just a nice, fun, creative guy who had built this persona around himself, and had a team there to reinforce it, probably to protect his art, his personal life and even his sanity...
So the day went off without a hitch...He had fun playing a country bumpkin in the Hee Haw sketch and enjoyed all the Muppet silliness about his Name/Logo and his outlandish and sexy costumes. He smiled and laughed between takes and even chatted with me, as I was the Producer on set for most of his episode. His body guard was on point the entire shoot though, asking me about anyone who entered the soundstage who he hadn't seen before, to make sure they were cleared...He had stories about the lengths fans would go to meet Prince and the insanity it created in them and it became clear it was not paranoia at all on his part or on Princes'. I realized how incredibly taxing and shy that kind of fame would make someone, everywhere they go they are being stalked by not just the media, but by rabid, sometimes dangerously demented fans.

The day progressed as planned and Prince even stayed longer to do an extra song number that was on the list to be cut if time didn't permit...He was having such fun that he changed his flight plans and worked until late that night or early into the next day to shoot it all. A complete professional in every way and an absolute joy to be around. We found out the next day or so that he had suffered a tremendous personal loss the day he left to come and shoot with us. Something big enough that most people would have canceled something as trivial as appearing on our show and taken weeks or possibly a month off to deal with. But he showed up and had fun and created a great show with us, the ultimate professional.
I have no photos of us together that day, as he and his team were very clear that no candid pictures were to be taken...but I have great memories of those couple of days, the tremendous respect I have for him as an artist, and as a professional as well as all his fantastic music that I grew up with. RIP: The Artist who will Always be Known as Prince.

- Kirk Thatcher

A Trip to The Strong!

Last month, I told you that the Jim Henson Legacy donated over 500 items to The Strong Museum in NY.

I recently took a trip to the museum and talked with Shannon Symonds about the Henson collection and the museum itself!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Retailer Spotlight: Hot Topic - Labyrinth Items!

Hot Topic has a few new Labyrinth related items.

First, there are three pins featuring David Bowie:

Though currently only the Goblin Kin pin is available on their website

They also have a few girl's shirts:

Jareth and Sarah Dance

Goblin King Tank Top

Labyrinth Dance Sublimation Tank Top

Don't feel left out fellas, they also have a shirt for you as well!

Labyrinth Movie Poster Art T-shirt

All are availble at the links above and at a Hot Topic near you. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Muppet Match-Up #3!

These match-ups are getting curiouser and curiouser! 

I give you round 3 of:

Let's review the rules:

1. The episodes are selected at random. 

2. The only caveat to rule 1 is that a season of The Muppet Show may be picked, but again the episode itself must be random. Once a season has been picked - it's out of play. 

3. Once an episode has been selected, it's out of play and can't be selected again. (yes I know these means only 16 episodes (so far) of The Muppets vs 120 episodes of The Muppet Show.)

Round 3 features child star taking on a classic tale and a former child star taking meditation classes.

At first glance I thought these two competitors couldn't be more different, but after watching them back-to-back I realized both:
  • Feature a child, or former child star
  • Have an invention of Bunsen's that doesn't work properly
  • Reference The Wizard of Oz
  • Miss Piggy has a wardrobe issue
  • Statler and Waldorf join in a song
  • and have Kermit placing Scooter in change and him failing. 

Otherwise, the two couldn't be more different. The Brooke Shields episode revolves around the retelling of Alice and Wonderland, while Pig's in Blackout revolves around Kermit taking a break from the stress of show by taking a meditation retreat. It even utilizes the exact opposite members of The Electric Mayhem: Floyd and Dr. Teeth in Brooke Shields, while Animal, Janice and Zoot - who aren't even in the Brooke Shields episode, each have lines in Pig's in Blackout.

Verdict: Brooke Shields is a Muppet Show classic, while Pig's in a Blackout has some great Kermit & Rowlf moments, and culminates in The Rainbow Connection. This a tough one, but  I see this one going for the muppets.

Now it's your turn. Vote for which episode you think should come out on top. Polling will be open for one week, and you can vote as many times as you wish!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

River Horse Labyrinth Game Board!

River Horse previewed another piece of the their upcoming Labyrinth game and this time it's the board itself!

From their newsletter: 

"As you can see, the board is very simplistic, beautifully illustrated and dominated by the titular Labyrinth. This is the maze that players must navigate every time they wish to save Sarah’s baby brother. Each game is different with the blank card spaces being filled with the magical encounters and monsters that are depicted on the deck of cards that comes with the game, this ensures a great deal of replayability and unpredictability in the game, giving the Labyrinth its signature feel."
"The game consists of two distinct stages, one where the group must adventure through the labyrinth trying to find the goblin city whilst keeping their willpower as high as possible (nobody wants to fall into the oubliette!), and a second action packed stage where the players must fight their way into Jareth’s castle where Sarah must say the magical words that will release her brother."

We also now have a shot not only of the box,

but everything it contains as well!

The game is said to include:
  • 5 highly collectible figurine renditions of the main characters
  • 2′ x 2′ game board lavishly illustrated with inspiring new artwork featuring all the legendary places from the movie, including the Oubliette, the Bog of Eternal Stench, the Goblin City and Jareth’s Castle.
  • 32 Labyrinth cards
  • Over 30 game tokens
  • 6 polyhedral dice (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D20)
  • 6 reference cards
  • 4 character sheets, 4 Ability cards & 4 Weakness cards
  • 4 card stand-ups: Humongous, Goblin Infantry, Goblin Cavalry & Goblin Artillery
  • Goblin Clock & Clock hand
  • Rules Booklet
Based on these images as well as the one below from the rule book, it doesn't appear that any Goblin figures will be included with the game.  

Hopefully, they'll be available separately or as part of an expansion pack.

No release date or price has been announced yet, but we'll keep you posted!