Tag Archives: Rowlf

Muppet Monday: Our Long-Awaited Thoughts on the Impending Arrival of ‘The Muppets:’ Or Why We’re Dreading the Thing We Wanted More Than Anything Else

In two days The Muppets will return to theaters after more than a decade away from the big screen.  It seems like just yesterday that we were salivating over the whispers of a Muppet resurrection orchestrated by Jason Segel (yes, that Jason Segel).  After spending years on the brink of obsolescence – thanks to bad business deals, changing tastes, the boom of CGI, and general Hollywood bureaucracy – it began to seem like the Muppets would never be given the opportunity to recapture the glory they once possessed, that they would forever be relegated to an aging, evermore antiquated attraction at Disneyland, and truly exist only on DVD and in the hearts and memories of people over 25.  We yearned for their return, and while we never imagined their savior would be a geek in shining armor like Segel, we were thrilled when the rumors began to circulate that someone who grew up on the Muppets, someone who loved and cherished them as much as we did, was going to resuscitate them.  Not some out of touch, graying puppeteers, or even the Henson family, but someone with a fresh, relevant perspective whose primary hope was to honor the spirit and style of Jim Henson.  We could not have been more excited.

And now, with The Muppets about to unspool at theaters across the country, what we feel is not excitement, but trepidation.  Why? Because of this:

Kermit, Miss Piggy

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Filed under Be careful what you wish for, Bert-n-Ernie, Flashback!, Freak Out Control, Muppet Mondays, Muppets, Saturday Night Live, The Big Screen

Gratuitous Search Term Bait of the Day: No Idea (Every Search Term is a Snowflake)

SO!  Today’s search term is “muppet of dolphin.”  And, as the title of this post indicates, we have no idea what that means (maybe it’s late and we’re tired and in the morning it’ll make sense, but not now).  So, here’s our best guess to approximate what you out there might have been looking for.

Our favorite Dolphin related scene!

 

A video featuring Lew Zealand, a Muppet whose trademark is throwing fish!

 

And, finally, my new Muppet (possibly named Lewis) from the FAO Schwarz Muppet Whatnot Workshop!

From the FAO Schwarz Muppet Whatnot Workshop

 

Covering our bases!

 

 

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Filed under Gratuitous Search Term Bait, Huh?, Local Flavor, Muppets

Christmas Clipdown: Denver and a Dog

Just wonderful, Rowlf.

Inspired by the Henson Company.

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Filed under Lady Holiday, Muppets, Yankee Swap

Muppet Monday: Take Me Down to ‘Dog City’

A couple weeks ago I decided to check out the Paley Center here in LA (formerly known as the Museum of TV & Radio).  I assumed it would be basically the same as its NY brother (and my assumption proved mostly correct, as the West Coast branch actually has a little less to offer), but with The Muppets at Disney World scheduled to screen at 4pm I figured it would be worth a trip.  Except that when I arrived I realized that I had been looking at the NY schedule, and the most attractive screening option was an old episode of the Carol Burnett Show.  So I decided to try my luck with the video archives.

With the Muppets still on the brain I resolved to see what kind of treasures the library might offer, knowing that the Museum had put together several special Jim Henson events.  Indeed, I found a series of compilations celebrating the life and work of Henson.  Amongst these was an episode of The Jim Henson Hour that featured a short film I had heard of but never seen: Dog City.

Now the Paley Center has been rendered almost obsolete by YouTube; the web offers a wider selection videos, often better in quality, on demand, and with the added benefit of being viewable from your home computer instead of on an old NTSC monitor at a video carrel in an eerily quiet and sterile media room.  Not to mention you don’t have to wear ratty, flaking headphones that have already been used by innumerable strangers (that must be a health hazard).  But there are a few items, a couple rare gems that you can’t find on YouTube or even weird Polish websites.  Dog City is one of these such rarities.

Dog City is Jim Henson’s take on film noir, but in this scenario it’s classic hard-boiled crime drama inspired by paintings of dogs playing poker.  And with main characters named Ace Yu and Bugsy them, it has no shortage of corny, Abbott and Costello style jokes.  Except that, with Henson’s Muppet alter-ego Rowlf the Dog playing the piano and breaking the fourth wall as our narrator, the jokes are delivered with a full-on wink at the audience and they actually work.  I usually get bored during musical numbers in Muppet productions, and this was no exception, but I found the rest of the movie quite enjoyable, even with the VHS quality picture and its sometimes cranky tracking.  Since the movie is almost exclusively available at the Paley Center, the best we can do here is present the trailer:

Three years later Henson would turn Dog City into a Saturday morning cartoon, “Jim Henson’s Dog City” changing Ace Yu into Ace Hart, a more standard noir detective.  Luckily, the show still offered some traditional “real world” Muppets, as Dog City is animated by Eliot, a Muppet German Shepherd, and his friends and neighbors serve as inspiration for the animated canines.

So while the Paley Center has become a bit of a ghost town, made nearly irrelevant by the Internet, it can still be worth a visit, if only for that one special show.

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Filed under Local Flavor, Muppet Mondays, Muppets, Nostalgia Corner