Expires: April 1, 1997
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ALT.TV.MUPPETS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Version 5.2c. Last updated: 23 February 1997. Before we start, let me get this out of the way: the two old guys in the balcony are Statler and Waldorf. (See question 9.) CONTENTS QUICK ANSWER I. Administrivia 1. A Muppet newsgroup? That's SO cool! Well, we think so What is alt.tv.muppets? A friendly newsgroup 2. What other fan activities exist? MuppetZine et al. 3. I have strong opinions about this FAQ. firstname.lastname@example.org, Who should I send "comments" to? email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org II. Muppets and their owners 4. What is a Muppet, anyway? Puppets, but different 5. Why are Muppets left handed? Because performers aren't 6. Doesn't Disney own the Muppets? No 7. Who runs the Muppets nowadays? Brian Henson 8. What's the address of Jim Henson 117 E. 69th Street Productions? New York, NY 10021 III. "The Muppet Show" and its cast 9. Who are the two old guys in the Statler and Waldorf balcony? 10. What is Gonzo? Unclear 11. What about Scooter? Human 12. Where has Scooter gone, anyway? He's been retired 13. And where has Skeeter gone? Down the Amazon 14. What's the best ever Muppet sketch? Mahna Mahna :-) IV. "Muppets Tonight!" and its cast 15. Muppets *what*? On ABC, occasionally 16. Who plays Kermit now? Steve Whitmire 17. What is Clifford? What is Pepe? Human and prawn What is Nigel's buddy? Mink V. "Sesame Street" 18. Is XXX dying of any disease? NO 19. Are Ernie and Bert gay? No evidence either way 20. I heard PBS is going to cancel SS. Not gonna happen VI. Things available on the 'net 21. Who is...? Lew Zealand? Uncle Deadly? 22. Who performed...? Big list of all performers 23. In what episode did...? Lists: SS TMS MT! FR Dino 24. What are the lyrics to...? Lists: SS TMS 25. Where are pictures of...? Probably nowhere 26. What records/CDs/CD-ROMs/videos/books A lot, but some are are there? out of print 27. What's that program that turns stuff The Encheferizer into Mock Swedish? Bork bork bork! 28. Yes, but where are the *Muppet sites*? All over the web VII. Now Showing 29. What Muppet stuff is on TV nowadays? MT! and others A humble request: If someone posts a question that is answered here, please be polite anyway. Yelling to read the FAQ gets to be more annoying that answering the question that was asked. ----------------- I. ADMINISTRIVIA 1. A Muppet newsgroup? That's SO cool! What is alt.tv.muppets? It's a newsgroup devoted to Muppets, in all their wonderful shapes and forms. We talk about Muppets in cartoons, movies, television shows, happy meal boxes, you name it. While not emphasized in this FAQ, we often talk about _The Dark Crystal_, _Labyrinth_, "Fraggle Rock," "Dinosaurs," and other Henson productions on this newsgroup. We do not really discuss puppets or puppetry in general; rec.arts.puppetry is more appropriate for this. While "Sesame Street" would not be the same without the Muppets, there is more to "Sesame Street" then just the Muppets. If you want to talk about extra-Muppet parts of "Sesame Street," consider alt.tv.sesame-street. And if you are feeling terribly silly, there's always alt.swedish.chef.bork.bork.bork. 2. What other fan activities are there? If you're in New York City or Los Angelos, The Museum(s) of Television and Radio have a huge collection of Muppet programs for viewing. These includes rare Muppet clips that, no matter how big a Muppet fan you are, you've never seen before! The NY address is 25 West 52nd St, New York, 10019, and the phone number is (212) 621-6600. The LA address is 465 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210, and the phone number there is (310) 786-1000. (Thanks to Danny Horn and Rodney Elin for this info.) No matter where you are, you can subscribe to MuppetZine, a quarterly fanzine devoted to the Muppets and Jim Henson. It is run by Danny Horn, whom you can contact at email@example.com. Also take a look at the MuppetZine web page, at http://www-leland.stanford.edu/~rosesage/MZ.html If you want to get involved with a Muppet fan group or start your own, Danny is again the person to talk to. 3. I have strong opinions about this FAQ. Who should I send "comments" to? Comments (but please, no thugs!) should go to o firstname.lastname@example.org o email@example.com o firstname.lastname@example.org We welcome, and indeed relish, comments. ----------------- II. MUPPETS AND THEIR OWNERS 4. What is a Muppet, anyway? Muppets are puppets invented by Jim Henson and his colleagues. Muppets were specially designed to be on television and in the movies, using camera techniques as well as classical puppeteering techniques to create the illusion of life. The name "Muppet" comes from a combination of the words "marionette" and "puppet," and many of the puppets are hand puppets with arm-wires operated much like marionettes' limbs. However, many Muppets now include the most advanced computer and animatronics technology. For the purposes of this newsgroup, "Muppet" means anything that has been created by Jim Henson Productions or the Creature Shop, including creations in "Muppets Tonight!," "The Muppet Show," "Sesame Street," "Fraggle Rock," "Dinosaurs," _The Dark Crystal_, and _Labyrinth_. 5. Why are Muppets left handed? You may have noticed that Muppets, particularly Muppet musicians, tend to do everything with their left arms. This is because most Muppet performers are right handed and use their primary hand to control the head and face of the Muppet. This leaves them their left hand to control the Muppet's arms. The Swedish Chef, which is controlled by two performers, is an exception that proves the rule. 6. Doesn't Disney own the Muppets? No. In the fall of 1989, the Walt Disney Company entered into negotiations to acquire Jim Henson Productions and the Muppets. While the deal was being worked out, Jim Henson created a 3-D film for Walt Disney World, "MuppetVision 3-D," and a TV special, "The Muppets at Walt Disney World." Henson was initially excited about working with Disney -- particularly because its deep pockets could finance the projects he wanted to do -- but as negotiations progressed, differences in Disney's and Henson's management styles became clearer. Jim Henson died in May 1990, before the deal was completed, and Disney lowered their offering price as a consequence (the original deal had included Henson's "creative services"). Eventually the deal was called off. Jim Henson Productions is still a completely independent entity, and Disney has no creative control over the Muppets. However, JHP and Disney do sometimes work together; for example, Buena Vista Home Video (a Disney subsidiary) distributes the Jim Henson Video line, and Disney distributes the Muppet films. These are short-term deals and don't mean that Disney "owns" the Muppets. 7. Who runs the Muppets nowadays? Jim's son Brian Henson inherited the CEO position at Jim Henson Productions. Brian has done some puppet work with the Muppets, including Dog on "The Storyteller" and Hoggle in _Labyrinth_, but he never performed any major Classic Muppet characters. He directed _The Muppet Christmas Carol_ and _Muppet Treasure Island_ and performs some new characters on "Muppets Tonight!" These characters, including Sal and Seymour, are quickly becoming favorites, which is nice to see. 8. What's the address of Jim Henson Productions? 117 E. 69th Street New York, NY 10021 Note that this is an office building and is not open for tours. ----------------- III. "THE MUPPET SHOW" AND ITS CAST 9. Who are the two old guys in the balcony? Statler and Waldorf. Statler is the taller, thinner one sitting on the right as we look at them in their box. Waldorf's wife is named Astoria. They are all named after old New York hotels. 10. What is Gonzo? There has been no definitive comment on what Gonzo is. o In "The Muppet Movie," Kermit refers to Gonzo as "sort of like a turkey... but not much." We've seen many Muppet birds, and even a Muppet turkey (in "The Muppet Family Christmas") and none of them looks anything like Gonzo. In the Liberace episode of "The Muppet Show," Gonzo tries to pass himself off as a bird to get into the tribute concert for the birds, but it doesn't work. So he's almost certainly not a bird. o In "Muppet Babies," his species is sometimes referred to as "weirdo." o In "The Great Muppet Caper," when Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo are flying to England, Kermit's crate is marked "Frog," Fozzie's is marked "Bear," and Gonzo's is marked "Whatever." Gonzo continues to assert that he is a whatever in _Muppet Treasure Island_. The only thing we can say with certainty is that he is Gonzo the Great. 11. What about Scooter? Scooter's a human (like Statler, Waldorf, Bunsen Honeydew...). His uncle, J.P. Grosse, who owns the theatre, is clearly a human. He's called a "gofer," but that's his position, not his species ("gofer coffee," etc). 12. Where has Scooter gone, anyway? The performer who performed Scooter, Richard Hunt, died in 1992 of complications due to AIDS. In tribute, the character of Scooter was retired. He will not be brought back. 13. And where has Skeeter gone? Scooter's sister Skeeter has never been part of the non-animated Muppet world; she exists only in "Muppet Babies," probably as a nod towards gender equality (though this one character is hardly enough to mitigate the distressing lack of female Muppets). In any case, at the end of that series we are informed that Skeeter became a famous explorer and disappeared down the Amazon. 14. What's the best ever Muppet sketch? Mahna Mahna, with Mahna Mahna and the two Snowths. Even now, you sing "doo doo do doo doo" under your breath every time someone says "phenomena," don't you? You know you do. Seriously, we don't mean to impose our point of view on the FAQ-reading masses. We just love Mahna Mahna, that's all. :-) ----------------- V. "MUPPETS TONIGHT!" AND ITS CAST 15. Muppets *what*? It's this new show, see, on ABC. It was a mid-season replacement for the 1995-96 season, and it was a mid-summer replacement in the summer of 1996. Soon it will be a mid-season replacement for the 1996-97 season. Not that we're biased, but "Muppets Tonight!" is *great*. We all love Bobo, and Johnny Fiama (possibly Fiamma) and Sal, and Pepe and Seymour, and even Garth Brooks! 16. Who plays Kermit now? Steve Whitmire (whose other credits include Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, and Wembley Fraggle -- he's been a major player since "The Muppet Show"). He has been performing Kermit since Jim Henson's death. He also performs Ernie. Brian Henson has never performed Kermit. Whitmire's first Kermit performance was in the 1990 special "The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson." 17. What is Clifford? What is Pepe? What is Nigel's buddy? These have definitive answers, from the performers. Clifford is a human: In the Billy Crystal episode, Clifford says to Rizzo, "I'm the man and you're the rat. I've got genetic seniority." In early press releases for "Muppets Tonight!" he was referred to as "Clifford the Rasta," but that's his religious affiliation, not his species. In the Garth Brooks episode, Kermit calls Clifford "Catfish-faced" but never actually calls him a catfish. Which is good, because he isn't one. Pepe is a Prawn. Nigel's buddy (that's the Nigel who says "Cue!" not the conductor from "The Muppet Show") -- the one who pops out of the control panel during the opening sequence -- is a mink. alt.tv.muppets trivia: Steve Whitmire contributed this answer during discussions of "Muppet Classic Theater" (in which the mink's head-banging performance in "Gotta Get That Name" stole the show for many of us). This was the first ever post of a Muppet performer to alt.tv.muppets. ----------------- VI. "SESAME STREET" 18. Is XXX dying of any disease? No. No way, no how. No "Sesame Street" Muppet character is dead, dying, or planning to die. This is a rumor that has been circulating since Jim Henson died in 1990 -- people were afraid that since Henson died, the producers of "Sesame Street" were also going to make Ernie die on the show, so that children could learn about death (as they did when Will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, died). This rumor has since spread and mutated to include Bert, Grover, and other characters, and any number of diseases and fatal accidents. However, the producers have *no intention* of "killing" any character on "Sesame Street." Jim Henson's characters are kept alive on the show by rerunning sketches that were recorded in the first twenty years of the show, and new Ernie sketches are also being made with Steve Whitmire performing Ernie. Please help to stop this rumor when you hear it. Anyone who is afraid for the life of any character should be encouraged to actually watch an episode of "Sesame Street," where they will see Ernie, Bert, and all the gang, still alive and well. 19. Are Ernie and Bert gay? This is a source of wide speculation, but nothing has ever been said on "Sesame Street" to indicate that Ernie and Bert have any sexual or romantic feelings at all. While we wouldn't want to suppress free speech on this newsgroup, beware: discussions on this topic have historically been ugly. Rest assured that your point of view has been stated before. 20. I heard PBS is going to cancel SS. You would have to attribute a great deal of stupidity to PBS to have them canceling one of their most popular programs. While PBS funding is indeed being cut, "Sesame Street" would be among the last shows to go. If you see a petition claiming otherwise, ignore it. (This is a good rule of thumb for email petitions in general. Since there is no way to control forgery or repetition of signatures in email petitions, these petitions are universally ignored.) ----------------- VI. THINGS AVAILABLE ON THE 'NET 21. Who is...? http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~csilvers/muppet-characters.html This site has lists: Muppets from "The Muppet Show" and Muppets and humans from "Sesame Street." Compiled by Charles Evans, Bob Pedersen, Rueven William Goren, and others. Answers to some particularly frequent ID requests: o The guy who throws fish: Lew Zealand o The guy who blows things up: Crazy Harry o The scary-looking blue monster: Uncle Deadly o The piano playing dog: Rowlf o The guy who hits his head on the piano on SS: Don Music 22. Who performed...? http://www.clark.net/pub/cvaughn/html/mpindex.htm Chris Vaughn and Sue Rose have put together an extensive list. 23. In what episode did...? http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/VR/BS/Muppets/muppets.html Believe it or not, there are episode guides for every "Muppet Show," "Fraggle Rock," "Dinosaurs," and "Muppets Tonight!" episode ever aired. In addition, there are descriptions of some of the Muppet skits from "Sesame Street." 24. What are the lyrics to...? ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/cvaughn/ http://www.globalserve.net/~rhonda/sesame1.html http://www.cs.unc.edu/~arthur/muppet-songs.html The first site has Muppet songs, including Rainbow Connection, It's Not Easy Being Green, Just One Person, the theme from "The Muppet Show," and more! The second site, compiled by Tiny Dancer, has "Sesame Street" songs. Besides all the songs you'd expect (Rubber Duckie, "Sesame Street" theme), it has many Frequently Asked Lyrics: the Alligator King, Captain Vegetable, I Don't Want to Live on the Moon, We All Live In A Capital I, etc. The third site has even more lyrics, courtesy of Kevin Arthur. 25. Where are pictures of...? There aren't many available, which is good because they are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission, even for private use. Sorry. :-( 26. What records/CDs/CD-ROMs/videos/books are there? ALL: http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/VR/BS/Muppets/muppography.html VIDEO: http://www.megalink.net/~cooke/video.html ALBUMS: http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/1074/SSALBUMS.HTM http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/1074/ALBUMS.HTM The first link, Bill Sherman's muppography, is quite large and wonderful, but is not updated frequently. Luckily (perhaps) neither are the albums, CDs, CD-ROMS, videos, books, etc. VIDEO: The second link has an amazingly large list of Muppet- related videos, collected by Jon Cooke. A note on availability: _Muppets Take Manhattan_, though hard to find, is available on video through Tristar. Other Muppet movies, and some "Muppet Show" compilations, are also available. The Playhouse Video compilations, such as "Gonzo Presents Muppet Weird Stuff," are no longer being produced. Neither are "Dinosaurs" episodes or "Dog City" episodes. On the other hand, the world is currently swamped with "Sesame Street" videos. ALBUMS: The last two links point to Ted Nesi's lists of "Sesame Street" and Muppet albums, respectively. Both have track lists. The Muppets are currently "between" record companies -- they dropped Jim Henson Records/BMG Kidz, and rumor has it they are working on starting a new label, possibly this year. Therefore, the only Muppet album still in print is the "Muppet Treasure Island" soundtrack. "Sesame Street" albums are a dime a dozen. BOOKS: Books we think are particularly neat: o Of Muppets and Men o Jim Henson: The Works Both are by Christopher Finch and are hard to find. _Of Muppets and Men_ is especially rare, and bidding for it (on alt.tv.muppets) has exceeded $100. 27. What's that program that turns stuff into Mock Swedish? http://www.almac.co.uk/chef/chef/chef/ ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/sw/swedish_chef It's called the "Encheferizer." 28. Yes, but where are the *Muppet sites*? http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/VR/BS/Muppets/muppets.html Bill Sherman's page is the place to start. It's the closest thing there is to an "official" Muppets WWW page, and it has links to other pages. (Coverage of TV shows is particularly impressive: it's where you go if you want the ratings for the Jason Alexander episode of "Muppets Tonight!") Bill Sherman, again: http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/VR/BS/Muppets/muppets.html Official MTI site: http://www.disney.com/DisneyVideos/ MuppetTreasure/index.html The Dark Crystal: http://www.public.asu.edu/~galenelf/wyvern/darkcrys Labyrinth: http://www.public.asu.edu/~galenelf/wyvern/labyrnth Muppets Tonight!: http://www.megalink.net/~cooke/muptnt/ Fraggle Rock: http://www.clark.net/pub/cvaughn/html/frindex.htm Johnny Fiama page: http://pages.prodigy.com/fiama/ Muppets and Pooh: http://www.clark.net/pub/rinzel/muppooh/ Muppetabilia: http://www.cs.wustl.edu/~mir/muppets The Muppet Site: http://www.public.asu.edu/~galenelf/wyvern/ Jeff's Muppenatics: http://bones.wcupa.edu/~jepstein/muppets Ted's Muppet page: http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/1074/ mupindex.html Kerry's Place: http://pages.prodigy.com/robin/muppetr.htm Please contact us if you have a Muppet page to add to this list. ----------------- VII. NOW SHOWING 29. What Muppet stuff is on TV nowadays? "Muppets Tonight!," occassionally on ABC, is once again on hiatus. Help make sure MT! stays on the air! Write or email: ABC-TV 77 West 66th Street New York, NY 10023 E-mail: email@example.com "The Muppet Show" used to be on Nickelodeon but is no longer. As of October 1996: (All US times are Eastern) United States ------------- ["Muppets Tonight!" -- soon, we hope (but probably not until Spring)] "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss" -- Nickelodeon, Sundays, 8:00 pm "Aliens in the Family" -- ABC, Saturdays, 11:30 am "Muppet Babies" -- Nickelodeon, weekdays, 10:30 am and 1:30 pm "The Secret Life of Toys" -- Disney Channel, Sundays, 7:30 am "Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories" -- Disney Channel, Saturdays, 7:30 am "Big Bag" -- Cartoon Network, Sundays, 9:00 am "Sesame Street" -- PBS, every day, various times Great Britain (thanks to Stuart Lancaster) ------------- "Muppets Tonight" (season one repeats) -- Sky 1, Sundays, 5:00 pm "Muppet Babies" -- Disney Channel, weekdays, 10:25 am "Wubbulous World Of Dr Seuss" -- Nickelodeon, weekdays 2:00 pm "Sesame Street" -- Channel 4, Weekdays, 6:00 am; Saturdays, 6:00 am Australia (thanks to CRIT) --------- "Muppets Tonight!" -- Channel 7, Fridays, 7:30 pm "Jim Henson's Animal Show" -- Channel 7, Sundays, 8:30 am "Dog City" -- ABC, MTWTh, 8:30 am "Sesame Street" -- ABC, weekdays, 8:30 am and 3:00 pm The Netherlands (Thanks to Danny Sanders) --------------- "The Muppet Show" -- RTL4, Sundays, 11:00 am "Sesamstraat" -- Nederland 3, every day, 6:15 pm Germany (Thanks to Danny Sanders) ------- "Sesamstrasse" -- N3, every day but Thursdays and Fridays, 6:00 pm Israel (thanks to Yoni Dital) ------ "Muppets Tonight!" -- Channel 1, Tuesdays, 7:30 pm Jordan (Thanks to Yishay) ------ "The Muppet Show" -- Jordan TV, Fridays, 2:00 pm Mexico ------ "Plaza Sesamo" -- Univision, weekdays, 8:00 am Does anyone know shows, stations, and times for other countries? ----------------- END of alt.tv.muppets FAQ.