The Muppet Show

Season 1 Episode 0

The Muppets Valentine Show

Aired Unknown Jan 30, 1974 on
out of 10
User Rating
20 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Muppets Valentine Show
The Muppets Valentine show was the first of two pilots for The Muppet Show. Valentine aired on ABC in 1974. Though the second pilot, The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence would be a closer prototype of the series, Valentine laid the groundwork with some characters, the idea of having a guest star, appealing to both adults and children, and the format of putting on a show with "behind the scenes" mayhem.moreless

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  • At the time, this might have been a cutesy family-oriented series of musical numbers, ultimately forgettable. But in hindsight it can best be described as... SURREAL.

    I wasn't sure how to rate this episode-- taken on its own, it's pretty dull. But watching it now, now that we know what the Muppets have become... well I will just have to repeat the word SURREAL. I can't think how else to describe it! The characters are all clearly Muppets-- some of them are vaguely familiar, a few VERY familiar, and yet the minor characters are major characters and the major ones are minor. There's Kermit hanging out on the sidelines-- I kept expecting him to try to organize everyone, whip them into shape, take control of the show, yet all he did was briefly and somewhat grouchily contribute his sad tale of Going A'Courtin'. Mia Farrow related to the characters in the same way later guest stars would relate to the characters on the Muppet Show-- as if she knew them personally. But though SHE knew them, WE do not. So on the whole you're watching all this, feeling like you've been dropped into an alternate dimension, somewhere where the Muppet Show as we know it never happened and something else entirely happened instead. Personally, I'm very glad reality took the Muppet-track it ended up taking. But it's worth having this surreal experience once-- you can now find this special on the bonus tracks to the Muppet Show Season 2 DVDs.moreless
  • So sweet it'll give you cavities

    Well, ya gotta start somewhere.

    Airing in 1974, this special (intended as a pilot for The Muppet Show) doesn't yet quite have all the familiar elements in place. Kermit is a minor character, and the host is some bland guy with sunglasses whose name I can't even remember.

    The guest star is Mia Farrow, and she appears in one cutesy musical number or sketch after another. It's not her fault; apparently Jim Henson and co. leaned heavily on the "cute" on this show. The second pilot, "Sex and Violence," would go straight for the comedy, and is much stronger as a result.

    The one interesting concept to come out of this whole show is the idea of the Muppets all living in a house together. This idea wouldn't be used again until 25 years later (!), in 1999's "Muppets from Space."

    At this time, this pilot is not available on video or DVD at this time, so you'll either have to get it in a tape trade or hope the rerun shows up on cable somewhere.

    If you do get to see it, keep your eyes open for an Ernie and Bert cameo at the end.moreless
Dave Goelz

Dave Goelz

Gonzo / Dr. Bunsen Honeydew / Zoot / Muppy / Beauregard

Frank Oz

Frank Oz

Miss Piggy(1977-1981)/ Fozzie Bear / Animal / Sam the Eagle / The Swedish Chef (Hands)

Jerry Nelson

Jerry Nelson

Camilla / Floyd / Robin / Crazy Harry (1977-1981) / Uncle Deadly / Dr. Julius Strangepork / Pops (1980-1981) / Thog / Lew Zealan

Jim Henson

Jim Henson

Kermit the Frog / Rowlf the Dog / Link Hogthrob / The Swedish Chef (puppetry and voice) / Dr. Teeth / Muppet Newsman / Waldorf

John Lovelady

John Lovelady

Crazy Harry (1976-1977) / Nigel

Richard Hunt

Richard Hunt

Beaker / Miss Piggy (1976-1977) / Janice (1977-1981) / Wayne / Scooter / Statler / Sweetums

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (7)

    • Interestingly, Kermit does not seem to be well loved in this pilot. In one scene Droop even goes so far as to insult his singing while the others groan. During the rest of "The Muppet Show" and Muppet Movies, Kermit is a well loved character to the point that that's sometimes the movie's or episode's theme.

    • The cast of puppeteers closely match the lineup of The Muppet Show's first season, though Eren Ozker is absent. Jane Henson and Nancy McGeorge also perform puppets, but not voices. Richard Hunt performs a main muppet instead of smaller background roles. Fran Brill would later join this group in the second pilot, but aside from a few episodes would not be a part of Muppet Show's regular cast.

    • Although a general high quality standard exists throughout, there nonetheless are a number of shots where heads and arms show on camera...even in the first few seconds on the opening shot! (Crazy Donald) Even During the "I Got Love" number, Jim Henson's head and hand holding the arm rods can be seen close to the the beginning of the song. Another odd moment usually beneath the Muppets' standard occurs during the closing credits when a few Muppets (including Kermit and Rowlf) go to walk off camera and are abruptly pulled down while still in frame. Perhaps the puppeteers had limited access to monitors?

    • Interestingly enough, the Muppet that DIDN'T live on after the special was the host, Wally! (Well, okay, he COULD be seen as a member of the audience, but that's really it.)

    • Kermit, Rowlf, and to a lesser extent Crazy Donald (Harry) remained among the core group of Classic Muppets. George and Mildred were featured heavily in Muppet Show's first season but quickly faded to background character status along with Droop, Miss Mousey, and Thog. Some Muppets went onto the Muppet Show in different forms; Rufus became Muppy, Crazy Donald's name was changed to Crazy Harry, and Brewsters was turned into a wise guru character usually seen in the first season's panel discussions. Crazy Donald was based on Muppet designer and special effects guru, Don Sahlin, who had a habit of frightening members of the workshop with various riggings, gags, and yes - even explosions. He once blew up Dave Goelz's desk!

    • Later on, Muppets Tonight, an updated Muppet Show, would also incorporate brand new characters, Classic Muppet Show members, and Muppets from productions in between the two (Clifford, Bean Bunny, Andy and Randy). Most of the cast of this pilot went on to The Muppet Show although most would eventually become background characters by the end of its run.

    • It's interesting to note the makeup of the cast both in terms of which characters lived on afterward as well as the mix of old and new. The Muppet Show's first season had a fair mix of completely new characters (Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Scooter), characters that originated from the pilots (Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf, most of the series' secondary characters), plus a sprinkling of Muppets from previous projects (the Frackles, Robin, Sweetums, Kermit). This is the case in the pilot with several new characters and Muppets from other productions; Kermit (Sam & Friends, Sesame Street), Rufus (Hey, Cinderella), Thog and Droop (Great Santa Claus Switch), plus cameos from Rowlf, Bert and Ernie.