The Muppet Show

Season 1 Episode 0

The Muppets Valentine Show

3
Aired Unknown Jan 30, 1974 on

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    • 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.

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