Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kermit The Frog Turns 50!

It was back in 1955 on a show called “Sam & Friends” that Jim Henson first shared a distinctive green friend with the world. Over half a century later the famous amphibian still touches the lives of millions of people each year. This is of course about Kermit the Frog. This spectacular Muppet milestone will not be forgotten, as Disney and the Muppets plan to kick off a giant 15-month worldwide Birthday celebration in honor of Kermit the Frog’s 50th anniversary.

In honor of his birthday, there are plans for an all new television special in celebration of Kermit's career, tentatively titled “Kermit the Frog: Celebrating 50 Years of Being Green”. The special will take the form of a celebrity roast, where the Muppet gang (and some of their celebrity friends) have fun jesting at the famous frog while taking a look back at his 50 years of work (and wishing him a happy birthday). The Frog’s special roast will be hosted by Kermit's best critic, Miss Piggy. In preparation for the big 50th celebration, Kermit will also be making a trip around the world to visit the top 50 places that he's always wanted to go. The exact details on when the special will air are unclear but pre-production and preparation is underway on the special salute to the frog we all love.

When asked about the milestone celebration, Kermit said, "I will be celebrating my 50th year in show business starting this September, and that's going to be like a yearlong celebration...It'll be a whole year filled with things having to do with being green and frogs and all that sort of stuff."

(For the full story, read my extended article at MuppetCentral.com)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

MirrorMask Theater Listing

"MirrorMask", the latest fantasy film from The Jim Henson Company (directed by award winning illustrator Dave McKean with a screenplay by renowned graphic novelist Neil Gaiman) is due for a limited theatrical release on September 30, 2005. The film tells the story of Helena, a fifteen-year-old girl working for her family circus, who finds herself on a strange journey into the Dark Lands, a fantastic landscape filled with giants, Monkeybirds, dangerous sphinxes and a host of characters who wear bizarre and unusual masks. She is in search of the magical MirrorMask, an object of enormous power that is her only hope of escaping the Dark Lands, waking the Queen of Light and returning home. Following in the footsteps of Henson's other fantasy films, "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth", "MirrorMask" is sure to become a visual delight and instant "cult classic".

The film will not be playing everywhere; only a select group of theaters will carry the film. You can see where the film will be playing by checking the film's official theater listings.

Fraggle Zazzle

A few months ago, Disney teamed up with Zazzle.com to give fans the ability to create their own custom Muppet apparel. Now, HIT Entertainment is also partnering up with Zazzle to bring the same type of service to fans of Fraggle Rock. Dazzle's new merchandising concept lets you make your own T-shirt online, using an astonishingly large selection of images, phrases, and designs. The shirts won't be the cheapest articles of clothing in you wardrobe, but where else are you going to get a custom T-shirt with Gobo, Wembly, or Sproket on it? The Fraggle store at Zazzle has not opened yet, but is planned to go live in September - an insert ad found in the upcoming "Fraggle Rock - Complete First Season" DVD box set provides more information and details. I'll keep you updated on this venture as more information becomes available.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bonus Fraggle CD at Best Buy only.

In June it was reported that the "Fraggle Rock - Complete First Season" DVD box set would come with a bonus CD-ROM full of all kinds of Fraggle fun. However since this was originally announced, HIT Entertainment has decided to offer this only as a special store exclusive for Best Buy retail stores. The special CD-ROM will included Fraggle Rock desktop themes, screensavers, wallpaper and an all new desktop game called "Fraggle Rock: Jump & Munch". Best Buy will be offering the Fraggle Rock season 1 box set with the exclusive CD-ROM enclosed -- the CD-ROM will not be available anywhere else. So if you want the bonus CD-ROM, be sure to pick up your copy at you local Best Buy, or order your copy from Bestbuy.com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Disney's Muppet DVDs will have Widescreen!!!

Many fans were distraught yesterday to hear that the official Disney press release about the upcoming Muppet DVDs stated that the films would be released in pan-and-scan only. After hearing this upsetting news, I decided to find out why, and if there are any plans to release the films in widescreen. So I did some digging, sent many e-mails to insider sources and even called friends inside Disney. It turns out that the rumors are untrue, and so was the official press release.

In celebration of Kermit's 50th Anniversary, "The Muppet Movie", "The Great Muppet Caper", "The Muppet Christmas Carol", and "Muppet Treasure Island" will be released on Disney DVD in both widescreen and full-frame formats. Disney admits to the mistake in the press release and apologizes for any confusion. They also stated there were some other oversights and mistakes in the press release, and they have sent me a corrected list of features (see below). The DVDs are scheduled to be released on November 29, 2005.

Once again, all four 50th anniversary Muppet movies will be released in Widescreen and full frame! WAAHOO!!

The Muppet Movie: Special Edition
- "The Muppet Movie" Widescreen (restored and remastered)
- "The Muppet Movie" Full Frame (restored and remastered)
- "Pepe Profiles Present -- Kermit: A Frog's Life"
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- English and French language tracks
- ...and much more!

The Great Muppet Caper: Special Edition
- "The Great Muppet Caper" Widescreen (restored and remastered)
- "The Great Muppet Caper" Full Frame (restored and remastered)
- "Pepe Profiles Present -- Miss Piggy: The Diva Who Would Not Be Denied"
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- English and French language tracks
- ...and much more!

The Muppet Christmas Carol: Special Edition
- "The Muppet Christmas Carol" Widescreen (restored and remastered)
- "The Muppet Christmas Carol" Full Frame (restored and remastered)
- "Pepe Profiles Present -- Gonzo: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Weirdo"
- Audio Commentary with director Brian Henson
- "Christmas Around the World"
- "On the Set"- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- ...and much more!

Muppet Treasure Island: Special Edition
- "Muppet Treasure Island" Widescreen (restored and remastered)
- "Muppet Treasure Island" Full Frame (restored and remastered)
- "Pepe Profiles Present -- Fozzie Bear: A Long Day's Journey Into Night Clubs"
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- ...and much more!

"Being Green" Gets New Cover

As reported earlier, a collection of wisdom on life, friendship, individuality, creativity, collaboration, and more will be hitting the bookshelves this fall from the works of Jim Henson (and his friends). Hyperion Books is planning on releasing this new book on September 14, 2005 titled "It's not Easy Being Green - And Other Things to Consider". The book was written and compiled from the works (and friends) of the late Jim Henson by Jim's daughter, Cheryl.

This uplifting collection of quotes, stories, anecdotes, songs, will be entertaining, inspiring, touching, and laugh-out-loud funny. The book will be releases on September 14, 2005 in hardback print, and also on audio CD. When originally reported, the book was set to have a cover featuring a picture of Jim sitting in silhouette in a window holding Kermit (the actual original photo was of Jim with Bert). However the publisher had decided to change the cover art of the book. So now when you go into your local bookstore to pick up a copy later next month you should look for the following cover.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Disney's Press Release States No Widescreen!

Disney has announced the details of November's much-anticipated Muppet movie DVD reissues and if their press release is accurate, they decided to cut 30%-50% of the film out of the DVD versions. That's right, the "fully remastered and restored" 50th Anniversary Editions will contain only full-screen (1.33:1) transfers of "The Muppet Movie", "The Great Muppet Caper", "The Muppet Christmas Carol", and "Muppet Treasure Island". So hopefully you like your film "formatted to fit your TV" (unless you have a widescreen television, because then these films will be formatted to not fit you TV).

The official press release, where this sad news came from, does appear incomplete and full of errors - so maybe this is all a bad mistake or misprint (however I doubt it). The audio commentaries listed to be carried over on "Christmas Carol" and "Treasure Island" are not listed in the press release. And neither are any of the four behind the scenes mini-documentaries originally stated on DisneyDirect last week. (Plus they list "Christmas Around the World" as a music video, even though this feature has Gonzo and Rizzo talking about Christmas traditions around the world - there's no singing). However they do make it clear that the aspect ratio on all four DVDs is a butchered 1.33:1 transfer.

Maybe this is a bad dream, maybe Disney wrote the wrong aspect ratio on the press release, maybe it's all an elaborate joke.... Don't they recall the fiasco in 2002 when Disney first released "Christmas Carol" and "Treasure Island" in pan-and-scan. Hundreds called and e-mailed Disney is disgust (including the upset director, Brian Henson), it seems Disney did not learn from their stupid mistake. So I encourage everyone to voice your displeasure by calling 1-800-723-4763 and/or writing Disneyinfo@Disneyhelp.com. Tell them how upset you are, and how you were planning on getting the DVDs until you heard this news. Tell Disney that you want - no, you demand - widescreen!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Own Your Own Piece Of Oz

Want to own a part of "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz"? Now you can, because the Walt Disney Company is auctioning off props, costumes, set parts and more from the film! DisneyAuctions.com is selling 67 original items used in the film. Want to own Dorothy's silver shoes? How about the magic biker's cap? Or the Wizard's magistic robe and hat? A bunch of munchkin homes are for sale; along with Dorothy's apron; the great doors to Oz; the "Oz for Dummies" book; parts of the Yellow Brick Road; and so much more! Check out the auctions and place a bid on a part of Oz. Items are starting as low as $15, and many items have little or no bids places. This is your chance to own a piece of Muppet film history. Don't delay, bidding ends on Thursday August 18th at 5:45 Eastern (2:45 Pacific). Be sure to check out the auctions here and see all the great and memorable props being sold.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Early Muppet Special Edition Specs

DisneyDirect.com has posted that the upcoming special edition releases of four classic Muppet film will arrive on November 29, 2005. In order to celebrate Kermit's 50th Disney is planning special edition re-releases of "The Muppet Movie", "The Great Muppet Caper", "The Muppet Christmas Carol", and "Muppet Treasure Island". All four films will be presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, however information on the aspect ratio (widescreen or full screen) is not publicly available yet. The DVDs will offer a new collection of bonus features (some exisiting and some newly created) - a final and complete list is not available at this time. However fans hopes that unlike the previous release, these special editions hold the 16x9 widescreen transfers. I'll keep you all posted as more information on the bonus features and aspect ratio become available.

The Muppet Movie: Special Edition
- "The Muppet Movie" (restored and remastered)
- "Backstage Disney: Behind the Muppet Movie"
- "Pepe Profiles Present -- Kermit: A Frog's Life"
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- English and French language tracks
- ...and much more!

The Great Muppet Caper: Special Edition
- "The Great Muppet Caper" (restored and remastered)
- "Backstage Disney: Behind the Muppet Caper"
- "Pepe Profiles Present -- Miss Piggy: The Diva Who Would Not Be Denied"
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- English and French language tracks
- ...and much more!

The Muppet Christmas Carol: Special Edition
- "The Muppet Christmas Carol" (restored and remastered)
- "Backstage Disney: Unwrapping a New Holiday Classic"
- Audio Commentary with director Brian Henson
- "Christmas Around the World"
- "On the Set"
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- ...and much more!

Muppet Treasure Island: Special Edition
- "Muppet Treasure Island" (restored and remastered)
- "Backstage Disney: The Tale of the Story Beyond the Tail''
- "Hidden Treasure" audio commentary with director Brian Henson
- "Treasure Island Sing-Along"
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
- ...and much more!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Fraggle Rock Vol. 5

Since April 2004, when HIT Entertainment received the rights to many programs in the Jim Henson Family Showcase, they have been releasing a steady flow of single-disc DVDs of Fraggle Rock. HIT has released three single-disc DVDs of Fraggle Rock, and the fourth (Doing Things That Doozers Do) is planned for release on September 9th. Also planned for release on September 9th is "Fraggle Rock - Complete First Season". With HIT creating a more complete collector's product many fans wondered if the smaller releases would be pushed to the side. This is not the case. HIT has already announced their fifth single disc release, "Down In Fraggle Rock", which is due for release in January 2006.

If it follows the form of the first four releases, fans should be able to expect 3 select episodes of Fraggle Rock, a bonus animated episode, an excerpt from "Down at Fraggle Rock" documentary, Fraggle-oke, an un-lockable bonus episode, and much more!

HIT is currently stating that a "Fraggle Rock - Complete Second Season" box set is something that they are "considering"; and that there is "no information on a season 2 box set at this time". So be sure to pick up the season one box set (the better the sales the better the chance of another set) and, if you have the time, consider dropping them a line too (thanking them for season 1 and stating a desire for season 2-5).

Fraggle Rock Single-Disc DVD Releases

- Fraggle Rock: Where it All Began (Volume 1) - July 2004 (Special Edition - October 2004)
- Fraggle Rock: Dance your Cares Away (Volume 2) - January 2005
- Fraggle Rock: Live by the Rule of the Rock (Volume 3) - April 2005
- Fraggle Rock: Doing Things That Doozers Do (Volume 4) - September 2005
Fraggle Rock: Down In Fraggle Rock (Volume 5) - January 2006

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"The Muppet Show - Season One" Edits

As many of you may know all ready, there were some unfortunate cuts in "The Muppet Show - Season One" DVD. Due to legal reasons some content was unable to be included on the DVDs. All the music cuts were made due to legal issues. Disney tried as hard as they could to secure all the rights needed (and they are continuing too work to get the rights for the other seasons), but they were unable to get a few - either they were not for sale, or where just too much for the producers to justify. It is a shame that a few episodes are not completely intact as they were presented almost 30 years ago - but this still is the best release of these episodes we've ever seen.

We all hope that the future seasons sets are uncut (Disney included), but if the next four season sets are as good as this one I'll still be happy (its better than any release available before; and is probably the best release of the Season 1 episodes we'll get). Disney did their best to get us the best collection possible. Don't get hung up on the 10 minuets that Disney can't sell you - instead try to enjoy the 610+ minuets that they have restored and remastered on a great DVD set. The set is sure to be one of your prized Muppet purchases. At least, until the Season 2 set arrives.

Joel Grey
- "Stormy Weather" sung by Wayne and Wanda
- 2 Muppet Newsflash bits

Jim Nabors
- "Gone With The Wind" sung by Jim Nabors
- "The Danceros" sung by The Danceros

Paul Williams
- "All Of Me" sung by Two Monsters

Charles Aznavour
- "Old Fashioned Way" sung by Charles Aznavour with Mildred

Vincent Price
- "You’ve Got A Friend" sung by Vincent Price and Uncle Deadly

Pitch Reel
- Kermit's closing line, "What the hell was that?"

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Doozer information

Information on the next single disc release of Fraggle Rock have surfaced. Below are the details and episodes of the "Doin' Things That Doozers Do" DVD that will hit stores on September 6, 2005. This disc follows the form that the first three single-disc releases had. If you want even more Fraggle fun, then be sure to pick up "Fraggle Rock the Complete First Season", which will also hit stores on September 6th.

Red’s Club
- Red decides to start a rockin’ club of her own, but what will happen when the only other member she can find is Cotterpin Doozer?

The Trial of Cotterpin - Cotterpin goes on trial to save her job and must convince the other Doozers that the Fraggles are worthy of their friendship!

Cavern of Lost Dreams - It’s a world of fraggley fun when Cotterpin Doozer and Gobo Fraggle embark on a quest for the original cave of the Doozers!

Bonus Features:
Animated Episode: The Great Radish Round-Up and Lucky Fargy
Behind the Scenes: The Doozers (from "Down at Fraggle Rock")
Fraggle Challenge! (Unlocks a bonus episode)
Pingu Digs a Hole