Monday, October 31, 2005

New Muppet Stuff on, the official Disney Online Store, has updated their Muppets section with a whole batch of new items just in time for the holidays. There are all kinds of new items added to their growing collection of merchandise available.

For the collectors out there, they have a brand-new "Muppet Show" snow-globe, a Kermit "Big Figure" (which is a 23.5'' tall sculpture of Kermit), a musical (and "magical") Miss Piggy jewelry box, a Muppets "Harmony Kingdom Box", a wonderful Kermit picture frame, a "Rainbow Connection" Kermit desk lamp, a Kermit/Star Christmas tree ornament, a set of "Muppet Storybook" ornaments, Muppet Pavé pins, and more!

There is also new apparel, clothing, and accessories; including a Kermit beanie cap, a "Muppet Show" spinning-logo wrist watch, an Animal PJ set, an Animal hooded fleece, a Kermit PJ & Slipper Set, and more! Plus there is a new Kermit office set, for any Muppet fan's office, desk, or collector's shelf. The line includes a Kermit tape dispenser, notepad and pen holder, stapler, paper clip holder, pencil cup, paper weight, desk lamp, picture frame, and more!

So, what are you waiting for? Go take a look at "The Muppet Shop" at, there is a bunch of new things to check out; and most of the older stuff is still there too (and some of it is on sale right now). Surf on over today. Stock up now or just let Santa Claus know what you want (after all there's only 55 more sleeps 'till Christmas).

Elmo (and Friends) on Emeril Live

Chef (and TV host) Emeril Lagasse will end his special week on cooking for (and with children) with a special Muppet guest chef. Elmo will help Emeril in the kitchen on Friday, November 4, 2005. In front of a live audience, master chef Emeril Lagasse (and Elmo) will demonstrates gourmet cooking, with a bam! Emeril and Elmo will create a healthy, delicious and colorful meal together. Recipes include: Yummy Wake-Up Smoothie, Power Packed Spinach Salad, Pasta Primavera, Lean Mean Turkey Loaf, and Very Red Strawberry Shortcake. Elmo, who has been a guest on Emeril several times, is also planning on bring some of his Sesame Street monsters along to the show, as Grover, Telly, and Rosita are planned to pop-in during the show. So be sure to set your VCRs, program your TiVo, and/or tune in to catch the stars of Sesame Street and Emeril hanging out in the kitchen for a full hour. "Emeril Live: Healthy Starts", which airs at 8:00-9:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on the Food Network (check local listings for details). If you missed it the first time (or want to watch it again), it will be repeated three hours after the initial airing, at Midnight (November 05, 2005 12:00-1:00 AM, Eastern/Pacific). Bam!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Master Replicas' Muppet Replicas

Master Replicas Inc. is an industry leader in movie and television prop replicas. With an extremely experienced executive team, Master has produced great collector’s items; including Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia, Predator, and many other classic works. Master Replicas produces officially licensed products with extreme attention to authenticity, detail, product quality, and customer service. And Master Replicas will soon be offering authentic display Muppets.

In November 2004, Master Replicas acquired the license to create Disney replicas - from Cinderella's Glass Slipper and Mouseketeer ears, to props from Pirates of the Caribbean and the Rocketeer. Now, being shown to the public for the first time ever, is Master Replicas newest addition to their Disney licensed replicas collection: Kermit the Frog!

The Kermit "doll" will be a top-notch and high-priced display replica of the world’s most famous Frog – it will be the closest most will be able to get to having a real Muppet displayed in their house. Kermit is the first "studio scale" Muppet replica. The product has been copied directly from the original cut patterns, materials and stitch patterns. He will be fully posable and a gem of any fan’s collection. Master Replicas says “If Kermit does well, there might be others... "

Below is a picture sent to me by Kevin Eslinger, the head product designer for the Disney Division of Master Replicas (Kermit is one of his projects). The shot is of one of the Kermit proto-types in the works (the final product may differ). I'll keep you posted as more develops on this new venture into high-quality collectors’ products.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

From the Balcony: Episode 10

The Weather GuyA new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on today. In the latest installment of the bi-weekly web-show, Statler and Waldorf (Victor Yerrid and Drew Massey) talk about the films "The Legend of Zorro" and "Jarhead", and the Weather Guy stops by to give his forcast on the "Weatherman". You can also learn the meaning of this weeks balconism, "coinci-dance". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on and watch the latest episode (you may also notice that the site, like most of, has been redesigned in the past week). Be sure to check back for the next episode on November 12th.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Muppet Reality Show is Movin' Right Along

People have been buzzing about "America's Next Muppet" for months now. Disney is still planning to relaunch the Muppets with a prime-time ABC "reality” parody series. Fans are wondering if the recent turn-over in Disney and Muppet Holding Company management will affect the project, which was being strongly supported and pushed along by Chris Cutin (ex-general manager of the Muppet Holding Company). Since the new management has stepped into power the show has made significant progress towards becoming a reality (no pun intended).

A network representative has said that the Muppet project is still in the extremely early stages of development. But ABC has now officially ordered a pilot script and five additional script outlines for "America's Next Muppet". This will be shot in the format of a "reality show", and will use a lot of the same syntax and cinematic grammar that the genre has developed, however like all past Muppet TV shows will be scripted. If ABC is impressed with the pilot episode script and the pilot episode, than the five outlines will start being turned into scripts and episodes. These six episodes are hoped to air in Spring/Summer 2006, and if successful then more episodes could be ordered, and the series continued. I'll keep you all posted as more develops.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Henson takes Puppetry To The Next Level with "Frances"

The Jim Henson Company is preparing to release a brand new-ground-breaking children’s series. Henson has teamed up with HIT Entertainment to bring the beloved classic storybook character of Frances to life. The company produced a one-shot special, earlier this year. After seeing the results of the new technology and characters, executives and viewers at Henson, HIT, and the industry were ecstatic and excited and decided to turn the production into a continuing series.

The show is based off the classic children’s book series by Russell Hoban and illustrator Lillian Hoban (known to Muppet fans as the author/illustrator team behind the original book “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas”). Each episode of “Frances” holds three delightful stories all about taking on the challenges of childhood; and if there is anyone who is ready to take on that challenge, it’s Frances (who, by the way, is an adorable little badger). With a song and a dance, she’ll find a solution to any problem with the help of her Mom, her Dad, her little sister Gloria, and her best friend Albert. Aside from the touching stories, wonderful characters, and fun songs, the series will showcase a brand-new ground-breaking puppet technology.

Brian Henson, director of the Frances pilot and Co-CEO of the Henson Company, talked about the technology built to create this ground breaking show in September. “The technology we’ve developed allows a puppeteer to puppeteer/perform a character that is being animated in real time”, Brian stated. “If you go into one of our puppeteer-animation sound stages, which there is only one of, you would see what feels like a real operating live-action set, and the puppeteers are performing – one puppeteer is performing the body, one is puppeteer is performing the head and voice – and what we’re getting is these wonderful organic performances. The computer is not doing any animation. The computer is not allowed move anything; only people can move anything. So there’s a camera operator, moving our virtual camera, and there are performers who are puppeteering the bodies and the heads of the character.”

Brian expressed his feelings towards the experience of directing the show by saying, “we’re having, I got to say, so much fun; because we can improvise...What’s great about puppets are that they are spontaneous, and what we’re trying to do in our 3-D animation, is to really be spontaneous. So we’re really working the material in front of the camera. And we have big projectors, so they can see what [the computer] sees. We’re doing performed animation, and it’s a lot of fun.”

HIT Entertainment will let you “get in touch with your inner-Frances”, when they release the first two Frances video titles, “Bedtime for Frances” and “Bread and Jam for Frances”, on DVD and VHS on January 26, 2006. You can already pre-order these titles at many online stores, with a suggested retail price of $11.99 (or less). Other plans for the show and the series are not available at this time; however HIT and Henson feel that this will become an instant classic that audiences of all ages will love and enjoy. A preview of this show can be found on the new "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" collector's DVD released by Henson and HIT earlier this month. More information on the show and its release should be avalible early next year - I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Animal Jam DVDs Come Earlier Than Reported

On Monday I reported that two more DVDs of "Jim Henson's Animal Jam" were planned for released in January (January 26th to be exact). However, after running that story I was contacted by HIT Entertainment with some new information about the releases. Below is an excerpt from their e-mail to me:

"...The two upcoming "Jim Henson's Animal Jam" DVD titles are now scheduled for release on December 13, 2005. In an effort to get these out before the end of the year and before the holiday rush, HIT Entertainment has decided to move the release date of these two titles up from January to December. At this time, the information on the episode titles or Disc features is not publicly available. Please check back in early December for more information when it is posted in our webstore for customers to pre-order online at"

So there you have it Animal Jam fans. Be sure to pick up these discs on December 13th, and keep on jammin'.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"Jim Henson's Animal Jam" Gets More DVDs

HIT Entertainment has released two DVDs of Jim Henson's Animal Jam in May ("Springin'" and "Hug-A-Day"), and now they are planning to release two more. "Jim Henson's Animal Jam: Let's Jam Together" and "Jim Henson's Animal Jam: Shake a Leg" are both planned for DVD release on January 3, 2006. Animal Jam is "a wild, music-driven, live-action dance show for preschoolers. Animal Jam uses real-life kids and puppet characters to teach movement and physical skills." Information on the exact episodes on the upcoming DVDs is not avalible at this time, but I'm told that these discs will follow the form of the past releases (two episodes of the show per disc; and no bonus features). The run time for each DVD is listed at approximately 50 minutes. The DVDs are already up for pre-order on many online stores, with a retail price of $9.99 (or less). So if you are an Animal Jam fan, consider picking up these two DVDs on January 3rd.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Palisades and Labyrinth

Palisades Toys (the producers of the now-ending line of Muppet action figures, and the now-starting line of Sesame Street figures) have just acquired the rights to producer all-new Labyrinth collectibles based on the popular 1980's Jim Henson fantasy film. The recent issue of Toyfare magazine announced that Palisades plans to launch the line in the Spring of 2006 with the release of a 12-inch figure of David Bowie as the Goblin King. The company hopes to make multiple Goblin King figures based on his various costumes throughout the film. Other Labyrinth figures, statues, busts, and products based on the other wonderful characters and creatures from the film have yet to be decided on yet, but the company is considering many possibilities to bring the world of Labyrinth to fans and collectors. Palisades should be making a more detailed public announcement about the licenses (which include the Labyrinth characters and David Bowie's likeness; no word on if other human characters - such as Sarah or Toby - will be picked up) very soon. I'll keep you all posted as more news on this upcoming line of what is sure to be fantastic collectibles develops.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Cast on Muppet Web-Show?

It was back in June that Statler and Waldorf, the two lovable Muppet curmudgeons, got their own regular web-show on titled “Statler and Waldorf: From The Balcony”. For the first eight episodes of the bi-weekly show, viewers were treated to the performances of Muppeteers Steve Whitmire (Statler) and Dave Goelz (Waldorf) playing the two grumpy film critic. Muppeteer Bill Barretta also performed in each web-episode providing a slew of his characters as special “guest stars” on the show (such Pepe the Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Rowlf the Dog, Johnny Fiama, and the Swedish Chef). However, today the ninth episode of the webshow hit the world wide web, but Steve, Dave and Bill were not behind the classic characters.

Victor Yerrid and Drew Massey are now lending their talent to Statler and Waldorf (and some other characters) in a few “trivial” and “passing” external Muppet gigs (including’s “From the Balcony” and ESPN’S “Reel Classics Extra”). Both are experienced puppeteers and have done a lot of work with the Muppets and the Henson Company over the years (Some of you may remember them from the test-pilot episode of From the Balcony back in February). Victor and Drew are now the principle performers of the little bi-weekly "From the Balcony" web-show.

Disney does not see the weekly web-show as a key priority to keeping the principle Muppeteers on. The question has been raised if the key performers will come back to the regular web show; and at this time it is unclear if the show's recasts are temporary or not (or if the key performers will even show up again for a guest spot).

Those speculating if Statler and Waldorf will be permanently taken from Dave and Steve can relax, although the key Muppeteers are not going to be performing their characters in these segments, I was told the characters have not been recast. Victor and Drew will just be working the characters in these small bits. However, depending on audience and producer response the two may see a promotion of sorts in the Muppeteering ranks. I was insured that there are no plans to “take” characters away from their already existing puppeteers – nor is anyone going to loose their jobs due to recasts. Many fans hope that the "secondary performers” or “replacements" stay just with the “small stuff”, while the key Muppeteers continue to carry the characters in the “big stuff” (and even some small stuff too from time to time) – this is the general feeling of Disney right now (however the fan’s definition of “small” and “big” projects may differ from Disney’s; only time will tell).

Whether you agree with this practice or not – this is what is happening right now. There are also plans (already underway) to hire puppeteers to perform the characters in scripted stage shows for the Disney theme parks and cruise ships. If you disagree with this type of multiple casting, than feel free to check out the “Save the Muppets” campaign. And if you don’t mind the alternate performers in these marginal productions then sit back and watch all these upcoming Muppet bits, embrace the new performances, and enjoy all the new Muppet synergy at work. Feel free to let know how you feel about the recasts with their feedback form.

Monday, October 10, 2005

CanTeen Causes Muppets to Sing "Bandanana!"

The work of CanTeen, a New Zealand charity that supports young people age 13 to 24 living with cancer, impressed Walt Disney executives so much they let the Muppet Show cast to be used in this year’s CanTeen television advertisement. The ad takes the classic song ‘Mahna Mahna’ and turns it into ‘Bandanana’ and shows the Muppets wearing CanTeen bandannas. This ad is being aired in New Zealand to promote CanTeen’s National Bandanna Week (October 10 - 16).

CanTeen spokesperson Leanne Ryburn says The Muppet Show is a perfect fit for Bandanna Week. “As well as the obvious adaptability of the ‘Mahna Mahna’ lyrics, the Muppets also really capture the essence of Bandanna Week and CanTeen.” “CanTeen is about providing support and celebrating life and the Muppets share the same feel-good values,” she says.

Landing the rights to use the song and the characters was a major coup for advertising company Foote Cone & Belding (FCB), which is just one of a number of media companies that have donated their time and advertising space to CanTeen’s cause. Representatives of FCB and film production company Curious went to Walt Disney in Los Angeles thinking they would get the rights to use three Muppets. The executive they met with loved the idea so much, they got the cast together the next day, got many others to donate their time and the ad was filmed a day later. CanTeen says it is absolutely incredible that it was pulled off, and in such a short space of time, because an ad of this calibre with the actual Muppeteers and voices could normally take a year to finalise.

For more information on CantTeen, visit their website at You can also download and watch the wonderful Muppet commerical off their website's event page (the file is a 6.5 MB minute-long mpeg video).

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Statler and Waldorf on ESPN

Statler & Waldorf have another gig, this time the two curmudgeons are introducing introduce ESPN Classic’s weekly sports-themed movie series, "Reel Classics Extra". The two started the gig on two weeks ago on Sunday, August 28th (at 8 p.m. EST on ESP) and will continue to host the weekly movie from now on. From the movie's theme to the starring casts, nothing is safe from the grumpy pair’s signature no-holds-barred heckling, including a few hilarious jabs at each other along the way.

Reel Classics Extra is ESPN Classic’s weekly Sunday movie series that gives viewers a chance to watch classic sports-themed movies, while also learning interesting, entertaining and humorous facts about the movies, the stars and more through on-screen pop-ups with tidbits and little-known details.

“This is a perfect opportunity for Statler & Waldorf to once again show off their talents,” said David Spingarn, Director of Creative Business Development for The Muppets Holding Company. “We are thrilled to extend the Muppets brand and characters on a recurring basis to a great ESPN platform.”Added Jodi Markley, senior vice president of international production, ESPN Classic and ESPNEWS, “Reel Classics Extra is a chance each Sunday for sports fans to relax, unwind and wrap up their weekend with a great sports movie. Statler & Waldorf are a perfect fit to introduce these movies because, like the movies, they are classics in their own right. They are going to bring our fans some good laughs and kick off these movies in a great way.”

In addition, the twosome are up to their usual antics in “Statler & Waldorf – From the Balcony,” the exclusive bi-weekly online program on In each episode of the webshow (which has had 7 episodes to date), the grumpy duo entertains movie fans with witty commentary and provides their hilarious take on upcoming film and DVD releases. Each episode also features a special guest star, including the Swedish Chef, Rowlf the Dog, Johnny Fiama, and Pepe the King Prawn.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Muppets Tonight on DVD?

Ever since news of "The Muppet Show" getting proper season releases on DVD, fans have been wondering if the other major Muppet television shows will make their way to DVD in equally impressive sets as well - most importantly the 22-episode run of "Muppets Tonight". Brian Henson (executive-producer, performer, and director of "Muppets Tonight"; and Jim Henson Company Co-CEO) talked about the show and its future on DVD in a recent radio interview on Salt Lake City's local KUER FM-90.

In the almost hour-long interview, Brian Henson said: "In terms of the DVD releases of the Muppet shows, the first season Disney has done a beautiful release of the first season [of the Muppet Show] which is available now; and they will continue to release the subsequent seasons...In terms of being able to get [Muppets Tonight] on DVD, I'm sure that we’ll put the behind the fifth season of The Muppet Show. So probably it will be that you can continue to get the DVDs of the classic Muppet series, and I pretty sure you’ll be able to get the DVD Muppets Tonight after that - unless we start [releasing] them both together sooner or something."

Brain Henson and the rest of the Jim Henson Company were key players in getting the Season 1 set of "The Muppet Show" produced. Muppets Tonight is something they all want to do. As long as demand for Muppet-TV-DVDs stays (and based on how well The Muppet Show season 1 did, looks very good for future Muppet DVDs), then it looks like Muppets Tonight will come to DVD (probably not for another 2-4 years, but eventually). That is all we really know about the fate of that show on DVD, right now. I'll keep you posted as more information and developments come on the release of this show; but until then, this is all we really know.