Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006: A Year in Review

As 2006 draws to a close it is only natural to look back at what the year brought. It was a eventful year for Muppet-thusiasts. Here are just some of the amazing highlights of the past 365 days:

  • "The World According to Sesame Street" opened at the Sundance Film Festival
  • Miss Piggy appeared in Super Bowl commercials for Pizza Hut
  • Kermit the Frog starred in a Super Bowl commercial for the Ford Escape Hybrid
  • "MirrorMask" released on DVD
  • "Sesame Beginnings" debuted on DVD
  • Kermit and Piggy appeared at the TV Land Awards
  • Kermit the Frog guest hosted "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
  • Caroll Spinney honored with the Daytime Emmys' "Lifetime Achievement Award"
  • The 8 "lost" episodes of "Bear in the Big Blue House" aired on Disney Channel
  • "Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons" DVD box set released
  • "The StoryTeller: The Definitive Collection" released on DVD
  • "Late Night Buffet" pilot filmed in Hollywood
  • "Muppets Ahoy!" debuted on Disney Cruise Lines
  • The 37th season of "Sesame Street" premiered on PBS
  • "Fraggle Rock: Complete Second Season" DVD box set released
  • "Before You Leap" by Kermit the Frog released
  • "My Life as a Furry Red Monster" by Kevin Clash released
  • "A Green and Red Christmas" holiday album released
  • "Sesame Street: Old School, Volume 1" DVD box set released
  • "Puppet Up! - Uncensored" television special aired on TBS
  • "A Sesame Street Christmas Carol" released on DVD
  • "The Hoobs" premiered on American television
  • 20 new episodes of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" appeared on Movies.com
  • The Jim Henson Company's "Puppet Up!" puppet improv group performed over 32 live shows in Hollywood, Aspen, Edinburgh and Las Vegas.
  • Kermit made over 14 guest appearances on other programs (Elmo makes 6, Piggy makes 5, Big Bird makes 2 and Pepe makes 1).
  • The Muppet Newsflash published over 120 news posts in an effort to keep fans up to date on the latest Muppet and Henson news.

Yep, that’s the Muppet year in a nutshell. Whew, what an exciting ride, eh? Next year should be even more thrilling for fans and (as always) I'll be here to keep you all up to date. Happy New Year's!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The 2006 Jim Henson Honors

Today The Jim Henson Company announced the second ever Jim Henson Honors. The Jim Henson Honors, started in 2005, acknowledges organizations, individuals or products that reflect the core values and philosophy of Jim Henson and the company he founded.

Honorees were chosen by the artists and staff at The Jim Henson Company, who are asked to nominate recipients who inspire them in their everyday work, maintain similar core values as the company, and of course, reflect Jim Henson's commitment to excellence in creativity and innovation.

"This year’s honorees represent a bringing together of community - by encouraging us to take action or by giving us the tools to learn about and be inspired by the world and each other," said Brian Henson. "Much of my father’s work focused on celebrating our differences and recognizing that they are what makes the world a truly wonderful place so these recipients are a great tribute to his legacy as well."

The 2006 Jim Henson Honorees:
• The Jim Henson Celebration Honor: Al Gore
• The Jim Henson Community Honor: Wynton Marsalis
• The Jim Henson Creativity Honor: Hayao Miyazaki
• The Jim Henson Technology Honor: Google Earth

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Big Bird on "Deal or No Deal"

Big Bird will be making a special Christmas day appearance on the game show "Deal or No Deal" (Monday, December 25, 2006 at 8pm on NBC) . Sesame Street's famous feathered friend will appear to help contestants in a special two-hour episode of "Deal or No Deal".

From NBC:
In this special two-hour episode of "Deal or No Deal" (8-10 p.m.), Howie Mandel will descend from a sleigh onto a decked out stage complete with a decorated tree, presents, candy canes and snow. Playing for the $1 million top prize is Santa Claus, Indiana resident, Skip Allen and ice cream man Lamar Wilson of Lexington, Kentucky - who will be joined by surprise guest Big Bird from "Sesame Street."
So set the VCRs, program the TiVo, and don't forget to catch this holiday appearance of Big Bird on "Deal or No Deal" - check local listings for details.

"Puppet Up!" Down Under

Here is some news for all the Australian fans out there - The Jim Henson Company's puppet improv group is planning to bring the "Puppet Up! - Uncensored" improv stage show to the Big Laugh Comedy Festival in Sydney, Australia (March 21-31, 2007); and to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Melbourne, Australia (April 4-15, 2007). Exact show times and ticket information are not available yet, but you can sign up for the "Puppet Up!" mailing list to be alerted as soon as tickets go on sale, and to be eligible for other special ticket options. Brace yourself, the puppets are coming!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Kermit on MTV News

Last week, while making the publicity rounds, Kermit the Frog stopped by the MTV News room to plug his new book, Before You Leap. Kermit recorded a short interview on Friday, December 8th – and now clips from the interview are popping up on MTV during MTV News breaks. A short except from the interview (on the topic of Britney Spears) is online for viewing on MTV.com.

You can watch the one-minute clip online via the MTV website by clicking here; and be keep your eyes on MTV for more of Kermit in the news.

NECA Jareth Figure Update

As announced earlier, NECA is gearing up to release an action figure of Jareth the Goblin King from the Henson fantasy film Labyrinth. However it appears that some of the information floating around the net is inaccurate. Several images and bits of information have been surfacing on retailer sites - several of which are not officially endorsed. NECA has put out a warning to fans that some of the information being published by online retailers is not completely factual.

Several sales solicitations advertise that Jareth is coming with a goblin accessory and NECA now confirms that he does not come with such. NECA's online representative, Randy said that "We do have a host of goblins in development and are looking at when and how we will release them later in 2007. Jareth alone is a very expensive figure to produce because of the 2 capes (one of them is huge) and all the separate pieces that make up his hair." So a miscommunication took place between producers and retailers. A solo Jareth figure is planned for March, and other Goblins may follow separately.

Below is an official shot of the Jareth figure direct from NECA. I'll keep you posted as more information NECA's Labyrinth coverage develops.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Don't Miss Piggy on "Martha"

Miss Piggy will make a special guest appearance on "Martha" on Tuesday, December 19, 2006. "Martha" is a nationally syndicated daytime talk show hosted by Martha Stewart - check your local listings for time and channel.

Piggy has teamed up with Martha Stewart before - Piggy appeared in Stewart's 1995 "Home for the Holidays" special and Stewart contributed a gingerbread recipe for Piggy's 1996 cookbook, "In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy". Piggy even spoofed Martha in the Muppet's 1997 parody calendar.

Mark your calendars, power-up the VCR, set the TiVo or DVR and don't forget to watch Miss Piggy on "Martha" on Tuesday, December 19th.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sprout Brings "The Hoobs" to the US

PBS KIDS Sprout, the first and only 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, will start airing the Jim Henson Company's award-winning preschool series "The Hoobs". Sprout will kick-off the U.S. television debut of "The Hoobs"on December 25, 2006 with a "Happy Hooby Holidays" marathon from noon–6 pm (EST). Tula and Groove, two of the Hoobs, will appear on-air as the special guest hosts for the marathon as the introduce audiences to the show. Created by The Jim Henson Company, "The Hoobs" was Britain's largest ever commission of a preschool show from an independent producer when it launched in 2000.

The Hoobs are great explorers who love learning about the world. In each episode, they try to find the answer to a question which they put into the great Hoobopaedia created by Hubba Hubba Hoob back in Hoobland. The show focus on four main Hoobs – Tula, Groove, Iver and Roma. The four travel to all parts of the world in their Hoobmobile on a quest for discovery and learning.

Lisa Henson, co-CEO of The Jim Henson Company, said, "'The Hoobs' is a great example of our company's philosophy to create educational programming that is entertaining and engaging for children as well as parents. Young audiences around the world have enjoyed learning about the power of being curious from 'The Hoobs' and we're thrilled to introduce them to US audiences through PBS KIDS Sprout."

Following the December 25th marathon launch, "The Hoobs" will air every day in its regular time slot at 2:00 pm (EST). Viewers can also ring in the New Year with The Hoobs when the "Happy Hooby Holidays" marathon repeats on January 1, 2007 from noon–6pm (EST). For more information on "The Hoobs" and other Sprout programs, go to SproutOnline.com.

Kermit on FOX News

Kermit the Frog made a special appearance on FOX News' The Live Desk" on Friday, December 8, 2006. Don't worry if you didn't catch the interview on TV because you can watch the whole thing online via the FOX News website right here!

Kermit discussed who talked about his new book, his role in politics (will he be running for president in '08?) and so much more.

You can watch the full video interview of "The Live Desk" interview with Martha MacCallum on the FOX News website by clicking here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Watch Kermit on "The Early Show"

Did you miss Kermit's guest appearance on CBS' "The Early Show"? Well fret not my Muppet-lovin' friend, because CBS News has the whole interview with everyone's favorite amphibian on their website. You can watch the whole thing right here!

Kermit discussed who Jim Henson was, comments on his relationship with Piggy (dispelling the rumor that they were married), talks about his new book (and what prompted him to write it) and so much more. They even mention that there are blogs out there about Kermit and Piggy (who knew?).

Kermit concluded the interview saying "My philosophy goes back to what my good friend Jim. He said he wanted to leave the world a little better place than it was before he got here for him having been here, and I think he did that." And, well, I think he did too.

You can watch the full video interview on "The Early Show" website by clicking here or read a full summary of the event here.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Kermit the Frog on "The Early Show"

Kermit the Frog is continuing to make his rounds on the publicity circuit with a special guest appearance on "The Early Show" on Monday, December 11, 2006 . "The Early Show" is a 2-hour morning news show broadcasted nationwide on CBS - check your local listings for details.

This will be Kermit's fourth stop on his promotional tour to promote "
A Green and Red Christmas" and "Before You Leap" - last week he appeared on "The 9", "Live with Regis & Kelly" and "Good Morning America".

So be sure to set the VCR, program the TiVo, and don't forget to catch Kermit the Frog on "The Early Show" on Monday, December 11th.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Muppet Life for Me!

Walt Disney Records’ has produced a new and exclusive CD entitled “Disney’s Ultimate Swashbuckler Collection”. The CD features music inspired by the movie series “Pirates of the Caribbean” and is being sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores as a bonus disc in conjunction with the debut of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" on DVD.

The CD features 10 "classic pirate songs" sung by the talented "Pirates of the Black Tide" singing ensemble. The album was produced by Kryczko and Jeff Sheridan, with Jerry Cleveland adapting the songs into wonderful "pirate orchestra" arrangements.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with the Muppets. Well, two of the songs are from the 1996 film "Muppet Treasure Island". The album features new pirate recordings of "Shiver My Timbers" and "Sailing for Adventure". These renditions of the fantastic Muppet tunes (writen by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) are sure to delight fan of Muppet and swashbuckling music.

Track Listing
1. A Pirate’s Life
2. The Legend of Davy Jones: Forty Fathoms Below
3. Shiver My Timbers
4. Yo Ho Ho! (and a Bottle of Rum)
5. Sailing for Adventure
6. Blow the Man Down
7. The Pirate King
8. Pirates of the Black Tide
9. A Whale of a Tail
10. Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)

You can get a copy of exclusive bonus CD packed with the " Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" DVD at any Wal-Mart store or online at walmart.com.

Two Jareths and a Hoggle from NECA

Last month I shared the news that NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) plans to release a Jareth the Goblin King (from the film Labyrinth) action figure under their "Cult Classics Presents" banner. Since that report NECA has shared some more information on their Labyrinth plans.

They plan on releasing two Jareth figures. The first figure features Jareth in his blue outfit from when he first appears in the film. This first figure is slated for release in March 2007. A second Jareth will ship later in 2007, and will come packaged with a special Hoggle figure pack-in. That right folks, a Hoggle action figure!

There are currently no plans for NECA to extend their Labyrinth coverage past the announced releases at this time, and no other Labyrinth figures are planned. I will keep you posted as soon as more information (and pictures) are released.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Kermit on The 9

As many of you know, Kermit the Frog has been around the publicity circuit this week promoting "A Green and Red Christmas" and "Before you Leap" (he recently appeared on Good Morning America and Live with Regis & Kelly). Kermit also made a guest appearance on today's installment of Yahoo! TV's daily web-show "The 9".

The famous Muppet frog appeared along side host Maria Sanone to talk about his new album, frog sounds, his new book, banjo playing and his relationship status - he even sang a few bars of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". Kermit was featured in five of the nine video segments that highlight the nine "must-see" web links of the day.

You can watch the entire web-cast for today (Friday, December 8, 2006) by
clicking here.

Sesame Street Biography Set to Re-air

The A&E television network will re-air their wonderful behind-the-scenes special about Sesame Street - "Sesame Street Biography". The 2-hour special is being shown in two hour-long parts. "Part 1" will air on Monday, December 18, 2006 at 4:00am ET/PT; and the second hour, "Part 2", will air the very next day (Tuesday, December 19, 2006) at the same time (4:00am ET/PT) -- check your local listings for details.

This is an unprecedented behind-the-scenes special, originally produced in 2001, takes viewers inside how the children's educational show is put together, from the initial writers' meeting through research, production, and actual filming. Viewers will see the Muppeteers working their Muppets and rehearsing.

Sesame Street is a TV legend - pure and simple. Jim Henson's vision gave the world Big Bird, the Grouch, Kermit and countless other beloved characters, and has helped millions of kids get a jump start on the alphabet, counting and other essential skills. For this extraordinary portrait, Sesame Street's producers allowed A&E unrestricted access to all facets of the show's creation, and they follow one episode from the first writer's meeting to broadcast to see how it all comes together. Rare footage captures landmark moments, including the pilot pitch, and extensive archival interviews with Jim Henson and Frank Oz offer insights into the creators' intentions.

It is on really early (or really late, depending on your point of view), but if you haven't seen this great documentary (and even if you have) be sure to set your VCR or program your TiVo (or put a pot of coffee on, set your alarm and clean off the couch). If you are so inclined, you can also buy the official DVD of the entire special from A&E's online store (right here). The $30 disc does not feature any special features, menus or artwork like standard DVDs; it simply includes a full copy of the quality program.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fraggle Rock Film Update

Back in October I shared the news that Ahmet Zappa was chosen to pen the screenplay for the upcoming Fraggle Rock feature film. MTV News recently caught-up with Zappa to discuss the Fraggle flick and Zappa shared some juicy information on the big screen plans. Here's the scoop from MTV:

As previously announced, Zappa's script will follow the Fraggles (Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Red and Boober) as they journey into "Outer Space" (or as we know it, the real world). The film will also include several new characters (both humans and puppets). Zappa also eased concerns, stating that the film will follow the tradition of the series and will feature tons of original music.

Zappa also affirmed that Traveling Matt and Marjory the Trash Heap will be in the movie. However when discussion moved towards the Gorgs, Zappa got suspiciously tight-lipped. "I can't say too much about the Gorgs right now," he stated. "That stuff is top secret."

Henson plans to keep CGI to a minimum, and want to return to the magic of the original Muppet productions. "There's going to be human interaction with Fraggles," Zappa said, adding that the film will feature several celebrity cameos. Zappa also said that they are looking in involve well-known songwriters and performers to give aide to filling the film with great new Fraggle songs. He stated that "I've been inundated with calls from famous bands, songwriters, different actors, who are just huge fans of 'Fraggle Rock' that they're just like, 'I'll do anything.' There's a certain religious fervor with Fraggles."

Zappa also said the famous Fraggle theme song will not be changed or replaced; however a new updated recording will most likely be made for the film.

Zappa closed the interview stating that "The Fraggles need to be here sooner, rather than later" and said the filmmakers are hopeful for a late-2008 early-2009 release date. He also hinted that some major "Fraggle Rock" details should be released after the holidays. I'll keep you updated with more Fraggle news as it surfaces.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kermit the Frog on "Good Morning America"

Kermit the Frog will make an special guest appearance on "Good Morning America" on Thursday, December 7, 2006 . "Good Morning America" is a 2-hour weekday morning news show broadcasted nationwide on ABC - check local listings for details. The Muppets and "Good Morning America" have a long history together, and Kermit's appearance is sure to be an entertaining one.

And remember that after his Thursday spot on "Good Morning America", Kermit will hop over to "Live with Regis and Kelly" where he'll be a guest on Friday, December 8th (click here for more information).

So set the VCRs, program the TiVo, and don't forget to watch Kermit the Frog on "Good Morning America" on Thursday, December 7th.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Henson Fantasy World Plushes

Toy Vault is preparing to release several new lines of plush dolls based on the Jim Henson Company's fantasy world productions. The company, which has officially gained the licensee to produce the collectibles based on "The Dark Crystal", "Labyrinth" and "Farscape", is planning to bring a great collection of plush collectibles to fans.

The first plush doll in the "Labyrinth" line will be Sir Didymus. The 10-inch tall plush of the valiant and chivalrous knight is expected to ship by the end of the year. More "Labyrinth" plushes are expected to follow, however the exact details of timing and which characters have not been announced yet.

"The Dark Crystal" line will be kicked off in March 2007 with the release of Fizzgig, the courageous ad lovable little fur ball. The 6-inch plush of Fizzgig will be followed by more plush characters from "The Dark Crystal", however the details of the subsequent plushes have not been released.

The "Farscape" line was recently launched with the release of Dominar Rygel XVI, the first plush Farscape character ever. The medium-sized Rygel plush stands just over a foot tall and is avalible now. A "life-size" (26-inch tall) plush of Rygel will be released soon; with a DRD plush and Moya plush to follow. Any more details on the Farscape line are not available at this time.

The Sir Didymus, Fizzgig and Rygel plushes are currently available to buy or per-order on several online retail sites. For more information on the upcoming "Dark Crystal", "Labyrinth" and "Farscape" plushes check out ToyVault.com -- or just stay turned to The Muppet Newsflash, as I'll keep you posted as more information surfaces on these collectibles.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kermit the Frog on "Regis & Kelly"

Everyone's favorite amphibian, Kermit the Frog, will be a guest on "Live with Regis & Kelly" on Friday, December 8, 2006! Kermit will be a featured guest along with Jennifer Connelly and musical performer Brian McKnight. "Live with Regis & Kelly" is a daily daytime talk show syndicated around the country, check local listings for time and channel. So be sure to set your VCR, program you Ti-Vo, and check out this unique talk show spot!

Kermit This will mark Kermit's third time on the show (his first appearance was in 1990 along side Jim Henson, back when the show was "Live with Regis & Kathie Lee"; and he dropped in again on Christmas Eve 2001). Miss Piggy has appeared on the show twice (once in 1996 to promote "In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy" and again in 2005 to promote "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz"). There is no official word on if Kermit will be promoting or announcing any specific projects, but you can be sure that the frog will share something special with viewers who tune in.

So get ready! And don't forget to watch Kermit the Frog on "Live with Regis & Kelly" on Friday, December 8th.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Henson's Fantastic World is Coming to You

Starting in September 2007, fans will be able to get a firsthand look into the imagination and innovative brilliance of Jim Henson with the debut of a new traveling exhibit titled "Jim Henson's Fantastic World".

The exhibit is being organized by The Jim Henson Legacy and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) with cooperation from the Henson family, The Jim Henson Company, The Muppets Holding Company and Sesame Workshop.

This unique traveling exhibit documents Henson’s process of “visual thinking” through exceptional displays and showcases. The exhibit will include several of Henson's Muppets (from "The Muppet Show", "Sesame Street", "Fraggle Rock", "The Dark Crystal" and others); plus over 100 framed works of art (include paintings, sketches, cartoons, and storyboards), a large collection of rare photographs, unique production documents and additional artifacts and film props. Viewers of the exhibit will also be treated to over 30-minutes of special videos included in the exhibit.

A listing of the museum stops and the tour schedule has not been solidified yet. The exhibit is currently available to Smithosian-approved locations for 12-week booking periods starting in September 2007. I will keep you posted as soon as the tour details and locations are announced. For more details be sure to check out the exhibit's official information page at sites.si.gov.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sesame Deals with Parental Deployment

Sesame Workshop has finished production on a new television special titled "When Parents Are Deployed". The special focuses on the educational and emotional needs of children with parents and caregivers deployed by the military.

The half-hour show is set to premiere on December 27, 2006 at 9:00 pm on PBS (check local listings for details). The special, hosted by Cuba Gooding Jr, is targeted at educating adults about the issues and effects of parental deployment on children and what they can do, rather than targeting the effected children and their parents (which has been addressed in the special " Talk Listen Connect" support material).

The special is an offshoot of Sesame Workshop's "Talk, Listen Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment" series, which is directly targeted at helping the kids and caregivers effected deal with the issues. These educational kits and videos are downloadable (for free) at the Sesame Workshop website.

There will be more than 700,000 kids separated from their mother or father this holiday season due to military deployment. The special will show the effects of the deployment of Muppet Elmo's father while showing interviews with military families and others.

The newly produced special, "When Parents Are Deployed", will feature a documentary-style look at the issues of parent deployment, while also including the classic fun and sincerity from the Sesame Street Muppets as they address the topic. Many local PBS stations are planning to repeat the special after the initial premiere so be sure to check local listings for further airings.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Puppet Up!" Airs Tonight!

The world television premiere of "The Jim Henson Company's Puppet Up! - Uncensored" will occur tonight (Monday, November 20, 2006) at 11:00pm (ET/PT) on TBS. More information about the show can be found on the TBS webpage and at PuppetUp.com.

The one-hour puppet improv special was filmed on Wednesday (November 15th) in Las Vegas. The improv cast includes Brian Henson, Julianne Buescher, Tyler Bunch, Ted Michaels, Drew Massey, Paul Rugg, Allan Trautman and Victor Yerrid; with Patrick Bristow serving as director and host.

You won't want to miss this one time only television event. So set your VCR, program your TiVo, finish your homework, clean off that couch, collect your friends, pop some corn and get ready to laugh like you've never laughed before. "Puppet Up! - Uncensored" airs tonight at 11pm on TBS!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Muppet Babies Art on Display

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) in New York opened a new exhibit toady titled "Saturday Morning: Art and Artifacts from a Golden Age of Television." The exhibition celebrate nearly sixty years of television animation with a focus on the "Golden Age" of Saturday morning cartoons, which lasted from 1966 to 1990.

Over 200 pieces of animation artwork and memorabilia have been collected from over 75 television programs. One of the key programs featured is "Jim Henson's Muppet Babies". The animated series ran on CBS for seven years (1984-1990). The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art has several pieces of "Muppet Babies" art; including designs, sketches, completed cels and other related artwork.

Matt Murray, the exhibition’s lead curator and MoCCA Chief Operating Officer, expresses excitement over the show stating "it contains examples of almost every kind of animation art - from character roughs, to model packs, storyboards to drawings, as well as scripts and series bibles. It’s a great chance for the public to see how much work goes into the making of an animated cartoon, and hopefully will give them some perspective on the art form when they watch a cartoon on TV or see a pretty cel for sale in a gallery."

Other programs featured in the exhibit include: "Looney Tunes", "Schoolhouse Rock", "The Smurfs", "Inspector Gadget", "Garfield & Friends", "Winnie the Pooh", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Captain Planet", "Where's Waldo", "Ren & Stimpy", "Pinky & the Brain", "The Flintstones" and many others.

"Saturday Morning: Art and Artifacts from a Golden Age of Television" will remain on view at the museum until March 16th, 2007. For more information on the exhibit and the museum, visit their website at www.moccany.org

Friday, November 17, 2006

Henson Trys to Sell "Tinseltown"

Over the past year, the Jim Henson Company has been working one many projects. There are have been many family-friendly project in development (such as the "Fraggle Rock" feature film, "Frances", "Unstable Fables", "Laugh Pad" and "The Skrumps"), plus the company's more elaborate fantasy-world projects (including "Power of the Dark Crystal", a "Dark Crystal" TV show and creature effects for "Where the Wild Things Are"). However, recently the company has been vying to restore their presences in the consciousness of adult audiences. Henson's thrust to capture mature audiences started with "Puppet Up!" and continued with the development of "Late Night Buffet".

Brian Henson told the New York Times that "we lost our position as funny, popular entertainment in the prime-time arena, so I’m trying to get back there. To do that and be innovative, we have to really establish a new voice."

Another new project that the Henson Company is currently shopping around is titled "Tinseltown." The puppet sitcom focuses on a gay couple living in Hollywood. There's Bobby, a pig, and his partner Samson, a bull. The show focus on the life of the couple (both puppets) after they adopt a human son; naturally, comedy ensues.

A five-minute presentation tape for "Tinseltown" has been produced and is circulating the industry. In one portion of the tape, family tribulations arise after Bobby and Samson's 12-year-old son pulls a beer from the refrigerator. Samson is distraught over their son's recent action; however Bobby dismisses Samson’s concern stating "Oh, it was a light beer."

Brain Henson emphasized that being offensive is not the goal. "We didn’t set out to do risqué adult-exclusive content," he says. "What we set out to do is forget all the rules of the 8 p.m. sensibility and just do what we as puppeteers think is the funniest thing we can do in the moment." The show's brief description may seem a bit surprising to Henson-fans, but from people who have seen the project, the writing, characters and humor is said to be "unique", "sophisticated", "tasteful", "enjoyable" and "pure Henson".

As of today, no one has officially picked-up the series; and it is not clear how, or if, the concept will move forward. But I'll keep you posted on this, and all of the Henson Company's projects, as more information surfaces.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Henson Caters to Pre-Schoolers with "Laugh Pad"

"The Dan Clark Company" has teamed up with "The Jim Henson Company" to produce "Laugh Pad", a brand-new preschool series, intended for airing on Cartoon Network. Although the series has not been officially picked-up yet, a pilot was produced earlier this fall. The show focuses on Legume, a silly green alien-like creature, and Tammy, his human friend.

The show utilizes the state of the art Henson Digital Performance System. The system allows for immediate real-time performance of 3-D generated characters via puppeteering techniques. The system allows an unprecedented level of spontaneity, interactivity and readiness when compared to traditional computer animation.

"Laugh Pad" inserts the human actor into the computer generated world where she interacts with the real-time-animated characters. By using the Henson Digital Performance System, the digital puppeteer and actors are working side-by-side, which allows the actor and characters to feed off each other and provides a spontaneous and "realer" feeling to the interactions when compared to animation.

A short sample clip from the test pilot, which showcases the show's unique style and visual effects, has surfaced on the net -- the short clip is available to watch here. It is unsure if Cartoon Network will green-light the series or when viewers will be able to see more "Laugh Pad". I'll keep you posted as more develops on this, and other Henson, project.

Update: I got several e-mails after posting this story (including two from people who worked on the program), they informed me that since producing the pilot Cartoon Network officialy decided not to pick up the show. Apparently the entire preschool programming block the show was to be a part of was cancled, and "Laugh Pad" was a casualty. There are currently no plans to sell and distribute the program elsewhere, but I'll keep you posted if anything changes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Puppet Up! Television Special on Monday!

The Jim Henson Company's "Puppet Up" improv troupe will be performing two live shows of "Puppet Up!" tonight (7:00PM and 10:30PM at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas). These two improv shows will be filmed for the upcoming hour-long "Puppet Up – Uncensored" television special, set to air on Monday, November 20th at 11pm on TBS.

The improv cast includes Brian Henson, Julianne Buescher, Tyler Bunch, Ted Michaels, Drew Massey, Paul Rugg, Allan Trautman and Victor Yerrid; with Patrick Bristow serving as director and host. The troupe has been working together for over a year now, and strenuous rehearsals for tonight's Vegas shows have been running for several months. With a diverse set of characters brought to life world-renowned puppeteers, the show is truly innovative comedy.

So be sure to watch "Puppet Up! – Uncensored" on Monday night (November 20th at 11pm on TBS). This will be a one-time-only television event; TBS told me that "there are no re-airings scheduled at this time". This special, like most of TBS' Comedy Festival coverage, will only be broadcasted once (Monday, November 20th at 11pm on TBS) – so don't miss it! If you enjoy the show, be sure to let TBS know (it might be the kind of encouragement needed to get other Henson projects, and possibly more "Puppet Up!", on the TBS schedule).

So be sure to mark your calendars, set your VCRs, program your TiVo, tell your friends and get ready! You won't want to miss this special one-time-only television event...oh, did I mention "Puppet Up- Uncensored" will air on Monday, November 20th at 11pm on TBS?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Henson Brings "The Skrumps" to Life

Last month the Jim Henson company shot a four-minute demo for a new televison production titled "The Skrumps", a series based on characters created by John Chandler. The Skrumps are unique and wacky characters that delight kids and adults of all ages.

These quirky creatures live in the world of Skrumpland. The Company has included existing characters like drummer Skrumpy and has also extended the Skrumps family with new characters like lead singer Wishbone and his lovelorn groupie Raisins.

Henson's production of "The Skrumps" features computer-generated puppets, using the revolutionary Henson Digital Performance Studio for character performance. Allan Trautman, one of the Henson performers that worked on the project, said "I’m pleased with the results, and glad to help bring this fun project to the next level."

It's is certain when, or where, audiences can expect to see "The Skrumps", but I'll keep you posted as more information on this project surfaces.

Watch Sesame Street on Verizon Wireless' V CAST

Verizon Wireless and Sesame Workshop announced today an expansion to bring “Sesame Street” and “Plaza Sesamo” content to Verizon Wireless' V CAST mobile video service. With this announcement, Verizon becomes the largest wireless host of “Seseame Street” content and the first wireless carrier in the US to air “Plaza Sesamo”. Now, with just a few simple clicks, fans can view classic and new video segments from Sesame Street and Plaza Sesamo right on their phone.

Customers can enjoy the newly expanded of the Sesame Street channel. V Cast hold many new segments and educational videos for kids from the show – including episodes of “Elmo’s World”. Another new addition to the network is "Sesame Favorites," a large collection of videos featuring memorable songs, sketches, skits and celebrity appearances from the past 37 years.

The Plaza Sesamo channel, featuring a new two to three minute segment each day is also now available on V CAST. Fans, or those hoping to learn a little Spanish, can enjoy watching the Spanish Muppets Abelardo, Pancho, and Lola, perform songs, skits, and instruction directly from their phone.

To get Sesame Street and Plaza Sesamo, Verizon Wireless customers can equip their LG VX8300 phones with a V CAST VPak subscription for $15.00 monthly access, or $3.00 daily access, added to their Verizon Wireless calling plan. The subscription includes unlimited basic video. The Sesame Street content is now available to customers with V CAST-enabled phones via the Sesame Street channel (located in the newly created kids section). And Plaza Sesamo is available via the Sesame Street channel and through its own dedicated channel (located in the Latino section).

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Sesame Street Christmas Carol

"A Sesame Street Christmas Carol", a brand-new direct-to-video movie, is hitting store shelves tomorrow (November 14, 2006). The film, as the title suggests, is based on the classic Dickens story with a Sesame twist. The special was written by Muppeteer Rickey Boyd and is being released by Sesame Workshop and Sony Wonder.

It's no surprise to fans that Oscar the Grouch would have his regular grumpy and cranky temperament towards Christmas – a season of love, joy, sharing and togetherness. However things begin to change when the Grouch finds himself haunted by three "ghosts" - a British Grouch, a talking Christmas tree, and a robot. These three visitors, along with Elmo, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, and the rest of the gang, try to persuade Oscar that even a Grouch can love Christmas! The special also features the celebrity voices of Tim and Kristen Chenoweth.

Aside from the home video release, the special will be broadcast on Sprout On-Demand from November 17th through the 23rd. Additionally, the special will also be broadcast on the Sprout cable channel throughout December.

So be sure to
pick up a copy of the DVD (nicely priced at around $10) and bring in the Holiday season with an this all-new Sesame Street Christmas movie.

Bah humbug… now scram!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

TBS to Produce 30 Online Episodes of "Puppet Up!"

This coming Monday, TBS will air "The Jim Henson Company's Puppet Up! – Uncensored" television special (Monday, November 20, 2006 at 11pm on TBS). However this will not be the last public display of "Puppet Up!", as Henson and TBS will be bringing the improv puppetry to the web in exclusive web-episodes.

TBS announced that they ordered 30 episodes of "Puppet Up!" for "Laugh Lab", their video service located at TBS.com. The episodes are set to hit the web in March, 2007. The episodes for "Laugh Lab" will be executive-produced by Brian Henson and Lisa Henson, produced by Martin Baker, co-produced by Eric Poticha and feature the "Puppet Up!" performers and characters.

I'll keep you posted as more information is released on Henson's upcoming web-series for TBS' "Laugh Lab".

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Legends of the Dark Crystal #1

Click to EnlargeAlmost 16-months ago it was announced that the Jim Henson Company was teaming up with TOKYOPOP to release a series of Dark Crystal graphic novels. Well, the first volume in the highly anticipated "Legends of the Dark Crystal" series will finally be released early next year - March 11, 2007 (to be specific).

The graphic novel, titled "Legends of the Dark Crystal #1: The Garthim Wars", was written by Barbara Randall Kebel with art by Max Kim. The story is a prequel to the 1982 film, and will showcase many of the established Dark Crystal characters (such as the Skeksis, the Mystics and Aughra) as well introduce many new characters (such as Larh and Neffi, two young Gelflings).

Details on the second part have not been announced yet, however more installments are planned to follow later in 2007. The novel is already avaliable to pre-order from many sites, retailing for under $10. I'll keep you posted as soon as more news on the "Legends of the Dark Crystal" series surfaces.

Return to Labyrinth #2

Click to Enlarge

The Jim Henson Company and TOKYOPOP released the first installment in their "Return to Labyrinth" series graphic novels back in August. The series takes place thirteen years after the events of the original film. Toby, who was just an infant when his sister Sarah wished him away to the Labyrinth, is now a teenager. However trouble starts when Jareth the Goblin King sends his minions to capture Toby and return him to the Labyrinth to take his place as the heir to the Goblin Kingdom. Sarah, Hoggle, Ludo, Sir Didymus and other characters appear; and several new characters are introduced as well.

The 192-page graphic novel, written by Jake Forbes with art by Chris Lie, will be followed by the part 2 - currently set for release on April 10, 2007. The second volume, also by Forbes and Lie, will continue the saga of "Return to Labyrinth" set in motion in the first graphic novel.

Details on the third chapter have not been announced yet, however it is currently planned for release in 2007 as well. The part 2 is already available for pre-ordering on many sites, retailing for under $10 – and the first part is in stores now!

Monday, November 06, 2006

C is for Cooking

Click to Enlarge!

Wiley Publishing is set planning to release a new cookbook, titled "C is for Cooking: Recipes from the Street", in April 2007. The Sesame Street cookbood, written by Susan McQuillan, will features over 50 recipes that parents can make for, or with, their children.

The recipes range from chicken nuggets to cupcakes and each recipe includes nutrition advice and serving tips. Chapters include "Sweet Sips", "Best Breakfasts", "Lunches to Munch On", "Super Soups", "Family Dinners", "Something Special on the Side" and "Sweets and Treats". The preparation steps even include a special "Kids!" icon that indicate the specific steps that young children can do.

The book features color photographs of each recipe along with illustrations and photos with Elmo, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, Zoe, Rosita, Abby Cadabby, and other Sesame Street characters.

<"C is for Cooking" is set to hit stores on April 17, 2007. The 112-page hardcover book is starting to pop-up for pre-order on many online sites (generally retailing for less than $17).

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Jareth the Goblin King Action Figure

Fans of Jim Henson's 1986 fantasy-film Labyrinth will be excited to hear that they will finally be able to get their very own Jareth the Goblin King action figure! The fine folks at NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) announced that they will be releasing a Jareth figure, with the likeness of David Bowie, under their "Cult Classics Presents" banner. Pictures have not been released by NECA yet; however the reactions from those who saw the figure shown at the recent Toy Fair are nothing but high praising. The figure is set to be in stores in March 2007. NECA has no other Labyrinth figures or merchandise planned or licensed for release.

Labyrinth collectors may recall that Palisades Toys announced last October their plan to release a Jareth figure in "spring 2006". However the company's buy-out and closure in February resulted in the figure never being released. Although this figure is similar is subject matter, the NECA figure is different from the product Palisades had designed and publicized.

I'll keep you all posted as more news on this, and other Labyrinth products, develop.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Green and Red Christmas

A brand-new Muppet album was release last month. "A Green and Red Christmas" is 12-tracks of Christmas music performed by the Muppets. The Electric Mayhem performs 3 newly recorded songs, Pepe sings "Merry Christmas Baby", Gonzo and Rizzo sing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", and Kermit serrinades listeners with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" . The CD also includes tracks from Miss Piggy, Rowlf the Dog, Fozzie Bear and even the Swedish Chef. It's an great way to bring in the Christmas season and will be a classic for years. Be sure to read my indepth review of the album on Muppet Central and pick up a copy of the album today!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Puppet Up! is coming to your TV

A one-hour television special of "The Jim Henson Company's Puppet Up! – Uncensored" is being taped at The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas next month. The special is set to air on TBS on Monday, November 20, 2006 at 11:00pm (ET/PT). The special, in which puppeteers construct improvised scenes from the audience's suggestions, will be taped on Wednesday, November 15 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

"Puppet Up!" is a demonstration of what happens when the perilous and provocative forms of traditional comedy improv are mixed with a bunch of irreverent puppets. With a motley group of characters brought to life world-renowned puppeteers, "Puppet Up!" is truly innovative comedy. Performing the puppetry for the show are some of The Jim Henson Company's top puppeteers, as well as some of the country's top comedy improvisers.

The cast includes Brian Henson, Julianne Buescher, Tyler Bunch, Ted Michaels, Drew Massey, Paul Rugg, Allan Trautman and Victor Yerrid. The show is executive-produced by Brian Henson and Lisa Henson. The special is being produced by Martin Baker and co-produced by Eric Poticha. Patrick Bristow serves as the stage shows director and host.

The "Puppet Up!" television special marks the second TBS project from The Jim Henson Company. Earlier this year, The Jim Henson Company filmed a pilot for "The Late Night Buffet with Augie and Del", a new talk show set to air sometime next year.

For more information on "Puppet Up!" and the upcoming television special visit PuppetUp.com, TBS.com and Henson.com. So be sure to mark your calendars, set your VCRs, program your TiVo and don't miss this one-of-a-kind television event. I'll keep you posted with more details as they arise.

Monday, October 30, 2006

New Blog Feeds

Having a hard time keeping up with all the latest Muppet news? Want to see the newest headlines right where you want them? Well, try our new news feeds for any of these great feed readers and providors . Just click the button to add the latest headlines to the reader(s) of your choice.




Oddly, some older stories are shown as "new" with some feeds due to the recent blog upgrade and changes. The problem should go away once some more news stories are posted. Sorry for the inconvenience or any confusion in that reguard.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Blog Upgrade

As part of my ongoing effort to make "The Muppet Newsflash" better, I recently upgraded to the newest version of Google Blogger. You may notice that the design and layout has changed slightly and there is now some new fuctions and features (and there are some more "upgrades" on the way shortly).

To hightlight one big upgrade: you can now browse the past posts not only by date, but also by subject. Each post is sorted into a category (or categories) so you can find all the news related to Fraggle Rock, new music releases, Sesame Street, or any of the other popular news subjects. Just check out the subject listing on the side of the page. Finding the news you're looking for has never been easier.

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or ideas that you would like to share about the blog, please let me know – I would love to hear from you. Feel free to post a comment to this news item, start discussion in the forum, or just drop me an e-mail. This blog is for you, so let me know what you want and how I’m doing. I always love to get reader feedback.

And, as always, more Muppet news is on the way.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Muppet Show: Season 2 on DVD in 2007

15-months ago "The Muppet Show Season One" was released on DVD, and ever since fans have been asking when they would be able to get their hands on season two. Pinning down the release hasn't been simple for Disney. Originally it slated for February, then bumped to a tentative slot in late Summer and then inexplicably delayed again. Legal clearances, material creation/restoration, marketing schemes, leadership changes, production priority schedules -- the reasons are complex and numerous. Brain Henson said earlier this year when IGN asked about the Muppet Show Season Two, that "Disney is so formulaic and careful and secretive about their DVD release plans" that even he didn't know when the set would be out.

Back in July Muppets.com launched a poll to allow fans to vote on the cover art for the upcoming second season release. Just a few weeks ago the poll was taken down, and the fans' speculation started up again. What does it mean? Is it coming? Was it canceled? What's going on?

Well, I just got word from a reliable source within Buena-Vista Home Entertainment that there is no need to panic. The set is indeed coming. It's taken a while, but it will be worth the wait. I was told that production of the discs is "expected in the first quarter of 2007". They'd like to tell more us about the set, but everything is "top secret" right now. An official announcement with all the details is around the corner. The second season set will be out in 2007 and season three is also expected for the future (although there are no details on timing yet).

As always, I'll keep you posted as soon as any more solid information comes out.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Henson Book Wins Award

"It’s Not Easy Being Green and Other Things to Consider", a book of inspirational quotes by Jim Henson (and his characters and friends), was released last November. The book was also nominated as a finalist in the 10th annual Quill Book Awards earlier this year. The Quill Book Awards are chosen by consumers and fans of this book really came out to show their support for Henson. The awards ceremony was broadcast by NBC yesterday.

"It’s Not Easy Being Green and Other Things to Consider" received the Quill Award in the category of "Self Improvement / Health". Cheryl Henson, Jim Henson’s daughter and editor of the book, accepted the award on his behalf. Cheryl Henson said, “The Quills are chosen by readers so it is especially thrilling to accept this award on my father’s behalf. To see people continue to connect and respond to my father’s ideas about imagination, joy and wonder is a tribute to the ongoing legacy of work he created.”

If you still haven't picked up this book, I highly recommend it...and so do all the voters that made this book a 2006 award winner!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Henson Official Announces Fraggle Feature Film

The buzz has been circulating for over a year now, but the Jim Henson Company has finally made a formal announcement of their plans for a Fraggle Rock feature film. The movie is still in pre-production, however Henson has confirmed some details about the project. Ahmet Zappa is writing the story, Brian Henson and Jason Lust are executive producing and Lisa Henson will serve as the film's producer. The untitled Fraggle film will take Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Boober and Red on an adventure outside of Fraggle Rock and into “outer space”.

Brian Henson said back in May that fans should expect the movie to be something more of a "revisiting" of the classic characters, rather than a straightforward continuation of the series. Henson said the plan is to do something that "sort of stands next to the Fraggle Rock series rather than be a continuation of the show." The film is currently anticipated for release in 2008.

It's great to hear more official confirmation that this film is coming. I'll keep you posted as more information on this, and other Fraggle projects, surface.

Friday, October 13, 2006

"The Land of Gorch" on DVD

The fine folks at TVShowsOnDVD.com just released the news that "Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season" will be released on DVD on December 5, 2006! The 8-disc set (with over 26-hours of material) will include all of the first season episodes in their entirety - completely uncut and un-fooled around with. So what does that have to do with the Muppets? Well, if you remember Jim Henson and the Muppets were members of the cast in the 1975-1976 season appearing in the recurring Muppet segments titled "The Land of Gorch". All 14 of the original "Land Of Gorch" episodes staring "Jim Henson's Muppets" will be on this set. This is the first time any of the Gorch skits have been released on DVD, and it's the first time all 14 of the classic skits have been released. So come with us now from the bubbling tar pits, to the sulfurous wasteland; from the rotting forest, to the stagnant mud flats, to the Land of Gorch (now available on DVD)!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 34

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. Follow the rise (and fall) of Statler's intern, Jimmy. Plus learn the meaning of this week's Balconism "OS-scarred". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. Unlike in the past, there is no date posted for the next episode; is this the end of the show, or just an accidental oversight that occurred when updating the page? Only time will tell.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas?

CLICK TO ENLARGEDisney is planning to release an all-new Muppet album just in time for Christmas. The album, titled "A Green (and Red) Christmas", is set for release on October 17, 2006. The album will feature 12 newly recorded holiday songs (both old favorites and newly written songs) by all your favorite Muppets. The CD is already up for preordering on DisneyShopping.com for the low price of $9.99. So be sure to set your calendars because this year you'll be able to bring in the holidays with some special (and new) Muppet cheer.


Track Listing

  1. 'Zat You, Santa Claus? - The Electric Mayhem
  2. A Red and Green Christmas - Kermit & Miss Piggy
  3. The Christmas Party Sing-Along - Rowlf
  4. Merry Christmas Baby - Pepe
  5. The Man with the Bag - Floyd, Animal & Zoot
  6. Santa Baby - Miss Piggy
  7. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Gonzo & Rizzo
  8. North Pole Comedy Club - Fozzie, Statler & Waldorf
  9. Run, Run Rudolph - The Electric Mayhem
  10. Christmas Smorgasbord - Swedish Chef
  11. The Christmas Queen - Miss Piggy
  12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Kermit

Saturday, September 16, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 33

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. Statler stars in a film-noir parody followed by a show-stopping musical number; plus you can learn the meaning of this week's Balconism "POP-coronary". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on September 30th.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

This Old Street

As I announced earlier, a DVD set of classic Sesame is on its way this fall. As the release approaches, more information has surfaced. Sesame Workshop plans to release "Sesame Street: Old School - Volume 1", a nostalgic-based collector's box set, on October 24, 2006. The three-disc DVD box set is full of classic Sesame Street, focusing exclusively on the first five years (1969-1974).

The DVD set will include five complete hour-long episodes from the series. In addition to that there are over 2-hours of bonus segments (45+ segments). These segments including The original pilot pitch for the show (available for the first time anywhere); appearances by James Earl Jones, Jesse Jackson, Johnny Cash, and Jackie Robinson; the classic songs "Rubber Duckie", "I Love Trash" and "C Is for Cookie"; and such original animation clips as "The King of Eight", "Ladybug Picnic", "The Alligator King" and "Pinball Number Count".

The total running time for the three-disc set is over 7-hours in total.

The DVD is being distributed by Sony/Wonder and is already up for pre-ordering on many sites (such as Amazon.com) for just around $30. The set is being dubbed "Volume 1" so hopefully more "Old School" sets will follow (however none have been announced or confirmed yet). I'll keep you posted as more develops on the DVD revisiting of the world's most famous street.
Nostalgic

Saturday, September 02, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 32

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. Larry and Oliver return to reinact every high-school movie ever made; plus you can learn the meaning of this week's Balconism "FLICK-tion". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on September 16th.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kevin Clash Update

Kevin Clash (performer of Elmo and others) will release his inspirational autobiography entitled "My Life as a Furry Red Monster" on Tuesday (September 5, 2006). The 208-page book will be in bookstores everywhere this coming week and is a "must read" for any Muppet fan.

Also mark you calendars because Kevin will be appearing on The Today Show on Wednesday (September 6, 2006) to promote the new book.

And since I'm on the topic, I'll mention that Kevin's official book website, KevinClashBook.com, launced earlier this month. The site has more information on Kevin, his book, his career, his life, his upcoming appearances and more . So be sure to check that out too.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Henson Book Nomination Needs Your Vote

It’s Not Easy Being Green and Other Things to Consider, a book of inspirational quotes by Jim Henson (and his characters and friends), has been nominated as a finalist for The Quill Book awards, the industry-qualified “consumers choice” awards program for books.

The Quill Book Awards are the only book awards chosen by consumers (that means you). The voting period is opened today and will run through September 30. So if you loved this great book and the inspiration of Jim Henson, make sure your vote is counted by visiting www.QuillsVote.com and placing your vote. (Look for "It's Not Easy Being Green" under the “Health/Self Improvement” category as well as the “Book of The Year” category). Winners will be announced at an event on October 10, 2006 and the ceremony will be broadcast by NBC on October 28th.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 31

A latest episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. Its an encore presentation of a classic "From the Balcony" episode from way back in 1977. So check a younger Statler and Waldorf, the scoop on "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", an interview with George Lucas (the guy behind that latest space movie), and more. Surf over to the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest (or not so latest) episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on September 2nd.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Official Henson Podcast!

The Jim Henson Company has just started offering an official Henson Company Podcast. Each podcast is full of short pieces and interviews on all of your favorite Henson projects - from classic projects deep inside vaults to sneak peeks on what’s in development and production. You can also find out what it’s like to work as a puppet builder in the workshop or a performer on a Henson set.

The Henson Podcast is an audio podcast. Like most Podcasts, you can subscribe and new episodes will be downloaded to your computer automatically via iTunes. Or you can just listen via the Henson podcast page -- here.

The first two episodes are up, and include discussion on the 20th anniversary of Labyrinth (with Dave Goelz, Karen Prell, Brian Froud, Wendy Froud, Toby Froud, Mira Velimorivic and Gates McFadden). So be sure to check it out, and subscribe (or keep going back for the new episodes).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Abby Cadabby promotes Sesame Street Season 37

Abby Cadabby, the newest Sesame Street character (performed by Leslie Carrara), is preparing for the press junket. Abby will appear as Person of the Week on "ABC World News Tonight" on Friday (August 11, 2006), and she's set to appear on "The Today Show" on Monday (August 14, 2006). Abby will also appear as part of a "satellite-tour", for many local news stations over the weekend too. So be sure to keep your eyes out for Abby Cadabby, and tune in for the premiere episode of Sesame Street's 37th season on Monday (August 14, 2006) on PBS (check your local listings for times and details).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 30

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. You can see the new "Snakes on a Plane" inspired ripoff, "Birds in the Shower!"; plus learn the meaning of this week's Balconism "HELL-titude". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on August 19th.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Vote for "The Muppet Show: Season 2" Cover Art!

Muppets.com is asking fans to help choose the artwork for the next Muppet Show season set. The cover will feature Miss Piggy, but which of the three covers will it be? Vote now at Muppets.com and let your voice be heard. The four disc DVD set is expected to be released in the spring. I'll keep you posted as more information is released.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 29

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. You can see who plays Statler and Waldorf in "From the Balcony: The Movie" and learn the meaning of this week's Balconism "MAD-aptation". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on August 5th.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Oscar with Martha Stewart

Oscar the Grouch will make a guest appearance on "Martha" on Monday, July 10, 2006. In the special garden show, Oscar gets a lesson in composting from Martha. And the two make a unique "dirt cake". So be sure to tune in to catch Sesame Street's world-famous grouch hanging out with Martha Stewart on Monday. Check your local listings for time and channel.

From the Balcony: Episode 28

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. In the latest installment of the bi-weekly web-show, Statler and Waldorf talk about "Pirates from the Caribbean" and take a look at "Outside the Actors' Studio". Plus you can learn the meaning of this week's Balconism "Yo-Ho-Hum". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on July 22nd.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fraggle Rock Season 2 Features

HIT Entertainment has released more information the upcoming "Fraggle Rock- Complete Second Season" DVD box set, including their tentative list of features and specifications. So without further adue here are the disc specifications and sales information (including cover art) for the upcoming DVD set. Enjoy!

Fraggle Rock: Complete Second Season DVD Box Set

Disc Specifications:

  • All 24 season 2 episodes
  • A special Jerry Juhl tribute
  • All new interviews with "Fraggle Rock" cast and creators
  • Deluxe embossed collector's box and packaging
  • ...and more!

Retail Specifications:

  • 4-disc DVD collection
  • $44.99 suggested retail price
  • Release date: September 5, 2006

Friday, June 23, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 27

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. In the latest installment of the bi-weekly web-show, Statler and Waldorf look at Superman Returns. Plus you can learn the meaning of this week's balconism, "Armed FARCES". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on July 8th.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

More on the "Late Night Buffet"

The Hollywood Reporter has brought forth some new information on the in development Henson TV show titled "Late Night Buffet" (which I reported about earlier).

The show is being developed for TBS, who is looking to join the cable-TV late-night programming arena. TBS ordered a single half-hour pilot of "Late Night Buffet" from the Jim Henson Company (set to be taped on July 22 in Hollywood, CA). If TBS likes what they see, then "Late Night Buffet" could easily become part of TBS's upcoming late night line-up premiering next year.

As reported earlier, the show will not feature established Muppet characters, but rather "Late Night Buffet" will create a new universe of characters. Brian Henson and Bill Barretta are set as the main performers for the new "Late Night Buffet" characters. The show features Augustus Pfiffle, the host of "Late Night Buffett", who is joined by Delbert Kastle, his sidekick and fellow puppet character. The house band will also be puppets, introducing Gina Cappellini and her pet monkeys. Like most talk shows, the show will be filmed in front of a live studio audience and will be highly improvised (with very little, if any, specific scripting).

Brian Henson said that "It's a talk show where we improvise as we go…This is the kind of character-driven work we enjoy doing."

Michael Wright (TBS senior vice president of original programming) said that "it's a different way to approach the late-night talk show… It takes the Henson brand's intelligence and warmth and mixes it with a little wickedness and fun."

I'll keep you posted as more information on the upcoming show comes our way.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 26

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. In the latest installment of the bi-weekly web-show, Statler and Waldorf look at the upcoming car films, while the Swedish Chef serves up some Nachos Libre. Plus you can learn the meaning of this week's balconism, "STARING wheel". So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on June 24th.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Memoirs of a Monster

As I reported earlier, Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Elmo, signed a book deal to write an inspirational book for adults about his life and career. Broadway Books is set to release his book, titled "My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud", later this year.

Official Book Summary:
For the past seventeen years, Kevin Clash has brought to life Elmo to life. The seven-time Emmy winner is seen by an audience of over 120 million boys and girls each daily. This inspiring memoir invites readers on the remarkable journey that Kevin has been on since Elmo’s rise to fame. As an ambassador bringing joy to children all over the world, Kevin has met heads of state and worked with stars like Robert De Niro, Jim Carrey, and Mel Gibson. With full-color photographs of the pair at work and play, this book is a treat for the eye as well as the heart. No one who reads of Kevin’s regard for his mentor, the late Jim Henson, or of Elmo’s bedside visits to the children of the Make a Wish Foundation will be able to deny the poignant impact of "My Life as a Furry Red Monster".
"My Life as a Furry Red Monster" is set to hit stores on September 5, 2006. The 208-page book is already up for pre-order on many online sites (generally retailing for less than $15) and should be an entertaining, enlightening and inspirational experience. Below is a look at the book's cover.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Memoirs of a Frog

Kermit the Frog, everyone's favorite amphibian, got himself a book deal and has sat down to write his very own book. In celebration of over 50-years in show-biz, Kermit will release "A Frog's Life: Where I've Been and the Lessons I've Learned" later this year.

"A Frog's Life" will be published by Meredith Books and is set to hit stores on September 30, 2006. The 224-page hardcover book is already up for pre-order on many online sites (generally retailing for less than $10) and should be an entertaining and enlightening addition to any literary collection. I'll keep you posted as more information on this upcoming title is released. And to top it all off, below is a sneak peak at the book's cover.

Henson's Late Night Talk Show

Plans have been announced for a new late-night Henson talk show called “Late Night Buffet”. The show will star puppets and celebrity guests and will be taped in front of a live studio audience at Henson Studios.

The program will not feature Kermit and other "Muppet Show" family characters (which are now owned by The Walt Disney Company). Instead, "Late Night Buffet" will create and focus on a new cast of puppet characters created by The Jim Henson Company.

"Late Night Buffet" is not planned to be a children's show but rather reach to a wider and more mature audience – similar to "Jim Henson's Puppet Improv" launched earlier this year. The network, premiere date, cast and other details have not yet been announced yet, however a live taping of the first episode is planned for July 22, 2006 in Hollywood, CA. If you'll be in the area and want to be in the audience of the show, you can register for free tickets on-line at AudiencesUnlimited.com.

The Jim Henson Company should announce more information on this project in the coming weeks. I'll keep you posted as I hear more on the upcoming show.

Special thanks to Phillip Chapman at Muppet Central.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

From the Balcony: Episode 25

A new episode of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" was posted on Movies.com today. In the latest installment of the bi-weekly web-show, Statler has to look for a new co-host after Waldorf leaves him. Will the two get back together, or is this goodbye forever? So check out the "From the Balcony" website on Movies.com and watch the latest episode. And be sure to look for the next episode on June 10th.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I'm the DVD, Gotta Love Me!

"Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons" DVD box set, which was released earlier this month, ranked surprisingly high on DVD sales charts in its first week. The 4-disc box set ranked #11 overall for the premiere week (pretty remarkable for a 15-year-old "family" TV show release). Based on the consumer reception, hopefully we'll be able to see the third and fourth seasons get equally impressive releases in the near future. For those who have not picked up the set, I highly recommend it. You can read my in-depth review on Muppet Central (click here to read) for the entire disc details, my overall reactions and even instructions on how to find all the hidden Dino-Eggs. Enjoy!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Classic Sesame Street DVD Box Set in October!

In September, Sesame Workshop stated that they were considering the possibility of releasing "classic" Sesame Street material on DVD. Sesame Workshop said they wanted to release a DVD with "classic" Sesame Street material at some point in time, but they said not to expect anything anytime soon due to (as they said) necessary development time, many legalities and several other organizational issues that would need to be addressed first.

I've contacting Sesame Workshop about the issue of "classic" Sesame Street on DVD, and I've been waiting for some development or further information on the potential project. I am happy to say that there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently I received the following response from Sesame Workshop on the issue:

Thank you for your inquiry. We are planning to release a "Sesame Street Nostalgia Box Set", however this is something that will not happen until October '06.

In the meantime, we released a boxed set of The Electric Company in February '06, and there are plans for a second volume of The Electric Company as well.

Sony Wonder is our domestic licensee for audio and home video products. I would encourage you to visit their website (http://www.sonywonder.com/) where you can peruse titles and purchase products. There are various (25th, 30th, and 35th) anniversary editions available, which feature classic clips, as well as some "best of" titles, which feature specific characters.

I hope that this has been helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions, comments, or concerns.

So there you go; that says it all! The first DVD box set of "classic" Sesame Street material should be release (if all goes as planned) in October, 2006 (just less than five-months). There are no further details on the set available at this time, but I'll be sure to keep you all updated as more information is reviled on this exciting upcoming release.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Smithsonian Institute Displays Henson Treasures

A very special Muppet exhibit opened today at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, located in Washington DC. The exhibit, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Muppets, is entitled "Muppets and Mechanisms: Jim Henson’s Legacy" and includes two exciting displays honoring the work of Jim Henson. The exhibits opened today (May 19, 2006) and will run until September 4, 2006.

Many one-of-a-kind objects from the Henson Company are displayed on the museum’s first and third floors and represent two important eras and achievements in Henson’s extraordinary career -- the fleece-and-foam Muppet characters, and the technologically intricate animatronic creatures.

The first floor display includes many original animatronic creatures, including figures from "Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas", "The Dark Crystal" and others.

The third floor display includes some of the original "Sam and Friends" puppets created by Jim Henson in 1955, the original Kermit the Frog (famously made from a green felt coat discarded by Jim's mother), another Kermit puppet from 1969, an early Rowlf the Dog puppet, the Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth, and the banjo player from the Country Trio (which is the Muppet that resembles Jim Henson himself).

If you are in the Washington area this summer, be sure to take some time to stop by the National Museum of American History to see these one of a kind Henson artifacts and displays up-close and in person.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

In Remembrance of Jim




We Remember
Jim Henson

September 24, 1936 - May 16, 1990

Muppet founder, a visionary,
a pioneer, an artist, and a friend.

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Learn more about Jim -
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