Thursday, June 28, 2007

Henson Podcast Update

Over the past month released two brand-new installments of the Podcast. These episodes, parts one and two of an exclusive interview with Peter Brooke (supervisor of the Jim Henson Creature Shop), give listeners an inside and in-depth look at the Henson Creature Shop. They are very Be sure to check it out and take a listen. I've also been told that a brand-new installment of the Podcast will be posted early next week and will feature yet another cool and exclusive interview. So be sure to check out the Podcast (and all the great episodes).

Also on the podcasting front - be sure to also check out the MuppetCast, an outstanding fan-made podcast that focuses on everything Muppets. The show is a great asset to the fan-community and just recently posted their 11th episode. Recent episodes have featured interviews with Arthur Novell, Roger Langridge and Jim Lewis (to name just a few). So be sure to surf on over and take a listen to their episodes as well.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dark Crystal CD Details

Earlier this month I told you The Jim Henson Company and La La Land Records will be releasing "The Dark Crystal: 25th Anniversary Edition Soundtrack" album on July 14, 2007. Well, the cover art for this upcoming CD has been released (see below), and the artwork is designed to tie-in to the 25th Anniversary DVD. Also below is a copy of the track listing provided by La La Land Records. Plus I've been told that the CD will come with a booklet containing exclusive liner notes. So be sure to pick up this collector's edition soundtrack in July, and I'll be sure to keep you posted with any more information if I get it.

Track Listing

  1. The Dark Crystal Overture (3:11)
  2. The Power Ceremony (3:57)
  3. The Storm (1:03)
  4. The Mystical Master Dies (0:51)
  5. The Funerals/Jen's Journey (5:25)
  6. The Skeksi's Funeral (2:42)
  7. The Pod Dance (3:14)
  8. Love Theme (3:17)
  9. Gelfling Song (2:22)
  10. The Gelfling Ruins (2:43)
  11. The Landstrider Journey (0:44)
  12. The Great Conjunction (4:13)
  13. Finale (7:14)

Disney Channel Preps for Muppet "Mini Movies"

It has been confirmed that Disney is getting ready to film a series of Muppet-centered interstitials (also being called "mini-movies") that are intended for airing on the Disney Channel. The films are being designed to introduce a new generation of fans to the Muppets characters and humor – while keeping the classic feeling and tone the Muppets are so well known for. The segments will star the Muppets, along an occasional cameos by some of the popular Disney Channel stars. These short films are expected to start airing later this year (with some "insiders" hinting at an "fall 2007" time-frame). No further details are available at this time, but I assure you that I will keep you updates as more information is released.

Additionally, Dave Goelz mentioned at yesterday's "Muppet, Music & Magic" event that there is an exciting Muppet project in the works and there is also a brand-new Muppet web-series being developed. I'll be sure to keep you updated as things develop on these project - but until then, you can enjoy this video clip from Dave and Gonzo's Q&A session.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fraggle Rock 3-Disc CD Set Coming This Fall

Dance your cares away...HIT Entertainment and the Jim Henson Company have announced that they are currently working to give Fraggle fans an ultimate music experience. Partnering with Koch Records, HIT is planning to release the first-ever Fraggle Rock 3-disc CD collection. The CD box set will feature the best music from Fraggle Rock, in the best quality available. The deluxe CD set is planned for release in "fall 2007" (in conjunction with the release of The Complete Third Season). Fans of all ages will be able to sing-along with their favorite songs on CD available at all major retailers for the suggested retail price of $23.98. I will keep you updated with cover art, track listings, release details and product updates as the information is released.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sesame Street Sweeps the Daytime Emmys

The 34th Daytime Emmy Awards, commemorating excellence in American daytime programming from 2006, was held yesterday (June 15, 2007) at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Additionally, the Creative Arts Emmy Awards were presented on Thursday (June 14) at the Hollywood and Highland Ballroom in Hollywood, California. Sesame Street was nominated in 10 categories and swept the awards by walking home with more than 7 Emmy Awards!

Sesame Street performers Kevin Clash and Caroll Spinney were both nominated in the "Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series" category (Clash for his work as Elmo, and Spinney for his work as Oscar). Surprisingly a tie was recorded in this category, and both Clash and Spinney were awarded an Emmy statue for their work. Sesame Street won six additional Emmy Awards – including "Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series" along with earning awards for "Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling", "Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series", "Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Camera Editing", "Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition" and "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing".

We congratulate Caroll, Kevin and the Sesame Street family on their remarkable achievements; and we thank them for more than 37 years of education and entertainment.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Old School Update: "Volume 2" in November

Back in April, I told you Sesame Workshop is planning to release the second volume in their "Sesame Street Old School" DVD series later this fall. Just like the fans, Sesame Workshop is very excited about this release and the DVD team is busy working to get everything ready for this highly-anticipated product. I've talked with some people from Sesame Workshop and have some more details on the release.

The first "Old School" box set focused on the first five years of Sesame Street (1969-1974), and I've been told that the next "Old School" installment will be focusing on the next 5 seasons (1975-1979). Similar to the first volume, the set will include complete episodes from the seasons along with additional bonus sketches from the respective years.

And for all those wanting to mark their calendars, the "Sesame Street: Old School – Volume 2" box set is currently scheduled for release on November 6, 2007.

More information (such as the specific disc features, cover art and other details) is expected to be available sometime around September. I'll be sure to keep you all updated as soon as any more information is revealed on this highly-anticipated title.

Sesame Workshop Rolls Out Abby Cadabby Merchandise

Fans of Sesame Street's newest fairy-in-training will be happy to know that the first round of Abby Cadabby merchandise is heading your way! Several new dolls and books are featuring the new rising star of Sesame Street.

Fisher-Price has just released the "Singing Abby Cadabby" doll. This plush doll sings a song or says some of Abby's signature phrases when you squeeze her. The large plush doll is perfect for children ages 18 months and up; and comes with the 3 AA batteries required. The doll also comes bundled with an exclusive DVD that features the lovable Abby Cadabby. The doll and DVD are being sold in toy stores for around $15.

Also being released from Fisher-Price is the Elmo and Abby "Friends Forever" plush toy bundle. This two-pack includes a set of two loveable, huggable, cuddly and soft dolls. The Elmo and Abby dolls are currently being sold together for a retail price of just under $10 (which comes out to about $5 per doll).

And for those book worms out there, Abby will also be staring in a batch of new books as well. Abby will star in "Abby Cadabby's Rhyme Book" which will be released in July by Dalmatian Press. TokoyoPop's third Sesame Street photo comic, entitled "Abby's First Day of School", will be released on July 3, 2007. And Abby takes center stage in the book "Guess Who, Abby!" by Constance Allen which will be released on September 11, 2007.

More Abby Cadabby, and other Sesame Street, merchandise is in the works. I'll be sure to keep you posted with more information on special Sesame Street products as the information becomes available -- and be sure to catch Abby in action during the 38th season of Sesame Street later this year.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fraggle Season Set Episode Confusion

On Thursday I shared the details of the upcoming "Fraggle Rock – Complete Third Season" DVD box set. One detail that sparked questioning from many fans (my inbox was flooded with inquires) was the fact that the information from producers stated that the set would include "24 episodes". Now as any fanatical Fraggle fan will tell you, the third broadcast season of Fraggle Rock (which aired on HBO in 1985) was comprised of only 22 episodes.

Whereas HBO bundled and aired the 96 episodes of Fraggle Rock in 5 season groupings (of 24, 24, 22, 13 and 13 episodes respectively); Henson had produced and filmed the series in 4 evenly sized seasons of 24 episodes each. It was later that HBO decided to shuffle the episodes around to artificially stretch the material into an additional season.

I contacted a representative at HIT Entertainment about the issue of the DVD sets' episodes and here is their direct response:

"We are releasing the sets by production seasons, not by broadcast seasons. Season 3 will have 24 episodes."

So the information was accurate, this third season set will include 24 episodes - the 24 episodes produced in the third season (listed below). The set will be coming out on September 11, 2007 and will be loaded with all new featurettes, interviews and other bonus features. So with the upcoming third season DVD box set that leaves only one more season (the 24 episodes of the fourth production season) left to be released. I'll keep you posted with more information on the third, and hopefully fourth, seasons of Fraggle Rock on DVD.

     Episode Listing

  1. The Bells of Fraggle Rock
  2. Red-Handed and the Invisible Thief
  3. Boober and the Glob
  4. The Grapes of Generosity
  5. Blanket of Snow, Blanket of Woe
  6. Pebble Pox Blues
  7. Home Is Where the Trash Is
  8. Believe It or Not
  9. Wembley and the Mean Genie
  10. The Secret Society of Poobahs
  11. The Beanbarrow, the Burden and the Bright Bouquet
  12. Gobo's School for Explorers
  13. Scared Silly
  14. The Great Radish Caper
  15. Born to Wander
  16. The Battle of Leaking Roof
  17. Playing Till It Hurts
  18. Bored Stiff
  19. The Cavern of Lost Dreams
  20. The Incredible Shrinking Mokey
  21. A Dark and Stormy Night
  22. Gunge the Great and Glorious
  23. Sprocket's Big Adventure
  24. Wembley's Wonderful Whoopie Water

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fraggle Rock: Third Season DVD Details

Get ready for more fantastic Fraggle fun as the Fraggles invite you to join the party in their subterranean world. "Fraggle Rock: Complete Third Season" will be released on Tuesday, September 11, 2007. The deluxe box set will feature 24 episodes filled with more music, more Fraggle moments and more exclusive interviews with the people who made Fraggle Rock an international success. Below is a run-down of features along with the cover art for the set. I will keep you posted with more details as I get them.

Disc Features
• All 24 episodes from Fraggle Rock's third season
• All-new featurettes and interviews with Fraggle Rock cast and creators
      • "Under Construction"
      •"The Puppet Collection"
      •"The Hall of Fame"
      •"The Hall of Fraggles"
      •"The Fraggleterium"
      •"Fraggle Gardens"
• Stereo English audio track
• English & Spanish subtitles
• Deluxe embossed collector's packaging
• ...and more!

DVD Details for Henson Anniversary Editions

A few days ago I reported that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be releasing deluxe "Anniversary Edition" DVDs of "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth" on August 14, 2007. These classic Jim Henson fantasy film are each presented on two-discs and will feature film transfers from newly restored high definition film masters and will comes complete with all-new audio commentary tracks and hours of newly created bonus features. Below are a listing of the disc features.

The Dark Crystal - 25th Anniversary Edition

Disc 1:
• "The Dark Crystal" (2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen)
• English and Japanese Dolby-Digital 5.1 surround sound
• English, French and Japanese subtitles
• Feature-length audio commentary by Brian Froud

Disc 2
• "The World of Dark Crystal": The original 1982 making-of documentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Original Work Print Scenes
• Character Drawings & Designs
• "Reflections of the Dark Crystal": Two all-new behind-the-scenes documentaries that include rediscovered footage from the Henson archives and newly recorded interviews with the people who created The Dark Crystal (including David O’Dell, Dave Goelz, Katheryn Mullen, Brian Froud, Brian Henson, Jane Gootnick, Mira Velimorivic and others).
• ...and much more!

Other Specifications:
• Special lenticular packaging
• Release Date: August 14, 2007
• Suggested Retail Price: $24.99

Labyrinth - Anniversary Edition

Disc 1:
• "Labyrinth" (2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen)
• English and Japanese Dolby-Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
• Portuguese Stereo Sound
• English, French, Japanese and Portuguese subtitles
• Feature-length audio commentary by Brian Froud

Disc 2
• Ïnside the Labyrinth": The original 1986 making-of documentary
• Drawings & Designs
• "Journey Through the Labyrinth": Two all-new behind-the-scenes documentaries that include rediscovered footage from the Henson archives and newly recorded interviews with the people who created Labyrinth (including George Lucas, Brian Henson, Brian Froud, Karen Prell, Dave Goelz, Mira Velimorivic, Gates McFadden, Toby Froud, Jane Gootnick and others).
• ...and much more!

Other Specifications:
• Special lenticular packaging
• Release Date: August 14, 2007
• Suggested Retail Price: $24.99

The Dark Crystal 25th Anniversary CD Soundtrack

Aside from bringing fans a deluxe 2-disc "anniversary edition" DVD, Henson is using the 25th anniversary of "The Dark Crystal'" as a great excuse to resurrect, revisit, and release the film's magnificent soundtrack. "The Dark Crystal: 25th Anniversary Edition Soundtrack" album is set to be released on CD by La La Land Records on July 14, 2007. The film's score was written by composer Trevor Jones and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra with Marcus Dods conducting. Currently the music from the film is hard to come by, with the limited edition printings of all past releases currently out-of-print. La La Records has told me that the full details of this album (track listing, artwork and whatnot) will be made public later this month; and I will be sure to keep you posted with the details of this album when the information becomes available.

Special "Dark Crystal" Screening in Santa Monica

Calling all Henson fans in the greater Santa Monica area! "The Dark Crystal", Jim Henson's 1982 fantasy film, will be shown at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, CA on Saturday, June 16, 2007 at 3:00pm. Following the matinee presentation of the film there will be an exciting question and answer session with screenwriter David Odell. Odell wrote "The Dark Crystal" with Jim Henson, and also wrote the film's sequel entitled "Power of the Dark Crystal".

For more information on this event and the venue, visit the Aero Theater website. This is a rare opportunity to see this classic Henson film up on the big screen, with a crowd of fellow fans, and to hear about its creation directly from the screenwriter (and possible other guests).

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

DVD Box Art for Henson Anniversary Editions

Yesterday I told you all about the 2-disc "anniversary editions" of "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth" (restored, remastered and loaded with tons of new extras). These two DVD sets will be released on Tuesday, August 14, 2007. Well, Sony has now released the cover art for these two upcoming DVD sets which will come in special lenticular packaging. I'm still waiting to hear back on the full and complete run-down of detailed disc features, but until then enjoy these awesome packaging images. I'll keep you posted with more information as I get it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What's the Word on the Street?

Here is yet another update on the upcoming season of Sesame Street. Sesame Street's 38th season is set to start airing on PBS on Monday, August 13, 2007 - and the word on Sesame Street this season is "literacy." Sesame Street's 38th season will address the ongoing need for early literacy skills such as vocabulary, rhyming, and letter sounds. Each episode this season will begin with a "'What's the Word on the Street?" interview segment where people and animals of all ages introduce and define the day's "Word on the Street". The series of hilarious celebrity clips (featuring such stars as Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres and Brian Williams) will help explain the meaning of the day's word to young viewers. These words (such as "squid", "tricycle" and "predicament") will then be used and reinforced later on in the show as part of the “street” scene.

As always, new episodes of Sesame Street will also embrace pop culture with comic parodies such as "A's Anatomy," and "Meal or No Meal," and well known celebrity guests including Chris Brown, James Blunt, Tina Fey, Anderson Cooper, and the New York Jets. All new street scenes include such plots as "The Amazing Alphabet Race", "The Letter P Game," and "Sleepy Grouchy" – plus there will be plenty of music, animation and live action films added to the mix as well - all designed to educate, delight, and help children be better prepared for school.

So mark you calendars (consult local listings and affiliates for details) and prepare for the all new season of adventures, education and fun from Sesame Street. I'll keep you updated with information and details as I get them.

"Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth" Anniversary DVDs!

2007 marks the 25th anniversary of "The Dark Crystal" and the 21st anniversary of "Labyrinth". As reported earlier, The Jim Henson Company and Sony Home Entertainment are planning to celebrate the occasions with all-new two-disc DVD releases of each film – restored, remastered and loaded with goodies!

You will once again be able to experience the mystical realm of imaginative creatures, fantastical journeys, and the epic battle between light and dark with "The Dark Crystal 25th Anniversary Edition" DVD. This special 2-disc anniversary edition will hit stores on August 14, 2007 and will feature a brand new high-definition film transfer. Bonus features include audio commentary by Brian Froud, hours of previously unreleased footage from the Henson archives and all-new "Reflections on The Dark Crystal" featurettes that include new brand new interviews with writers and performers - including as David O’Dell, Brian Froud, Brian Henson and many others. Full disc details are expected to be released soon with the full rundown of features and extras.

Viewers will once again be treated to a place "where everything seems possible and nothing is what it seems" with the "Labyrinth Anniversary Edition" DVD (also available on August 14, 2007). This 2-disc collector's edition DVD will include more than 60-minutes of all-new featurettes which will feature brand-new interviews with the film’s creators, puppeteers, and others behind the magic – including George Lucas, Brian Henson, Brian Froud, Karen Prell, Dave Goelz, Toby Froud and many others. Aside from the new featurettes, the DVD set will also include an astounding array of recently rediscovered footage, a new high definition transfer of the film, audio commentary by Brian Froud, new stylized packaging, and much much more!

The full disc details and bonus feature listing, along with cover art, for each of these releases is expected to surface soon. I will keep you posted with all the details on these highly anticipated 2-disc DVD releases as the information is released.

Friday, June 01, 2007

2008 Muppet Calendar Round-Up

Yes, it's that time of year again… calendar shopping time! With just about 215 days left in 2007, isn't it time you start thinking about how you are going to keep your days straight in 2008? That's right, the 2008 calendars start hitting stores at the end of June, so it is only prudent that you decided which one (or ones) you're going to get now. There are several Muppet-related calendars coming out for 2008; and with price-tags only around $10 you might want to just scoop them all up.

The first calendar is The Muppets' 16-month wall calendar. Each month of this 2008 calendar highlights a different Muppet character (or character pair) in bright psychedelic colors and designs. The calendar measures standard wall-calendar size (12" x 24") and is sure to brighten up the wall of any room. The calendar is being produced by DateWorks and The Muppet Holding Co. and is retailing for just around $9.99.

2008 Muppet Wall Calendar

The next calendar to keep an eye out for is the Muppets' 2008 day-at-a-time desk calendar. This calendar is a must have for any Muppets fan's desk. This day-by-day calendar provides a daily dose of Muppet fun with more than 365 pages. The calendar comes packed with daily pictures, trivia, jokes, quotes and other information about (and from) the Muppets. The calendar is also being produced by DateWorks and The Muppet Holding Co. and is selling for about $10.99

2008 Muppet Desk Calendar

The final calendar to be on the look out for is the 2008 Fraggle Rock wall calendar. Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, Red, the Doozers, the Gorgs and all your other favorite Fraggle character don the pages of this exciting wall calendar. The calendar measures standard wall-calendar size (12" x 24") and is being produced by Universe Publishing and the Jim Henson Company. This calendar also comes with an added bonus – the calendar includes more than 120 Fraggle and calendar related stickers to help you decorate, organize and spice up your calendar!

2008 Fraggle Rock Wall Calendar

So although 2007 isn't even half-way over yet, it's not too early to buy your Muppet calendars. So think it over and decide which calendar is right for you. I recommend getting all three, but ultimately the decision is up to you. I'll keep you posted with information on any other Muppet calendars or merchandise as I get it.

Muppet Impression Contest

Can you do a good Muppet impression? Do you have a hidden talent of sounding just like Fozzie Bear? Do your friends hassle you to do your Swedish Chef impression at parties? Or do you find yourself singing like Lew Zealand in shower? If you said yes to any of these question then here's a contest for you!

The MuppetCast, the definitive Muppet podcast on the web, is hosting a Muppet impression contest. The rules are simple: Record yourself doing your best Muppet impression (any Muppet character you want), and email the sound file of your vocal impression to Be sure to include your name and name of the character you are impersonating in your audio file.

The top five entries (as determined by a panel of judges) will then be voted upon by the listeners of the podcast to decide the ultimate winner.

The exciting part of this contest is, of course, the chance to win some exciting prizes. Aside from a great sense of accomplishment (and the impressive bragging rights) attached to winning the contest, the impressionists that rank first and second place will receive some great prizes. The runner-up will receive a free copy of "It's Not Easy Being Green... and Other Things to Consider", a book full of inspiration quotes by Jim Henson and his friends. The winner will receive a free copy of "Before You Leap", which came out in October 2006, written by Kermit the Frog. Plus Muppet writer Jim Lewis (who helped write the book for Kermit) will personally autograph the book to the winner!

The contest is still running and accepting submissions so it's not too late to join in the fun. You can send in an impression of any Muppet character you like, even Kermit (but keep in mind that pretty much everyone is going to try and do Kermit). What are you waiting for? Bust out that microphone, warm up those vocal cords, and send in your best Muppet impression! More information on the contest can be found on the MuppetCast website; and be sure to listen to the MuppetCast for more updates and details on the contest as things progress.