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Brian Henson Introductions

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Brianintros
"Hi, I'm Brian Henson..."

In 1999, a series of 60-second introductions were recorded by Brian Henson for The Muppet Show. They have been seen on the Odyssey Network and the Time-Life Home Video releases. Some of them highlight the specific episode they precede; others are "generic" non-episode specific bits of information that are recycled for other episodes.

Generic Intros

Minor Characters

Episode 101: Juliet Prowse, Episode 119: Vincent Price, and Episode 320: Sylvester Stallone, Episode 422: Andy Williams, and Episode 519: Chris Langham

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. The Muppet fans are sometimes really crazy people. It's amazing. Every crazy little walk-on character, they know the names. So if you want a few facts that will impress your friends, tell them about these characters. Here's Wayne and Wanda. These two were an accident-prone singing duo who were in the pilot but only actually lasted throughout the first season. Or how about Betsy Bird? She was a beautiful eccentric dancing bird who appeared in several shows but she never really quite took off. Or here's Fleet Scribbler who's an abrasive tabloid reporter that the press loved but the show's writers couldn't stand. He was soon written out of the show. Just keep watching and you might see Fleet and a few other unsung Muppet heroes on The Muppet Show.

Mock-Swedish

Episode 102: Connie Stevens, Episode 122: Ethel Merman, and Episode 413: Dizzy Gillespie

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. When I was a kid my father was so into gadgets... cars especially. And he had this tape that he used to play which was "How to Speak Mock Swedish". And he used to drive to work and I used to ride with him a lot. And he would drive to work trying to make a chicken sandwich in Mock Swedish or make a turkey casserole in Mock Swedish. It was the most ridiculous thing you had ever seen. And people at traffic lights used to stop and sort of look at him a little crazy. But that was the roots of the character that would eventually become the Swedish Chef. And if you watch the Swedish Chef one of the most exciting things about it is the head is just speaking away and trying to follow the hands which are grabbing meat cleavers and throwing chickens over his head. To me the best part about the Swedish Chef is the more you don't understand him, the more you love him. Here is The Muppet Show.

The Great Gonzo

Episode 103: Joel Grey, Episode 121: Twiggy, and Episode 411: Lola Falana

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Gonzo is one of our most popular characters. He's also one of our weirdest. My father first built the original Gonzo for a special called The Great Santa Claus Switch. They called him Cigar Box Frackle because he lived in a cigar box. When The Muppet Show started, performer Dave Goelz turned this puppet into the Great Gonzo, a daredevil obsessed with both art and danger. But throughout the first season, Gonzo's drooping eyelids tended to made him look sad. So Dave Goelz rebuilt the puppet himself with moving eyelids, so that he could be the artistic maverick he was meant to be. From that point on the character literally took off. Here he is, the Great Gonzo and The Muppet Show.

Sex and Violence

Episode 104: Ruth Buzzi, and Episode 123: Kaye Ballard

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Before there was The Muppet Show, there was Sex & Violence, which was the title of the original pilot of the series. But the big difference between the pilot and The Muppet Show was the host. My father tried to create a new character named Nigel. Eventually somebody said to my father, "Look, why don't you use Kermit? He was so great, why don't you put Kermit in as the host?" And that's really when the show really started to work. Of course the show had nothing to do with sex and violence, but my dad thought it was certainly a real catchy title. Here's the show it eventually became. (The pilot itself was shown as a special on the Odyssey Channel. This intro was used, but the end was recut so that Henson says, "Here it is. Enjoy." instead of "Here's the show it eventually became.")

Kermit

Episode 106: Jim Nabors, and Episode 206: Nancy Walker

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. How do you explain the success of The Muppet Show? Well there were certainly a lot of important factors: like the guest stars, the outrageous Muppet characters and some perfectly absurd stories and sketches. But at the center of all of it was Kermit. Kermit was my father. My father first made Kermit out of a coat that belonged to my grandmother and through the years Kermit changed a little bit, looked a little bit different and eventually became the Kermit that we all know. But what's wonderful about Kermit is he's the glue that holds all of these crazy zany characters together. Here it is, The Muppet Show.

Growing Up With The Muppets

Episode 107: Florence Henderson, and Episode 203: Milton Berle

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. I grew up in a house full of Muppets. And friends of mine use to always ask "What's it like?", "It must be great fun," "It must be crazy." And the truth is the Muppets were always kind of awesome to me. And I have a lot of respect for the Muppets. My father used to work endlessly, hours and days on end... working all these pieces and making them just exactly right. Years later The Muppet Show went into over 100 countries, in 20 different languages. It was the first show to do that. Have a listen to this and you'll hear the way some of the characters sounded in other countries around the world. (A clip of Fozzie's monologue in French is shown with Statler and Waldorf heckling him in Mandarin.) Unfortunately for Fozzie, his jokes weren't any funnier in French or Mandarin. Enjoy the show.

Lew Grade

Episode 109: Charles Aznavour

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. When people look at the Muppets, they think what a huge phenomenal success. But the truth is my father had to work very hard to get The Muppet Show to really work. In fact they shot two pilots for the series. Both times all the American networks looked at the shows and thought a puppet show can't work for adults. It's all too zany and crazy anyway. A very visionary entrepreneur in England contacted my father. His name was Sir Lew Grade and what he did was he invited the Muppets and my father to England to shoot a full season of the show. [Lew Grade:] "All we were doing is taking the chance with 24 episodes. I had no idea it would be such an extraordinary phenomenal success." The show ran five seasons and was seen in a hundred countries by more than 235 million children and adults. Now with special thanks to the late Lew Grade, here's The Muppet Show.

Comedy

Episode 110: Harvey Korman, Episode 201: Don Knotts, Episode 305: Pearl Bailey, and Episode 523: Linda Ronstadt

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. You know, comedy is really difficult. One thing that happens with comedy writers is that they are all really good at coming up with beginnings... really good set ups, but they can't figure out how to pay them off. Well now I'll share with you one of the real secrets to the Muppets. What my father figured out was, if you can't get out, you just either blow something up, or you eat something, or you just throw penguins in the air. So here it is, The Muppet Show.

Music

Episode 111: Lena Horne, Episode 204: Rich Little, Episode 420: Alan Arkin, and Episode 503: Joan Baez

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Music has been a big part of the Muppets since the very beginning. When my father started, his first show was called Sam and Friends. At that time, he used to perform with my mother and they would puppeteer lip-synching to records. By the time of The Muppet Show, my mother was now at home raising a house full of crazy kids, and the Muppets were singing with their own voices. And they sang with some of the greatest musical talents of our time: Paul Simon, Elton John, Diana Ross, and many, many more. Whether it's chickens playing "Chopsticks" on the piano or a bunch of Eskimo pigs singing "Lullaby of Broadway," you can never tell what you will hear next. Here it is, The Muppet Show.

Swedish Chef's Language

Episode 112: Peter Ustinov, Episode 211: Dom DeLuise, Episode 416: Jonathan Winters, and Episode 521: Johnny Cash

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. The Muppets have always gotten a lot of fan mail. Over the years, we've received thousands of letters and believe it or not, we do try to read and answer every one of them. The staff received a memorable letter from a Scandinavian businessman who saw the show while on a trip to London. He wrote to inform my father that The Muppet Show's so called Swedish Chef did not actually speak any real Scandinavian language, not even Swedish. The Muppet Show head writer Jerry Juhl sent a reply, saying "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We were going to fire the Chef on the spot, but he has got a wife and family and he promises to take Swedish lessons." So here's the Swedish Chef and all of your other favorite Muppets on The Muppet Show.

Performing

Episode 113: Bruce Forsyth, Episode 215: Lou Rawls, Episode 316: Danny Kaye, Episode 418: Christopher Reeve, Episode 513: Tony Randall, Episode 516: Gladys Knight, and Episode 518: Marty Feldman,

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Let me tell you a little bit about how we train to perform the Muppets. It's kind of an interesting process, because what we do is, we watch a monitor. It shows us what the camera is seeing and we reach up and we work the puppet with our other hand. It's a complicated process but the idea is, that you're meant to look into the monitor and bring to life that character and be the audience and the audience's point of view. 'Course it's real difficult, because when the character turns to the right, but the camera you see, is turning to the left which means you always have to think backwards. Of course, it's the Muppets, so thinking backwards comes naturally. Here's The Muppet Show.

Jim's Characters

Episode 114: Sandy Duncan, Episode 205: Judy Collins, Episode 322: Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, and Episode 407: Dudley Moore

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Everyone knows that my father performed Kermit the Frog. But he also did a lot of other characters. He performed the Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth, Rowlf the Dog, Waldorf, and Link Hogthrob. Link Hogthrob is actually one voice that I remember very well. As a kid, whenever my dad did some stereotypical fatherly chore, like carving the Thanksgiving turkey, that would be the voice he would use. I guess when the character of this pompous, not-too-bright pig came along, he figured well that voice would fit just perfectly. See if you can tell which characters are my father's voices in this next episode of The Muppet Show.

Miss Piggy

Episode 116: Avery Schreiber, Episode 222: Teresa Brewer, and Episode 412: Phyllis George

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. The success of The Muppet Show was a surprise to us all, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the emergence of Miss Piggy. Different puppeteers picked her up and tried to perform her and she never amounted to much. And it wasn't until Frank Oz picked her up and he gave her that character and that life that made Miss Piggy what she is today. What he did was he created a mega-superstar. And now here's The Muppet Show starring, as she would tell you of course, the fabulous Miss Piggy.

Rowlf

Episode 117: Ben Vereen, and Episode 216: Cleo Laine

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Not many people know that Rowlf the Dog was actually the Muppets first network television star. Rowlf was originally built for a Purina Dog Food commercial, but he later gained fame with weekly appearances on The Jimmy Dean Show in the 1960s. Back then, Rowlf was a quiet philosopher with a lot of punch lines. When The Muppet Show came along, Rowlf became known more for his piano playing expertise. Kermit was my father's best known character, but a lot of people think he was more like Rowlf in real life except he couldn't play the piano as well. Here is another classic episode of The Muppet Show.

Action Underneath

Episode 118: Phyllis Diller, Episode 220: Petula Clark, Episode 409: Beverly Sills, and Episode 514: Mac Davis

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. When you watch The Muppet Show, it's the only show on air where you're actually only seeing the top 18 inches of the action. And in a lot of ways, what goes on underneath the camera frame is just as exciting and sometimes more exciting than what's going on in front of the camera. You think about it. This is the way it is. The camera's shooting basically from the top of your head up to your hand and that's the way all the performers are working. They're all watching monitors to see what the camera can see and it's great fun watching the performers underneath, watching them jockeying for position and people reaching between each other trying to get to an arm rod. It's really a bit like watching a pit stop at an Indy 500 race. It's really quite impossible, which is what makes it so much fun to do. Here's The Muppet Show.

Fozzie's Jokes

Episode 120: Valerie Harper, Episode 224: Cloris Leachman, Episode 415: Anne Murray, and Episode 517: Hal Linden

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Fozzie Bear was originally conceived as a bear who just told terrible, horrendously bad, unfunny jokes. But when Frank Oz got a hold of the character he added a layer of empathy so that Fozzie is always telling terrible jokes, but he's just trying so hard you've got to love him. The Muppet Show head writer Jerry Juhl points to one Fozzie sketch that crystallizes the Fozzie we all know and love. In this sketch there are more laughs in the interaction between Fozzie and Kermit than there are in the actual punch lines. Here's that fabulous, furry funny-man, Fozzie Bear, in another episode of The Muppet Show.

The Audience

Episode 124: Mummenschanz, Episode 218: Jaye P. Morgan, Episode 419: Lynda Carter, and Episode 512: Melissa Manchester

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. The Muppet Show was originally shot in Elstree just north of London and it was a wonderful process to watch. You'd walk out of these dingy London streets and then you'd go inside the station - this brightly colored crazy, frenetic energy. The way the show was shot, it took three frantic days to shoot each episode. One thing that was amazing is the audience for some reason always thought that the show was shot live which always astounded me because if you watch The Muppet Show, every shot is a special effect, there's a little trick going on everywhere and it took a lot of time and a lot of effort to pull that together. Of course the real audience for The Muppet Show as you see in the show is a bunch of Muppet monsters and various creatures. We always knew they would laugh at the right times. The monsters in the audience particularly enjoyed this show and I hope you do too. Enjoy.

Specific Intros

Rita Moreno

Episode 105: Rita Moreno

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Rita Moreno. She's one of my all time favorite guest stars. It also was the first episode that featured the long-running, long-punning sketch "Veterinarian's Hospital" which by the way, is pretty much where Miss Piggy got her start as well. Rita Moreno was the first performer to win an Oscar, a Tony, a Grammy, and an Emmy. She won her Emmy as 'Best Performance By a Guest on a Comedy-Variety Show" for her appearance in this episode. So here it is, The Muppet Show starring Rita Moreno.

Paul Williams

Episode 108: Paul Williams

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This early episode of The Muppet Show is hosted by singer, songwriter, actor Paul Williams. This appearance marks the beginning of a long relationship between Paul and the Muppets. He composed the music for The Muppet Movie, Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas and a film that I directed, The Muppet Christmas Carol. In this episode one of the moments that I always remember is Paul singing probably his best-known hit "An Old Fashioned Love Song." Another great moment to watch for is Bunsen Honeydew's first appearance. You'll see that he's on his own and he's not with Beaker. Beaker didn't actually join the show until the following season. Here's Bunsen and Paul Williams in The Muppet Show.

Candice Bergen

Episode 115: Candice Bergen

Hi I'm Brian Henson. Welcome to The Muppet Show. I have a lot in common with this next guest star. Like me, Candice Bergen grew up in a house filled with puppets. Her father was, of course, Edgar Bergen, whose characters included Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. Candice was a particularly important guest star to The Muppet Show. She agreed to do the show in the first season when the way Americans looked at The Muppet Show was it was some strange puppet show shot for syndication, and, being shot in England, it was very hard to book guest stars. But after she agreed to come do the show, it became much easier to convince others to star in the show. Here she is, Candice Bergen and The Muppet Show.

Zero Mostel

Episode 202: Zero Mostel

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Zero Mostel. At the time, Zero was an acting and comedy phenomenon. One of the funniest pieces in this episode is a classic monologue he performs called "The Fears of Zero" in which Zero's greatest anxieties appear to him as Muppet Monsters who gang up on him and eventually do away with him. Here it is, The Muppet Show.

Edgar Bergen

Episode 207: Edgar Bergen

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Everyone remembers the read-through for this particular episode of The Muppet Show. Edgar Bergen entered carrying a little black suitcase and every person in the room knew what was in that suitcase: Charlie McCarthy. Charlie was a legendary character on stage and on radio and then on TV. Frankly he was like a puppet hero to the Muppets. For you real Muppet fans, this is the episode where Fozzie tries to be a ventriloquist and Gonzo wrestles a brick. Here it is, The Muppet Show with Edgar Bergen.

Steve Martin

Episode 208: Steve Martin

Hi I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Steve Martin. It was a very different kind of Muppet Show. There was no laugh track so you can actually hear the Muppet performers laughing along at what's going on. The episode features the talents of such legends as the strange alien Fazoobs and the Flying Zucchini Brothers, Marvin Suggs and his all-food glee club. All this and, of course, Steve Martin's balloon animals. Here he is, the wonderful Steve Martin in The Muppet Show.

Madeline Kahn

Episode 209: Madeline Kahn

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This next episode of The Muppet Show stars Madeline Kahn. This show also features two timeless Muppet favorites, "Happy Feet" which is a classic tap-dance number that Kermit does. If you watch closely, you never actually see his feet; you don't ever see his legs or his feet which is the most ridiculous way to approach a tap dance number but it's a great piece. The other piece that's become a huge hit is a piece where the Swedish Chef is trying to cook a lobster and then these Bandito Lobsters come and save the lobster that the Chef is trying to cook. Here it is, Madeline Kahn and The Muppet Show.

George Burns

Episode 210: George Burns

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. George Burns is the guest star in this episode of The Muppet Show. One of my favorite bits to watch out for is the "Monster and Machine" sketch where the monster slowly eats the machine bit by bit has a wonderful and typically Muppet twist ending. After the shooting of this episode, my father received a thank you letter from George Burns. "At my age", it said, "Miss Piggy is starting to look good to me." Here he is, George Burns on The Muppet Show.

Bernadette Peters

Episode 212: Bernadette Peters

Hi I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show features film and Broadway star Bernadette Peters. In this show, Kermit's nephew Robin feels too small to be noticed. And Bernadette comes and cheers him up with all the other Muppets in the first performance of the now, all-time classic Muppet song, "Just One Person." Since then, we have used the song on so many occasions that many fans think it was written for us. It was actually co-written by Muppet Show musical director Larry Grossman but for the musical "Snoopy." Here it is, The Muppet Show with Bernadette Peters.

Rudolf Nureyev

Episode 213: Rudolf Nureyev

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Rudolf Nureyev. Nureyev is one of the 20th century's greatest ballet dancers, perhaps the last person you'd expect to find on The Muppet Show. They contacted Nureyev to find out what he wanted to do with the Muppets, and he said "I'd love to dance with Miss Piggy." Well, of course, with Miss Piggy it's kind of hard to do a ballet sequence, because she's generally only seen from the waist up. So what they did was, they built this crazy, big, kind of goofy pig costume to dance with Nureyev. The dance floor was a little slick and Nureyev actually taught us a little trick. He says you mop the floor with Coca-Cola. So if you watch this episode check out the sticky floors and the extra large pig on The Muppet Show.

Elton John

Episode 214: Elton John

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Elton John. At the time that we did this show, he was just coming out of a phase where he was doing those flamboyant costumes, the most big crazy glasses and feathers everywhere and it was wonderful and that particularly excited the Muppets, the idea of having Elton on the show doing all that crazy stuff until they called him and asked him what he wanted to do and he said, "You know I'll do anything but what I really don't want to do is I don't want to do those crazy, flamboyant costumes with all big feathers and big glasses and stuff" so naturally that was a bit of a problem for the Muppets because that's what we were really looking forward to so this whole episode is about the Muppets really wanting him to do that flamboyant crazy look and him not wanting to but as always the Muppets always sort of win out in the end. Here it is, Elton John and the Muppets.

Julie Andrews

Episode 217: Julie Andrews

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Julie Andrews. Julie and the Muppets had worked together several times before doing this episode in a number of TV specials. In fact in this show you'll see her sing a song with Kermit called "When You Were a Tadpole." She wrote this song earlier for one of her own specials. Another moment to look for in this episode is an appearance by a real cow. Now that sounds simple enough but you have to realize that every set is built five feet above the ground and it's really not meant to carry much weight. They had an awful lot of nervous puppeteers surrounding a very nervous cow on a five foot platform. The cow naturally wouldn't do anything he was meant to do but at least he didn't jump off the stage. Here it is, the cow, Julie Andrews and the Muppets in The Muppet Show.

Peter Sellers

Episode 219: Peter Sellers

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Peter Sellers. A very funny story about this episode is Peter basically said he wants to do anything on the show except for one piece. It was a piece called the Wall where Kermit would interview the guest star for 30 seconds just about themselves. Peter said, "I can't do that, I can't be myself. Ask me to do anything but don't ask me to be myself. I'll be Queen Victoria but I don't know how to be me." Naturally, the Muppet Show writers did a wonderful piece where they had him play Queen Victoria. Here it is, The Muppet Show with Peter Sellers.

Bob Hope

Episode 221: Bob Hope

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars the legendary Bob Hope. Bob Hope and the Muppets worked together quite a lot over the years. The Muppets were guests on several of his specials and Bob did cameos in The Muppet Movie and the special Miss Piggy's Hollywood. In this episode, Bob was always on his way in or out of the theater going from one benefit engagement to another. His schedule in real life was so tight that he only had time for one production number and a few talk spots. The show ends with that production number "Don't Fence Me In" between Bob and his Muppet horse. It's a very funny effect where the puppeteers who were working the feet and the head were dressed in blue and then matted out of the scene so that you don't see them. It's a great sequence; here it is and Bob Hope in The Muppet Show.

John Cleese

Episode 223: John Cleese

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars John Cleese. John particularly became very close with the Muppets, and he immediately created a bond with the writers of The Muppet Show and he wanted to get involved in the writing. So together they came up with this ridiculous concept where John doesn't want to be on the show so the great thing is this whole Muppet Show is about the Muppets trying to get John to be on the show but John's trying to get off the show. One great scene to watch for is where John tries to fix Gonzo's arms and ends up stretching them six feet long and ends up knotting his arms all around his body. But the more he hurts Gonzo of course the more Gonzo loves it and here's the episode; I hope you love it.

Gilda Radner

Episode 304: Gilda Radner

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Gilda Radner. [clip] For me one of the special moments to look out for in this episode is an Eskimo version of "Lullaby of Broadway." [clip] For me this is a nice piece because there's a penguin in that that I actually built at the time. And of course, this episode also contains a wonderful, classic Muppet misunderstanding. There's a moments where Gilda asks for a seven foot parrot to appear with her. [clip] And as my father used to say, it's a perfectly terrible joke, but it's worthy of us. Here it is, The Muppet Show.

Alice Cooper

Episode 307: Alice Cooper

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Just when people were beginning to think the Muppets were really, really wholesome, my father went out and booked one of the most controversial acts of the 1970s, Alice Cooper. [clip] One of Alice's songs was so controversial at the time it was banned in most high schools across the country. It was called "School's Out." [clip] And then, to balance out all of that craziness that Alice brought to the show, my father had probably one of the sweetest pieces we've ever done on The Muppet Show, which is Robin the Frog singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." [clip] The episode has a little bit of something in it for everyone. Here it is: The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper.

Liberace

Episode 309: Liberace

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. The guest star in this episode of The Muppet Show is Liberace. I think it's safe to say that he's actually more flamboyant than Miss Piggy. For some reason, my father thought it would be hilarious to put Liberace together with all these exotic looking Muppet birds. During that number you should keep an eye on Rowlf the Dog. It was a complicated little thing that was going on, 'cause the number was being performed live and Liberace is playing the piano, and then he gets up and Rowlf has to start playing the same piano immediately afterwards. Well, you can imagine with a puppet it's very hard to play a piano when you can't actually see the keys, so we had a performer off camera who was playing the piano when Rowlf was meant to be playing Liberace's piano. Here is The Muppet Show starring Liberace.

Raquel Welch

Episode 311: Raquel Welch

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This was one of Raquel Welch's first forays into song and dance. [clip] There's a couple of great moments from the show that I can never forget. One is the opening number where she gets to dance with a giant spider. The spider was performed by Graham Fletcher, a dancer with the Royal Ballet in England. Another great moment is when Raquel gets to sing her solo at the end, "I'm a Woman." And not surprisingly, Miss Piggy feels threatened by having Raquel Welch on the show, and she pushes in and forces the number into a duet. [clip] Here she is, the beautiful and sexy Raquel Welch on The Muppet Show.

Harry Belafonte

Episode 314: Harry Belafonte

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Harry Belafonte. [clip] He's an amazing guy. He's very spiritual, very powerful -- once you've met Harry Belafonte, your life changes. Undoubtedly, Harry's most important contribution to this episode is the closing number. It's a mystical, African song called "Turn the World Around." [clip] The African mask puppets were built especially for this number. Years later, Harry did a reprise of this number at my father's memorial service. It was probably one of the most important and powerful moments in the whole ceremony. Harry continues to be a great friend to the family, he was a great friend of my father's, and this is where we all met. Here he is on The Muppet Show.

John Denver

Episode 401: John Denver

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars John Denver. [clip] He was not only a terrific performer, but also a good friend of my father's. In fact, he and my father had similar interests in preserving the planet. [clip] In this episode you're about to watch, John and Kermit try to convince the gang to go on a camping trip. [clip] They don't have much luck on this show, but they did go camping several years later, on a special that we did together with John called, Rocky Mountain Holiday. [clip] John Denver was a good friend of the Muppets and we miss him, but here he is on The Muppet Show.

Kenny Rogers

Episode 410: Kenny Rogers

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. In this next episode of The Muppet Show starring Kenny Rogers, Kermit takes a beating all the way through the episode. [clip] But maybe it's all worth it because eventually he ends up being treated by a witch doctor in a scene that grows into a crazy Muppet musical number called "The Lime and the Coconut." [clip] This episode also contains another great musical number. It's a very straight-forward, beautifully done version of Kenny Rogers' big hit song, "The Gambler." [clip] Here's The Muppet Show starring Kenny Rogers

Liza Minnelli

Episode 414: Liza Minnelli

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show starring Liza Minnelli is from the fifth season of the series. And by that time, they were getting real experimental with the format. This episode is a full-fledged murder mystery. [clip] Liza is one of those incredible, professional performers. And while shooting this episode, she would shoot all day long with the Muppets, and then at night, she'd rush down to Covent Garden in London where she was performing a series of concerts. [clip] Talk about a trouper. [clip] Here is The Muppet Show starring Liza Minnelli; see if you can figure out who done it.

Star Wars

Episode 417: Star Wars

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show you're about to see stars Mark Hamill, and C-3PO, and R2-D2. In this episode, they kidnap the Pigs in Space ship, the Swinetrek, they land on the planet Koozebane, and even do battle with a mysterious villain who calls himself Dearth Nadir, who looks a lot like the Great Gonzo. Frank Oz, who is the performer of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and a lot of other characters, performed Yoda in three of the Star Wars films. For Star Wars fans and Muppet Fans, here's The Muppet Show starring Mark Hamill, R2-D2, and C-3PO.

Diana Ross

Episode 424: Diana Ross

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars former Supreme, Diana Ross. [clip] In this episode, she performs "Love Hangover" which features the largest Muppets ever made. They're called the Gawky Birds and the Bossmen. The Bossmen are the really tall ones, and the way they're performed is really cool -- the puppeteers stand behind the characters dressed in black, working controls that are painted black, so you don't actually see the puppeteer. It's an amazing effect. In this episode of The Muppet Show, the audience is so packed with Diana Ross fans, that they hate everything except for her. [clip] They even hate those singing fish, the Gills Brothers, and Fozzie doing what may be his shortest comedy act ever. Here it is, The Muppet Show with Diana Ross.

Gene Kelly

Episode 501: Gene Kelly

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars the legendary dancer, choreographer, actor, director, Gene Kelly. [clip] When Gene was first booked on the show, he said to the writers, "I just don't wanna do "Singin' in the Rain." Well, of course the writers turned this into a running gag in which the Muppets keep trying to get Gene to do his signature song. [clip] And finally in the end, as usual, the Muppets win out. [clip] There's a great little sketch in this one where Kermit dances full figure and you see him head to toe dancing. The way we did it is, the performers doing the arms and legs are standing in shot in the background, but they're wearing black against a black background so it's invisible to the camera. Here it is, Gene Kelly on The Muppet Show.

James Coburn

Episode 505: James Coburn

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This next episode stars James Coburn. When Coburn came on the show, my father asked him what his favorite character was, and he immediately replied Animal. So you'll see the running through the episode is the relation of James Coburn and Animal. Well, my favorite moment is the scene where James Coburn tried to relax Animal enough to meditate. Here it is, The Muppet Show starring James Coburn.

Brooke Shields

Episode 506: Brooke Shields

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Brooke Shields was the youngest guest star to appear on The Muppet Show. She was only 15 at the time. [clip] Because she was only 15 when she did the show, she was only allowed to shoot a few hours each day. So when she wasn't shooting, she liked to hang around the Muppet Workshop and help build characters. In fact, there's one number in which she actually helped build the Slithy Toves characters. [clip] This particular sketch is described by Scooter in the show as the weirdest thing this show has ever done. And he may be right. [clip] Here it is, Brooke Shields in The Muppet Show.

Señor Wences

Episode 508: Señor Wences

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This next episode of The Muppet Show features Señor Wences, a puppeteer and ventriloquist whose most famous character Johnny, was painted on his hand, like this: [hand gesture] "Hello!" [clip] In addition to his hand, Señor Wences's other characters included Cecilia, a puppet chicken, and Pedro, a ventriloquist dummy head -- that's right, just the head. [clip] Which proved that Señor Wences was sufficiently insane to work with the Muppets. [clip] There's even a second guest star Bruce Schwartz who's a great puppeteer, who performs a Japanese ghost story with beautiful Japanese puppets. [clip] Here is The Muppet Show starring Señor Wences and Bruce Schwartz.

Debbie Harry

Episode 509: Debbie Harry

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Debbie Harry. [clip] Now, at the time, I was in high school and my father knew that Debbie Harry was, like, the biggest thing in the world to me. And he booked her to be on The Muppet Show during a vacation week from school and he didn't tell me. [clip] We went out to dinner the night before shooting and they made me sit next to Debbie Harry at this fancy restaurant. And I just remember this whole dinner I was just endlessly sweating and all I knew was that I was aware of Debbie Harry sitting on the side of me. I don't think I ever said a word to her, I don't think I ever looked at her, but she did a great episode, she's a great performer and she's a lovely lady. And here she is Debbie Harry in The Muppet Show.

Paul Simon

Episode 511: Paul Simon

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This is the only episode of The Muppet Show where every single song is written by one artist. And that artist is the show's guest star, Paul Simon. [clip] Paul's work is so full of great imagery, that it was perfect for the Muppets. For instance, the big production number that starts out the show, "Scarborough Fair," is done as an elaborate olde English fair filled with bears and pigs and frogs and ornate period costumes. [clip] This episode also features one of the more bizarre Muppet creations, Bobby Benson and his all baby band. [clip] Here it is, The Muppet Show starring Paul Simon.

Carol Burnett

Episode 515: Carol Burnett

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Carol Burnett. [clip] This particular episode was also a favorite of The Muppet Show writers because they won an Emmy for Best Writing on a Comedy Variety Show. [clip] You may wonder what was the sophisticated concept that won this Emmy award for them. Well, the idea was that everybody would be dancing from the very beginning of the show, to the very end, and the whole episode would be a dance marathon. [clip] Sounds like an incredibly stupid and easy idea [clip]... but put it all together and it makes for really one of the all-time great episodes of The Muppet Show.

Wally Boag

Episode 520: Wally Boag

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. The Muppet Show is a tribute to vaudeville, especially this episode featuring Wally Boag. [clip] Wally is listed in The Guinness World Record book for the most performances of one show. [clip] The show was Disneyland's "Golden Horseshoe Revue", and he performed five shows a day for twenty-seven years [clip] from the park's opening in 1955 until he retired in 1982. Most of the material you see Wally perform in this show comes right out of the "Golden Horseshoe Revue." It's one of the few recordings of Boag's material from the long-running show. [clip] Here it is. Enjoy the show.

Roger Moore

Episode 524: Roger Moore

Hi, I'm Brian Henson. Roger Moore stars in this next episode of The Muppet Show. [clip] He was absolutely one of the most debonair guest stars ever to appear on The Muppet Show. [clip] One great moment in this episode is where we took the Village People song "In the Navy" and performed it with all Viking pigs. [clip] The piece itself is a little over two minutes long, but it actually took us a day to shoot it, which is not very good when you're trying to shoot an entire half-hour episode in three days. But as you'll see, the effort was well worth it, because this really create done of the best moments that the Muppets have ever done. Here's The Muppet Show with Roger Moore.

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