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Episode 117: Ben Vereen/transcript

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Opening number


"Mr. Cellophane"


Muppet newsflash

At the Dance

UK spot

Talk spot


Veterinarian's Hospital

Talking Houses


Wayne and Wanda


Fozzie's comedy act

"Pure Imagination"


It's The Muppet Show, with our special guest star Mr. Ben Vereen! Whoo!

It's time to play the music

It's time to light the lights

It's time to meet the Muppets

on The Muppet Show tonight

It's time to put on makeup

It's time to dress up right

It's time to ralse the curtain

on The Muppet Show tonight

Hey, I wouldn't say that The Great Gonzo is dumb, but when he graduated from school he didn't get a diploma, he got a pension. Huh?

To introduce our guest star

That's what I'm here to do

So it really makes me happy

To introduce to you

Mr. Ben Vereen!

But now let's get things started

on the most sensational, inspirational

Celebrational, Muppetational

This is what we call

The Muppet Show

Hi-ho, hi-ho, and welcome again to The Muppet Show. Hey, our special guest tonight is a young man who soared to stardom on Broadway in Pippin, had his own television series, and is one of the really multitalented performers in show business, Mr. Ben Vereen. He really moves and, speaking of that, let's get things moving right now on The Muppet Show!

Well, not too long ago in 1944

When every mother's

son was going off to war

- # They had to lift their spirits high

- # High

For Uncle Sam,

motherhood and apple pie

Instead of spending

money that they didn't have

In hotspots in the Bronx

They went to hear that kind of

jazz you hear in funky honky-tonks

- # It made you wanna jump

- # Jump

- # Shout

- # Shout

Knock yourself out

Boogie-woogie beat is

what I'm talking about

If you had the heebie-jeebies

you could dance away

To the boogie-woogie music

the piano men were playing

- # You could jump

- # Jump

- # Shout

- # Shout

� Knock yourself out

� Boogie-woogie beat is

what I'm talking about

You could pull a switcheroonie

if you felt yourself down

With the boogie-woogie beat

of the piano man a-going to town

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ben Vereen!

- # He really makes you wanna jump

- # Jump

- # Shout

- # Shout



- # You wanna jump

- # Jump

- # Shout

- # You wanna sock it to me now

- # You wanna jump

- # Jump

- # Jump - #

Fra-doy, fra-doy

To the boogie-woogie music

the piano man was playing

- # You wanna jump

- # Jump

- # Shout

- # Shout

Knock yourself out

A boogie-woogie beat

is what I'm talking about

You can pull a switcheroonie

if you felt yourself down

With the boogie-woogie beat

of the piano man a-going to town


No doubt about it, I'm beginning to like this show.


Yep, It's really starting to grab me.



Something's starting to grab you.

I don't care. Next time, use a deodorant.

Nice. Nice number.

I wear the pants in this act.

That was great. Really hep to the jive.

- Hey, Kermit, Kermit, What is this?

Oh, that belongs to Marvel the Magician. It's for next week's show.

Oh, that's very interesting.

Yeah, but Fozzie, don't go in there.

Oh, come on, Kermit, I'm a big bear, I won't hurt anything.

Yeah, but Fozzie, don't slam that door.

I didn't slam it. I closed it very quietly.

Yeah, and you're never gonna open it again.

What do you mean?

Well, I tried to tell you it's a trick door. Only Marvel the Magician can open it.

But but Kermit, I have an act to do! Go get Marvel!

I can't. He's in Toledo.

And I'm in big trouble.

OK, right now I'd like to introduce Ben Vereen, a blockbuster of a talent.

Did somebody say "blockbuster"?

- Hit the dirt!

Well, there's nothing like starting off with an explosive opening. Hey, listen, you wanna have George the Janitor clean up that mess? Now, as I was saying, we have a real dynamite guest tonight

Did somebody say "dynamite"?

I'm beginning to get a slight headache. Will somebody throw a net over Crazy Harry so we can get the show rolling? Right now I'd like to introduce our guest star, and you better not interfere with his act, Crazy Harry, because he has a short fuse.

Did someone send for a short fuse?

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ben Vereen,

If someone stood up in a crowd

And ralsed his voice way out loud

Waved his arms

And shook his leg

You'd notice him

If someone in a movie show

Yelled, "Fire in the second row"

"This whole place is a powder keg"

You'd notice him

A human being is

made of more than air

With all that bulk you're

bound to see him there

Unless that personage should be





Mr. Cellophane

Shoulda been my name

Mr. Cellophane

You can look right through me

Walk right by me

And never know I'm there

I tell ya, Cellophane

Mr. Cellophane

Shoulda been his name

Mr. Cellophane

'Cause you can

look right through him

Walk right by him

And never know he's there

Name, Mr. Cellophane

You never know I'm there

I tell ya


Mr. Cellophane

Shoulda been my name

Mr. Cellophane

You can walk right by me

Or look right through me

And never know I'm there




I'm there

I hope I didn't take up too much of your time.

I think the guests that come on this show should get combat pay.

What about us?

- Well, we're volunteers.

Maybe you are. I was drafted into this chicken outfit.

It's no use, Fozzie. I don't think we'll ever get this thing open before the end of the show.

Oh, I feel awful.

Yeah? Well, that's the way it goes.

I feel so sorry for everyone.

How do you mean?

Well, they'll all be so disappointed when you tell them that today's show is canceled.


Mm, yeah. Well, obviously you cannot do the show without me.

Um uh Fozzie … How shall I break this to him?


Fozzie, there is one alternative to canceling the show.

Oh, there is? Yeah?

We can replace you. Fozzie? He takes these things kind of hard.

Here's a Muppet news bulletin. Dateline, New Brunswick. Mr. Melvin Cosgrove climbed a 30-foot pole and scrambled onto a six-by-six-foot platform. His goal - to break the world's record in flagpole sitting. That was 16 years ago, and yesterday his wife started wondering how Cosgrove was doing, especially since he was 84 years old when he started. Authorities climbed the pole this morning and found that he had indeed passed away. As a fitting tribute to her brave husband, Mrs. Cosgrove announced that for the next ten days, she will fly him at half-mast.

You know, I picked up a hitchhiker the other day.

Oh, really?

Yes, well, it's only right. I was the one who knocked him down.

Tell me, do you like bathing beauties?

I don't know, I've never bathed one.

You know, last week my cousin was seen on television by 30 million people.

Oh, what is he, a rock star?

- No, a football.

You know, I really got my eye on you.

Oh, really?


Herman, today I auditioned as an announcer for a TV show. Yeah, but they didn't hire me. You know why? Because I'm a woman, that's why. Discrimination. Are you listening to me?!

What kind of a program was it?


Did you know the Rolling Stones are here tonight?

No kidding? They're my favorite singing group.

No, these are the other Rolling Stones.




Hey, you know, it's really great to have you on the show. Why, Ben, you're just a bundle of energy,

Yeah, well, as a dancer, I try to keep in shape, you know.

You're telling me, I've seen you dancing on Broadway and television and movies. Why, you must work out a lot.

Well, yes, because you see, Kermit, as a dancer, your body is one of the most important things you have. Did you ever stop to think where would you be without your, um your body?


No, no, I never asked myself that, but it's a darn good question.

You see, as a dancer, I've gotta be able to go to a leap with great explosive power, you see.

Did somebody say "explosive power"?


- No!

Nice. Nice leap.

Well, time for a tea break.

- All right.

Literal chap, isn't he?

Kermit? Kermit! Kermit!

- Mm? Oh?

Kermit, you can't do the show without me.

- Well, Fozzie, what choice have I got?

But a Muppet Show without Fozzie Bear? It's like Gilbert without Sullivan, ham without cheese, Poca without hontas.

- "Poca without hontas"?

- Yeah.

What's a poca?

I know, I know. That's a polka. Will you guys get out of here?

See? Even in a box I'm funny. You need me. The show needs me, Kermit!

Who cares about a frog? I'm stuck.

And now "Veterinarian's Hospital, " the continuing story of a former orthopedic surgeon who's gone to the dogs.

Hut-Sut Ralston on the rillerah with a brawla, brawla soolt

Dr. Bob, you can't sing at a time like this.

I'm not singing "At a Time Like This," I'm singing "Hut-Sut Ralston." An oldie but goodie.

How'd I ever get myself into this sketch?

Take it easy, George.

Dr. Bob, the patient is sinking.

Well, I vonder vat he is sinking about.

Well, laugh it up, nurse. These are the jokes.

The only joke around here is you, Dr. Bob. This patient needs your assistance. Well, you're my assistants, but what he's gonna do with the two of you, I'll never know.

Look, either give me some help or let me outta here.

Well, what seems to be your trouble?

I keep breaking out in a cold sweat.

Oh-ho! Well, I see. You have a clear case of Pentransitphobia.


That's a dread fear of traveling through the state of Pennsylvania.

Enough of these pitiful jokes, Dr. Bob. You've dedicated yourself to saving lives.

You're right. I saved six lives this week.

By operating?

No, by not operating.

Dr. Bob, you've given this hospital a bad name.

You're right, Fred is a terrible name for a hospital. I'll have to give it a better name. How about Eunice?

This is impossible.

Do you have a license?

Of course. Every dog has a license. The leash laws are really rough.

You dummy. I mean, do you have a license to practice?

Yes, and I'm going to practice on you right now. Bongos.

- Bongos, Dr. Bob.


And so Dr. Bob is about to begin his bongo practice. Tune in next week, when we'll hear Nurse Piggy say...

Dr. Bob, it's too late. You've lost him.

Well, he couldn't have gone far. He was under the sheet just a second ago.

My uncle's into poetry. He loves Edgar Guest.


- Why else? He's a guesthouse.

Ben, how are you enjoying the show?

Aw, Hilda. I'm getting such a big charge out of it.

Did you say you want a big charge?

- No!

You know, I'm getting a little tired of this.

Once again it is my great pleasure to introduce Wayne and Wanda and their stirring version of "I'II Know."

I'll know

When my love comes along



At least, Fozzie, you will be glad to know that the show is dying without you.

Oh, really?

- Would I lie?

Did you hear them out there, Scooter? They love me. Me, The Great Gonzo. Boy, that's the greatest show we've ever done.

So I lie. Oh, it could be worse, Fozzie. This little door could be shut.

Things are worse.

See you, babushka.

Hilda! Hilda!


- Hilda?

Fozzie, is that you?

- Who's that?

It's Kermit the Frog.

- Kermit!

Hey, listen, I've decided not to cut you from the show.

Oh, thank you, Kermit.

- OK, get him onstage, fellas!

Well, folks, here comes the act you've all been waiting for. The Muppet Show's own great comedian, here he is now, feeling a little cagey tonight but nevertheless still the old master of mirth, Mr. Fozzie Bear!

Thank you, Thank you! Hey, it's really great to be here. I spent the whole day at the doctor. I said, "Doc, it hurts when I do this." He says, "Don't do that." Are you laughing? It's hard to hear. Then the doctor said, "Have you ever had this before?" I said, "Yes." He says, "Well, you got it again." Uh … Thank you, thank you. You've been a wonderful audience. Please get me off,

Great, great, great, Let's all hear it for Fozzie Bear. Come on out and take a bow, Fozzie.

This is humiliating.


OK, OK. And now, folks, once again, Mr. Ben Vereen.

Oh, boy. This place is so dull. I hate it here. It's so dull.

Hi, Droop.

Oh, hi, Ben.

Hey, look, I can take you out of this place?

No, thanks, I'm not allowed to cross the street.

No, no, that's not what I mean.

- Hmm?


Come with me

And you'll be

In a world of pure imagination

Take a look

And you'll see

Into your imagination

We'll begin

With a spin

Traveling in a world of my creation

What we'll see

Will defy explanation

If you want to view paradise

Simply look around and view it

Anything you want to, do it

You wanna change the world?

There's nothin' to it

There is no life I know

To compare to pure imagination

Living there, you'll be free

If you truly

Wish to be

If you want to view paradise

Simply look around and view it

Anything you want to, do it

Want to change the

world, there's nothing to it

There is no life I know

To compare with pure imagination

Living there, you'll be free

If you truly

Wish to be

Come with me

Gee, you sure have some imagination, Ben.

OK, well, that about puts a lid on it for this week. We'd like to thank our special guest star, Mr. Ben Vereen!

Hey, Kermit, you know, thank you. I've done a lot of shows in my time, but this has been one of the, um craziest.

Hey, Kermit, Kermit, Ben, Ben!

Yeah, what? What?

- Hey, I'm out! I'm out!

Fozzie, how'd you get out of the cage?

- Crazy Harry blew it up. It hurt a little bit, but, you know, I'm OK.

Well, Fozzie, I just thought the show was just dynamite.

- Yeah,

Did somebody say "dynamite"?

- No!

We'll see you all next week on The Muppet Show!

Would you cut that out?

Fantastic show.

- Brilliant show.

By the way, your pants are on fire.

- Hm?

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