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Episode 416: Jonathan Winters

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The Muppet Show
Guest Starring Jonathan Winters
Production Dates January 15-18, 1980
Home Video
Winters01

Jonathan is convinced that a gypsy has put a curse on the show, and while Kermit scoffs at the idea, he does notice that everything is going wrong. A few acts have to be canceled, but Kermit refuses to believe there's a curse until a meteorite falls on his flipper. In the final stage of the curse, everyone begins to speak in mock Swedish.

It is revealed that Statler and Waldorf had paid for a half-hour gypsy curse, but they didn't expect it would happen to them. As the curse is lifted, Winters pays the gypsy to keep it going.

Songs/Sketches

Episode

Picture Description
TMS416-01
Cold Open: Jonathan Winters is convinced that there's a curse on the show, and insists that he saw a Gypsy woman in the alley with one eye. Scooter doesn't believe him until a hatrack falls on his head making him go cross-eyed.
TMS416-02
"The Muppet Show Theme": Gonzo plays his trumpet as a bugle call, summoning a horse who says, "You called?"
TMS416-03
Kermit the Frog welcomes the audience and is almost hit by two sandbags that fall from the stage's fly system. After the second one drops, he says he thought lightning never struck twice, at which time he's hit by lightning bolts.
TMS416-HoldThatTiger
At the circus, some pig lion tamers tease Butch and out on to the stage while singing "Hold That Tiger". Sundance arrives, gun-toting in a mask, to rescue his friend. The pair exit the stage by way of weaving through three rings of fire. After the number, they take refuge in Statler and Waldorf's Box.
TMS416-04
Backstage, Kermit struggles to move the show on to the next act. Patti Saverne and her trained chair are on the schedule, but she breaks her prop and Kermit calls Bernice and her half-horse, half-watermelon act on the intercom. Floyd Pepper informs him that the horse half just came down with hoof-and-mouth disease. Kermit suggests just using the watermelon half, but Floyd is disgusted at the thought. Fozzie finally suggests Jonathan Winters, but he's still horrified of the gypsy curse.
Backstage winters
Just as Kermit is introducing Jonathan, he appears from behind the curtain, crying that his props have been stolen. Fozzie offers up his own prop box so that Jonathan may continue his act.
TMS416-05
Jonathan addresses the audience and explains the box as his collection of items he's gathered from around the world. From inside, Fozzie hands him several hats for which Jonathan performs a number of routines including a historical ship's captain, a British gentleman, John Wayne, and a Shoshone chief. During his tribal dance, the gypsy casts a spell from the wing of the stage, bringing the curtains down.
TMS416-06
In order to be convinced that the show is under a curse, Kermit tells Fozzie that something "bizarre, hideous and unnatural" would have to occur (Gonzo doesn't count). Amending the criteria for which his skepticism may be lifted, Kermit says that they'd have to be visited by something "absolutely disastrous." Immediately, a meteor rockets through the room, pinning his flipper to the desk. Aliens hatch from the object and announce that they've arrived only to observe and ask questions.
TMS416-07
Fozzie and Scooter perform "On Her Doorstep Last Night" on stage. Halfway through the number, the aliens insert themselves into the song and ultimately scare Fozzie and Scooter off the stage. This convinces Kermit that the show is cursed.
TMS416-08
A shark enters Jonathan's dressing room looking for Jacques Cousteau. Jonathan finds him in the shark's mouth.
TMS416-09
Bear on Patrol: Patrol Bear is being attacked by an octopus he arrested for pickpocketing, while Link Hogthrob questions him. The octopus ultimately overtakes Fozzie, removing his uniform and takes instruction from Link, who has just received a phone call that a valuable octopus has been stolen.
TMS416-10
UK Spot: The gypsy sings "Golden Earrings" in her camp which consists of pigs, including Link and Annie Sue.
TMS416-11
Muppet Labs: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew presents his new invention, a luggage compressor. His first demonstration flattens a suitcase to the size of a book. In an attempt to show off the full capabilities of the machine, Bunsen calls on Beaker to continue the presentation by trying a steamer trunk. Again from backstage, the gypsy reinforces the curse, causing Beaker himself to run through the machine, flattening him as the suitcase before him. Bunsen promises to mail him to the hospital.
TMS416-12
Back in the dressing room, an alien introduces himself as Jonathan Winters, selling the claim by saying he's from Earth. Jonathan is amused and dismisses him: "Steve Martin. Gosh, you'll do anything, won't ya?"
TMS416-13
A caterpillar" trudges through a storm in weather gear singing "You'll Never Walk Alone", braving the fierce wind and rain.
TMS416-14
Backstage, Scooter informs Kermit that the gypsy warns the final stage of the curse will turn everyone Swedish. Throughout the conversation, Gonzo, Fozzie, Scooter and Kermit's dialogue all turns to mock-Swedish. The chaos lures the Swedish Chef to the room who gleefully plays the concertina in celebration.
TMS416-15
The gypsy introduces the closing number (who always wanted to mimic Kermit's unique style). Three trolls dance to an instrumental version of "English Country Garden" while the Newsman reports that he has not been infected by the Swedish-turning portion of the curse. The gypsy says it's because the "boring and stupid" types are immune. The Newsman tries to defy this by listing some Swedish references including smörgåsbord, Stockholm, Ingmar Bergman, and meatballs.
TMS416-16
Toward the end of the number, Statler and Waldorf begin speaking English again as the half hour they paid for the curse has run out. The gypsy offers another half hour for only seven bucks. Backstage, Jonathan slips some cash to the gypsy, thus continuing the curse.
TMS416-17
Closing out the show, everyone is still speaking Swedish (this time including Winters). Kermit signs off, presumably thanking the guest star, as they are joined by Gonzo, Patti Saverne, Fozzie, an alien, the gypsy, a penguin, and a sheep.

Edits

  • Nickelodeon: The song "You'll Never Walk Alone" was cut.

Performers

Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Waldorf, Link Hogthrob, the Newsman, the Swedish Chef and Butch the Tiger
Frank Oz as Fozzie Bear and Alien
Jerry Nelson as the Old Gypsy Lady, Sundance the Lion, Floyd Pepper, Octopus, the Announcer and Old Skyball Paint
Richard Hunt as Scooter, Beaker, Shark, Caterpillar and Statler
Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Pig, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Alien
Louise Gold as Annie Sue Pig
Steve Whitmire as others
Kathy Mullen as Patti Saverne


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