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Episode 501: Gene Kelly

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The Muppet Show
Guest Starring Gene Kelly
Production Dates August 19-21, 1980
Home Video Best of the Muppet Show
Genekelly

Gene Kelly is under the impression that he's a "guest" -- that is, he's going to sit and watch, but not perform onstage. Frantic, Kermit tricks him into performing by asking him to give him a dance lesson on-stage. Kermit plans a surprise closing number, "Singin' in the Rain," Gene refuses, saying that he doesn't think he'll ever sing the song as good as he did in the movie, but he does eventually sing it backstage. Meanwhile, Scooter uses his Tarot cards to predict that the world is coming to an end. Beauregard believes him, and tries to convince the rest of the cast the apocalypse is near.

This episode was the last filmed for the series, which inspired the "end of the world" storyline.[1]

Songs/Sketches


Episode

Picture Description
Gene-kelly-pops
Gene Kelly enters the Reception area, asking Pops if this is where he has to buy his ticket. Pops informs Gene Kelly that he doesn't need a ticket because he is the guest star, but Gene thought he was just invited to watch the show, and points out that when one is invited over for dinner, one doesn't have to cook ("Is that an offer? We could use a good cook around here", says Pops, who quickly gets hit on the head by The Swedish Chef).
Gene-kelly-trumpet
"The Muppet Show Theme": The horn rings and a voice comes out; Gonzo puts it to his ear ("Hello? He's not home.")
Gene-kelly-relax
During Kermit's introduction, Gene Kelly informs Kermit that he is only going to relax and watch the show, and doesn't intend to perform.
Jambalaya-seals1

Jambalaya-seals3
"Jambalaya", sung by baby seals and penguins. Gene watches from the wings.
501 chris rudolph

Gene-kelly-end-world
Backstage, Kermit calls for the next act: Prince Rudolph and his Invisible Cheeseburger.

Prince Rudolph: "Excuse me, have you seen a cheeseburger waiting in the wings?"

Kermit: "Uh, no."

Prince Rudolph: "Oh, good! He's on time for a change!"

Scooter decides to use some Tarot cards to predict Beauregard's future, and he reveals that it's going to be the end of the world.

Genekermit
Kermit tries to talk Gene into performing, explaining that if Gene doesn't go on, Kermit will, and adds that he can't dance his way out of jello. Gene offers to teach Kermit to dance, explaining that he used to be a dance teacher. Kermit asks him to give him his dance lesson on-stage, tricking Gene into performing.

Gene teaches Kermit to tap dance to the melodies of "Frère Jacques" and "The Worry Song."

501 beau worried sick

501 sponge mop
Beauregard reveals that he gave Gene his sponge mop, and that he's giving away all of his things, due to the world coming to an end. He says that he's worried sick, and Dr. Bob says that's good, because he needs a patient for Veterinarian's Hospital.
Vets-hospital-beau
In "Veterinarian's Hospital", Beauregard informs the cast that the world is coming to an end, and adds that there will be a sign: something will happen that has never happened before. As the Announcer signs off, he falls from above, landing on top of Beauregard.
Fit-as-a-fiddle
UK Spot: Two dogs sing "Fit as a Fiddle" to a female dog.
You-wonderful-you-piggy

You-wonderful-you-gonzo
Miss Piggy tells Gene that he's been doing a wonderful job on the show, but Gene points out that he hasn't done anything. Gene sings "You Wonderful You" to Piggy, but Gonzo interrupts the performance to tell Miss Piggy that she has to go on-stage for "Pigs in Space". Gene finishes the song by serenading Gonzo.
Pigsinspace501
Pigs in Space: Dr. Julius Strangepork points out that they are about to get to the end of the universe, and once there, they will learn the meaning and purpose of life. He sets a timer that counts down how much longer it will be. Before they get to the end of the universe, the dinner bell goes off, and Link decides to go have dinner instead. Dr. Strangepork and Piggy try to stay for the meaning of life, but quickly leave for dinner. Piggy tells the viewer to wait for the meaning and purpose of life, but just as it's about to be revealed...
Newsman-end-world
... a Muppet News Flash interrupts the sketch to announce that the meaning and purpose of life has been revealed, only for The Newsman to misplace his papers.
Pigsinspace501-2
Back at "Pigs in Space", the crew is upset over missing out on the meaning and purpose of life, but The Announcer informs them that he knows, teasing them about knowing something they don't know. But Piggy also knows something that he doesn't know, and pulls down a lever which makes The Announcer fall from the sky again.
501 jugband backstage

501 gene scooter kermit
Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers ask Kermit to let them perform a number, but Kermit gives them the bad news that there is no room for a jugband number in tonight's show. Meanwhile, Kermit and Scooter mention that the surprise closing number for Gene Kelly -- a performance of "Singin' in the Rain" complete with an exact replica of the set from the movie -- and Gene overhears them talking, saying that he hopes they aren't expecting him to perform, especially not even for "Singin' in the Rain." Kermit assures Gene that the number's not for him, and asks Scooter to get the jugband.
Coolwater
Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers perform "Cool Water", while rain pours on them.
Gene-kelly-medley

Gene-kelly-medley2

Song.singrainkelly
Backstage, Gene realizes that Kermit did expect him to sing "Singin' in the Rain," and tells Kermit that after he sang that song in the movie, he sang it everywhere, but then he finally realized that he would never sing it as well as he did the first time, and therefore doesn't plan on singing it again. However, Rowlf repeatedly plays the opening vamp for "Singin' in the Rain," while Gene keeps turning it into other songs from his movies. The final medley includes "S'Wonderful", "You Were Meant for Me", and "For Me and My Gal." Eventually, Rowlf gives up, stating that the opening music was used for a lot of songs. Gene agrees, and then tells them that there is another song that it opens, and finally sings "Singin' in the Rain," backstage, and finally taking it onstage as well.
Gene-kelly-ending
At the end of the show, Gene tells Kermit that he had a great time. Beauregard wonders how he can say that when the world is coming to an end. Gene tells Beauregard that he had been studying the manual for the tarot cards and that Scooter made a mistake. According to Gene, the cards really meant that "your laundry will come back gray and dingy." However, Beauregard thinks that Gene was just saying that to make him feel better. Beauregard says that he knows the end is near, but Kermit says that the end is now and closes the show.

Notes

  • For the filming of the final number, Gene Kelly had not brought any black shoes, thinking his feet wouldn't be seen on camera. David Lazer happened to have the same shoe size, so he lent Kelly his black shoes, which Kelly wore and subsequently ruined. [2]
  • Before Kermit and Gene Kelly's dance number, the two chat in the wings as Prince Rudolph performs onstage. The band can be heard playing "Swanee" during the discussion.
  • Kelly's insistence of not reflecting on his past in this episode is the exact opposite of his appearance in the film Xanadu (released the same year as this episode), which had Kelly's character homage his past and career.
  • For the new opening for the show's fifth and final season, several notable changes are seen for the first time. This is the first episode with the final version of The Muppet Show Theme, which include a new verse for Statler and Waldorf and a solo featuring Lips and Trumpet Girl. This is also the first time Lips and Trumpet Girl have a solo in the final part of the closing theme. Most importantly, Scooter has been replaced in the Cold Opening with a new one featuring Pops meeting with the episode's guest star as they enter the theater for the show.

Edits

  • Nickelodeon: All scenes regarding Chris Rudolph and his invisible cheeseburger; Gene Kelly thanking Beauregard for the sponge mop; Kermit telling Lubbock Lou that there's no room for a Jugband number in this show.

Cast

Muppets:

Kermit the Frog, Beauregard, Scooter, Gonzo, Rowlf, Janice, Miss Piggy, Link Hogthrob, Dr. Strangepork, The Announcer, The Newsman, Lubbock Lou, Slim Wilson, Zeke, Whatnot, Pops, Statler and Waldorf, The Endangered Species Chorus Line, Penguins, Dogs, Wolfhound, Prince Rudolph, The Swedish Chef

Background Muppets:

Floyd Pepper, Lyle the Dog, Rizzo the Rat, Angus McGonagle, Catgut, Bubba, Gramps, Mulch, Annie Sue Pig, Foo-Foo, Fozzie Bear, Lottie Lemon, Lew Zealand, Afghan Hound

Performers

Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Link Hogthrob, the Swedish Chef, Waldorf, the Newsman and Rowlf
Frank Oz as Miss Piggy
Jerry Nelson as Dr. Julius Strangepork, the Announcer, Wolfhound, Pops, Chris Rudolph and Slim Wilson
Dave Goelz as Gonzo and Beauregard
Richard Hunt as Scooter, Statler, Janice, Lubbock Lou and Dog
Steve Whitmire as Jugband member, Zeke and Rizzo the Rat
Louise Gold as Annie Sue Pig
Kathryn Mullen as others
Karen Prell as others

Gallery

Sources

  1. "The End of the World?", The Muppet Show Fan Club newsletter, vol. 2, no. 6. 1980.
  2. Craig Shemin, Muppets, Music & Magic panel at The Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island. August, 2007.


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