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Episode 505: James Coburn

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The Muppet Show
Guest Starring James Coburn
Production Dates April 1-3, 1980
Home Video Best of the Muppet Show
Coburn01

Animal hits it off with tough guy James Coburn -- but James decides that Animal isn't centered enough, and introduces him to meditation and Zen. Animal doesn't take well to Zen.

Meanwhile, Statler and Waldorf have to contend with an octopus in their theater box.

Songs/Sketches

Notes

  • The clash of East and West in the closing number is the second time this occurs: Fozzie similarly ruins a Japanese tribute with "Oklahoma!" in Episode 317.
  • This is the last episode to have have the credits continue to roll on the curtain call, before the closing begins.

Episode

Picture Description
505 cold open
Cold Open: Pops assumes that James Coburn has a contract out on “the frog.” James claims he is just a guest, but Pops points out the bulge in his jacket pocket. James removes the item, revealing it to be a pipe. Of course, James is able to shoot the pipe at Scooter’s feet.
505 trumpet
The Muppet Show Theme”: Gonzo’s trumpet goes seemingly unheard until Foo-Foo responds to it. “Well, she heard it.”
505 temptation
Direct from the Lamprey Lounge at the Bermuda Triangle Hilton, the Sargasso Bottom Rhythm Boys, an octopus drum-and-kazoo band, plays "Temptation" in the opening number. An enraged Animal rushes on stage, screaming "BAD DRUMS!" He attacks the playing octopuses.
505 balcony octopus
Animal throws one of the octopuses into Statler and Waldorf's Box. Throughout the show, Statler and Waldorf interact with this octopus, typically ending with Waldorf being thrown out of the box.
505 backstage 1

505 backstage 2

505 backstage chair
Backstage, Miss Piggy asks Scooter if the octopuses are alright. Scooter tells her they may end up bouillabaisse, to which Piggy responds, “Well, those French towns are nice.”

As Beauregard sends Rizzo out to tame Animal, James Coburn emerges from his dressing room. Kermit tries to assure James that everything is under control, but then he meets Animal.


James spots Animal trying to eat a chair. James tells him that there is a right way and a wrong way to handle aggression. “You don’t want to bust a chair up like that!” James then demonstrates the correct way to bust up a chair. James turns out to be Animal’s kind of guy, and he follows him to his dressing room.

505 close to you
As a male Muppet sings (They Long to Be) Close to You to his lady friend, the birds, stars, and angels mentioned in the lyrics appear -- and then get stuck to the woman. (The male Muppet is the same puppet used for Wayne, and is likewise performed by Richard Hunt.)
505 backstage octopus

505 flying chairs

505 backstage patrolbear
The female Muppet from “Close to You” comes backstage requesting a crowbar. As she exits, Kermit shoos away the octopus taking up his desk space.

Scooter informs Kermit of James Coburn and Animal’s new found friendship. Turns out they’re up in James’ dressing room swapping stories. Or, more correctly, tossing chairs around.


Fozzie Bear and Link Hogthrob arrive in uniform all ready for their sketch. Kermit informs them that they’re not on until the second act. Fozzie agrees to wait in the squad car. When Kermit tells them to take the octopus with them, Fozzie says that they’ll instead wait in the ‘’squid’’ car!

505 lion
Kermit announces the next sketch as a salute to the roaring ‘20s. A lion arrives onstage to ask if they’ll need him to roar.
505 betsy bird

505 gonzo thug

505 animal helps jimmy

505 coburn flute
The Muppets' salute to the "Roaring '20s" starts with a dance by Betsy Bird to the tune of "The Varsity Drag." She is accompanied by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, all decked out in their checkered suits.

Gonzo runs things at Club Mildew. There has been some talk of another mob trying to muscle in. Gonzo reassures his associate, Cuddles, stating that "No one muscles in on the Gonz."


Suddenly, there is a knock at the door and James Coburn (as "Big Jimmy") breaks in! He approaches Gonzo, telling him that he's finished. Gonzo calls Jimmy a two-bit hood. Jimmy's offended, having living next door to Gonzo for ten years. Gonzo instead calls him a "neighbor hood." Unimpressed with his joke, Jimmy uses Gonzo's nose as a can opener.


Big Jimmy tells Gonzo that he and his mob are going to change things around the place. Unfortunately, Jimmy has forgotten his mob. Gonzo calls for his mob to attack! That's when Animal races onstage to help Big Jimmy defeat Gonzo's thugs.


When Gonzo finally gives up, Jimmy explains that he didn't want to take over the club, he just wanted to sit in with the band. He takes his piccolo and joins the cast in playing "Alexander's Ragtime Band."

505 betsy uk
UK Spot: Kermit compliments Betsy Bird on the dance she did in the last sketch. He asks if she has any other dances she can do for the show. Betsy says she could wing something, and signals for the band (a group of birds, including Rowlf on piano) to play "Bird Walk."
505 bear on patrol
Patrolbear Fozzie arrests Banana Nose Maldonado who tries to find a way out of it. He insists that he is actually working undercover and that he is Chief Inspector Maldonado. Fozzie and Captain Link are impressed and Fozzie even walks him to the door. They then notice the wanted poster on the wall for one Banana Nose Maldonado.
505 meditation
James Coburn tries to teach Animal how to meditate, to relax. Animal finds the concept hard to grasp, but tries anyway. Kermit pops in to tell James about the upcoming cowboy sketch, but James requests something more enlightened and serene.
505 cowboy
Kermit, having already hired the cowboys, has to now tell them that James doesn't like the cowboy sketch.

Just as Kermit is struggling with a way to bring the Salute to Japan together, Scooter comes in with his own problem. The bus for The Tokyo Tai-Chi, Karate, and Chowder Society has just broken down outside the theater. Kermit now has his Japanese sketch.

505 serene

505 eastern sketch
James attempts to create a serene "Salute to Japan", a rather quiet number, dissolves into a rootin' tootin' "Japanese Square Dance" when the Cowboys invade the set and Animal tires of the quiet music.
505 gong show
At the closing, James thanks Kermit for the opportunity to finally be on The Muppet Show. Kermit tells him that it turned out to be more like The Gong Show. Animal arrives to take one more swing at the gong.
505 balcony ending
After the credits, the octopus has Statler and Waldrof tangled in his tentacles. He calls for "More! More!"

Cast

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Muppets:

Kermit the Frog, Animal, Floyd Pepper, Scooter, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Camilla, Betsy Bird, Fozzie Bear, Statler and Waldorf, Link Hogthrob, Pops, Rizzo the Rat, Ohboy Bird, Forcryingoutloud Bird, Youknow Bird, Whaddayasay Bird, Righton Bird, Octopuses, Chickens, Whatnots, Banananose Moldenaldo, Lefty, The Japanese Tai-Chi, Karate, and Chowder Society.

Background Muppets:

Dr. Teeth, Janice, Zoot, Lips, Rowlf the Dog, Trumpet Girl

Performers

Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Waldorf, Link Hogthrob, Lefty and Dr. Teeth
Frank Oz as Animal, Fozzie Bear, and Miss Piggy
Jerry Nelson as Floyd Pepper, Pops, Lion, Cowboy and the Announcer
Richard Hunt as Scooter, Statler, Janice and the "Close to You" singer
Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Zoot and Banananose Moledenaldo
Louise Gold as Japanese Geisha
Steve Whitmire as Rizzo the Rat and Lips
Kathryn Mullen as others
Betsy Baytos as Betsy Bird


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