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For What It's Worth

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Song.forwhatitsworth
Written by Stephen Stills
Date 1967
Publisher Cotillion Music Inc.; Richie Furay Music Inc.; Springalo Toones; Ten-East Music

"For What It's Worth" is performed by an opossum and a chorus of woodland animals on episode 221 of The Muppet Show. The song was originally released as a single by the band Buffalo Springfield. When it became a success, they included it on a 1967 re-release of their self-titled 1966 debut album.

The sketch features three inept Whatnot hunters (including Gramps and George the Janitor, in a rare second season appearance) terrifying the woodland animals as they carelessly shoot their guns on their way through the woods. In the end, the hunters only manage to shoot a motorcycle, a tractor, and a cement truck, but the animals remain vigilant.

Two of the verses to "For What It's Worth" were rewritten in order to transform the popular anti-war song into an anthem against hunting, but no one has ever been officially credited for these additional lyrics.

Many of the animals used in this number were recycled from Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, only this time without their clothing: the Old Lady Possum puppet was reused for the lead singer (voiced by Jerry Nelson), while a fox (Harrison), badger (James), possum (Will), rabbit (George), and muskrat (Nat) appeared in the background. Other animals include a deer, a mouse, a toothless beaver, and a weasel.

This song marked the first time several of these puppets were used on The Muppet Show. The deer, in particular, was built specifically for this number.

Public response

This segment provoked an article in Field & Stream (June 1978). In "How to Raise Hell," writer Richard L. Hall expresses his displeasure, but only speaks in passing of the Muppet animals singing "a once popular rock song." Instead, his concern is with the Muppet hunters, including the joke in which they brag about hitting vehicles, and "when the program ended a few minutes later with a deranged fuzz-ball screaming 'Bunny rabbit! Bunny rabbit!' and shooting the hell out of everything, I was about ready to boot the tube."

Hall then advises a letter campaign, while noting it has to be more careful and polite "than firing off a letter to the Muppets saying that Kermit the Frog and Company are full of fertilizer." He suggests targeting the sponsor, and reprints one response from the CEO of Chart House restaurants, who says he is unaware of their sponsoring any such program but assures Hall that he understands "the need to harvest wildlife" and that he "would not be a part of a propaganda campaign using the tactics you mentioned" (on The Muppet Show).

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