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In addition to small firearms, the Muppets occasionally have used larger artillery (such as cannons), although this is mostly for stage stunts, musical percussion, or historical reenactments. Similarly, Crazy Harry is also known for his frequent explosions and pyrotechnics.
Gun use and references
- In a Wilkins Coffee commercial, Wilkins asks Wontkins if he drinks Wilkins coffee. When Wontkins says he does not, a hand enters from off screen with a gun and shoots Wontkins. Wilkins says this was "Public Service Announcement."
- In an ad for McGarry's Sausage, Mack fires a gun into the air, proclaiming that Kermit should eat McGarry's Sausages for breakfast because "they start your day off with a BANG!" Kermit leaps out of bed, shaking and fearing for his life.
- Jim Henson's Time Piece shows the man as a gunslinger in the west; when he shoots the Mona Lisa, he is sentenced to jail for the crime.
- A Sesame Street sketch taking place in the Old West shows Sinister Sam looking through the town saloon for Doc Holiday, claiming to have an itchy trigger finger (an idiom referring to someone's eagerness to fire a gun). The Doc is naturally frightened, until he learns Sam is referring to the actual itchiness of his finger and wants it checked out.
- Guns were occasionally featured on The Muppet Show, often times as a culinary tool used by The Swedish Chef.
- In The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, the Swedish Chef's sandwich sprouts wings and flies away, but the chef shoots it down with a gun.
- In the "Cowboy Time" sketch in episode 101, Kid Fozzie attempts to hold up a bar, first telling everyone to "reach for the floor" and then telling them that "this is a stickdown." He realizes he is packing two pickles instead of pistols, and is derided as the "fastest gherkin in the West" by the bartender. After he is mocked by the saloon's patrons and staff, Fozzie fires off the loaded pickles, shoots down the chandelier, and traps the bartender, who then concedes a large bag of cash to the villain. Just then, Rowlf the Dog turns his own gun on Fozzie, who trades his pickles for a carrot.
- In episode 105, the Swedish Chef prepares pancakes, which wind up stuck on the ceiling; he uses a blunderbuss and shoots them down.
- In episode 114, the Swedish Chef uses a "boomashootn" to shoot a hole through an English muffin to make a doughnut.
- In episode 205, the Swedish Chef shoots lettuce with a gun, first creating a salad and then Brussels sprouts. Later, he tries to shoot a coconut, but instead shoots a rubber chicken and gets hit by a coconut.
- Episode 319 features a look at the "All-Nation Goldfish-Shooting Contest" in a "Muppet Sports" segment. Louis Kazagger wishes a contender luck on shooting a goldfish. The contender denies that he needs luck, aims his shotgun directly into the fishbowl but misses the goldfish entirely, showing that shooting fish in a barrel isn't quite as easy as the adage suggests.
- In episode 405, the Swedish Chef threatens an uncooperative turtle with a blunderbuss, only to be met with a double-barreled miniature canon from within the turtle's shell.
- Guns are featured several times in The Muppet Movie. A patron of the El Sleezo Cafe shoots at Fozzie on stage (Fozzie luckily dodges the shot). While driving his own car, Doc Hopper attempts to shoot Kermit in another vehicle; he slips, accidentally shoots the balloons that are carrying Gonzo and crashes into a billboard . Later in the film, Hopper's henchmen are seen practicing shooting at a cut-out replica of Kermit before Hopper brings in a professional to do the job and kill Kermit.
- Kermit warns the group in The Great Muppet Caper that "there could be physical violence, there could be gunplay, and there's a slightest chance that somebody might even get killed." His assessment is partially true when Nicky Holiday grabs Kermit and pulls a gun on the Muppets. When asked why he was doing that, Holiday replied "I'm a villain. It's pure and simple."
- In The Muppets Take Manhattan Kermit describes "Manhattan Melodies" as a show about life in the big city. Martin Price comments on the idea saying "Big city, huh? Cops? Shootings? Car chases? That kind of thing?" Kermit rebuffs saying "No shooting stuff. It's more like songs and dances." Price replies "Songs and dances? That might be interesting. Nobody cares about shootings anyway."
- In a postcard segment from the French co-production of Fraggle Rock. Traveling Matt visits a boardwalk shooting gallery. Matt sees a youth firing a gun at the target, a small ball floating on a crest of water (which he assumes this is a doozer moon).
- Jim Henson's film noir spoof "Dog City" is full of doggy gags and guns. Laughing Boy fires a handgun and Bugsy Them fires his Tommy gun wildly at Ace Yu and Quackers.
- Kermit plays the lead in the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular in The Muppets at Walt Disney World. Using a prop gun, he addresses the audience and says, "I'd like to go on record as being opposed to the use of violence for purposes of conflict resolution, however..." and "I don't believe in violence, I don't believe in violence" as he shoots at Nazis (one actor of whom he assures is okay after being "shot" by Kermit). When Piggy, as Marion Ravenwood, guns down the encampment with a machine gun, Kermit shouts, "How are we going to explain this to Big Bird?!"
- In Muppet*Vision 3D the Swedish Chef fights back against the cannon fire of the orchestra. The chef takes out a large blunderbuss and shoots at Waldo several times, hitting the screen instead. Waldo teases the Chef, and turns into a target. Waldo then realizes his mistake, as the angry Chef puts the gun away and instead takes out a huge cannon.
- Muppet Treasure Island features a lot of gunplay by the villainous pirates. The opening musical number concludes with Captain Flint pointing his pistols directly into camera while shooting his crew. Mr. Arrow warns the crew that "any man caught dawdling will be shot on sight." After being attacked by the pirates Dr. Livesey comments: "How infortuitous our firearms weren't loaded." Squire Trelawney replies: "I'll say. We might have shot somebody." Spa'am and the island pigs retreat when they find out the pirates have guns (or as they call them "boom-boom sticks"). Long John Silver shoots Dead Tom (who, fortunately, is already dead) and pulls a gun on Captain Smollett and Benjamina.
- In Muppets from Space, K. Edgar Singer uses a subatomic neutro-destabilizer (also known as "the really big gun") to hold up Gonzo and his family. His plan is thwarted when, in his attempt to silence the laughing aliens, it is revealed the weapon is unloaded (thanks to Rentro removing the clip).
- In a Halloween YouTube video released in 2009, the Swedish Chef fired a bazooka at two talking pumpkins.
- Ivan the Guard shoots at Kermit when he tries to escape the gulag in Muppets Most Wanted (although he claims it was "nothing personal").
- Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Robin play laser tag in The Muppets episode "Little Green Lie." The Muppets participate in the combat simulation game by firing non-harmful laser guns at each other.
- Guns are so closely associated with visual references to James Bond that they either have to be included, or, in the case of many Muppet spoofs of the character, replaced with some other object. International merchandise has retained the gun in a couple of instances, but notable stand-ins have included a banana, a cookie, a water pistol, and bare hands.
- Muppet merchandise featuring guns include the Palisades Toys action figures of The Swedish Chef (and variant), Dr. Julius Strangepork (the aforementioned dissolvatron), and Kermit as Indiana Jones.
Notes and commentary
- Jim Henson once stated that as a youth: "I had a BB gun, and I'd shoot at the water moccasins in the swamp just to wake them up." According to one biography, while other children in the area were learning how to use real guns for hunting, Jim had "absolutely no interest in it." Another biography stated: "Jimmy was never interested in fighting and he never learned how to use a real gun to go hunting with some of the other boys in the crowd."
- An early draft for a Kern's Bakery commercial featured Tommy mowing down Fred with a machine gun in response to Fred's disapproval of violence in advertising. The concept and script was revised to Fred being eaten by an aggressive monster instead.
- In an interview with MuppetZine, Jerry Juhl commented on the gunplay in Muppet Treasure Island stating: "Brian [Henson] wanted as little serious violence as possible, and those responsible for it had to be humans, not Muppets, thus proclaiming the moral superiority of felt over flesh. Muppets almost never handle guns in the film, and never shoot them. Well, okay, Bunsen fires a cannon and kills a palm tree. But that's it!"
- ↑ Jones, Brian Jay. Jim Henson: The Biography, page 33 (2013)
- ↑ Parish, James Robert. Jim Henson: Puppeteer and Filmmaker, page 14 (2006)
- ↑ Gourse, Leslie. Jim Henson: Young Puppeteer, page 58 (2000)
- ↑ Jim Henson's Red Book: Filmed 8 commercials for Kern’s Bread’
- ↑ Horn, Danny. MuppetZine: An Interview with Jerry Juhl (1996)