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Johnny Fiama

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Performer:
JohnnyFiama
Design Team:
Ed Eyth • (design)
Jane Gootnick • (builder)
Johnny-OZ

Johnny in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.

Johnnyfiamasketchandpuppet

The original puppet design by Ed Eyth, 1995.

Johnny and sal

Johnny and Sal

Johnny Fiama’s first appearance was a cameo role in Muppets Tonight episode 103. His most recent appearances include The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, the web series Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, and the "Bohemian Rhapsody" video. He portrayed the role of Prince John in the Muppet Robin Hood comic books.

He is a crooner who sings in the style of entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and of course, Tony Bennet, with whom he duetted in Muppets Tonight Episode 106. His bodyguard is Sal Minella, a hot-tempered monkey who often attacks whoever he thinks is in the way of Johnny Fiama. Johnny Fiama also lives with his Mother. In addition to singing, Johnny Fiama hosted his own segment on Muppets Tonight, "The Johnny Fiama Show".

Notable Moments

In a few episodes of Muppets Tonight, Johnny Fiama has promoted things that he was involved with. One of these was an album, "Johnny, We Hardly Heard You" (in episode 105), and his own theater resturaunt, "Johnny's Pasta Playhouse" (in episode 208).

In Episode 104, Johnny decided to do something special to celebrate "The year of the chick". He decides to have a romantic dinner with a woman from the audience. But Sal messes up- he picks a woman who doesn't like Johnny's music. Johnny suggests they have veal- the meat of love- for dinner, but Clarissa refuses. Johnny starts to sing her a love song, but she storms off- Sal eats the veal and Johnny sings to him instead.

In episode 105, Cupid inadvertently shot Sal with an arrow, which made him fall in love with Johnny Fiama. By the end of the episode, Cupid was able to break the spell.

In episode 106, it was revealed that Johnny was a HUGE fan of Tony Bennett, and had a large collection of Tony Bennett items, including an automatic Tony Bennett robot that looked very realistic. Tony Bennet appeared on "The Johnny Fiama Show". He intended to sing with Johnny, but Johnny was so nervous he fainted. Sal comes up with a clever scheme- he removes the Tony Bennet Robot from its case and the real Tony stands in its place. When Johnny switches on the machine, he finds himself singing "Shakin' The Blues Away" with the man himself.

In episode 212, Johnny Fiama got so upset with his mother that he moved out of the house and into the KMUP-TV station. However, by the end of the episode, he forgave her, and moved back in.

Later appearances

Johnny Fiama and his sidekick, Sal, are two of the few characters introduced on Muppets Tonight that continue to be used as major characters in new Muppet productions. One of Johnny Fiama's most notable post-Muppets Tonight appearances was in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, where, in the world where Kermit the Frog was never born, it is revealed that he would have been a bartender for Rachel Bitterman.

In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, he served the Wicked Witch of the West, and seemed to have a romantic relationship with her.

Trivia

Johnny's name is based on the Italian word for 'flame', which is normally spelled with two 'm's but is spelled with one in his name to make it an anagram for 'Mafia.' The two 'm' version was preferred by the writers of Muppets Tonight and some props were made with this spelling. Performer Barretta stuck to his guns on the shorter spelling, and this serves as the most popular spelling used to this day. In numerous interviews, Bill Barretta has said that Johnny is based on the personalities of his father and grandfather. The character was first created in 1993 for a mockumentary film titled The Last Swing. [1][2][3][4] In it, Bill and Gene Barretta play the Fiama Brothers, Johnny and Frankie, during their final concert performance. Johnny and Frankie returned in 1998 for The Fiama Brothers Play Fargo, in which the two prepare to do a performance of Fiddler on the Roof. [5][6] Both films can be viewed on YouTube.

During an appearance on Family Feud, Johnny mentioned that he was from Camden, New Jersey, and during an interview with Larry King, Johnny told the story of how he met Sal eating ice cream from a freezer bin in a Kresge's grocery store.

Filmography

Book Appearances

Character Merchandise

Palisades Toys produced a Johnny Fiama Action Figure, with several repaints. A ceramic Johnny Fiama figurine was produced in France, as part of a series of Muppet fèves.

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