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Mr. Bimbo

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Bimbo
FozzieMTI
Design Team:
Kirk Thatcher • (Character Concept)
BehindTrelawney

Kevin Clash performing Squire Trelawney and Mr. Bimbo on the set of Muppet Treasure Island

Mr. Bimbo, a man who lives in the index finger of the Squire Trelawney's left hand, was featured in the film Muppet Treasure Island.

Mr. Bimbo is very smart, and has been to the moon (twice). Mr. Bimbo is the one said to be the responsible for the hiring of the pirate crew of the Hispaniola after taking the advice of the ship's cook, Long John Silver. In the film's climatic battle, Mr. Bimbo defends Trelawney by facing off against Angel Marie with his amazing swordplay abilities.

According to Squire Trelawney, Mr. Bimbo has a great singing voice (although he is never heard singing by the audience, nor anyone else aside from the Squire). Mr. Bimbo only communicates privately to the Squire; no one else (including the audience) ever hears his voice, nor can they see him.

This causes many to doubt his existence altogether, believing Mr. Bimbo to be nothing more than a concoction of the half-witted bear's imagination. For example, when Rizzo the Rat first hears of Mr. Bimbo, he mutters, "I smell a bozo."

It is never fully clear in the film if Mr. Bimbo is a real being or just an idea in the mind of a crazy bear; however, in the audio commentary found on the 2003 DVD release of the film, director Brian Henson referred to Mr. Bimbo as "an imaginary friend".

Behind the Scenes

The idea for the character came from Kirk Thatcher in a writing session for the film. He thought it would be funny to have Fozzie play the character of Squire Trelawney as a somewhat crazy dimwit who thinks there is a man living in his finger.

Mr. Bimbo and the Squire were both being controlled by the same performer -- either by Fozzie's regular performer Frank Oz, or (as with most of Oz's characters in a majority of Muppet Treasure Island's scenes) performed by Kevin Clash, with the Squire's vocal lines dubbed by Oz later on. The puppeteer's right hand manipulated the Squire's head, and his left hand controlled the Squire's left hand (including the finger that housed Mr. Bimbo). The Squire's right hand was performed by a second assisting puppeteer.

Muppet Treasure Island writer Jerry Juhl commented on Mr. Bimbo in an interview on Muppet Central:

I thought it was lucky when Kirk Thatcher came up with the idea of Mr. Bimbo for Fozzie, having this running gag with a character living in Fozzie's finger... it was Fozzie playing a loon. When Frank Oz came in for the first read-through, he was coming off of other projects, so it was almost a cold reading for him. He just had a chance to briefly skim it over before we started. And, at first he was just incredulous: "Uh... uh... Fozzie really has this character in his finger?" and we said, "Yeeeah." It took him a long time to warm up to it, but in the end he loved it. It takes a while to sink in! But [Frank] ended up suggesting more places on set to add bits with Mr. Bimbo. [1]

Director Brian Henson also talked about the character in the commentary on the 2003 DVD:

Frank said "this joke would never work -- it's so stupid that there's a Mr. Bimbo in his finger". He used to say, "I don't even get it, it's such a stupid joke." And then he sort of reluctantly shot these scenes with Fozzie, and at the end, he said, "one of my favorite jokes is Mr. Bimbo in the finger".

Notes

See also

Sources

  1. Juhl, Jerry. Written in Foam. Muppet Central. July 24, 1998

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