| CHARACTERS • HOME VIDEO|
SOUNDTRACK • MORE
|Released||July 13, 1984|
|Written by||Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses, & Frank Oz|
|Music|| Jeff Moss (songs)|
Ralph Burns (score)
The Muppets Take Manhattan is the third in a series of feature films starring the Muppets. It was the first film solely directed by Frank Oz, who also performs Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and Animal in the film.
The film introduced the Muppet Babies (toddler versions of the Muppet characters in a flashback/dream sequence). The Muppet Babies later received their own Saturday morning cartoon, which aired from 1984 to 1992.
As the film opens, Kermit the Frog and ten of his friends are graduating from Danhurst College and are performing in a variety show on campus. Instead of splitting up and going their separate ways after graduation, the gang decides to try to take their act to New York and try to make it on Broadway. Kermit and the others are so confident in the show that they anticipate becoming instant stars, but as the months pass and their funds run dry, they are forced to go their separate ways and find jobs. Kermit remains in New York and gets a job at a local diner, befriending the owner, Pete (Louis Zorich), and his daughter Jenny (Juliana Donald) who works there as a waitress.
Complications arise in the form of unsavory jobs for Kermit's friends (Scooter becomes an usher at a movie theater; Rowlf runs the desk at a dog kennel), a jealous Miss Piggy who remains behind to keep an eye on Kermit and Jenny, and Kermit's additional failed attempts to break into stardom. After finally finding a producer who is willing to fund the show, however, Kermit is so excited that he unknowingly steps into the path of an oncoming vehicle and is knocked unconscious. He awakens with no memory of name, friends, or past, decides his name is Phillip Phil, and eventually falls in with a group of fellow frogs who write ad campaign slogans.
After Kermit's companions are reunited in New York (along with the many friends they've each met along the way), despite the fact that Kermit is missing, they decide the best thing to do is to go on with the show in his honor. After the amnesiac Kermit visits the diner and his friends recognize him, they recover him and Miss Piggy manages to knock him back to his senses. The show is a tremendous hit and, during the finale, Miss Piggy and Kermit are joined together in marriage.
- The teaser trailer for the film was composed entirely of footage created independently of the film. A breathless announcer describes the excitement and spectacle of Broadway, and the many hopefuls who come to New York seeking stardom. Kermit and Miss Piggy only appear briefly at the end of the trailer.
- The film's title references the 1925 song "Manhattan," by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, with its lyric "I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island too." The Muppets popularized the phrase "Take Manhattan" as a title, which other films and TV series have used since.
- Instead of being traditional hand puppets, the tiny rats are controlled with rods to operate their heads and mouths.
- As was done with The Great Muppet Caper, Miss Piggy had a human "stunt double," who was used in the long shots during the roller skating sequence.
- Baby Rowlf can be seen "operating" on a plush Big Bird toy during the Muppet Babies dream sequence, which appears to be the Big Bird Talking Plush toy made in 1980 by Child Guidance.
- The only Muppet Babies who appear in this film are Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, Baby Fozzie, Baby Gonzo, Baby Scooter, and Baby Rowlf. Baby Animal and Baby Skeeter weren't introduced until Muppet Babies.
- Two of the cages in the dog kennel are labeled "Jim" and "Frank."
- The soundtrack to this movie is the only theatrical Muppet movie soundtrack to have never been available on CD. However, three songs from the film were released on Music, Mayhem and More!.
- Both storybook and comic book adaptations include some scenes that weren't in the movie, possibly indicating that some scenes were deleted from the film. Scenes in both of these include a sequence where Statler and Waldorf attempt to cure Kermit's amnesia, and a scene where Gonzo told Kermit that the minister at the wedding was a real minister. Both of these books also reference Beauregard taking The Electric Mayhem to New York.
- During the scene where the Muppets try to get Kermit's memory back, Animal, Floyd, Janice, and Dr. Teeth can be seen in the dressing room during the first shot, but a few seconds later, the orchestra starts playing the music, and they are all seen as part of the orchestra, and out of the dressing room.
- Composer Jeff Moss was nominated for an Academy Award in 1985 for The Muppets Take Manhattan in the category Best Music, Original Song Score. The Oscar went to Prince for "Purple Rain."
- A cameo for Dustin Hoffman as a producer was written, but Hoffman decided not to do it at the last minute.
- Approximately 175 people as extras and a handful that were puppeteers performed during the wedding finale sequence. The crowd sequence took one day to film.
- There was a deleted scene in which two little people stayed in lockers by the Muppets.
- Although he appeared in The Great Muppet Caper, this film marks the first major role for Rizzo the Rat in a Muppet movie.
- The wedding finale features many of Kermit's Sesame Street friends, although only Bert, Ernie, and Cookie Monster have speaking roles.
- Speaking on the film's MPAA rating, Jim Henson said, "There have been only four G movies this year. Isn't that amazing? I would never do a Muppet movie that wasn't a G. It's said that the G rating has a stigma. Kids don't want to see kiddie movies anymore."
The film was originally released by Tri-Star Pictures. Unlike the films that preceded it (The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Dark Crystal), this film was not produced by ITC, so the rights did not eventually go back to the Henson company. The movie was, like the previous Henson films, first released on video by CBS/ Fox Home Video (in 1985 and again in 1991), and has been re-released several times on VHS and DVD by Columbia TriStar. Disney does not currently have the rights to release this film.
- The 1999 video release has a number of audio edits. The music played during the "Tristar Pictures" logo sequence is omitted, as are a few times when Animal yells "Bad man!" at Dabney Coleman. The 2001 DVD and Blu-ray releases don't have these edits.
- When the film aired on The Hub, the Muppets bowing down after the Together Again number, the scene with Joan Rivers and the "Rat Scat (Something's Cookin')" number are edited out. When it aired on ABC Family in January 2014, only the former two scenes were cut.
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (video)
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (soundtrack)
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (book and audio)
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (comic book)
- Muppet Performers
- Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Steve Whitmire, Kathryn Mullen, Karen Prell, Brian Muehl, Bruce Edward Hall, James J. Kroupa, David Rudman, Melissa Whitmire, Michael Earl Davis, Glenngo King, Tim DeHaas, Cheryl Bartholow, Jim Martin, Martin P. Robinson; Uncredited puppeteers: Peter Baird, Cheryl Blaylock, Wayne Martin, Bill Myer, Thomas Sanford, Gabriel Velez
- Human Cast
- Juliana Donald as Jenny
- Louis Zorich as Pete
- Lonny Price as Ronnie Crawford
- Steve Burnett as College Student
- Mary Lou Harris as College Student
- Gates McFadden as Mr. Price's Secretary
- Joanne Hamlin as Woman in Price's Office
- Hector Troy as First Cop
- Norman Bush as Second Cop
- Nancy Kirsch as Screaming Woman
- Alice Spivak as Customer in Pete's
- John Bentley as Train Conductor
- Dorothy Baxter as Elevator Passenger
- Stephen Sherrard Hicks as Elevator Passenger
- Susan Miller-Kovens as Elevator Passenger
- John Maguire as Elevator Passenger
- Sinead Maguire as Elevator Passenger
- Trisha Noel as Elevator Passenger
- Ron Foster as Man in Winesop's Office
- Michael Hirsch as Man in Winesop's Office
- Vic Polizos as Construction Worker
- Kenneth MacGregor as Construction Worker
- Chet Washington as Construction Worker
- Graham Brown as Mr. Wrightson
- James Bryson as Customer in Pete's
- Chico Kasinoir as Customer in Pete's
- Viola Borden as Bingo Caller
- Paul Stolarsky as Aquacade Announcer
- Maree Dow as Woman in Bleachers
- Michael Connolly as Maitre d' at Sardi's
- Wade Barnes as Customer at Sardi's
- Ruth Burton as Customer at Sardi's
- Lee-Ann Carr as Customer at Sardi's
- Richard Dubois as Customer at Sardi's
- Diana Hayes as Customer at Sardi's
- Jane Hunt as Customer at Sardi's
- Jaqueline Page as Customer at Sardi's
- Harriet Rawlins as Customer at Sardi's
- Milton Seaman as Customer at Sardi's
- Gary Tacon as Thief in Central Park
- Joe Jamrog as Cop in Central Park
- Mark Marrone as Chauffeur
- Dr. Cyril Jenkins as the Minister
- Cameo Guest Stars
- Art Carney as Bernard Crawford
- James Coco as Mr. Skeffington
- Dabney Coleman as Martin Price
- Gregory Hines as Roller Skater
- Linda Lavin as Doctor
- Joan Rivers as Eileen
- Elliott Gould as Cop
- Liza Minnelli as Herself
- Brooke Shields as Customer at Pete's
- Frances Bergen as Leonard Winesop's Receptionist
- Ed Koch as Himself
- John Landis as Leonard Winesop
- Vincent Sardi as Himself
- Muppet Cameos
- David Lazer as Customer at Sardi's
- Heather Henson as Girl serving drinks at beer hall
- Martin P. Robinson as College student in audience
- Steve Whitmire as College student in audience
- Muppet Characters
- Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Scooter, Gonzo, Rowlf, Animal, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot, Rizzo the Rat, Camilla, Statler and Waldorf, The Swedish Chef, Lew Zealand, Tatooey Rat, Yolanda Rat, Masterson Rat, Chester Rat, Beth Bear, Bill, Gil, Jill, Muppy, Bears, Dogs, Chickens, Penguins, Beaker, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beauregard
- Muppet Babies
- Muppet Characters (in alphabetical order)
- Animal, Agnes Stonewick, Baby Band, Baskerville the Hound, Beaker, Bears, Beauregard, Bert, Beth Bear, Biff, Big Bird, Bill, Bobby Benson, Bubba, Bunsen Honeydew, Buster the Horse, Camilla, Chester Rat, Clementine, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, Crazy Harry, Deena, Dinger, Dr. Teeth, Droop, Elmo, Ernie, Fazoobs, Female Koozebanian Creature, Flower-Eating Monster, Floyd Pepper, Foo Foo, Forcryingoutloud Bird, Forgetful Jones, Fozzie Bear, Gaffer, George the Janitor, Geri and the Atrics, Gil, Gonzo, Gramps, Grover, Grundgetta, Guy Smiley, Herry Monster, Hilda, Mr. Honker, Honkers, Juliet, Irvine, Janice, Slim Wilson, Jill, J.P. Grosse, Julius Strangepork, Lew Zealand, Lewis Kazagger, Link Hogthrob, Lips, Lothar, Lou, Lubbock Lou, Luncheon Counter Monster, Mahna Mahna, Male Koozebanian Creature, Marvin Suggs, Masterson Rat, Maurice Monster, Mildred, Mrs. Appleby, Newsman, Oscar the Grouch, Pearl, Penguins, Pigs, Pops, Quongo, Rizzo the Rat, Robin the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Sam the Eagle, Scooter, Sherlock Hemlock, Simon Soundman, Slim Wilson, The Snowths, Sully, The Swedish Chef, Tatooey Rat, Telly Monster, Two-Headed Monster, Uncle Deadly, Uncle Traveling Matt, Whaddayasay Bird, The White Rabbit, Yolanda Rat, Zeke, Zoot
- Executive Producer: Jim Henson
- Producer: David Lazer
- Cinematography: Robert Paynter, B.S.C.
- Production designer: Stephen Hendrickson
- Costume Design: Karen Roston, Calista Hendrickson, Polly Smith
- Special consultant: David Misch
- Choreographer: Chris Chadman
- Muppet Design & Construction: Caroly Wilcox, Tim Miller, Edward C. Christie, Jan Rosenthal, Fred Buchholz, Marian Keating, Bob Flanagan, Maria McNamara, Janet Delvoye, Lauren Antinello, Robin Kusten, Cheryl Blalock, Jody Schoffner, Richard Termine, Jerry Gum, Norman Tempia, Constance Peterson
- Muppet Special Effects: Faz Fazakas, Tom Newby, Leigh Donaldson, Brian Henson, Larry Jameson, Dick Loveless
- Rats kitchen number staged by Jim Henson
- Muppet costume construction: Muriel Stockdale, Joanne Green, Tom Keller, Carol Spier
- Studio coordinator: Rollin Krewson
- Muppet rigging coordinator: Jane Gootnick
- Design consultant: Michael K. Frith
- Workshop coordinator: Will Morrison
- Assistant to Miss Piggy: Barbara Davis
- Muppet Prop Coordinator: Faye Kreinberg
- Miss Piggy's Hairstyles: Christine Cooper
- Assistant to the Producer: Ritamarie Peruggi
- ↑ Misch, David Tough Pigs interview with David Misch
- ↑ Cincinnati Magazine: Showbiz: Of Muppets and Puppets
- ↑ “A Conversation with Frank Oz” at the Museum of Moving Images, recounted at http://www.toughpigs.com/recap-frank-oz/
- ↑ The Sun, Vancouver B.C., page B9, July 10, 1984, from Baltimore Evening Sun