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Rowlf Learns Karate (transcript)

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Jimmydeantitle

What follows is a transcript of a 1964 sketch from The Jimmy Dean Show. This sketch is an example of the weekly chemistry between Rowlf and Jimmy Dean that paved the way for the further development of Rowlf's character. The skit also showcases some of Jerry Juhl's early skit writing for the Muppets - full of gags, jokes and puns.

Jim Henson was known for stealing the scene, and Jimmy Dean was forced to come along for the ride. In this example, Henson successfully gets Dean to break his composure towards the end of the skit, when Rowlf reacts to Jimmy's impromptu hit on the head. Jimmy suggests that this wasn't uncommon for Rowlf, asking, "You gonna start this again this week, aren't you?"


Jimmy We have some more serious business coming up, because anything that my old buddy Rowlf is concerned with is always serious business. Rowlf, where are you?
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Rowlf pokes his head up from behind a fence. He looks around and starts giving the air karate chops.
Rowlf Anybody wanna try a little karate? You're looking at the greatest karate fighter alive.
Rowlf continues to give more karate chops.
Rowlf Take that! And here's one in your shin bone... one on your left nostril... and here's the killer... right across the belly button.
Jimmy enters, and taps Rowlf on the shoulder.
Jimmy Hey there.
Rowlf alertly takes a defensive pose.
Rowlf Whoa! Watch it, Jimbo, you almost got yourself killed.
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Jimmy What are you doing?
Rowlf I'm practicing some karate, Jimmy. You see, there's this big bulldog in my neighborhood who's always picking on me, see? So I'm learning self-defense.
Jimmy Really?
Rowlf Yeah. Hey look, look -- you hold this, see?
Rowlf hands Jimmy a board.
Rowlf Hold this -- and using karate, I will break that into two pieces with my bare hand.
Jimmy Rowlf, this is a two-inch board, buddy.
Rowlf That is nothing for a karate fighter. Watch this.
Rowlf lines up his chop.
Rowlf A-one... A-two... A-three!
Rowlf hits the board -- and pulls his hand back, groaning in pain.
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Jimmy Rowlf, you didn't break the board.
Rowlf So what? How often do you fight a piece of wood?
Jimmy drops the board to the ground.
Rowlf Litterbug.
Jimmy Look, this much I know about karate: If you use one of those chops, you gotta have the karate grunt.
Rowlf The karate grunt?
Jimmy Yeah, you know. You know, "aaghh!" "uughh!" "eehh!"
Jimmy does karate chops in the air as he grunts.
Rowlf Don't look now, folks, Jimmy has a new hit record called "Big Bad 'huhh!'". If you don't like it, you can give a "huhh!" right across the living room.
Jimmy Rowlf, would you quit fooling around, and tell me about the dog.
Rowlf It's a bulldog, Jimmy, named Bobby. Always pushing me around and picking fights. Why, twice a day I get a sock in the eye.
Jimmy You get a sock in the eye twice a day from Bobby?
Rowlf Mmm. Yeah.
Jimmy Well you ought to get a new pair of shoes to go with that pair of Bobby socks. You get it... socks from Bobby. Uh um... forget it.
Rowlf Friends, do your share. Help stamp out tall skinny singers.
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Jimmy This I want you to know, I'm sorry about that last one. This I want you to know, I don't approve of violence, Rowlf.
Rowlf You don't.
Jimmy I have a suggestion for you. The next time that Bobby picks a fight, don't fight. Just turn the other cheek.
Rowlf I tried that.
Jimmy Yes, and you went home with a happy heart, right?
Rowlf No, I went home with a lumpy cheek.
Jimmy Rowlf, in the first place, forget it. Don't tackle with that bulldog. You'll never make it, you're too flabby.
Rowlf Where? That's not flab back there. I've got a tiger in my tank. Look, look, just to prove how strong I am, I'll challenge you to Indian wrestling. Come on, one for the championship!
Jimmy You're gonna Indian wrestle me?
Rowlf Sure. Yeah.
Jimmy and Rowlf grasp hands for an arm wrestling match.
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Jimmy Ready?
Rowlf Ready!
Jimmy quickly and effortlessly beats Rowlf.
Rowlf Two out of three! Two out of three! For the championship!
Jimmy Oh, come on, Rowlf, look...
Rowlf Come on!
Jimmy All right. Ready?
Rowlf Ready!
Jimmy quickly and effortlessly beats Rowlf again.
Rowlf Three out of five! Come on, three out of five, Jimmy!
Rowlf, still gripping Jimmy's hand, continues trying to bend it over while Jimmy addresses the audience. Rowlf grunts and puts his whole body into it.
Jimmy Look, I've already shown him half a dozen times that he'll never be able to do it. He done tried to put it down three or four times, and he's flabby and he's weak. And that's all there is.
At this point Rowlf is using both hands to try to beat Jimmy, who hasn't even noticed his efforts.
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Jimmy Ready?
Rowlf Hmmmm!? Yeah, yeah, I'm ready! I'm ready! Okay!
Jimmy quickly and effortlessly beats Rowlf yet again.
Rowlf Six hundred out of a thousand?
Jimmy Look, Rowlf, why don't you just give up? That's no way to settle things. Believe me. Violence is not the solution. Hey, got an idea.
Rowlf What's that?
Jimmy Got an idea, the next time that Bobby picks on you, tell you what to do -- just laugh. Open up your mouth and laugh.
Rowlf I tried that.
Jimmy And you went home with a fearless heart, right?
Rowlf I went home with a toothless mouth... and a lumpy cheek. Wait, I know, I know! I'll take care of Bobby with judo.
Jimmy You know Japanese judo?
Rowlf Ahh so... you are talking to honorable master of muscular coordination and rapid reflex. Hey, listen, listen. I got this. I will turn my back on you, and you sneak up on me and try to hit me. I'll show you.
Rowlf turns his back to Jimmy and waits.
Rowlf Go ahead, sneak up on me. Try to hit me.
Jimmy I'm, I'm liable to hurt you, Rowlf.
Rowlf Hurt me? Ocka hiawaka fanaba -- or, as you Americans say... Fat chance.
Rowlf turns his back to Jimmy again.
Karate 0007
Rowlf Go ahead, try to hit me.
Jimmy hits Rowlf on the top of his head and Rowlf falls down.
Rowlf Ooo, hi-ya hi-ya coo-coo oui oui hi-ya coma oo-ya.
Jimmy What does that mean?
Rowlf There were six of them, officer, and they dropped a truck on my head.
Jimmy That proves it. You don't know karate. You don't know judo. You don't know... just give up!
Rowlf Oh, don't worry, Jimbo. Don't worry. When everything else fails, I still got my secret weapon.
Jimmy Your secret weapon?
Rowlf Yeah... grrrrr...
Rowlf aggressively bites Jimmy's arm.
Jimmy All right, that's good!
Rowlf Yeah! See, that bulldog won't bother me anymore.
Jimmy No, sir. Now, that's the way to take care of him.
Rowlf Him? This isn't a him dog, this is a her dog.
Jimmy "Bobby" is a girl dog?
Rowlf Sure -- Bobbie, short for Barbara. But she won't pick on me when I take care of her like this...
Rowlf aggressively bites Jimmy in the arm again.
Jimmy No! Rowlf, you can't do that.
Rowlf I can't?
Jimmy You don't go around bitin' girls.
Rowlf This cowboy's been hanging around horses too long.
Jimmy (laughs) What I mean is this...
Rowlf What?
Jimmy That -- (chuckles) -- if you're having trouble with girls, you don't act tough, Rowlf.
Rowlf No?
Jimmy No, you act sweet and nice. You romance her.
Rowlf You are right. You're right, Jimbo. I will act gentle and suave.
Jimmy Good, good.
Rowlf I will hold her hand.
Jimmy Marvelous.
Rowlf And I will whisper sweet nothings... and then I'll bite her!
Rowlf aggressively bites Jimmy in the arm for a third time.
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Jimmy Let... go... of... that!
Jimmy beats Rowlf on the head to get him off.
Rowlf Hm, I've been struck.
Rowlf rubs his head in pain. Jimmy laughs.
Jimmy That was a dirty ad-lib, wasn't it? Now wait, wait. Will you listen to me?
Rowlf is still holding his head in pain.
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Rowlf Oh... Hmm?
Jimmy continues to laugh. He reaches over and rips Rowlf's hand off his head.
Rowlf Sorry.
Jimmy All right, now will you listen to me just a minute?
Rowlf What, what is it?
Jimmy You gonna start again this week, aren't you, huh? Listen to me. The next time, the next time that Bobbie comes around, then you got to kind of snuggle up to her, you see? Get a little bit cozy, and then you say...
Music cues up and Jimmy and Rowlf start into a duet of "She'll Never See Any Dog Like Me".
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