1980 World Puppetry Festival promo01:03

1980 World Puppetry Festival promo

10, 20, and 30 second TV spots.

The 1980 World Puppetry Festival was held between June 8th and 16th as a joint venture of the Union Internationale de la Marionette (UNIMA) and the Puppeteers of America. Jim Henson helped organize the week-long event which was primarily held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.[1] and Georgetown University.[2] The festival was attended by 2,000 puppeteers and helped gain attention to puppetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent agency of the United States federal government.[2]

To promote the festival, Statler and Waldorf appeared in a series of TV spots from their box in the Muppet Theatre. Two of them end with Statler stating that he hates puppets.

A stage performance featuring Henson and the Muppets with several other famous puppeteers was taped for PBS and aired as Here Come the Puppets!. The special retained only a few of the Muppets' segments.

The Smithsonian Institute participated by curating a long-term puppet exhibit initiated by donations such as Edgar Bergen's Charlie McCarthy and Jim Henson's Kermit the Frog.[1]

Performance

The Muppets' segment begins with Sweetums wheeling in a large TV set, from which Fozzie Bear and Kermit the Frog appear and come to terms with their own existence.

The Muppet birds then perform a limbo routine, featuring Fletcher Bird, Betsy Bird and Big Bird.

Ernie and Bert appear in the TV set. Bert complains about their hotel situation - Ernie gets the nice, big bet, leaving Bert with the cot and exiling Bernice to the windowsill. Ernie agrees to let Bernice sleep in the bed and he'll take the cot, then tells Bert he'll love the windowsill!

Following a routine involving some birds and the Green Gazelles, the Muppets perform their classic "Java." Then, the Clodhoppers do their dance routine.

Kermit and Miss Piggy appear for a bit, then segue to Oscar the Grouch singing "I Love Trash" as Bruno the Trashman rollerskates around the stage.

At the end of the performance, Oscar and Bruno are joined by Sweetums, The Bossmen, some Muppet Birds, Doglion Beast, Mean Mama, Fletcher Bird, Betsy Bird and many other assorted large Muppets as Sweetums brings out Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Caroll Spinney.

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 Jim Henson's Red Book 5/31/1975 – ‘Ernie and Bert open at the Smithsonian in exhibit “We the People”.’
  2. 2.0 2.1 American Puppetry: Collections, History and Performance edited by Phyllis T. Dircks, published by McFarland, 2004

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