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Zoot

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Performer:
Zootplayingup
Design Team:
Bonnie Erickson • (designer)
Dave Goelz • (builder)
Zoot

Zoot, as seen in Season 1

Zoot and Rowlf

Zoot and Rowlf in The Muppets.

Zoot is the balding, blue-haired saxophone player for the Electric Mayhem. According to his performer and builder Dave Goelz, "Zoot is just a fifty-year-old burnt-out musician."[1]

Zoot first appeared with his bandmates in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence before securing a regular gig on The Muppet Show, where he played both in the Muppet Orchestra and with the Mayhem. He has also appeared in every Muppet movie, the most recent being Muppets Most Wanted, except Kermit's Swamp Years.

One of Zoot's trademarks is blowing small notes of music at a time. He notably blew the final note of "The Muppet Show Theme" in the closing credits on every episode of The Muppet Show (except episode 123), The Muppets Go Hollywood, and The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years. Although most of his appearances were with the Electric Mayhem, Zoot was more prominently featured as an individual in the early episodes, appearing with Juliet Prowse in a blackout in episode 101, and playing a reluctant duet with Mahna Mahna in "Sax and Violence" in episode 102.

Zoot was considerably more talkative during the show's first season, but he soon started speaking less, often expressing himself purely with music. Dave Goelz explained that "I found that when the writers gave Zoot lines to speak, I would always try to give them away to other characters, because I didn't know what to do with him. Maybe that helped to define the character. Perhaps it's best that he's so non-verbal."[2] Thus, Zoot's proclivity towards speaking more in the earlier episodes may have been due to the fact that Jerry Nelson, who played Zoot's more animated bandmate Floyd, was not available for tapings of The Muppet Show's first episodes.

Personal Life

Zoot-menorah

Lighting a Menorah in A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa

Zootplayingdown

Is Zoot Jewish?

It is likely that Zoot is Jewish. Hints at this possibility are in A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, where Zoot wishes Kermit a happy Hanukkah when he and the rest of the Electric Mayhem arrive at the Christmas party, and in the extended DVD release, where Zoot lights a Menorah.

Is Zoot Homeless?

Several Muppet Show episodes mention how poor he is. Close to the ending of the "Bohemian Rhapsody" [Kermit's Commentary] video, Kermit finds Zoot in the phone booth. Kermit says he didn't hear him come in. Zoot replies,"Come in? I've been sleeping here for three months." Additionally, although Zoot has had about 8 outfits he's worn the most, in The Great Muppet Caper it is revealed that he has only one pair of pants. Zoot also wore the same pair of shades until 2009 (when he started donning more modern shades). The only deviations from his original trademark shades were in Muppet Treasure Island and The Muppet Christmas Carol, where his look was adjusted to fit the time period.

Behind the Scenes

Evolution

Throughout the years, the Zoot puppet has been redesigned several times, his skin changing from gray to blue to green, the texture from exposed foam to fleece and back again, and his nose from green to yellow. Zoot's trademark shades (up until 2009), his bald spot, and his long, blue hair have always stayed with him, though. See Zoot Through the Years to track his changes.

Sax playing

For the run of The Muppet Show, Zoot's musical "voice" was Frank Reedy. For The Muppet Movie, sax player David Garland performed the duties.

Trivia

Filmography

Minuet

Performing with the Electric Mayhem on The Muppet Show

TMS516-13

Zoot's sax solo for "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"

MCC-Screengrabs-EM05-a

Zoot playing the violin in The Muppet Christmas Carol

ZootS3Credits

Performing in the closing theme

Zoot dapper

Book appearances

Merchandise

Sources

  1. Of Muppets and Men
  2. Of Muppets and Men

See also

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