James and I spent another lovely Saturday afternoon at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Gosh, I love that place. Currently, the museum is featuring some fantastic World’s Fair footage and a very extensive Chuck Jones exhibit with all kinds of great cartoons I haven’t seen in ages. (I was reminded how little I know about other animators compared to Disney animators. I need to work on this.)
As an added bonus, Craig Shemin, President of the Jim Henson Legacy and author of the great Muppets Character Encyclopedia, hosted a double whammy of a Muppet feature. Two classic TV specials — Muppets Go Hollywood (1979) and The Muppets Go to the Movies (1981) — were showcased; they were created to celebrate the releases of The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, respectively.
I wish these had been released beyond television because they were so much fun to watch.
Kermit hanging out with Dick Van Dyke and Rita Moreno? The Muppets spoofing some of the greatest movie classics and killing it? So many of these moments made me long for similar specials to be created today. Let’s build excitement for the new films and invite the most glam celebrities around. Wouldn’t you like to see Muppets singing and dancing with some of the most renowned stars? It’s crazy how different promotion is these days. If this past year’s Lady Gaga holiday special was any clue, I’m not sure the Muppets would ever be put in a position to headline their own special. I’m not sure why this is, exactly. Lack of interest? Less TV slots? Or perhaps one of the many ways TV has changed? Who knows?
(Apparently, The Muppets Go to the Movies was released in Israel on DVD. How does that even happen?)
Two things about The Muppets Go to the Movies: 1) How much Scooter was used in the skits — so lovely to see him multiple times 2) A lovely tribute to The Wizard of Oz that made me cringe when thinking of the actual Muppet version that was made a few years ago. The entire special was so clever and entertaining (and more like an episode of The Muppet Show, compared to the Hollywood show).
I’ve probably exhausted my thoughts on this by now but it would be so nice to see the Muppets in more ventures than their next full-length feature.
Also, there’s absolutely no excuse for Disney’s Hollywood Studios to not use a Muppety version of “Hooray for Hollywood” in some capacity at the park because the Muppets sang it many, many times in The Muppets Go Hollywood.