Featured

Muppet True or False(Update Video Added)

Welcome to our first segment series on The Muppet Movement, simply titled ‘Muppet True or False’. In this series, we will try and tackle all of the rumors, questions and mysteries that have bothered Muppet fans for ages! If you have a rumor, questions or mystery you would like answered, please e-mail us at themuppetmovement@gmail.com

Our first topic is one that has been going on for quite some time, and I feel this issue finally needs to be addressed and the rumor needs to be put to rest.

Many of you have probably seen or heard something on either Facebook or YouTube saying that the classic Muppet Show Muppets are in the very early stages of a new movie simply titled “The Muppets Take Broadway”.

Here is a link to the site that has caused some confusion for Muppet fans.latest

http://ideas.wikia.com/wiki/Muppets_on_Broadway_(2017)

Now, please keep in mind where this information is coming from. This is coming off of a website made by fans and is basically a place where people can post their ideas for movies and things. If that was not evidence enough, there are other things within this post that will also prove that this is just a well written fan fiction or ‘fan-fic’ .

The article mentions how the Jim Henson Company is going to produce this new film. This is FALSE. The reason this is not true is because Henson has not co-produced or even produced anything with the Muppets since 2005 with “Muppets Wizard of Oz”250px-Woz-poster001sm

The second, and last non-truth, is that characters from other Muppet properties like Sesame Street & Fraggle Rock would also make an appearance in the movie. This is also not true because with the exception of some live-events all of these characters have not been together since the 1990 TV special The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson.  Due largely to the fact that each property is now separately owned.the-muppets-celebrate-jim-henson-02

So in conclusion if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. However if you still have questions please feel free to reach out to us.

UPDATE: Here is the video which states this rumor as fact.

 

We also had one of our Facebook fans ask us a question!

Kiki Willows asked: I’ve been trying to find out forever if Jim Henson ever actually played banjo or piano. Maybe it’s an obvious answer and I’ve just been unlucky in finding it, but I’ve never heard if he could one way or the other.

This is a great question, and our friend Steve Swanson of the MuppetCast gave a wonderful answer: I wouldn’t call myself an authoritative source, but I seem to recall in my interviews with people that Jim could meddle around on the keys a little, but didn’t really play piano, and hardly played anything else like guitar or banjo. Hope that’s helpful.

Thanks Steve and Kiki!

Well that’s all for this eddition of Muppet True or False, we hope you enjoyed!

Fan Video: Muppets, Alive A Toy Story

Now for something fun, silly, and has nothing to do with the current issues with The Muppets. We recently recived an E-mail from one of our visitors named Philip DAmour. He and his wife made a very cute little video for their daughter who loves the Muppets! According to Phillip she loved the video, but was upset somone else was eating her cookies.

If you would like for us to share a video you have made please feel free to send itHere

We hope you enjoy the video as much as we do!

Thoughts on ‘Components of the Muppets’

In this several part series, we are going to take a closer look and discuss the in-depth meaning of the downloadable document on Muppet Performer Steve Whitmire’s blog called “Components of The Muppets”.

You can find Steve’s blog here

Each and every Muppet character consists of at least two differentiated and equal

components: a puppet, and a performer.”

Now this should be almost self explanatory, but this most basic of ideas on who, and what the Muppets are is of the up-most importance!

The general public did not know who Steve Whitmire was until the news of his firing from the Muppets broke last month. They also did not know that he had been Kermit The Frog’s performer for over 27 years. So when this news broke, it would be understandable for people to have the mindset of, “Oh well, he is just a voice actor, and anyone can do a good Kermit voice.”

Sadly, this mindset is not true at all because as any puppeteer at any level can tell you the voice is just a small part of what brings these characters to life. The character’s personality, their thoughts, movements and everything else comes from their performer. Each character has a little bit of their performer inside of them. They are almost one and the same; without one you don’t have the other, and vice-versa.

The simple thought that anyone can do a good Kermit voice may be true, but what about who Kermit The Frog really is? Now in a perfect world, Kermit’s original performer, and creator would still be bringing the world’s most famous frog to life. However, in 1990, Jim Henson suddenly passed away, but did select Steve Whitmire to take over performing responsibilities for Kermit. Steve has been preforming Kermit ever since, and slowly through time parts of Steve’s personality have become part of Kermit’s, but yet still staying true to Jim had created.

Why should this matter to fans of the Muppets?

The reason that fans of the Muppets should be aware of the reasoning of Steve’s dismissal is not because of Steve. It is about Kermit and all of the other characters he has ether created or inherited. Because in each one of these characters is a little bit of Steve, and that can not be easily replaced. A lot of the reasons we love Kermit is due to something Steve, or Jim have done with him to make him real. That is what separates The Muppets from cartoons, and other fictional characters. They are real, and not just because you can see or touch them, but because of what each individual performer puts into that character.

My hope for these posts is that it will shed some light on what Steve has been fighting for, and ultimately cost him his job. Because as Muppet fans this is something that we should all be concerned with.

What’s Best for The Muppets?

Since I can’t apparently drop the subject (still), I try to determine what is best for The Muppets moving onward into the future.

This post originally appeared on Just For The Halibut

I’m just going to come right out and say it.

While I’d like to try to keep this as unbiased as humanly possible, my take on this topic is heavily influenced by the two people I’ve been obsessively been studying since 2012: Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire.

Why? Because one point of view is heavily influenced by the other to the point where it is both consistent and makes a whole lot of sense….At least to me. You might disagree, which is perfectly fine, I suppose.

It’s not my place to dictate what the best options for the Muppets are, but considering the string of articles I’ve left in my wake since July, you really shouldn’t be surprised that this topic was the next on my agenda. I’m going to try to run through a few key points of discussion throughout the forums and comment sections I’ve been visiting.

Future Projects

TV appearances, convention panels, music festivals, movies, TV shows…I’ve already covered this in a previous post called, ‘The Muppets: So…What’s Next?’

No point in repeating myself when most of it is still relevant.

The Writing

There’s not a lot of study I have to do to conclude that The Muppets are in desperate need of a permanent, well-educated team of writers who are willing to work with the Muppet Performers every step of the way. Jerry Juhl truly was a Muppet treasure, knowing how to incorporate what the performers had developed within the characters with his own additions while still being relevant to the story being scripted. New Muppet writers came and went, but it was ultimately up to Jerry to keep the characters at their very best.

He is very much missed.

There are a few great mainstays these days, like Jim Lewis who has been in and around Muppet projects for quite a long time, and Kirk Thatcher who can add several writing credits to his name along with his Muppet directing gigs, but there will be a need to bring in fresh blood in the future. What I’d like to see with future writers is some sort of orientation where they are educated in Muppet knowledge beyond what they understand as fans of the franchise. The Muppets Studio may already have such a thing going on, but if that’s the case, it’s not as effective as it needs to be.

By all means, new writers should be encouraged to bring something fresh and new, but only within reason. The writers brought in for The Muppets 2015 gave a fair effort to introduce sides of the characters we had never seen before, but more often than not, they missed the mark. It feels like they were playing to the idea of ‘Muppets with adult problems’ more than they were ‘Muppets with mature mindsets’. Trust me, they are not one and the same thing!

An example provided infamously by Steve Whitmire was Episode 14, ‘Little Green Lie’ in which Kermit deliberately lies to Robin about the split with Miss Piggy in order to spare his feelings. As ecstatic as I was to see Robin again, the episode itself seemed out-of-touch to me as well. It’s not that Kermit hasn’t told ‘little green lies’ before to save his skin, or avoid general catastrophe, but here the situation just seemed wrong. Kermit has always done his best to teach his nephew how to grow to be just as a decent of a frog he himself is. If anything, it would have made more sense for Piggy to rope Kermit into it, not the other way around.

We can have the Jason Segels of the world stride on in and create something awesome with the characters, but by installing a permanent group of well-informed, co-operative scribes, Muppet productions would not only remain consistent in quality, but also ensure that the characters can remain true to themselves from project-to-project without fear of an occasional blunder.

And ah….just putting it out there, Disney…I’m right here if you ever need fresh blood! (Please?)

A Toy Box of Full of Puppets: One Muppet, One Puppeteer?

This is easily the most discussed and most controversial of all the topics floating around the fandom. Here is also where I am most influenced by Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire in turn. I personally stand by the notion that it is the responsibility of a Muppet Performer to embody the characters they created or were assigned to until they either willingly retire or pass away.

Notice my emphasis on ‘willingly’. This is important and I will be bringing it back up shortly.

But first, let’s take a look at this all-important quote from Jim Henson: The Biography, Chapter 15: So Much On A Handshake, in reference to the original Disney deal.

“Performers were crucial: he [Jim] didn’t want Disney treating puppeteers, or their puppets, interchangeably…..Jim wanted a guarantee his performers would be taken care of-and perhaps more important, that their craft be respected.

Without them, Disney was simply getting a toy box full of puppets. “

I cannot emphasise just how crucial that last line is! To Disney’s credit, after finally purchasing the Muppets in 2004, they seemed willing to listen to what the Muppet Performers had to say, but only after damning incidents like the one Steve mentions on Muppet Pundit in his post titled “Understudies”.

“Back in 2004 when Disney bought the characters, within moments of first meeting the key executive of what was then called “The Muppets Holding Company”, he enthusiastically announced his intention to have six to twelve puppeteers perform each character so that they could be all over the world at the same time…

I…WE were stunned. Characters with all the history and depth of each of the Muppets would be reduced to a list of traits that a dozen different puppeteers would be trained to execute, like little Muppet clones who never step out of line and never grow.”

Crikey, am I glad this never came to fruition! Not long after Steve’s post was published, I came across several comments which suggested that having multiple Kermits or Piggys or Gonzos would not only be a great employment opportunity for many struggling puppeteers, but would benefit the Muppets in the long run due to increased exposure around the world.

A great opportunity for puppeteers? Yes, definitely. But beneficial to the Muppets in the long run?

 Absolutely not.

If you were to have multiples of each character, you wouldn’t be getting more Muppets, you would be receiving marginally less. It’s like Steve keeps saying, the more you copy a VHS tape, the worse in quality it gets.

Or, if you want to think of it another way, it’s like having a photo-copier with a full cartridge of ink. The more something is copied, eventually the ink will start to run out and what you end up with is several faded copies of the original document.

Luckily for us all, The Muppets Studio wound up respecting the Muppet Performer’s wishes and have allowed the characters to continue to grow organically under their care. It’s crucial that this continues in due course. The Muppets’ personalities and memories depend on this practice in order to keep up the all-important consistency. Only time will tell if this practice will be allowed to continue on indefinitely without the influence of its most vocal supporter.

Speaking of whom, I would be remiss to not quickly (yet again) touch upon the events of last October. Remember that emphasis of ‘willingly’ in regards to retirement from the Muppets? Well, that was certainly not an option given to Steve Whitmire, ‘unacceptable business conduct’ or not. Based on Muppet tradition, Steve had every reason to believe that his tenure with the franchise would last until he was good and ready to find his successor. Even if he wanted to keep going til he was on his deathbed, I’m pretty sure Steve would have still at least given some kind of indication to whom he thought would proceed with Kermit and Co the most comfortably.

But alas, here we are. Disney’s not going to budge on their decision and all we can do from here is keep a close eye on future proceedings to make ensure the characters we love don’t stray too far from Jim Henson’s vision. At the end of the day, that is what is best for the Muppets: everyone remaining vigilant and cautious while maintaining tradition and keeping things fresh at the same time. Our mutual support of the Muppets, no matter what capacity we’re in, is what is going to carry them and all of us forward.

But hey, that’s my take on it. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts and feelings in the comment section below!

An Open Letter To The Walt Disney company

Dear Walt Disney Company & The Muppet Studios,

As a dedicated fan of Jim Henson and The Muppets, it has come to my attention that their integrity maybe in jeopardy. In the last few months there have been countless news articles and blog posts about the termination of long time Muppet performer Steve Whitmire. Now I have heard both sides of this story, and I’ve also tried to look at this from every possible angle. In doing so, I have come to one conclusion: If Mr. Whitmire was in fact standing up for the integrity of the characteristics of The Muppets, then his thoughts should be heard, and at least considered. Your company has a long list of enduring characters, and the reason they have withheld the test of time is because of your protection. You now own The Muppets, and as a fan I have always had high hopes for what this could mean for them, but feel that things are coming up short.

So in conclusion, I would like to sincerely ask that you would protect the Muppets. Just like you have with so many other characters.

 

All the Best,

Dwayne Fletcher

Help Make Steve A Muppet Again

This has been a crazy, and emotional week for Muppet fans. At the beginning of this week we learned that long time Muppet performer Steve Whitmire would no longer be working with the Muppets. For those who may not know who Steve is, he has created and performed Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, and Lips. In 1990 Steve took over performing duties for Kermit the Frog due to the untimely death of Jim Henson.

When this news broke many fans had many questions regarding what had happened, and more importantly was Steve well. A day after this news broke Steve started his very own blog, ‘Muppet Pundit’, which you can find here.

With this new information, fans get a small glimpse as to what Steve has been going through the last few months. As it would appear he has been in a battle with the owners of the Muppets The Walt Disney Company which bought the Muppets back in 2004.

In October of 2016 Steve received a phone call saying Kermit was going to be recast, and that another long time Muppet performer Matt Vogel would be taking his place. According to Steve, there where two unmentioned issues that Disney was having, and Steve was not allowed to have an opportunity to try and rectify the situation.

Now there are some fellow bloggers out there that will disagree with me, but I feel that as Muppet fans we cannot accept this! Steve was not just performing Kermit, but he was also trying to protect the Muppets and Jim’s legacy and vision. Now it is true that we do not know all of the reasons for Steve being let go, but if it is because he was trying to protect the Muppets and their integrity then us Muppet fans must take a stand!

As of right now, there is one way fans can take that stand. There is an online petition, and it is growing fast. You can find the petition here.

I would personally like to ask everyone to please sign this petition. Let’s let Disney know that we not only care about the Muppet characters, but also the people who work with them. Together we can make a difference!

It’s Time To Get Things Started At the Jim Henson Company

Hello Movement fans! Today we have a lot of news to share, and it’s all about up-coming productions from The Jim Henson Company. The two productions we will be talking about have been in the works for quite some time, but there are finally some big announcements and we would like to share them.T

The Happytime Murders

Happytime-Murders

The Happy Times Murder is a film that the Jim Henson Company has been trying to get under production since 2008. This R rated mystery comedy that will be set in the “underbelly” of Los Angeles will star both puppets and humans. Comedian Melissa McCarthy has signed on to star in the film which is set to begin production in August.

For more information you can click Here

The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance

The-Dark-Crystal-Age-of-Resistance-logo-700x300

This is another production that has been in development for quite some time, and we finally have some great news for this very beloved franchise.

The online streaming movie and television company Netflix has ordered A 10 episode series that will also being filming sometime this year. You can view the trailer here:

As you can see from the video this series will combine puppetry and “stunning” visual effects to bring this new world alive.

If you would also like to find out more information about this release you can click Here

If any more further developments come available, we will share them with you!

What are your thoughts on these two highly anticipated productions? Please leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you!