Muppet Madness featuring Jim Henson's Muppets
designed by Bruce McNally, Les Skinner, and John Stevenson
Random House ~ 1980
As an unabashed and life-long Muppet fan, ex-Jim Henson company employee, and the mother of a Gonzo-loving six-year-old, to say I am looking forward to the premiere of The Muppets is a massive understatement. Though I know it will never be all the things I want it to be, the ginormous crush I harbor for Jason Segel gives me a small glimmer of hope that it might at least be entertaining. And, of course, the chance for weeping? Likely.
The thing I love most about the old Muppet Show was how Jim and his writing staff always tipped the hat to entertainment of old using skits and music that dated back to the vaudeville days. I play those albums and shows for my son now because a lot of those cultural influences, he won't get elsewhere. What other kiddie show could spoof The Marx Brothers so flawlessly?
Ah yes, the timeless brilliance of The Muppet Show. Really, I can't talk about this stuff without getting goose-pimpled and misty. If the movie stinks, the boy and I can always come home and watch the Star Wars episode of The Muppet Show for, like, the zillionth time. That and pull out all my old Muppet books to read.
Thus, how we arrive at our post for today. Random House published a number of TV tie-ins during the show's six-year run and beyond. This one arriving toward the end.
Technically, it is a rehash of a Muppet Annual from 1979. Featuring photography as well as comic book-style illustration, the book includes stories and games and a huge helping of signature Muppet silliness. Designed by a trio of talented artists (including the Director of Kung Fu Panda), it gives you a taste of what the old Muppet humor was all about, hugely innocent and appealing to children with a good amount of subversive adult humor sprinkled in.
As weird as it sounds, I remember being vaguely attracted to Kermit in the Disco Frog story...
and completely horrified by the Holiday Haunt tale.
What a blast it was being eight! As a girl, I never missed one of The Muppet Show's original 120 episodes, and as a mother, I'm slowing getting through them all again with my son. As for this Thanksgiving, it's, once again, time to play the music... with Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie and the gang ready for their closeup, the 23rd can't get here soon enough. No matter how forgotten the plot of the new movie leads you to believe the Muppets are, the Henson legacy is still alive and well in my house.
My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here. ~ Jim Henson
Done and done.
Other Muppet books:
Muppets at Sea
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