BREAKING NEWS: Two MuppetsHenson Polls are now up for your votes. One deals with the Frank Oz documentary, "Muppet Guys Talking" and the second with the NEW "Muppet Babies" series. Please let us know what you think of them. The Polls can be found near the top of the right sidebar. You can stream or download "Muppet Guys Talking" at www.muppetguystalking.com

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Monday, May 21, 2018

The Muppets Create Marketing Mayhem Around Barclaycard Entertainment

Barclaycard has enlisted The Muppets to shout about the financial brand's unique entertainment perks.

The work, featuring Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Animal, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the Great Gonzo introduces the benefits of being a Barclaycard card holder, primarily ticket offers and perks for over 3,500 live events a year.

Alex Naylor, UK managing director at Barclaycard, said: "With the experience economy booming, there is no better time to help customers get more from every gig, concert and festival. With special benefits and event perks built in, Barclaycard Entertainment will bring consumers even closer to their favourite acts.

“The Muppets are synonymous with entertainment so working with them to launch this campaign was a no-brainer – they have been putting smiles on people’s faces across the world for generations. With their star power behind our activity, we’re all set to kick-start Barclaycard Entertainment with a bang.”

The work will run on video demand services and cinemas, on select DOOH sites, and a press wrap in the Evening Standard.

Customers buying select tickets using their Barclaycard with get 5% back on the price, 10% of select presales like Download, The Isle of Wight Festival, and Reading & Leeds and 5% off food and drink at O2 Academy venues. Fans will be directed The Muppets' takeover of the Barclaycard website.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Looking For Your Thoughts on How Jim Henson Has Impacted Your Life

On May 16th, 1990, at the age of 53, we were all shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Jim Henson.

On May 16th, 2013, MuppetsHenson honoured Jim Henson with the 'Jim Henson Tribute Page' - a place full of memories and thank yous from fans and from those who worked alongside this great man.

This year, marks the 28th Anniversary of his death. MuppetsHenson would LOVE to add more stories to this special page.

Please let us and others know how Jim Henson has affected your life. What has he meant to you? It does not matter if it is a long story or short one. If you wrote one last year and have more to add, please feel free to send it along too. All stories will be assembled and added to the 'Jim Henson Tribute Page' for all to read and reflect.

All stories will also be sent on to the Henson Family just to let them know that even though it has been 28 years since Jim left us, even to this day, he is still a big part of us all and we will never, ever forget him and his work.

Thanking you all for your participation.

Please send your Jim Henson tribute stories to: muppetshenson@yahoo.ca

Disney Junior's "Muppet Babies" Scores Another Ratings Highmark

Ranks as Friday's #1 TV Telecast in Kids 2-5, Girls 2-5 and Boys 2-5

For the 2nd time in 3 weeks, Disney Junior's "Muppet Babies" (Friday, April 27) posted new series highs in Total Viewers (1.38 million), Kids 2-5 (625,000/4.0 rating), Girls 2-5 (321,000/4.2 rating) and Adults 18-49 (407,000/0.3 rating). "Muppet Babies" delivered its #2 telecast to date in Boys 2-5 (304,000/3.8 rating).

"Muppet Babies" grew over the prior week by sizable double digits in Total Viewers (+38%), Kids 2-5 (+62%) and Adults 18-49 (+27%) and more than doubled the prior week's delivery in Girls 2-5 (+123%) to outdeliver the series' previous highs set two weeks earlier (on 4/13/18).

Versus its March 23 series launch, "Muppet Babies" posted solid gains of 38% in Total Viewers (1.38 million vs. 1.03 million), 66% in Kids 2-5 (625,000 vs. 377,000), 87% in Girls 2-5 (321,000 vs. 172,000) and 24% in Adults 18-49 (407,000 vs. 328,000).

"Muppet Babies" ranked as TV's #1 telecast on Friday in Kids 2-5, Girls 2-5 and Boys 2-5.

Source: The Nielsen Company, National U.S. Live + 3 Day Program Ratings for 5/4/18.
 

A Guide To Collecting More Muppets! by Nicolas Napoli

In 2011 in celebration of The Muppets (2011), The Disney Store released new Muppet character plushes including, but not limited to Pepe, Walter, Beaker and The Swedish Chef. In 2014, celebrating Muppets Most Wanted, The Disney Store added additional characters including Rowlf and Constantine to their line of plushes. Dr Bunsen, Scooter, Dr Teeth, Janice, Floyd, Zoot, Sam the Eagle and Camilla, these characters have not been represented in plush form properly or commercially for a very long time. After The Muppets (2015), I’m sure their must be some demand for at least some of these characters. Sweetums, Uncle Deadly, Lew Zealand, Robin, Bobo Bear, Mahna-Mahna, Snowths, these characters have never been represented in plush form, I hope The Disney Store continues to expand their Muppet plush line someday. In my opinion, plush toys should always be available, in sight and easily purchasable for casual fans to collect when the urge to become a Muppet Fan commences. 

In 2016 Diamond Select treated fans to three series of Muppet Action Figures and Minimates, giving us our very first Mahna-Mahna action figure. Sadly, series four consisting of The Swedish Chef & Chicken, Sam the Eagle & Rizzo and Dr. Teeth & Zoot has been postponed indefinitely. This series should have been released months ago, sadly sales weren’t profitable enough to continue expanding on this line of action figures. Fortunately, The Swedish Chef and his Chicken are trying to make their way into our collections, they will be released as a standalone set in the series. If The Swedish Chef sells well enough, we might be lucky and receive another set from the series in the future. I do hope this line is able to make it past series four, even if it’s spread out. My series five wish list would include: Walter & Snowths, Pepe & Bobo Bear and Sweetums & Uncle Deadly. For those who miss seeing Rizzo amongst their collection, The Disney Store PVC figurine released a few years ago, as part of a pack, fits nicely amongst this collection. 

Muppet Fan Collectors are in short demand, those of us who collect Muppet merchandise are very passionate about it. In reality there is not a big enough market for Muppet merchandise, sales suffer because of it. Muppet merchandise is not particularly profitable for toy companies, how Palisades Toys reached up until Series 9, I have no idea, but am very grateful they did. Muppet merchandise works best when sold as collectables, high price points will be paid by Muppet collectors, multiple sales of Muppet merchandise to the general public, won’t be a guarantee. The Bradford Exchange released an amazingly detailed Muppet clock some time ago, one I sadly currently have stored away. Every year Hallmark Collectables releases a new Muppet Ornament to hang up on our trees, and this year we shall be receiving Rowlf playing his piano. An Electric Mayhem music box has also been released, these might all have high price points but as I said before, Muppet collectors are in short demand. If we want merchandise, we’re probably going to have to pay a little extra for it. 

Muppets Tsum Tsum, Muppets Meet The Classics book series, Miss Piggy Footwear, unfortunately this past year, Muppet collectors, haven’t had much to collect. The sad reality is, we’re a small group, toy companies aren’t excited by the Muppet license, they know they’re not going to make a very big profit on it. Lucky this might be about to change, with the introduction of the Muppet Babies 2018 reboot. Children are now slowly becoming familiar with these characters, lots of children buying Muppets, sells more than die hard collectors collecting Muppets. Granted we’ll have to start collecting Muppet Babies merchandise for the time being, but hopefully with the new Disney Online Streaming Muppet Show, things might change for us next year. I first became an obsessed Muppet Fan through Muppet Babies and before I began expanding my collection, it mainly consisted of Muppet Babies merchandise. Muppet Babies (2018) is doing really well amongst children ages 2-5 and if lucky Muppet Babies merchandise will soon flood toy shelves. So far Muppet Babies merchandising wise, they’ve released a soundtrack and soon we’ll find the release of three new Muppet Babies books. As a Muppet adult Fan, I’ll probably collect a plush representation of each character, if there’s figures, I’ll be buying them and unlike The Muppets (2015), I’m actually eager to own this show on DVD and share it with my family, specifically my nephew. 

Moving away from Muppets, Funko Pop finally gave us, what I personally had been waiting all my life for, a proper Uncle Travelling Matt, Sprocket, Doozers and the Fraggle five figures. These are amazing, especially the felt exclusive 5 pack. Unfortunately, from what I can tell, these aren’t selling out, you can find them everywhere. Hopefully enough will sell that Funko Pop will release a few more characters, including Doc, The Trash Heap with Philo & Gunge and can you imagine, if they were to give us a Cantus figure. I’m going to keep remaining hopeful, that one day Funko Pop will finally give fans 6” Gorg figures, and hopefully even with the exclusive felt treatment. For some reason Sprocket is oddly much smaller than the Fraggles, I like to believe this means Doc will be released eventually. If Doc were to be released, the same size as the Fraggles, having made Sprocket smaller, would then make complete sense. Thanks to Funko Pop we have added The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth to our collections yet I still want more. I hope one day, Dinosaurs, The Storyteller and Muppet Babies will get the Funko Pop treatment too. As much as I enjoy collecting these, I hate not knowing if more will ever become available, my Muppet Funko Pop collection needs expanding. Statler, Waldorf, Dr Bunsen, Beaker, Rizzo, Pepe, Janice, Floyd, Zoot, Walter, Sweetums and Uncle Deadly, just to name a few. 

Although we might be lacking Muppet merchandise, it is a great time to be a fan of The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and even The Storyteller. Archaia keeps releasing comics based on each three of these different franchises, even including a sequel to The Dark Crystal in a series titled Power Of The Dark Crystal. Both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth have had ultimate visual history books released and both films have also been released on 4K UltraHD. Last year Labyrinth collectors were able to add a complex Labyrinth board game to their collections, then followed by a The Dark Crystal board game too. Since then additional Goblin game pieces have been released, as well as deluxe golden representations of the original Labyrinth playing pieces. McFarlane Toys have released a 7” Jareth The Goblin King collectable action figure, apparently later on we might also be getting Jen and Kira collectable action figures. Chronicle Collectables have now come along and have so far released some very interesting collectables based both on The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.

 My personal favourites include a Chamberlain and the Worm statues but have so far also released many accessories based from The Dark Crystal. The most surprising and much welcomed of them all, a The Storyteller Soundtrack, featuring 36 songs from the late 80’s Jim Henson television show. 


It has been too long since I’ve been excited for a Muppet DVD, I hope we get The Muppet Show Seasons 4 and 5 eventually. Muppets Tonight: The Complete Series or especially a collection of specials on two discs. I grew up watching The Muppet Playhouse series on VHS, these tapes are what excited me, to watch The Muppet Show, I wish these would find their way onto DVD. A series of Muppet toys is always welcomed, sadly it is mostly never complete, I would much rather prefer PVC collection packs, consisting of around ten characters each, released every now and again. This way I’d know, one of my collections, will eventually be complete one day. Felt collectable Muppet statues including Kermit playing banjo on a lillypad, Miss Piggy sitting on a stage moon, Gonzo riding a motorcycle up a ramp, Statler and Waldorf in their balcony box, Sweetums riding a bicycles etc… this I would love to collect, if not something similar. At the top of my wish list will always be a Mahna- Mahna alarm clock, I hope one day I get to wake up to the song “Mahna-Mahna”.  

- Nicolas Napoli

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Muppet Babies: 27 Years Later by Nicolas Napoli



Muppet Babies will make your dreams come true, in this case it’s taken them 27 years to reboot the “Muppet Babies” franchise, but was it worth the wait? Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and Animal have all returned, a little less mature this time around, compared to their last show back in 2015. All five of them, still remain true to their adult Muppet counterparts, in my opinion this is the best representation of these characters in years. This reboot has been a wonderful surprise, especially since it was not created solely to sell toys, but rather to help The Muppets grow as a franchise. This show is so good, I only wish it would have been created sooner, I can’t wait to see what it accomplishes for the Muppet brand as a whole. Firstly, it’s full of Easter eggs, to keep Muppet Fans excited and secondly it continues to develop its own show, properly reintroducing these characters to a younger generation. 

Kermit is energetic and excitable, Piggy is mean and lovable, a balance grown up Miss Piggy has not been able to keep over the years and Fozzie is na├»ve and funny, not necessarily stupid and unfunny. Gonzo’s weird as always and Animal seems very natural, even when having a conversation with another character. Camilla is in the mix too, joined by two other tinier chickens and Nanny’s legs keep on walking around as always. Summer Penguin is the newest addition to join the Muppet baby characters in their playroom. Summer found herself in a difficult position, she was already not liked by many fans, even before she was introduced, me being one of those fans. In the episode titled “Super Fabulous Vs. Captain Icecube” Piggy felt the same way, she didn’t want to play with Summer but after eleven minutes of superhero fun, Piggy warmed up to Summer, so did I, I didn’t want to be a little miss piggy any longer. Four episodes into the show, and I’m already able to consider her a Muppet, in my opinion she’s a nice welcomed addition to the group. I think this show stays very true to the characters, more so than the original series, the writing is perfect, as well as the voice casting. It’s easier to introduce a new generation of kids to computer animated Muppets, rather than puppets, let’s hope the characters become important enough to them, that they will continue to follow them into adulthood and discover all of Jim Henson’s past productions. 

The animation looks amazing, the characters although created using computer generated animation, still keep their fuzzy, puppety texture. Statler and Waldorf return too, remaining as old as always, this is a perfect tease, of what can be accomplished in the future, with the Muppet brand. The Muppets will always be puppets, that is why this brand is so unique, puppet productions in my mind, can never be overlooked for a computer animated show. However, if the Muppets had a show or two, various movies in production, if the performers were so busy, and more content were needed, I would definitely not be opposed to a computer animated Pigs In Space series. Keeping this same style of animation, as well as all the original performers, voicing their characters. I find this animation very impressive and suitable for The Muppets, can’t wait for more characters to start appearing soon. 

The playroom is full of pictures, hinting at us, that the world of the Muppet Babies is much larger, than what we witness inside the playroom. Pictures of baby Mahna-Mahna, Snowths, Swedish Chef, Dr Teeth, Janice, Floyd, Zoot, Sam the Eagle, Sweetums, Lew Zealand, Bunsen, Beaker Pepe and most excitingly (for me) Scooter and Skeeter too, decorate the playroom. The show on its own is entertaining enough to keep anyone interested but for the grown up adult Muppet Fans who feels weird watching Disney Junior, this just makes us want to keep watching more. Fans will be excited to continue meeting baby versions of their favourite characters and kids will find new favourite characters as they go meeting existing Muppet characters for the first time in baby form. In the episode “One Small Problem” we are already introduced to baby Bunsen and Beaker, based more on their adult personalities than their original baby personalities. When Kermit got his groove, Muppet Fans were also treated to the first ever appearance by baby Rizzo, and Rizzo’s first appearance overall, since Steve Whitmire stopped performing with The Muppets. In the episode “The Blanket Fort” baby Piggy has began showing a lot of Miss Piggy’s actual characteristics, I’m very excited to see this progression in her character, I find it very funny and my nephew finds it even more hilarious. 


Each episode begins with a reprised and just as catchy version of the original theme song, and the Muppet Babies continue to sing, at least one song per episode. The other day my nephew was excitedly singing “Muppet Babies, they make their dreams come true”, as much as he likes the Muppets, it was the catchy song that had him singing, I remember the song of the original series having the same effect on me at that same age. Different forms of animation are used throughout the series, similarly yet drastically different from the original show, I find this very creative and unique for a children’s show, in this day and age. Muppet Monster statues are scattered throughout various locations, resembling characters including Sweetums, Big Mean Carl, Behemoth, Luncheon Counter Monster, Boppity and Thog. In the episode “Hatastrophe”, Kermit enters the playroom from outside, yelling “good morning” as he
runs in through the front door. Unlike the original series, we can now assume the Muppet Babies don’t live inside the nursery and instead use it as a day care. In the episode “Piggy’s Time Machine”, the Muppet Babies visit their future selves and have no idea it’s them, hopefully young fans will pick up on the connection, if they hadn’t so already. 


In 2015 the Muppets returned to prime-time television and people quickly realized, this was more an adult oriented show, than anything else. This time around it’s more than fair, that children get their own Muppet show. Sadly, this is not what family entertainment stands for, taking a brand, and creating different shows targeted at specific age groups, family entertainment means entertainment the whole family can enjoy together. I was expecting a very childish show, one adults would cringe whilst watching but instead we got one of the first productions, since The Walt Disney Company purchased The Muppets, which actually contains the Muppet magic that I feel has slowly been lost throughout the years. If a Muppet Babies reboot airing on Disney Junior, can be entertaining enough to keep Muppet Fans happy, there is no reason, an actual The Muppet Show reboot could not do the same thing. The magic is still there, yet the right creative team needs to be put in charge to find that magic, and in this case, I believe the creative team behind Muppet Babies have demonstrated, how you make a successful Muppet show. 

- Nicolas Napoli