The MuppetsHenson Radio Network has RETURNED! Look for it near the TOP of the RIGHT SIDEBAR. We have also added an Archive Section for various Muppet/Henson themed Podcasts for you to catch up on. If there is something you would like to see included into the library, let me know at A NEW MuppetsHenson Poll will be up soon


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Watch Renee Elise Goldsberry Sing the New Muppet Babies Theme Song

Hamilton Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry is giving voice to a new take on the show's original Muppet Babies theme song. Watch the gorgeous-voiced Goldsberry sing out below and be sure to tune in to Muppet Babies beginning in March.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

The Jim Henson Company & Partners Option ‘Harriet the Spy’, ‘The Kissing Hand’

The Jim Henson Company has optioned two classic book properties for television series development in partnership with Rehab Entertainment and 2 Friends Entertainment: Louise Fitzhugh’s celebrated girl-power series Harriet the Spy and Audrey Penn’s heartwarming pictures book series The Kissing Hand. The announcement was made by JHC’s President of Television, Halle Stanford.

Harriet the Spy is being developed as a stylized 2D-animated series that will follow the title character, aspiring writer Harriet, as she observes and writes about the bustling New York of the 1960s. BAFTA- and Emmy-winning Karrot Entertainment (The Snowy Day, Sarah & Duck) is attached to animate the series. Harriet the Spy was originally published by Harper & Row in 1964.

Jim Henson’s Creature Shop will bring the award-winning The Kissing Hand to life with an adorable cast of puppets. The show will center on Chester the raccoon as he learns to navigate going to school, making new friends, and dealing with the daily anxieties of a preschooler with the love and support of Mama Raccoon, and the help of the comforting kiss she leaves on his hand.

“Both of these classic book properties share The Jim Henson Company’s commitment to entertain and inspire children, featuring dynamic characters and stories that celebrate creativity, empowerment, and joy,” said Stanford. “We have a deep respect for Harriet the Spy, and her many fans, and we’re ready to bring this real girl to audiences around the world. Similarly, The Kissing Hand, which is arguably the top book parents use to prepare their children for preschool and kindergarten, is deeply nurturing and perfectly suited for puppetry. Now more than ever, we believe children need the stories of Chester Raccoon and his Mama to encourage them to adventure in the world while still maintaining the loving connection of family and friends.”

Both properties have been shepherded by Rehab Entertainment’s John Hyde and Terissa Kelton, and 2 Friends Entertainment’s Wendy Moss-Klein and Nancy Steingard, alongside The Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Muppet Wars: The Last Frog by Nicholas Napoli

A long time ago, around 2004 to be precise, in a purchase far, far away in the making, The Walt Disney Company took control of The Muppets, a franchise that has thrived for over sixty years. The first production to come from Disney’s The Muppets, was a not very well laid out yellow brick road, which led fans to The Muppets Wizard of Oz (2005). A few years later, The Walt Disney Company gave Muppet Fans a Christmas present, in the form of The Muppets: Letters To Santa (2008). Throughout the years The Walt Disney Company provided fans with three seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD, rerelease of past Muppet movies, online content and tiny bits of merchandise scattered here and there. Jason Segel approached The Walt Disney Company and asked them what every Muppet Fan was thinking at the time… why had they not yet made a new Muppet movie? Fans were soon treated to The Muppets first big screen feature in over twelve years, which hoped to reboot the franchise for a new generation of fans. 

In 2012 The Walt Disney Company also purchased Star Wars, now up until last week, I had never seen a single Star Wars movie. Therefor I had no idea if this purchase was considered a good thing at first by Star Wars Fans, or if this purchase made them nervous instead. What I do remember is how I felt when The Walt Disney Company took ownership of The Muppets. I was sad that The Muppets no longer belonged to The Jim Henson Company, which is where I’ve always believed they should be but at the same time, I was excited too. The Muppets had not been very active for the last couple of years before being purchased back in 2004. I was sure under The Walt Disney Company’s ownership, fans would be treated to many more productions, toys, hopefully live events and a bigger presence at the Disney parks. Honestly for the first few years, after being purchased by The Walt Disney Company, The Muppets continued to remain in the shadows, only ever appearing every now and again. It was a slow seven years but finally The Muppets (2011) premiered worldwide and thanks to old and new fans supporting the movie, The Muppets found themselves back in the spotlight. The Muppets (2011) is a great comeback movie, even after seven years, it still holds up, it’s just as good now, as it was back then. It was a success both for the audience (including life long fans) and therefor The Walt Disney Company as well.

2014 was a year both Muppet Fans and Star Warriors looked forward too, our favourite franchises were returning to theatres again. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and Muppets Most Wanted, one did much better than the other at the box office, can you guess which one? Star Wars although much larger in fandom, also had the advantage which Muppets Most Wanted no longer had, compared to The Muppets (2011). Muppets Fans had been waiting since Muppets From Space (1999) for the Muppets to return to the big screen, and that movie was The Muppets (2011). Muppets Most Wanted was a nice effort, yet the fact that The Muppets didn’t recognize that Constantine was not Kermit bothered me. The Muppets aren’t known for canon but certain things such as them telling the difference between Kermit and another frog who is not him, this made me feel stupid, trying to get behind that idea. 

In order to write for The Muppets, a writer must remember that old school fans are what keeps a franchise alive. If The Muppets act out of character, if they aren’t who we expect them to be anymore, then the franchise slowly begins to fail. Although Muppets Most Wanted failed The Walt Disney Company’s expectations, fans were still treated to a new Muppets television series, titled The Muppets (2015). The new Muppet television series was sadly not very good, The Muppets couldn’t keep enough viewers watching, even after a mid-season change in management, the show could not survive. The Muppets were not picked up for a second season, and as much as fans have been hoping it will eventually be picked up for season two, it does not seem likely. One of the reasons people disliked this show was that The Muppets, most specifically Kermit and Miss Piggy, were not being portrayed properly. Kermit and Miss Piggy were not being given the respect they deserved, they were not staying in character, they were having to adapt, hopefully reaching a wider audience because of it. The reality was they began losing long time fans in the process instead, granted they tried being respectful to the characters during their transformations but failed in doing so. 

Steve Whitmire pointed this out, having performed Kermit for the last twenty-seven years, he has an idea of how Kermit would react and behave in certain situations. Luckily Kermit never tried to murder his nephew in cold blood, but he did lie to him. Steve Whitmire was speaking out for the direction he believed his character should be taken, he was not heard, and this was one of the reasons The Muppets (2015) failed. Unfortunately, Steve Whitmire was fired from performing Kermit, he was replaced. Fans were vocal at first but soon many accepted that Kermit The Frog would be taking a new direction in life. The problem with Kermit’s character is slowly being fixed, Kermit has slowly been acting like himself again, the character has found better writing and is now performed by the brilliantly talented Matt Vogel. Yoda, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C3P0, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo all share one thing in common. They are all iconic, everlasting characters, that can out live all of their performers. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo can only be performed by a specific individual each, without them, there is no character.

At the end of last year, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi premiered worldwide and has divided the Star Wars community in half, the film is either praised as one of the best, or labelled the worse in the saga. One of the main problems fans have with this new movie was the portrayal of Luke Skywalker. A character expected to be filled with hope and a positive attitude, had been turned into a grumpy hermit, who believed the Jedi must end. This reminds me of Kermit’s most recent portrayal in the last few years, a frog who had given up on his friends, no longer believed in his show and most of the times was only recognized as Kermit by his appearance. This is when I started to become interested in Star Wars, I realized fans of the franchise were dealing with the same problem yet in regards to Luke Skywalker. In The Muppets (2011) we were introduced to a new character named Walter, who held all the qualities which once belonged to Kermit. Walter was a big fan of The Muppets and had more hope in them than Kermit now did. In Muppets Most Wanted, none of the Muppets (apart from Animal) recognized that Constantine was not Kermit, luckily new guy Walter was able to tell the difference. In the latest Star Wars films, the character of Rey, takes on the role, that in reality (at this point in time) is best suited for Luke Skywalker. 

Until recently I had never actually watched Star Wars but I knew exactly who Luke Skywalker was, and as popular as he is in pop culture, also made me aware of the man behind this character, Mark Hamill. For the past few weeks leading up to the release of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Mark Hamill was voicing his displeasure with the direction his character of Luke Skywalker had been taken in the film. Mark Hamill stood up for what he believed, for integrity, for the arts, for fans, sadly his voice went unheard and his character was not portrayed how he believed. Since I had never seen Star Wars I was not exactly sure how Luke Skywalker should behave. However, I’m sure the man who gave this character life, must know better than anyone else, no matter if director, writer or even producer.

After the release of the movie, Star Wars fans were furious at the portrayal of Luke Skywalker’s character, a backlash began against the movie. Mark Hamill did know best, as his concerns were one of the main reasons behind the backlash, once fans had seen the movie. Although people have united over a movie, it still goes to prove we have strength in numbers, their voices are being heard. This was a similar situation regarding Steve and his main character, sadly his fan base is not as big, loud and protective as that of Star Wars, I don’t think any other fandom is. After following this story and realizing how hard Mark Hamill tried to protect a legacy so important to many, I have the at most respect for him. I’ve so far watched the original trilogy in the span of three days, purely from my admiration of Mark Hamill. I now want to become a Jedi, realized the big “Luke I am your father” reveal takes place in Episode V as opposed to Episode VI and understand why these characters are so iconic. I’ve also realized that those Star Wars Fans disappointed with Luke Skywalker’s portrayal in the latest Star Wars movie, have every right to be so. Last weekend I watched Star Wars Episode VII and VIII and not only do they spoil these characters in the new movies, they go as far as spoiling the events of the original trilogy for me.

As much as Mark Hamill protested with the direction his character was taking, he was not fired, simply put, they need his face. However, Steve Whitmire’s face is not needed, the puppet that rests on his hand if of importance and so Steve was fired, another hand began performing Kermit. Muppet Fans have not been very vocal about the situation; however, Star Wars Fans can be heard across the galaxy. I hope that by informing Star Wars Fans of Kermit’s mistreatment, being so similar to that of Luke Skywalker, that in their Star Wars discussions they might refer to the similarities between how the characters of Kermit and Luke Skywalker have been handled, therefor providing Kermit with the support I believe he deserves. In fairness Kermit is slowly being fixed in my opinion, he seems more like Kermit, thanks to the writing he is being presented with. Sadly, Steve Whitmire still finds himself separated from the character he had kept alive for twenty-seven years. Sometimes even the smallest frog, can shake the greatest belief.

- Nicolas Napoli

Jenny Slate to Star in Disney Junior's Reboot of 'Muppet Babies'

Jenny Slate will voice Miss Nanny in Disney Junior's revival of the beloved children’s show, which originally aired 1984-91 on CBS.

The series will use the characters Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, and a new character, Summer Penguin, to encourage creative thinking and imagination.

Miss Nanny's patterned tights will always be a nod to the episode’s theme.

Also joining the cast are Melanie Harrison (Fish Hooks) as Miss Piggy, Dee Bradley Baker (Milo Murphy's Law) as Animal, Ben Diskin (The Spectacular Spider-Man) as Gonzo, Eric Bauza (The Adventures of Puss in Boots) as Fozzie and Jessica DiCicco (Puppy Dog Pals) as Summer. Rounding out the cast as Kermit is Matt Danner (Gravity Falls), who also serves as supervising director on the series.

Tom Warburton (The 7D) is executive producer and Eric Shaw (SpongeBob SquarePants) is story editor and co-producer.

The series is a co-production between Disney Junior, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media's Publishing and Digital Media group, and The Muppets Studio.

In tradition with the original Emmy-winning series, Miss Nanny’s character will be visible only from the torso down. Originally voiced by the late Barbara Billingsley (Leave It to Beaver), the role centers around a woman who takes care of a nursery; the stories are told from the babies’ perspective.

"I was so excited when they asked me to be Miss Nanny; I was excited in general to hear they were returning," Slate, a lifelong Muppets fan, said.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Steve Whitmire Announces Three Convention Appearances

Steve Whitmire is going to be appearing at some great conventions coming up in the next few months.

Friday, June 29th through July 1st, he’ll be appearing at Fanboy Expo’s Knoxville Comic Con in Knoxville, Tennessee. CLICK HERE to visit the Fanboy Expo’s website for more information.

Thursday, July 12th through July 15th, Steve will be at Florida Supercon in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Enter their contest to win a personal meet & greet with Steve. CLICK HERE  to visit the Florida Supercon website for more information.

Friday, July 27th through July 29, Steve will be at Raleigh Supercon in Raleigh, North Carolina. Enter their contest to win a meet & greet with Steve. CLICK HERE to find out more.

Steve will be signing autographs and taking photos during these appearances. More to come....

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Muppets in Wellington: Capital to Host World-First Jim Henson Tribute Concert with Bret McKenzie

Wellingtonian Bret​ McKenzie, who won an Oscar for his Man or Muppet song in 2012, looks set to reunite with Kermit the Frog as he takes to the stage in the Michael Fowler Centre in April as part of a tribute to Jim Henson.

The two shows, on April 27 and 28, will be the only performances anywhere in the world of the The Jim Henson Retrospectacle concert.

The two concerts will mark the conclusion of a 21-day showcase of events celebrating the work of Henson, a puppeteer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, screenwriter and filmmaker, who died in 1990.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will play during the Jim Henson Retrospectacle concert with Bret McKenzie.

The events will include a film fortnight series, muppeteering workshops and masterclasses, and events run by movie insiders at the Weta group of companies.

Weta boss Sir Richard Taylor said he was looking forward to the event.

"Today, as ever, Jim Henson's creations and filmmaking continue to bring great happiness to adults and children alike.

"Weta Workshop has a strong association with the work of Jim Henson, and I feel a particular affinity with Jim's artistic outlook and vision, as he has been inspirational in our collective careers.

"Jim's visionary fantasy films, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, have earned their place in cinematic history as must-see classics of their genre."

The mini-festival will be supported by the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda) and has received $350,000 from the Government's Major Events Development Fund.

Wellington ratepayers will also contribute, though Wreda interim chief executive Derek Fry would not disclose the amount, beyond saying it was "relatively modest".

He was confident the city would reap economic returns from the investment. "It'll attract visitors from all around New Zealand and Australia. We're also expecting some hardcore Muppet fans to travel from further afield as well."

The festival was part of Wreda's plans to "supercharge" events in the region after the loss of the Wellington Sevens tournament.

Fry said Wellington's involvement in the film industry was a draw card for the event, and McKenzie 's relationship with Kermit made the city the perfect place for the concert.

McKenzie will perform live with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Henson characters from The Muppets, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock.

Shortly after winning his Oscar for best original song, McKenzie said: "Definitely, Jim Henson influenced me. He's a huge inspiration, and the other thing I love about the guy is he made children's films that I think he found funny."

He said on Wednesday: "Working with The Muppets over the past years has been an amazing opportunity, and I would love to be able to share some of that experience with an audience here in New Zealand."

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he was delighted the city would be hosting the event.

During the festival, Te Papa will host behind-the-scenes panels, workshops and masterclasses by Henson alumni, including puppet designer Bonnie Erickson, whose most notable creations include Miss Piggy; and Dave Goelz, who for four decades has been bringing to life such Muppet characters as the Great Gonzo.

Weta Workshop artists will also be taking part. Rare footage from Henson archives, experimental short films, commercials, classic feature films, and a New Zealand premiere will also be screened.

Nic Marshall, director of not-for-profit organisation Square Eyes Film Foundation, is bringing the show to Wellington in partnership with the New York-based Jim Henson Legacy. She said: "This is a rare opportunity to marvel at the scope and huge appeal of Jim Henson's work … to go deep into an extensive and brilliant moving image back catalogue; to look closely at Jim's life, partnerships and life-affirming inspirations; and to consider the impact of his unique imagination and outlook within New Zealand's own creative community."

Craig Shemin​, president of the Jim Henson Legacy and muppet historian, said: "We're really thrilled to share the power of Jim's art, his imagination and his positive view of life with a New Zealand audience … we are so happy it's finally happening."

Tickets for The Jim Henson Retrospectacle events go on sale on Thursday, February 8, 2018, at 9am through Ticketmaster. Prices range from $49 to $109 for the concert.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Hidden History Of The Goblin King Is Revealed In 'Labyrinth: Coronation' #1


BOOM! Studios is returning to the Labyrinth, but this trip won't be like any that's been made before.

That's because writer Simon Spurrier and artist Daniel Bayliss will take fans back to the 18th century in Labyrinth: Coronation, a new series that aims to tell the hidden history of the Goblin King himself Jareth. Now you can get your first look at the new series in the gallery, a series that aims to explain what happens when there isn't a Sarah to save you.

As you can see in the images, Bayliss captures the characters of Labyrinth perfectly, especially Jareth. Jareth was of course played by David Bowie in the 1986 original film, and since then has attained a significant level of cult status in the world of fantasy and film.

While the movie focused on Sarah's journey, the novelization did feature several sequences seen from Jareth's point of view. For Coronation though, there is someone else set as the star, a young woman who is desperately trying to save someone from the Goblin army. In the world of Labyrinth though, there isn't always a happy ending, and fans will see the ripple effects that come from that.

Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Coronation #1 is written by Simon Spurrier with art by Daniel Bayliss and a cover by Fiona Staples, and you can find the official description for the book below

Simon Spurrier (Godshaper, The Power of the Dark Crystal) and Daniel Bayliss (Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Dragons, Kennel Block Blues) present a magical look into the world of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. Before Sarah braved the Labyrinth to save her brother, another young woman sought to save a young boy named Jareth from the clutches of the Goblins. Set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is a striking look into the history of the Labyrinth itself, and what happens to the little boys who don’t get rescued. This is the untold history of the Goblin King.

Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Coronation #1 is slated to hit comic shops on February 28.