The most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational event is heading your way.
It’s been 40 years since The Muppet Show wrapped its now classic five season run back in 1976-1981, with its last episode guest-starring Singing in the Rain star Gene Kelly. One of the greatest half-hour series of all time and the greatest variety show format series ever is coming to the streaming platform Disney+ later this month. Everyone who was anyone in the 1970s was a guest on the show, from Vincent Price to Don Knotts, from Cloris Leachman, George Burns, John Cleese and Paul Simon, to Linda Ronstadt and Steve Martin, to Elton John, Julie Andrews, Gilda Radner, Shirley Bassey, Peter Sellers, Debbie Harry, Rita Moreno, and Madeline Kahn, to Roy Rogers, Dudley Moore, James Coburn, Roger Moore, Sylvester Stallone, Lynda Carter, Milton Berle, Christopher Reeve, Bernadette Peters, Ethel Merman, Bob Hope, Diana Ross, Johnny Cash, Harvey Korman, Carol Burnett, Dizzy Gillespie, Alice Cooper, and even the cast of Star Wars–more than 100 guest stars in all, and from every single corner of music, TV, and film. The show won four Primetime Emmy Awards and a Grammy (one of our favorite subjects–check out more about The Muppets here). Behind the scenes (and under the table and behind the curtain) it was Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Louise Gold, Kathryn Mullen, and Steve Whitemire working the real magic.
One of my own best memories was asking Peter Mayhew about working on The Muppet Show (discussed here). Ask any actor on the series and you’ll get a similar story of wonder and amazement.
Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Scooter, Sweetums, Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, The Swedish Chef, Sam the Eagle, Statler and Waldorf. If you’re looking for something for the whole family this is what you want. And then flip over to Netflix for more Muppet magicians behind The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance.
If you weren’t around for the first run of the show, here are some images of what’s in store…
The variety show format that was so successful in the 1970s came back for two seasons in 1996-1998. Muppets Tonight itself won two Primetime Emmys. It also had guests like the original, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Whoopi Goldberg, Prince, and Pierce Brosnan. And of course the Muppets have starred in eight major theatrical releases.
Stream all five seasons of the original–the one and only The Muppet Show arrives February 19, 2021, on Disney+.
C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg