Sesame St S6: News Flash

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall..."

“Mirror, Mirror on the wall…”

I’ve mentioned before that Kermit’s News Flash sketches were quite possibly my all-time favorite Sesame Street segments, or at least very high up on the list, most likely because most of them blend two of my favorite things: Kermit and fairy tales, specifically those of the fractured variety. Well, as it so happens, Season 6 brought with it a slew of Sesame Street News Flashes, all of which I’m covering today, other than the “Jack Be Nimble” one which appeared in my last highlights post.

 

We begin with the fairy tales, starting with “Mirror, Mirror,” which just so happens to possibly be my favorite News Flash; it at least shares the top spot with the Rapunzel sketch and the one in which the Big Bad Wolf

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Sesame St S6: Highlights

Little Jerry and the Monotones sing "Telephone Rock".

Little Jerry and the Monotones sing “Telephone Rock”.

Today, I begin my survey of highlights from Sesame Street Season 6, and, as per usual, I begin with the clips included on the Sesame Street: Old School Volume 2 DVD set.

 

The first one is a rockin’, bouncy number written by Christopher Cerf and Norman Styles, “Telephone Rock”, which has a retro sound that seems musically inspired by classic rock songs about calling the operator to put the narrator through to the person they love–the humorous twist here being that the operator is the one the singer wants to talk to)–as well as Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock,” which was itself an homage to early rock n’ roll. Sung by the Muppet rock group, Little Jerry and the Monotones, the basic purpose of the song seems to be simply introducing the concept of the telephone–although children watching today might be confused about why someone

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The Muppets 1.11: “Swine Song”

"Swine Song"

“Swine Song”

Since I’ve unfortunately fallen a bit behind on reviewing The Muppets, I’m going to be playing catch-up in my next bunch of posts, reviewing the rest of the season one episode at a time. And here we go!

 

As anyone closely following The Muppets knows, there has been a bit of backstage drama surrounding the overall creative direction of this still-young series which ultimately led to one of the showrunners, Bob Kushell, leaving and being replaced by Kristin Newman, who has co-executived such beloved cult series as Galavant and Chuck, and who promised to help the show course-correct, keeping the new innovations that work while restoring some of the heart and zaniness that many long-time fans felt were missing from the early episodes.

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Sesame Street Ep #666

The Count hangs out on Sesame Street.

The Count hangs out on Sesame Street.

The sixth season of Sesame Street debuted on November 4, 1974, with the ominously numbered episode 666 (which is available to watch on the Sesame Street: Old School Volume 2 DVD set). Despite that, as should surprise no one, nothing actually disastrous occurs, however I do wonder whether the hour’s framing device of the Count perching on the famous Sesame Street lamppost and counting all of the lights on Sesame Street going on in the early evening and off later at night was meant to be a sly little nod to it, due to the Count’s vampiric origins.

 

This is actually a very different way to start a Sesame Street season, which usually opens up on a bright, energetic scene that reintroduces and

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Ray the Raychem Seal and Miss Piggy

Ray the Raychem Seal

Ray the Raychem Seal

Today I looked at two unrelated yet fascinating curiosities, the first of which is the first thing I’ve watched for the site that actually wasn’t created or run by Jim Henson at all but which is significant due to its performer, and the second of which features the debut of one of the most important characters in the entire Muppet canon.

 

We begin a short industrial video, much like the films Jim made for companies such as IBM, but this one was actually done by Dave Goelz, who is best known today for performing such beloved characters as Gonzo and Boober Fraggle. In my post on Jim’s 1974 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, I discussed how Goelz originally became involved with the Henson Co., and how Jim initially hired him as a

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The Muppets Valentine Show

"The Muppets Valentine Show"

“The Muppets Valentine Show”

In 1973, Jim Henson decided to once again pitch a TV variety show starring the Muppets, which had been a goal of his since all the way back in the immediately-post-Sam-and-Friends era but which had always failed to come to fruition due to American network executives not being able to get over their bias that puppets were for children, despite all the evidence as to how much adult audiences enjoyed the Muppets when they made appearances on other peoples’ shows and even on Sesame Street.

 

Jim’s written pitch announced that the “time is right for a variety show hosted by dogs, frogs, and monsters…The show is aimed at the adult or young adult audience, but it is a show for the whole family…The Muppets,

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Jim and Kermit Visit Johnny Carson

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Kermit and Jim visit Johnny.

On January 23, 1974, Jim Henson and Kermit made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, in order to plug The Muppets Valentine Show, the first Muppet Show pilot, which ABC aired as a special a week later on January 30th. More on that in another post, and how this pilot came to be, coming later today.

 

For now, however, just a quick recap of this visit to Johnny Carson. It starts off with Limbo: The Organized Mind, a recreation of the same sketch Jim brought to Carson in 1968. Here, however, rather than just the background projected footage, I was actually able to see the finished product, with Limbo’s floating face in front of it, which was fascinating but also quite creepy, as well, particularly the bit in which the eyes and mouth

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