AFI Movie Club: THE MUPPET MOVIE
THE MUPPET MOVIE features three AFI Life Achievement Award recipients – Mel Brooks, Steve Martin and Orson Welles – and “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit the Frog (voiced by Jim Henson) also appears at #74 on AFI’s list of the 100 greatest movie songs of all time.
Watch creator Jim Henson talk about creating the Muppets in this exclusive AFI Archive Video:
Movie Trivia about THE MUPPET MOVIE
DID YOU KNOW? When THE MUPPET MOVIE was released in 1979, the Emmy® award-winning television series THE MUPPET SHOW was the highest-rated syndicated show in the U.S. and had an estimated 235 million television viewers in 102 countries.
DID YOU KNOW? The character of “Lew Lord” played by Orson Welles was named after British executive Sir Lew Grade who agreed to fund Jim Henson’s idea for a TV show after U.S. networks turned down the opportunity to give the puppet characters their own series.
DID YOU KNOW? Sets were constructed six feet high to conceal the puppeteers underneath. They were equipped with instant video playback monitors to observe their performance as it was being filmed. For the scene in which Kermit plays the banjo in a swamp, a “bathysphere” – an airtight underwater container – was built to hold performer Jim Henson.
DID YOU KNOW? Jim Henson and Frank Oz not only voiced several Muppets in the movie but they also played two of Doc Hopper’s gunslingers in the western-film style showdown. Actors who had cameos in THE MUPPET MOVIE – including Steve Martin, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn and Bob Hope – all made guest appearances on THE MUPPET SHOW as well.
DID YOU KNOW? The musical finale on the Hollywood soundstage involved more than 250 Muppet characters and required the participation of 137 members from the Puppeteers of America. One of those puppeteers was none other than director Tim Burton.
DID YOU KNOW? When the celebrity cameos changed in THE MUPPET MOVIE, Jim Henson brought on writer David Odell to rewrite the script. His work on the film led Henson to offer him a job writing the screenplay for THE DARK CRYSTAL.
DID YOU KNOW? THE MUPPET MOVIE is dedicated to one of Jim Henson’s heroes – ventriloquist Edgar Bergen – who has a cameo in the film with his dummy Charlie McCarthy. Sadly, Bergen passed away before the film was released.
DID YOU KNOW? THE MUPPET MOVIE marked the feature debut of the Muppet characters on the big screen. To date, seven additional theatrical features have been released: THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER, THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CARROL, MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND, MUPPETS FROM SPACE, THE MUPPETS, and MUPPETS MOST WANTED.
Learn more at the AFI Catalog
The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions
-What is your favorite Muppet in THE MUPPET MOVIE?
-How is the film a metafictional commentary on Hollywood?
-What is your favorite celebrity cameo in THE MUPPET MOVIE? Why do you think Jim Henson was able to get this kind of caliber of talent for the film?
-How have the Muppets managed to appeal to both children and adults?
-What is the key to the success of the long-lasting Muppet franchise? Why do they still appeal to different generations today?
-In this digital age, is there a place for the art of puppetry and, if so, why is it important to keep alive?
-What Jim Henson film is your favorite and why?
-How would you rate THE MUPPET MOVIE?
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