Muppet Legend Jerry Nelson Passed Away

Jerry Nelson, the man who brought to life several of my favorite Muppets, has passed away. He was 78 years old. Jerry had an amazing career, first joining the Muppet World in 1965 to help Jim Henson puppet Rowlf the Dog on The Jimmy Dean Show, and up till recently still being involved in Muppet projects; he reprised the role of the Muppet News announcer in last year’s The Muppets movie and still recorded the voiceover work for the Count on Sesame Street.

Here are some of the Muppets that Jerry performed over the years:

  • Mr. Snuffleupagus
  • Emmet Otter
  • The Two-Headed Monster from Sesame Street
  • Kermit the Frog’s nephew Robin
  • The Count, who has inspired generations of people to audibly count out things
  • Gobo Fraggle
  • Camilla the Chicken

But one of the best–if not forgotten–characters that Jerry brought to life was poor Mr. Johnson, who always had the misfortune of dealing with Grover’s various career stops over the years. These still make me laugh to this day.

Jim Henson Died 22 Years Ago Today

Today is the anniversary of Jim Henson’s death. As odd as it sounds, its one of those childhood events that I still remember very clearly. I came home from the second grade and my mother told me; the news devastated me. To this day, I still find it upsetting. For today’s post, I’m going to share some interesting things about Henson and his legacy.

  1. One of the most interesting parts of Henson’s legacy is the “Red Book”, a journal that he recorded single-line entries about his life from 1965 through 1988. The Jim Henson Company regularly shares entries that give a glimpse into that area where his personal and professional life intersected.
  2. The Walt Disney Company announced on February 17, 2004 that it was buying the Muppets from JHC, but did you know that in the early 1980s there were reports that Henson was investigating purchasing WDC? I’ve read several mentions of this in books about Disney. It’s amazing to consider what direction that company would have went under Henson’s control.
  3. Kermit may be synonymous with the Muppets, but it was actually Rowlf the Dog who was the first Muppet, debuting on the September 19, 1963 episode of the Jimmy Dean Show.
  4. Henson made several training films/videos for companies over the years. Cookie Monster debuted in this clip that was made specifically for an IBM presentation.
  5. Have you ever wondered what kind of stationary Jim Henson used? Letterheady has collected the various letterheads that Henson used over the years.
  6. The television show Dinosaurs came from an idea that Henson had worked on and off over the years.

So Did The Muppets Survive Monday Night Raw?

Stretching is an old timey style of pro wrestling where your goal is to literally pull your opponent apart. Here poor Gonzo gets stretched by Jack Swagger, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler on the October 21, 2011 episode of Monday Night Raw.

So last night as my long-awaited episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw, where the wrestling show was invaded by the Muppets. This was one of the most fun episodes of any professional wrestling show that I can remember. I wish we could see more team-ups with the Muppets in the WWE in the future.

This was one of the best segments involving the Muppets, with poor Beaker being bullied by Christian. Our favorite meep-ing lab assistant was rescued by Sheamus in a moment of sheer hilariousness. I love how they made the two be related. Genius.

Most of the Muppet involvement last night revolved around a storyline with them feuding with manager Vickie Guerrero and her charges, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. The three did not take to kindly to the Muppets being on their show, and with the help of Santino Marella, the Muppets were able to get their comeuppance.

Cody Rhodes didn't take too kindly to Kermit the Frog.

The episode had the Muppets making appearances throughout the rest of the episode. Miss Piggy kept flirting with the wrestlers and would get upset that the WWE divas would flirt with Kermit.

Even Statler and Waldorf were around, hanging out in their own luxury skybox; having been to the Phillips Arena in Atlanta where last night’s episode was taped, I can vouch for there not being a balcony for them. The two old bitter Muppets would pop up from time to time with their own sarcastic commentary.

I enjoyed this whole episode very much. It was just as silly and fun as I thought it could be, and this gets two thumbs up. You can find more clips of the Muppets on Raw on the WWE’s YouTube or on their website.

Muppets invade WWE

Finally, something I’ve been clamoring for. And I’m completely serious.

For years I’ve always thought that the format of Monday Night Raw was like the The Muppet Show. Both shows feature a cast of crazies and eccentrics running around causing mayhem, with some sort of hapless leader figure trying to salvage the show, whether it be Kermit the Frog or who ever the general manager of Raw is at the moment.

This was furthered a couple years back when Raw started having special celebrity guests. If you ever saw the clips of The Price Is Right‘s Bob Barker on Raw, it totally seemed like an episode of The Muppet Show.

I’m looking forward to this episode of Raw more than any in quite a long time, but there’s a large contingent of haters. So to them, I politely ask that you consider the following:

  1. Survivor Series is about three weeks away, and they’ve already pretty much set up what the main matches are going to be. It’s not like Fozzie and Gonzo will be messing up Nash/HHH or Cena and Rock/Killings and Miz.
  2. Too many fans are stuck in the OMG! ECW/ATTITUDE era. If you want to see bloody, hardcore wrestling or over-the-top gimmicks and promos, that’s fine. But you do have to acknowledge that the WWE has made a lot of money in better advertising and sponsorship by abandoning that direction. And if wrestlers interacting with the Muppets isn’t your cup of tea, check out some Ring of Honor.
  3. IT’S THE FREAKING MUPPETS!!!?!?!?!!!!! What’s not to like?

So set your DVR. I know I will. WWE’s Monday Night Raw airs next Monday at 9 pm.

Spider-Monster: Coming to a theater near you

Sesame Street begins starts its 42nd season in a web-slinging fashion with this clip lampooning the much delayed Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark show on Broadway. Grover has always been my favorite of the Sesame Muppets, and I love that they found a way to base this sketch on his relationship with the bald, mustachioed blue guy who never seems to have fun.

Secondly, how awesome would a Spider-Monster action figure be? It would go grat on the shelf with my Super Grover that Palisades made a few years back.

The new season starts this September.