Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
This is hardly new, but now that The Muppets have a good many new fans thanks to last year’s film, it is worth going back to. Jim Henson‘s early video pitch for the original incarnation of The Muppet Show has been floating around for quite a while, and can be found in at least one or two DVD releases.
But for those who haven’t seen the pitch, and therefore may not quite have a handle on Jim Henson’s irreverent spirit, this two minutes is very much worth watching. And those who have seen it will probably want to watch again, because as the Henson-voiced Muppet pitchman escalates in intensity, he hits notes comic notes that are irresistible.
What is really beautiful here is not even the very funny script, or Henson’s delivery. It is the way Henson navigates the always-tense border between couterculture and commerce. He’s got a foot planted in each camp, and just strides forward with the greatest confidence. This sort of comedy is so difficult to get right, and Henson just nails it.
Originally, at the end of this pitch, there was a shot of Kermit asking “what the hell was that all about?” That shot was cut for The Muppet Show Season One DVD set.
This pitch is very reminiscent of one of the Muppet Meeting Films, in which the same character, Leo, gives a motivational sales speech. It is also great: