The Muppet Movie (1979) Poster


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Jim Henson spent an entire day in a 50-gallon steel drum submerged in a pond for the opening scene of Kermit in the swamp.
In a 2004 interview, John Landis revealed that he was the puppeteer for Grover during the final sequence, as Frank Oz was busy operating Miss Piggy. Landis also noted that Tim Burton was also among the many puppeteers in the finale.
The first Muppet project to take place in the real world.
Kermit playing the banjo while sitting on a log took five days to shoot.
Jim Henson was determined to use the larger budget of a feature film to push the technological limits and capabilities of puppetry. One of the most difficult feats (and one that appears deceptively easy on-screen) was making Kermit ride a bicycle.
The illusion of Fozzie driving the Studebaker was achieved by having a midget drive the car via remote control from the trunk, using a television monitor to guide his steering. The puppeteers would lay on the seat or floor and couldn't see a thing. The first time they tested it, the television monitor went on the blink, and the driver had to be talked through the scene by an assistant director on a walkie-talkie ("A little to the right, now, to the left...hold it...").
The film was an allegory for Jim Henson's rise to fame.
This was the last movie to feature famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his wooden sidekick, Charlie McCarthy; Bergen died shortly after his scene was shot in 1978. It held particular meaning for Jim Henson, who cited, on many occasions, how Bergen and McCarthy were the major reasons he took an interest in puppetry. A dedication to Bergen is included in the end credits.
Orson Welles plays a studio executive named Lew Lord who draws up a standard rich-and-famous contract for The Muppets - a reference to real-life producer Sir Lew Grade (later Lord Grade). When Jim Henson was trying to find a producer to make The Muppet Show (1976) happen, no American network understood or was interested in the concept, Grade recognized Henson's vision and made the show possible.
A deleted subplot followed Statler & Waldorf who turned up at various points in the movie to comment (and heckle) the main action.
The character of Doc Hopper is a parody of Harland Sanders, the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (now "KFC") restaurant chain, who was known for his attire of a white suit and bolo string tie.
The song "Never Before, Never Again" was originally sung by a professional singer dubbing in for Frank Oz (as Miss Piggy), but the producers did not think her rendition was as funny as Frank Oz's version.
Orson Welles only had one line of dialogue.
Austin Pendleton originally turned down the role of Max. James Frawley had the role expanded because he really wanted Pendleton for the role.
It took three Kermits to do the opening "Rainbow Connection" scene.
One of the Kermits used in "The Rainbow Connection" was a mechanical; you can tell by the way it strums the banjo, and the colors of Kermit's "skin".
Gonzo is ridiculed when he says he wants to go to Bombay, India, to become a movie star. According to International Business Times, the Bollywood film industry (based in Mumbai, formerly Bombay) produces roughly twice as many movies a year as Hollywood.
Shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Lake Sherwood, California.
According to Austin Pendleton, James Frawley was very unhappy directing the movie and did not get along with the Muppet performers.
One of James Frawley's rare ventures into film directing. He more often directs for television.
Mel Brooks has a celebrity cameo as the German doctor in the hostage scene.
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As the camera pans across the entrance to the movie studio, the large, horned full-bodied muppet with long, gray hair (known to muppet cast and crew as "Doglion", he later "takes" Kermit's seat) can be seen walking through the lot. He is the first muppet to be shown on the big screen.
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Caroll Spinney:  Big Bird tells Kermit that he's going to New York to break into public television - an obvious reference to Sesame Street (1969), the television show that popularized the Muppets.
Steve Martin:  the waiter in the small-town restaurant where Kermit and Piggy eat their first dinner.
Bob Hope:  Ice cream vendor who sells cones to Fozzie.
Jim Henson:  One of the bad guys trying to shoot Kermit in the western scene.
Steve Whitmire:  In the crowd of the beauty pageant at the County Fair.
Madeline Kahn:  At the El Sleezo Bar.
Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson:  Inside the El Sleezo.
Frank Oz:  Wearing motorcycle gear in the El Sleezo.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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