A poor otter family risks everything for the chance to win the cash prize of a talent contest for Christmas.


Jim Henson


Lillian Hoban (book), Russell Hoban (book) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Jerry Nelson ... Emmet Otter / Weasel / Doc Bullfrog / Melissa Rabbit / Yancy Woodchuck (voice)
Frank Oz ... Chuck / Ma Otter (assistant) (voice)
Marilyn Sokol ... Ma Otter (voice)
Dave Goelz ... Wendell / Pop-eyed Catfish / Will Possum (voice)
Richard Hunt ... Charlie / Lizard / George Rabbit (voice)
Eren Ozker Eren Ozker ... Gretchen Fox / Hetty Muskrat / Mrs. Mink / Old Lady Possum (voice)


Emmet Otter and his Ma are dirt-poor, but very happy and good singers. But as Christmas is around the corner, both of them want to get something special for each other. And the talent show prize is $50! So, Ma gets a song ready, and Emmet forms a jug-band with his friends. But the Riverbottom Gang, a bunch of rich kids with killer electric band equipment are going to be tough competition. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Merry Musical Treat For The Whole Family! See more »


TV-G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Amy Poehler states that Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is her favorite Christmas special. See more »


Ma Otter: A person's got to take some chances or life will never come to nothin'.
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Alternate Versions

The DVD release has some footage removed from the original print of the movie such as...
  • When talking to Gretchen Fox, Ma Otter tells her "I would really appreciate it if you'd...fall off the dock." This part is edited out.
  • When Ma and Emmett are rowing home in the boat some dialogue is cut before the "ain't no hole in the washtub" song. Ma says, "Oh there ain't no hole in the washtub, that's your basic keeping warm while you're rowing home song." Emmett says. "I'm rowing, where's the singing?" This part is completely removed.
  • Originally, after the hedgehog finishes mangling "Barbecue", Harrison Fox says to the stage manager, "Better get ready. We're off to a shaky start." (I don't remember the exact line, but that's close.) Then it fades to black, fading up on Fox finding the jug band in the alley (suggesting a passage of time).
  • Second, the DVD version cuts Kermit's final narration in Doc Bullfrog's restaurant.
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Follows Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince (1971) See more »


When The River Meets The Sea
Written by Paul Williams
See more »

User Reviews

I loved the mashed potatoes
11 December 2013 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Charming Christmas special from Jim Henson, based on the book by Russell and Lillian Hoban. This sweet story is about dirt poor Emmet Otter and his mother. Unbeknownst to each other, they both get the idea to join a talent show in hopes of winning the prize money to buy a gift for the other. It's a sentimental tale with a great moral lesson and some nice songs. Wait until you get a load of the Riverbottom Nightmare Band! Try to find the uncut version if you can. Unfortunately, after Disney acquired the rights to the Muppets, some scenes were removed from the DVD releases. Still, whatever version you watch I'm sure you will enjoy this delightful Christmas special.

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USA | Canada



Release Date:

4 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los Teleñecos: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$473,802, 16 December 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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