(1982 TV Special)


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  • An all-star variety special saluting America.

  • An all-star salute to American ideals, commemorating the 250th anniversary of George Washington's birth. Barbra Streisand performs "America the Beautiful" with the U.S. Air Force Band in England; Robin Williams performs a monologue as the American flag; and the Muppets play members of the Continental Congress.

  • The Muppet segment is introduced by Martin Sheen telling Big Bird about the turbulence at the nation's beginning. The scene then shifts from from an outdoor, live stage at night to a panned b&w photograph of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, to the interior of Independence Hall -- Muppet style. The Muppets are putting on the play "1776" (a Broadway hit in 1969 and a film in 1972). Kermit is playing Thomas Jefferson and also directing. Miss Piggy asks what role she plays, is told there are "no pigs" in the Continental Congress, and then repeatedly returns in different outfits (as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and finally as the Statue of Liberty in the last seconds of the skit) in her attempts to get into the show. The Muppets, scripts in hand, get to work after Fozzie Bear complains to Kermit that the script isn't funny. Secretary John Thompson, with Sam the Eagle standing at his side, calls the session to order and several lines proceed, excerpted directly from Act III of the "1776" play script on the Continental Congress' initial debate on American Independence. John Adams of Massachusetts (Fozzie Bear) and John Dickenson of Pennsylvania (Gonzo) argue over independence, and come to blows of their canes. A mêlée ensues, during which one paper airplane, then several balls of paper, and other paper airplanes fly. A paper airplane flies past a disapproving Sam the Eagle. More lines from the debate (play script) follow, and Fozzie interrupts the script complaining to Kermit that this just isn't funny. Kermit explains that this is very much what the history books say it was like, and Fozzie asks where it all ends. Kermit says, in their case, with the Declaration of Independence and a new nation. "In our case?," Fozzie asks. Kermit yells, "Song cue!" and the entire Muppet company joins in singing "The Brotherhood of Man" (from "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," not from "1776") and then "The Saints Go Marching In" in counterpoint (with rats marching in wearing lace cravats, chickens in colonial hats, etc.). The number ends with Miss Piggy popping up center, front stage in costume as the Statue of Liberty, adding to "the Brotherhood of Man" closing line a loud "And women!"


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