I was in university in the early 1970’s when classmates in law school started missing the occasional class as they were entranced by Sesame Street. I wondered what children’s show could so captivate university students.
When I got a chance to watch Sesame Street it was a revelation, especially the Muppets. It was the first time I could remember seeing puppets with real contemporary character. They were funny and memorable. Big Bird became an icon of the 1970’s.
In the book there is a wonderful introduction about Henson playing Kermit and a magical interaction with a 6 year old girl singing the ABC song. She loved Kermit who was completely real to her. One of the special aspects to the story is that it was unrehearsed. It was Kermit and the young girl having fun and learning together.
When the Muppet Show was broadcast my appreciation of the Muppets grew. They were crazy as they beat and blew each other up, all with great joy. I wonder in our current age if we could accept such antics or have we become so hyper-sensitized that they would be judged violent.
Waldorf and Statler, the two old codgers up in the balcony, heckling away were adopted for Legal Follies, the annual variety show of the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. Two students would make acerbic comments from up in the second balcony of the theatre where the show was held.
When I think of the show I instantly recall the theme music. It penetrated completely. I still hear the tune running through my head when someone mentions the Muppet Show.
I liked the subsequent movies but loved the Muppet Show.
Fraggle Rock was alright but it never captured me.
In the late 1980’s when my children started watching Sesame Street they equally fell in love with the Muppets. Every generation loves them.
Bert and Ernie were probably their favourite characters though the Cookie Monster was almost as important to them.
When my youngest son was in kindergarten I went to class one day with a drawing for them to colour. It had Michael surrounded by his favourite Muppet characters. There was no need to explain the picture. Every kid knew every Muppet.
As I read the book I decided to look up some videos on YouTube of the Muppet show. I was a touch hesitant, worried they might not have the same appeal, but I need not have fretted. I was captured again.
Watching Rita Moreno perform with Animal, the drummer, and Harry Belafonte sing with a group of African Muppets was amazing.
I think the song, Rainbow Connection, will be sung for generations to come.
I am glad I read the book for it brought back so many good memories of the Muppets.