7 Things You Never Knew About ‘The Muppet Movie’

The Muppet Movie Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, 1979
Henson Associates/Everett Collection

There’s something special about the Muppets. I love watching any of the movies and television shows, old and new, because it gives me that giddy nostalgia and makes me feel like a kid again. The Muppets do such a great job of mixing humor with heartwarming moments, plus tons of celebrity cameos and fun songs. This June, The Muppet Movie celebrates its 45th anniversary and Universal Pictures and Fathom Events are teaming up to bring it back to the theaters for a limited time.

Fans can watch the 1979 classic on the big screen once again in select theaters on Sunday, June 2 and Monday, June 3 (grab your tickets here!). In honor of those wacky Muppets, creator Jim Henson and the film that sparked many more, let’s go over some interesting facts about The Muppet Movie.

The director ruined the set’s morale

The Muppet Movie from left: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, 1979

Henson Associates/Everett Collection

Actor Austin Pendleton, who played Max in The Muppet Movie, noted that the director Jim Frawley did not seem to be a Muppet fan, saying, “That was a very unhappy set, because Jim [Frawley] was very unhappy directing that movie. And I noticed that was the only time the Muppet people used an outside person to direct a Muppet movie. They never did that again. After that, it was either Jim Henson or Frank Oz. And I would have liked to have been in one of those, because those sets were very harmonious. But this was not.”

All about the iconic Studebaker

The Muppet Movie Kermit the Frog, The Great Gonzo, chicken, Fozzie Bear, 1979

Henson Associates/Everett Collection

The scenes featuring the gang driving around in that old Studebaker were fun to watch, but it was extremely hard to film. Four puppeteers had to squeeze underneath the dashboard of the car with video monitors, and a shorter person steering and driving the car. The 1951 Bullet Nose Studebaker Commander used in the film is now featured in the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, and they are currently planning to restore it.

A 60-foot Animal was made for the film

Henson did not want to use a normal puppet on a mini set to achieve the scene where Animal grows to ginormous heights after eating Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s Insta-Grow pills, so the crew had to create a 60-foot Animal head for just one small scene.

Jim Henson and Frank Oz make quick cameos in the film

Of course, they voiced several Muppets, but they also made quick cameos; if you blink, you might miss them. They are two of Doc Hopper’s gunslingers in the showdown scene. Have you ever noticed that?

A song from the film (no, not “Rainbow Connection”) was sung at Henson’s memorial

When Henson sadly passed away in 1990, The Muppet Movie song “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” was performed by Gonzo voice actor Dave Goelz at the memorial, as it was one of Henson’s favorite songs.

The final scene was filmed in a day

The Muppet Movie US poster art, top row from left: James Coburn, Cloris Leachman, Paul Williams, Bob Hope, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Orson Welles, Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen, bottom row from left: Carole Kane, Milton Berle, Richard Pryor, Dom DeLuise, Steve Martin, Elliot Gould, bottom left to right: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, 1979

Everett Collection

The final scene is something to behold, as all of the Muppets come together to sing “The Rainbow Connection” once more. With so many puppets and crew members, one might think it took forever to film but it only took one day to complete. Much of the movie was groundbreaking due to the difficult scenes because, remember: they weren’t working with the same technology we have today.

The newer Muppet movies fared better in theaters

The Muppets l-r: Scooter, Swedish Chef, Fozzie Bear, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle, Beauregard, 2011

Scott Garfield/Walt Disney Pictures/Everett Collection

This could be a controversial one. Not only did 2011’s The Muppets and 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted make more in the box office, but they have better reviews online.

What’s your take? Do you love the classic or the newer versions? I’ll be honest, I truly love them all!

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Kid Stuff

June 2018

Unleash your inner child by reliving your favorite kids TV shows, cartoons, toys and more!

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