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The Muppet Show Theme: Misc

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Muppet

Up to date as of February 02, 2010

From Muppet Wiki

Written by  Sam Pottle & Jim Henson
Music by 
Lyrics by 
Date  1976
Source 
Publisher  Fuzzy Muppet Songs

"The Muppet Show Theme" was played at the beginning and end of every episode of The Muppet Show. Although it evolved visually over the course of the show's five seasons, the musical composition remained substantially the same.

Contents

Openings

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Season One

Each episode of The Muppet Show opened on a shot of the title card, which in the first season was less ornate than the one that would replace it the following year. As the camera zoomed in, a spotlight immediately lit up the O, the center of which swung back to reveal Kermit, who introduced the "very special guest star" from this position before retreating behind the sign. The title card then lifted up to up reveal the curtains, and the camera pulled back to reveal the Muppet orchestra, including close-ups of Crazy Harry on the triangle, Zoot on sax, an uncharacteristically calm Animal on the drums, and Rowlf at the piano; Trumpet Girl and conductor Nigel could be also be seen in the pit in the long shot.

Two kicklines, one of four chorus girls (a bewigged Janice, Miss Piggy, an apparently space-bending Trumpet Girl, and a female Whatnot) and one of four chorus boys (a horned Whatnot monster, Blue Frackle, a Pig, and Green Frackle) then took turns crossing the stage, the former group entering from stage right and the latter from stage left.

The curtains then parted to reveal Fozzie Bear, who attempted a different joke each week, even though he was often cut off before being able to complete it. As the curtains closed on Fozzie, Kermit appeared in front of them to introduce the guest star who, to much applause, was usually shown among an assortment of Muppets he or she would appear with later in the episode.

The last verse of the theme song was then performed from a set of cake-like risers. Kermit and the chorus of Muppets, which also include Wayne, Wanda, and Snake Frackle, raised their arms as the song finished and the logo was once again lowered into place. From his perch on the topmost layer of the risers, Gonzo finished the theme each week by trying to hit the O like a gong, with a different result each week. Even when he managed to make contact, the results were never quite what he expected.

The original, unaired pilot episodes for episodes 101 and 102 featured a longer version of the theme. This earliest version had different shots of the chorus girls and boys, an additional verse sung by a kickline of monsters and creatures, and T.R. (performed by Frank Oz instead of Jerry Nelson) introducing Kermit. The frog then showcased both a song by Wayne and Wanda and a dance, in addition to Fozzie's joke, before introducing the guest, who sang a verse of the theme.

Episode 103 featured the standard Season One theme but included an extra verse after the guest star introduction, in which Kermit previewed a clip from the "Comedy Tonight" number. This is the only episode in which an actual clip from the show was seen in the opening.

Beginning in the 1980s, when episodes from Season One were played in syndication and on home video, the original opening was replaced with the Season Two opening, except for episodes 103, 106, and 114, which were paired with the Season Five opening. The original openings were restored on The Muppet Show: Season One DVDs.

Season Two

This was the only version of the theme to be completely different from a previous version. A new title card was used with a border and more detail. It again began with Kermit introducing the guest star from inside the O, but this time he stayed perched in the sign as it was lifted into the rafters. The curtain was then raised, revealing a series of arches that would become strongly associated with the show. After Rowlf played a bit of music on the piano and Zoot blew a note on his saxophone, a group of full-bodied monsters (including Sweetums, Timmy, Thog, and two Mutations) walked on-stage, followed by a group of females and then males each group singing its own verse. The male's verse was slightly shorter than in the previous season. Statler and Waldorf followed with a new wisecrack each week in place of Fozzie's joke except for a couple of instances where they merely sit down at their seats. Instead of the finishing the song on the risers, Kermit was shown seated in the arches with the rest of the cast. The camera change shots further and further away before the logo lowered in front of them. Kermit and Fozzie run to the left and right sides of the logo respectively behind the arches so they don't get hidden out of shot. Gonzo is inside the circle, and plays a note on his bugle, often wrongly or with some kind of hiccup that changed every week.

The arch positions for the group, including both regulars, supporting players, and background characters, were as follows:

Row #1:

Chicken, Baskerville, T.R., Duck-billed Woman, Mahna Mahna, Ohboy Bird, Whatnot

Row #2:

Female Koozebanian Creature, Lydia, Mildred Huxtetter, Whatnot, Janice, Chicken, Female Dancer, Chicken, Miss Mousey

Row #3:

Chicken, The Newsman, Dr. Teeth, Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog (seated), Fozzie Bear, Scooter, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Chicken

Row #4:

Miss Kitty, Fleet Scribbler, Dr. Julius Strangepork, The Swedish Chef, Sam the Eagle, Whatnot, George the Janitor, Blue Frackle, Whatnot, Link Hogthrob, Green Frackle, Jim Henson Muppet, Lenny the Lizard

Row #5:

Whatnot, Jerry Nelson Muppet, Uncle Deadly, Droop, Chicken, Beautiful Day Monster, Gorgon Heap, Svengali's Assistant, Pig, Crazy Harry, Male Koozebanian Creature, Wanda, Wayne

Season Three

"Why don't you get things started?"

The third season's opening was similar to the second season, the only differences being the initial shots of Zoot and Rowlf and an added shot in which the audience asked "Why don't you get things started?"

Starting this season, some episodes had a special scene during the opening that took place either backstage or in the orchestra, in place of a comment by Statler and Waldorf.

Episode 308 from this season is the only episode with a completely different opening sequence, the theme lyrics slightly altered and the intro done at a train station.

Season Four

This is the shortest opening from the show's run. The shots of the women and men singing in the arches were replaced by a single shot of men (on a top row of arches) and women (on a bottom row of arches) singing one short verse. The rest of the opening remained unchanged from the third season's opening.

Season Five

The shot of Rowlf and Zoot was replaced again in the fifth season. This opening reverted to having the women and men sing two different verses, although the shot was changed from the second and third season's openings. The characters for the women's line are from right to left, Miss Mousey, Chicken, Lydia, Chicken, Janice, and Mildred, though she is barely seen at the end of the line. The men's characters are Dr. Julius Strangepork, whatnot, George the Janitor, Blue Frackle (Boppity), Green Frackle (Gloat), and a whatnot. Statler and Waldorf then sang a verse about their hatred of The Muppet Show, which was the same in each season 5 episode, and had the same melody as Kermit's guest star verse from Season One. This was followed by a shot of the orchestra that showed Animal on drums, and Lips, the Electric Mayhem's new trumpeter, soloing. This was followed by a shot of a few rows of arches filled with characters saying "And now let's get things started", and the rest of the opening was the same from previous versions. However, in this opening, there is a bit of a continuity error, because Lips is supposedly in the Orchestra pit as the song goes on, however the opening shot of the orchestra and more evidently the "Why Don't You Get Things Started?" shot remained the same from previous versions so Trumpet Girl is seen playing the trumpet in these shots.

Extended Album Version

An extended version of the Muppet Show theme was recorded between season 1 and 2 for a 45RPM record.

The arrangements are similar to the season 2 opening, but it still features a joke from Fozzie and Kermit's introduction verse. Kermit introduces Miss Piggy, who karatechops him. This is followed by an instrumental break (in which Kermit introduces Animal as a "record breaking drummer"; Animal then attempts to break the record album). The theme then modulates to the final verse.

The second half of this version of the theme (without kazoo solo and dialogue) was used as the theme for the Muppet Show Music Album.

Closings

Season One

The closing theme was an instrumental version of the opening theme. The closing featured The Muppet Orchestra, and various shots of each musician were seen. From left to right were Zoot, Floyd Pepper, Trumpet Girl, Crazy Harry, Nigel, Animal, and Rowlf. At the very end of the sequence, Statler and Waldorf would make a comment, which changes per episode (though some of their opening comments were re-used in various episodes, these comments were only included in one episode each). A handful of episodes had something else happening instead of Statler and Waldorf making a comment (see The Muppet Show Alternate Closings). Their comments were followed by a wide shot of the orchestra and then a shot of Zoot blowing the local logo (England: Associated TeleVision, outside England: ATV in the wide orchestra shot and ITC Entertainment from Zoot) out of his saxophone (in the 1980s, this was replaced with a new shot of Zoot, who just blew a small note, and when reruns aired on Nickelodeon, it was replaced by a clip from the "Sax and Violence" number) where Zoot plays a short low note, nods at the sheet music, and nods off screen. In the pilot episodes101 and 102 an opening shot of the whole orchestra is seen panning out.

Season Two

The only difference between the season 1 and 2 closings is that the shot of Floyd Pepper was replaced with a new shot of Floyd. Whereas in the first closing he wasn't wearing his hat, in this shot he wears his hat and blinks his eyes (though he isn't wearing his hat in any of the other scenes in this closing).

Seasons Three and Four

In season 3, the entire closing was reshot. Crazy Harry is no longer in the orchestra, Animal wears his regular clothes instead of a tuxedo, and Floyd and Zoot both wear their hats (for the entire sequence). The music was also completely replaced with a slightly slower rendition, including a piano solo from Rowlf replacing Zoot's previous solo. In this opening, there are solo shots of each member, with the exception of Trumpet Girl. The characters rearrange themselves as well, so from left to right we see: Trumpet Girl, Floyd Pepper, Nigel, Animal, Zoot, and Rowlf, as is in the opening credits. Starting this season, Zoot stands next to Rowlf's piano in both the starting and closing credits. In the episode 308, Rowlf's solo is replaced by a trumpet solo performed by a chicken. In episodes 319 and 401, an opening shot of the orchestra is seen panning out.

Season Five

The closing was reshot again for the fifth season. This time, Lips is in the orchestra, and Trumpet Girl plays the trombone. There is also a new trumpet and trombone solo featuring these characters, however the rest of the music remained the same as the Season 3 and 4 closing. Animal is back in his tuxedo instead of his normal clothes and the newest Zoot puppet (see Zoot Through the Years) is featured. In Episode 507 the opening shot of the orchestra is the same scene of Lips' and the Trumpet Girl's solos. In certain episodes (see The Muppet Show Alternate Closings) Lips' trumpet solo is absent from the music.

Other renditions

See also


This article uses material from the "The Muppet Show Theme" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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