Welcome back to PuppetMaster! Our weekend feature by our good friends at Wanderlust Theatre Co in Louisiana. This week, Elsa’s feeling the holiday spirit!
It’s Friday, and since I’m feeling a wee bit Christmasy, I thought that focusing on THE BEST CHRISTMAS PUPPET MOVIE OF ALL TIME, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, was a great use of space. So, here are ten facts about the movie that you should know:
1. Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (EOJBC) was originally a 1971 children’s book by Russell Hoban, illustrated by his wife Lillian Hoban.
2. EOJBC was one of the first times that the Jim Henson Co. used radio controls to operate their Muppets.
3. The movie features puppetry by an all-star cast: Jim Henson & Frank Oz (Miss Piggy, Grover, Yoda, etc.), Richard Hunt (Beaker, Janice, Sweetums) and Jerry Nelson (Count von Count, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Camilla), and several other prominent Muppeteers.
4. The river in the film was 10 feet wide and 55 feet long!
5. Paul Williams wrote several original songs for the movie and would go on to write all of the music for “The Muppet Movie” and “The Muppet Christmas Carol.”
6. The movie was recently revamped as a musical stage show featuring a mix of puppet and human actors, produced by Jim Henson Co. at the Goodspeed Opera House in December 2008. It was so popular that it returned the following December for another month long run.
7. Kermit the Frog was the original narrator of the film, and made a cameo appearance at the end, but after Disney sold the rights to the Muppets (including Kermit) in 2004, he had to be edited out. The Jim Henson Co. retained the rights to the EOJBC characters.
8. Many of the characters in EOJBC made cameo appearances in later Muppet films, including the elaborate Rainbow Connection finale in “The Muppet Movie.”
9. There is quite a bit of outtake material on the HensonCompany YouTube Channel, which may be almost as good as the real thing.
10. EOJBC is available on DVD (the HBO version has Kermit, the Disney version doesn’t) and you can watch it on Netflix instantly. Watch it NOW!
Oh – don’t forget to check out this week’s Neil’s Puppet Dreams – Harris’ Dr. Horrible co-star, Nathan Fillion, makes a guest appearance! Penile humor abounds.