It’s been over thirty years since one of Sesame Street‘s most memorable episodes: the one that deals with the death of Mr. Hooper. For children of the early 80s, it’s a generational touchstone, something nearly everyone has a personal memory of. But decades later, there are generations who know little to nothing about Mr. Hooper. Even people who did see the episode may not remember much about it or anything else about Mr. Hooper. So today, we’re looking back at Mr. Hooper, the actor who portrayed him, and the episode that came from the passing of both. Continue reading
Though there’s no shortage of obscure Muppets in the world, there are also Muppets who just about everyone knows. But even these most famous of our felted friends didn’t start off as household names. Here’s a look at the early careers of some of the Muppet stars.
Kermit the Frog
One of the earliest Muppet characters, Kermit got his start on Jim Henson’s very first TV show Sam and Friends. Each episode was five minutes long and usually consisted of characters lip-synching to a popular song or short scenes like “Visual Thinking” above. Kermit – who was not yet identified as a frog – was the breakout star of the show. He continued to appear in various Henson specials and short segments on other shows after Sam and Friends ended, slowly gaining a more frog-like appearance. Kermit’s thirteen point collar – one of his most recognizable features – evolved from a minstrel collar he wore in an unaired pilot that may have stuck around because it helped to hide the division between Kermit’s neck and body.
Kermit’s personality also went through an evolution. Early on, he was more of a smart-aleck. But in his appearances on Sesame Street – the show that made Kermit a true celebrity – he developed into a calmer and more sincere character with a flustered streak. The Muppet Show cemented Kermit’s stardom and introduced the frequently frazzled frog-in-chief we know today.
It’s been some time since I have cooked anything for the blog. I think I was just waiting for the right thing to cross my path and I am happy to say that it finally has. Several of the ladies get quite the kick out of vintage (and sometimes gimmicky) cookbooks. This is especially true when the books come from properties that are near and dear to our hearts. If you are interested in our past adventures with silly cookbooks, might I direct you to part one of the DC and Marvel Recipe Book Showdown. Just don’t forget to come back and see what else we have managed to dig up.
In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy: Fabulous Recipes from My Celebrity Friends was a gift from a friend who found it while in the process of moving to a new house. I want to give her a shout out before diving in. Without you, this culinary adventure would not have been possible.
Back in April, when we barely knew anything about the proposed new TV show starring the Muppets, I wrote up a list of qualities I thought would be essential for a successful new Muppet show. Now the show (called The Muppets, just like the group of characters and the recent movie, making it difficult to talk about any of them) has seven episodes under its belt. The series’ show runner is stepping down and there are rumblings of a reboot after the midseason break, neither of which suggest that the ratings are great. But how has the show done at fulfilling my essential Muppet criteria? Let’s take a look: Continue reading
Hard as it may be to believe, there really have been five Muppet Trivias at Comicazi over the years, hosted by different combinations of Ladies. The very first one was a Red Menace project, and the rest of us have taken on various hosting and organizing duties through the years. It’s always a lot of work, but it’s also a ton of fun and it remains my favorite of the events we put together.
Muppets have always been important to me. Like most kids born in the 70s or later, I grew up on Sesame Street. I can remember watching The Muppet Show at my grandparents house back when I was too young to understand a lot of it. As I explained in my origin story, I first met two out of three of the Ladies at Muppet Trivia, which is coming back in less than two weeks. And my first solo post for blog was about the ill-fated Henson project Little Muppet Monsters. (Speaking of which some new information on why the show failed has surfaced since I wrote about it. Apparently, Marvel Productions hadn’t completed the animated segments for most of the episodes of the show, leaving the majority of the season half finished and unairable. CBS decided to air a second episode of Muppet Babies in the timeslot. The ratings were way better than those for Little Muppet Monsters and the show’s fate was sealed. Anyway…) My love for things Muppet has waned and waxed over the years, but it’s always been there. Continue reading
If you’re a Muppet fan – and I know a lot of you regular readers are – you’ve undoubtedly heard about the Muppets’ upcoming return to TV. Or planned return to TV anyway. Continue reading
December is upon us, which means – like it or not – the winter holidays have arrived. It’s once again time for walking through winter wonderlands, roasting chestnuts on an open fire, and desperately trying to ensure that all three gifts for your fellow Ladies arrive in time. (Maybe that last one is just me.) It’s also an excellent time to get your Muppet fix. The Muppets have been making Christmas appearances on TV shows since the 1960s and started their own catalog of Christmas specials in 1970 with The Great Santa Claus Switch. Over forty years later, Muppet fans have a lot of holiday themed Muppet material to choose from. These are my three picks for the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, and Muppetational Muppet Christmas specials.
The holiday season is upon us once again and along with snowstorms, visiting relatives, and frantic last minute gift shopping, that means holiday specials on TV. Seasonal specials have become part of our holiday traditions, something we come back to every year along with the old decorations to remind us of and connect us to holidays past. We all have our old favorites, but there’s always room for a few new ones to add to the yearly rotation. Here, in no particular order, are ten of my favorite Christmas specials. Some are well known classics, while others are a little less well known. So get your hot chocolate ready and prepare to revisit some of the old greats and discover some new ones.
Most of you, dear readers, have met at least one of the Ladies of Comicazi in person. But you may not know how we came to be the Ladies of Comicazi: how we got involved with the store and how we met each other. With that in mind, I’m kicking off a new four-part series, to be continued whenever we feel so inclined, to delve into the origins of the Ladies of Comicazi.
Comic books have been a part of my life for a long time. It’s difficult to remember exactly how it started; I’m not someone who can recall her first comic. Somewhere between my dad reminiscing about comics from his own childhood and the occasional issue of something – most likely Disney related – catching my attention, I figured out that I liked comics.
My sister was the one who got seriously into superhero comics and I followed along, eventually picking up a few titles on my own. X-Men was the big thing at the time. We had seen the TV series and that led to us reading the comics and picking up backissues and trades to better understand the story. The trip to the comic shop – one of two local stores we had to choose from – became a weekly ritual that I observe to this day.
Though my first comic is lost to the ages, I can remember other details: the first time I read X-Men #1 (adjective-free, not Uncanny), the first collected superhero story I ever read (Fantastic Four: Trial of Galactus, which I probably didn’t understand very well), and the first time I read Mad Love (which I liked, but really didn’t understand until later). I learned about independent comics through – shockingly – Wizard magazine and started picking up Strangers In Paradise (which I never finished) and Bone (which I did). The people I was hanging out with at the time – one of whom I dated and eventually married – broadened my horizons and my appreciation of comics further. Though animation remained my first love, most of my college friends were in the sequential art department, ensuring that I didn’t give up comics after I left home.
I have always been very lucky with comic shops. Wherever I’ve been for any extended period of time – including a family vacation to London, I’ve always had at least one comic shop nearby. I’ve also never had anyone make me feel uncomfortable as a woman in a comic shop, which not all women can claim, sadly. That said, I have been in comic shops that had problems: poor organization, inattentive staff, minimal selection, or just an unpleasant atmosphere. This makes me appreciate a comic shop that gets it right all the more.
The biggest aspect that separates the best comic shops from the mediocre to bad ones is the people: the ones who know your name, know what you buy regularly, suggest comics that you might enjoy, keep the store in good order, and generally make it a welcoming place for regulars and new customers alike. That’s why when Mike and Bob left the store they had been working at to start Comicazi, my then-boyfriend-now husband and I followed them, along with several of our friends. To me, it’s that sense of community and belonging that keep brick and mortar comic shops relevant as digital becomes more of a force in the industry. I’ve been to other comic shops. I’ve bought things from other comic shops. I’ve had conversations with total strangers about Doctor Who in other comic shops. But Comicazi is where I’ve bought comics weekly. Comicazi is home.
I met my fellow Ladies in May of 2011, after a rather rough couple of months that left me moody and withdrawn without much reason. With a bit of prodding from my husband Franksenstein, I decided to give Muppet Trivia at Comicazi a shot. Muppets were another longtime passion of mine and I’d been learning more about them recently, thanks to the episodes of The MuppetCast I listened to while walking the dogs.
I’m normally kind of shy around people I don’t know, so I didn’t go in convinced that I would make new friends. But having a randomly assigned team and a job to do actually makes conversation a lot easier, particularly when that job is something you’re pretty good at. Leading my team to victory gave me the reason and the confidence boost I needed to chat with the hosts. And that’s how I met The Red Menace and Smalerie.
There isn’t a whole lot more to the story because it didn’t take much more for us to become friends. There was some more prodding from Franksenstein before I worked up the courage to suggest a dinner meetup,but everything went pretty smoothly from there on. I believe I met Tiny Doom at a Comicazi Game Night, though I’m sorry to say I can’t recall which one. The name “Cartoon Sara” was bestowed on me by Smalerie, who has many Sara/hs to keep track of and gave me one of the better titles, which I happily adopted. Making such amazing new friends was exactly what I needed to break out of my lengthy funk and to keep me from falling back into one. So when I got the formal and very flattering invitation to join the Ladies of Comicazi blog, there was no way I was going to turn it down.
If you would like to meet your new best friends, or possibly just have fun answering trivia questions about the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and other Jim Henson creations, we have some good news for you! Muppet Trivia is returning to Comicazi on Saturday, August 17th! Your hosts this year will be three out of four Ladies of Comicazi: The Red Menace, Smalerie, and yours truly. There will be fun, there will be snacks, and of course, there will be Muppets. Mark your calendars and keep your browsers pointed to our blog, as we’ll be sharing more information about what you can expect as the date approaches.