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Where is Steve Whitmire Petition

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by theprawncracker, Sep 13, 2009.

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  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Then of course there's the third theory... they might not know what's going on either, and are unable to comment because they don't have any information.

    Now, I have a feeling that Steve couldn't have been fired, nor would they replace anyone with sound-a-likes. Why? Because Eric, Bill, Dave, and other Henson employees are still there, and they've been performing the characters at D23 last week. Now, if Disney were to have problems with Steve, wouldn't it just make sense for the other performers who have worked for them so far to get angry enough to quit or "strike" out of solidarity? And if they were indeed replacing them with sound-a-likes, why would they keep said performers around? Somehow that just doesn't add up.

    So far, we've basically seen 2 performances without Steve... and frankly, 2 live performances within a week of each other, while unnerving, doesn't really say much about if Disney's replacing Steve or not. Maybe he's busy with something else, maybe he has a personal matter (which, at the risk of sounding mean, isn't any of our business).

    And again... hypothetically speaking, if Steve decided to move on and he gave his blessing for someone else to play the frog, wouldn't we support that? Sure, I like Frank Oz as a muppeteer and all, but I respect his choice to have a film career (yes... even that Stepford Wives movie), So, if somehow Steve made a choice to leave by his own will (hypothetically, since we know nothing yet), shouldn't we support that as well?
  2. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    The Muppeteers are freelancers, so as far as i know, they can't get fired, just not used. From rumours here it sounds like a contract negotiations thing, but who knows. I don't think it is a case of Steve just having flu or something, having a different Kermit actually out there speaking live is a major thing after 20 years .. they wouldn't have made that move easily even if there was an Americas Got Talent booked.

    As to if Steve gave up Kermit and kind of passed the torch onto someone else (ie - Artie or whoever) i don't think the fanbase should automatically accept anyone that is given the job. We are supposed to be fans of the performance and judge them on that, as we have been doing so if they did well then i'm sure everybody would say so. Steve got enough criticism when he first performed Kermit.

    Bottom line though, aside from us missing Steve, is that its a crucial time for the Muppets with however many millions invested in them and a comeback on the horizon, everything they do needs to be 100% perfect so that people embrace them back. I appreciate Disney may be doing the best they can to cover whatever the situation is, but i just hope they realise that this couldn't have happened at a worse time and throwing in this alternate performer is not of equal quality and people have noticed this outside of the fan community.
  3. Blinky_Fish

    Blinky_Fish Well-Known Member

    My Head hurts... Did anyone remember that Steve is no Geek and does not use the Internet thingie? Maybe ask wojit-whatiz of he has any insight? Just a thought.
  4. Blinky_Fish

    Blinky_Fish Well-Known Member

    On another note - Imagine his Monster dot com resume... That would be a HA!larious read if he really was looking. Just a lighter side look at the dillio - It's Friday - Smile :)
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Freelancers... well that changes my theory... but not by much. I still think if Disney and Steve were having some sort of falling out, the others, who have worked with him for years, wouldn't have been too happy with it, and foreseeable leave. It definitely supports my idea that they won't be going with cheaper sound a-likes... Disney would never do that ....Warner Bros, yes... (the entire cast of Baby Looney Tunes- sans June Foray- was cheaper, Canadian voice actors... as was Tom and jerry Tales- Droopy and Spike were recast for it). In fact, WB has so many people doing voices of one character... it's almost as if they go by a basis of whoever is available. Talk about inconsistancy.

    Now, right... someone's gonna say "What are you talking about? Disney replaces actors all the time." ONLY with movie roles that were previously held by A and B list celebrities that would cost too much to get on an episodic basis. And let's not forget the whole Disney/Robin Williams thing, either... but they got him a Picasso, and everything worked out. but either way, these roles are held by A-class American Californian based union voice actors... the Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Tom Kenny types. And as far as their own characters are concerned, they tend to keep them as long as they are available (not retired or still alive). They did replace Paul Winchell as Tigger before he passed on... but I think he was retired at that point. They did get him back to do a couple Pooh movies before then, though...

    That said, I'm glad someone brought up Futurama... I never thought for a second Fox was going to replace their actors. Never. They did however, psych the actors out, and I swear they DID leak the news about the contract disputes... again, to
    psych them all out. I doubt any of the creators and writers of the show would want anything to do with it if they didn't get the originals back. And even then, us fans reacted badly to the surprise Kermit recast? Think of what would have happened if thousands of Futurama fans tuned in to see wrong sounding Bender. You'd think they'd go to all that effort of trying to get the show back on the air to tick the fans off? it was all a sly bargaining chip so they could get the VA's to work for less than they wanted.

    I still say the premier episode should begin with the wrong voice actors doing the characters in a very flat, amateurish tone... only to have Amy clean out her ears or knock over a machine or something, and having everyone sound normal again.
  6. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    I have yet to hear/see the recent Kermit appearance at the VMA's. It is concerning as a Muppet fan and a HUGE Steve Whitmire fan, however, I'm not going to let my world fall apart because of it. If Steve for whatever reason is no longer performing Kermit or is not playing him for live appearances, I am sure when the timing is right, we will be told why.

    To bash Artie is unfair as maybe he's not the best Kermit right now but I highly doubt any of us here can do any better and being he has been a participant to our boards in the past, we should be excited and happy for him. All these negative posts are sad to read.

    I was actually more disappointed to read that people here have been continually calling up the Disney/Henson offices to find out what's going on. That's not going to get anybody anywhere and it's going to leave a bad taste in Disney's mouth and give them a bad view of the fan base. They will not take us seriously as concerned fans if we continue forward with those kinds of actions. I know we all want to know what's going on. I think enough people here and on other Muppet fan sites know those who work behind the scenes where when they are able to will give us answers. Sit tight, everyone.
  7. Hat Sharpener

    Hat Sharpener Well-Known Member

    IMHO, Disney most certainly should not issue a press release or make a formal statement of any kind. I said this elsewhere, but one of the greatest PR advantages the Muppets have is that the news media treats them like actual celebrities. Sure, the people on the Today Show have a little childish grin on their faces, but they just go with it.

    The only people who look beneath the Muppets are "Fanboys" -- the type of people who post on MuppetCentral or ToughPigs and those Jim-Hill-type people who are fascinated learning what type of fiberglass they're using on the latest Disneyland attraction.

    I expect something will eventually be leaked intentionally, and we'll have to be satisfied with that, and just keep churning away here in our speculation until then.

    All that being said, one reason nobody in the media acknowledges the felt and foam is that they know they'll look bad and be terribly upstaged by the Muppets (we've seen it happen). If the people performing the Muppets are not good enough performers to upstage the interviewers (read: Kermit at the VMA's), then we've got a bigger problem...
  8. Krazedmuppet

    Krazedmuppet Well-Known Member

    Maybe Steve is smoking them out- maybe Disney isnt paying him enough and he is holding out on them to let them see how much he is worth and all of our attempts at letting them know how much his is missed is helping Steve get what he deserves for all this work Disney suddenly wants him to do! :) Makes me feel better anyway :D

    Is Dave Goelz in on this whole "putting life back into the Muppets" plan? or is he bowing out respectfully? or *gasp* did Disney get rid of him too?
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    This is WHY we shouldn't speculate. Dave was still there at the D23... as was Bill and Eric... and quite possibly a few others who don't have speaking lines and only helped perform the others. Just because Steve has been "missing" doesn't mean that everyone else is gone, especially when they're clearly still here...
  10. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    I agree. Artie has a lot of potential as I've noticed on the MTV thing. If the time ever came that Steve could no longer perform Kermit, I could see Artie performing him regularly. But we're all hoping that we're not at that point yet.
  11. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Yeah it's not boding well for Disney to be so silent.

    I doubt Goelz is going anywhere, I heard during the Muppet auditions a few years back hardly anyone was able to truly slip into Gonzo from a vocal or quirk standpoint.

    In my view the Whitmire/Goelz dynamic and chemistry no matter what two characters they are doing(S&W? Gonzo and Kermit? Gonzo and Rizzo?) is absolutely amazing, second only to JH and Oz. So if Whitmire has been let go for whatever reason, or he decided to pursue other things long or short term...its definitely a huge disruption in the dynamic.

    And, well there goes Rizzo.
  12. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Well as much as hardcore Muppet fandom is a bit underground compared to most fandoms, itd be baddd news for Disney backlash wise to have pulled that sort of stunt.

    I keep thinking we'll hear in a week or two that Whitmire was just taking a rest or had other commitments, but Disney contractually required "a" Kermit to fill some tv roles.

    Does this seem the going feeling here?

    Then again, NOTHING shocks me anymore.

    Well it is called "Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made":)

    You feel how I felt trying to watch the French Muppet Show from a few years ago. I just didnt feel like I was watching the *actual* Muppets.

    Well especially when you're in the direct presence of a Muppeteer performing a Muppet character. It's an astonishing trick, even my friends I brought who arent Muppet fans couldnt access the part of their mind telling them its "just a puppet". There's a certain hypnosis or illusion, and thats why no media outlet thinks of them as just some lambchop or mr rogers puppet.

    And...I think the improv on the fly dialogue goes a long way in fostering that illusion.

    And yeah, only the online Disneyana/Jim Hill/D23 geeks care about
    the technical information and backroom politics of Disneyland/WDW and Disney affairs. Disney could fire each and every long time employee from their roster and company and Joe Public wouldnt even raise an eyebrow.
  13. SarahOnBway

    SarahOnBway Well-Known Member

    No offense, but this doesn't sit right with me. Why should we applaud a mediocre performance just because we can't do any better ourselves? That's not the nature of criticism, and it's not the nature of fandom either. What, so people shouldn't have complained about that whole Gonzo "those are my nipples" quotes if they couldn't have written something better themselves?

    As people who have shared a board with Artie, I think the overall consensus has been that we ARE happy for him, in a "way to go, man, that's awesome that you're living the dream." That said, I'm sure he can understand--from the fan perspective--what it's like to have the rug pulled out from under you with a performer switch like this. There is no reason for us to temper down our feelings because he posts on the board. He has become a performer, and we his audience. And like all audiences, we have the ability--and the right--to judge what we see.

    This is definitely true, the media does act as if the Muppets are real people. Kermit is invited for interviews, not Steve. Jim was another figure altogether--he was the head of the company and a celebrity himself so it was different, almost more acceptable, for his presence to be acknowledged whilst performing. He did interviews where he talked and then Kermit talked, but we haven't seen that from anyone since he passed.

    Still though, not only do I still feel it needs to be explained to us, but I think, if Steve is done, there needs to be some acknowledgment on Disney's part to the work he has done for the past 19 years (and if he's done altogether with the Muppets, for the past 31 years). He needs to be thanked and applauded for all he has done for us. If there was never a Steve Whitmire, who knows where the Muppets would be today.
  14. Kynan Barker

    Kynan Barker Well-Known Member

    Lylle Breier has responded to my email (and to emails from other fans) with the following statement:

    We also absolutely appreciate constructive criticism, which brings me to your comments about Kermit. I can assure you that if we ever decide to substitute a performer, we do not do so lightly or arbitrarily, only after careful consideration. Beyond that, however, I hope you can understand that we are not in a position to discuss our private business dealings with any performer.

    Disney's comment is that they have no comment. This doesn't mean that Disney doesn't "know what's going on." It means it's not our business what's going on behind the scenes.

    That's simply not logical. If Disney is willing to replace Kermit's performer, that doesn't put the other performers in a strong position to "strike" or do anything else "out of solidarity."

    This came up time and again during the last recasting controversy. But the truth is, we don't and can't know what's going through the Muppeteers' minds. Nor should we.

    The fact that Dave, Bill and Eric are still performing the Muppets doesn't prove anything one way or the other -- except that Dave, Bill and Eric still support the Muppets.
  15. Kynan Barker

    Kynan Barker Well-Known Member

    Nobody's bashing Artie. And criticizing his Kermit doesn't mean we're not excited or happy for him. Being happy for him as a person and being happy with his performance are two very different things.

    By your logic, Disney could pick any random one of us to play a major Muppet, and everyone else here should be thrilled, regardless of the result. Participating in the fan community doesn't give you any special rights as a performer.

    What's really sad is that people are willing to accept less than "the best Kermit" in the name of being positive. I think Kermit deserves the best. Don't you?


    Just realized someone else said it better, and sooner:

    What Sarah said.
  16. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I agree with you 100%. I'm still hoping this is a momentary snag that will get cleared up soon. I can't imagine a new Muppet movie without Steve under the frog.

    One thing that keeps being brought up is new characters for both old and new performers. As long as we get a mix of Kermit, Fozzie, Scooter, Rowlf, Floyd and the gang I have no issue with another new character of Pepe or even Bean Bunny stature making it into the mix. I'm sure Artie's got a bizillion ideas for them and it would be fantastic for him to have a signature Muppet that will be placed on mugs, t-shirts and keychains!
  17. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting the email. Not sure it illuminates or alleviates one way or the other...again a part of me thinks people are bending out of shape over what could very well just be a few week or month hiatus for Whitmire. But the fan community has been surprised before my seemingly jarring news before.

    Another dimension regarding Dave Bill and Eric still working, is that the reality is people gotta make a living. While we'd all like to think that if the mouse let go of Whitmire's services that they'd put up a big fuss. However, in the world of tv shows/film series/cartoons/sports often times this is not the case and it bears no reflection on those who stay other than work is work and business is business.

    Look how in the final years of JHC NYC they fired a bunch of Muppet builders, same with Sesame Workshop in recent time.
  18. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    I think it's really the question that is in queston.

    Now don't get me wrong I love Steve's work but I really think the main question is Has Kermit been Re cast, or is Artie just an understudy.

    To dive into the depth of why or how would be to much for Disney Steve or Artie to get into becuaese it could be many or any different reasons.
    The main and really only thing that us fans should be has Kermit been recast, and let the why and how fall into place latter on.

    I can understand why Steve and Artie have not said anything because If Artie is takeing over then there may be hard feelings and things may not be set in stone yet as well.
  19. ferrell

    ferrell Active Member

    here's a copy of what I posted earlier which seems to have been lost in this thread..please read..

    I seem to remember a few months back Disney was saying that they are looking for New muppet voice actors for promotional uses and various small projects..it was somewhere on this board , I find it hard to think that people have already forgotten about it,I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Steve was not fired and isn't Ill (or isn't deathly ill) and that we would have heard something from either Steve,his family,Disney,the henson company,or one of the muppeters if he had been,and the fact that we haven't heard anything from any of them means that he wasn't fired or is deathly sick..now again I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Steve is probably real busy right now working on various projects,remember we have Fraggle Rock movie,a muppet movie, dark crystal 2 and he may still be doing stuff here and there for sesame street and maybe even more stuff that we don't know about for the Henson company,we know that there are muppeters that come to this board and since no one has said anything of a negative nature chances are we are all blowing this out of porportion,why doesn't Artie say anything it's simple it could simply be a claus in his contract which says he can't say certain things..also chances are Steve probably approved of who would carry on the voice of Kermit or who would be his understudy,so let's give Artie a break,I read this thread first before hearing his kermit and was expecting someone horrible like someone you would hear on Dr Demento but when I heard it I was surprised at how much he sounded like Jim,sure he has some stuff to work on but IF he was approved by Steve let's give him a chance to work on the character,I trust Steve's judgement..after all Steve can't be 2 places at once and the Muppets NEED promotion and it's good that Disney is promoting them..
  20. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Well Lylle Breier's email seems to imply its a business issue so it definitely doesn't sound like he's just away working on something else or ill. I guess she could have wrote business if its an availability problem but i think if it was that they would have just come out and said it and not even entertained the idea of a substitute performer.

    I bet if the media made a thing of this whatever the reason is would be revealed.

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