Behind the Scenes of "The Muppet Movie"

Was Once Ernie

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MuppetDanny said:
Weclome to the MC forum :smile:

Cool story!

I just watched TMM a few nights ago, I could have sworn I saw Queen Peuta at the far back :confused:
You could be right. I don't remember. But it would have made sense for them to be there.

:stick_out_tongue:
 

Was Once Ernie

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Part Two

The answer is, the rainbow was put onto the film optically in post production. I think they felt that the scrim muted the colors of the Muppets too much.

Next, it was time to assign puppets to everyone. All the puppeteers were divided by height. Since I'm fairly short, I was sent to stand in the "Emmett Otter" line, because those characters are small and would be in the front of the pit. I waited in the line for a few minutes and then when no one was looking, I sneaked over to the Sesame Street line.

They were giving out the minor characters and Anything Muppets first, so when I got to the front of the line, I boldly asked, "Can I have Ernie?" The person giving out the characters said, "Sure. You might as well take Bert, too." (Many people had to do two characters because there were so many and so little space). But then he thought better of it and said I should just take Ernie.

Everyone had to be checked out by one of the main guys. They would decide if the character you had was right for you... or they might switch you with someone else. I knew I had to think of something to pass this test. I fumbled around, trying to put him on for the first time. As most of you probably know, some of the puppets have working hands, as opposed to the charcaters that have rods in their arms. Ernie has working hands, while Bert has rods. In the case of the hand puppets, generally the puppeteer works the mouth with his right hand and the character's left hand with his left hand, then a second puppeteer works the right hand. They coordinate movements by watching their performance in a TV monitor. Since there wasn't going to be a second puppeteer, they stuffed Ernie's right arm and pinned it up so it wasn't hanging loose. I finally got my left hand into Ernie's hand (it goes in through an extra sleeve attached at the elbow). Then I put my other hand in his mouth. Ernie has a large mouth, so in order to be able to operate it, there are levels of board built up on the inside, leaving specific finger spaces on the top and one on the bottom for your thumb that you can grasp. I mastered it just in time for Jim to check me out. I walked up to him, held out Ernie's arm toward him, and in Ernie's voice, I said, "Daddy!!" Jim smiled and said, "Oh, good. You keep him." I had passed the test and would remain Ernie for the rest of the shoot.

I guess I do a pretty good Ernie, because people who didn't know better kept asking me if I was the real Ernie. Of course I told them I was... no, I didn't... I always told them it was Jim. But that was a very flattering comment for them to make.

Next time: Part Three

But here's a little surprise quiz: Can you guess what well-known film director was the Muppeteer for Grover in this sequence?

:stick_out_tongue:
 

unclematt

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Incedible story and welcome to the best forum on the internet. I am sur you will feel right at home here. I was welcomed with open arms and I think we try to convey that to every newbie that comes in. This is a great story and I am looking forward to hearing the rest. Once again Welcome :smile:
 

unclematt

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I am ging to guess Frank Oz but he probably had Piggy or Fozzie. I dont know
 

BEAR

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Wow! I just started reading your posts. What wonderfully exciting stories. I look forward to more. And in the traditional Muppet fashion, I welcome you to MC. If I were to express what i mean in a song, I would sing "How Do You Do?" (by Lena Horne and Grover)
 

maxdrive

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This is very cool once was ernie did you ever get to be come a muppeteer?
 

Kimp the Shrimp

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i tried to become a muppeter but got no where i can do voices but not that good of puppeter
 

theprawncracker

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That's awesome! You sneaked over to Sesame Street, he he. "Daddy" was brilliant.:smile: Can't wait for more!
 

minor muppetz

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Was Once Ernie said:
But here's a little surprise quiz: Can you guess what well-known film director was the Muppeteer for Grover in this sequence?
I have read that it was john landis, although I believe I have read that steven spielberg was also in this sequence. Why did a director perform in that scene anyway?

Do you know why Jim Henson didn't include any of the earlier Sam And friends muppets in that scene?
 
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