« deck the malls with bows of holly | Main | Buttery Popcorn Goodness »

Easy Riders, Singing Muppets: Part 1.

"Christmas is about freakishly cute puppets doing an amazingly sentimental show, and pulling it off absolutely flawlessly. With random squirrel jumping and kazoos. Bravo." – Kynan, reporting his findings.

brothers_ma.jpgAll of the cinephile discussions and journalistic ink surrounding the American films of the 1970s never mention (nothing in the Biskind) one of the decade's greatest achievements: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977, Jim Henson; first aired on HBO). After 30+ viewings, I rate it as the second-best film of that year, behind only Annie Hall.

If you haven't seen this, do so immediately ($8!). The new Collector's Edition DVD restores some scenes that were not on the last DVD release, but still does not feature the great (but not plot essential) Kermit bookend scenes. (This Muppet Central thread has some version control chatter and comments on the Kermit crack-up.) I'll let x amount -- fresh off his first viewing! -- light up the comment bin with his take on the CE's extras bonanza.

In addition to the DVD, you'll also need the tunes to play during your Holiday gatherings (and then to rock out to year-round), so:

Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas - OST (full album .zip/**Recidivism Exclusive**)

Track Listing:

1. Instrumental Theme
2. Intro
3. Barbeque
4. Intro
5. The Bathing Suit She Wore
6. Hole in the Washtub
7. Yancey Woodchuck's Barbeque
8. Brothers
9. Riverbottom Nightmare Band (great talent show images and lyrics here)
10. Intro
11. When The Mountains
12. Closer Now Than Ever Before
13. Closer/Brothers Medley
14. When The Mountains Pt. 2

NEWSFLASH: ANHITW is reporting that Emmett, Harvey, Charlie, and Wendell have reformed and are playing a "test gig" at Northsix in January.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

Comments

Having not seen the film until this year, the hourlong documentary making-of (and other outtakes, bloopers, and extras) more than made the purchase worth it.

Most Muppet-based behind-the-scenes stuff I've seen is print or web-based. So the chance to see video of this stuff is as good as it gets.

One of the highlights is a hundred-plus take uncooperative prop scene that has Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson gradually losing it -- but barely dropping character. Hearing Henson attempt to maintain control and direction from behind the camera is great fun as well. You get so used to Kermit Henson that hearing him dad it up with a stern man-voice is both disconcerting and refreshingly comforting.

But perhaps my favorite part of the making-of is getting to see the unfiltered, unpuppetted Nelson interview. Sure he gives great insight into how Otter got put together, but the neatest bit is the way that his right hand unconsciously moves into puppet stance while he's talking. Most of the time it just hangs there doing standard hand exposition duty, but the key is that it never really loses it's thumb-in-lower-jaw orientation. It's a fantastic picture of an artist 30 years into their career:

You can download one additional essential MP3 for this album on this Myspace profile:

http://www.myspace.com/nightmaregang

I've updated the posting on my site at your request. Thank you for a great site and have a Merry Christmas.

Time to fire up the Rascal scooter and head to Austin.

I can download the zip file, but when I try to open it, the window just continues to flash until I end the process in taskbar. Any suggestions?

Thanks so much for posting this!

Wow. Thank you for this zip file! I LOVE this music. I was 7 when I saw it on HBO when it came out. Really brings back great memories.

Post a comment

If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.

Ad