Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Unfinished Halloween Specials

The Muppets endured a great many holiday specials, but for some reason, their Halloween specials never seemed to get off the ground.  It was as if that day were cursed.

The first attempt at a special was entitled "Johnny Carson and the Muppet Machine."  It was to air in 1969, as a tie-in with The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, which had featured many Muppet sketches over the years.  The premise was that Carson would enter a strange machine filled with ghouls and monsters and a swindler who kept trying to sell him useless junk.  As a comedy special, it was not intended to be scary, but it was based around Carson's fears.  A group of creatures known as "Groans" would appear whenever Carson made a joke that didn't land and he would have a final confrontation with a beast known as "Fearzog."

Henson's concept art featuring Carson, the Groans, and Fearzog

Ultimately it was decided that Carson couldn't be the straight-man to a bunch of Hollywood puppets for an hour, so it was dropped for being too similar to his regular duties (Zing!).

But don't worry, Fearzog lives on in a series of figurines based on Henson's doodles (which is an amazing thing that exists).

After that came a test pilot for The Muppet Show known as "The Muppet Halloween Show."

With your favorite characters That Guy and That Other Guy!

This also never got far and was reworked into "The Muppets Valentine Show" since Halloween was no longer relevant in February when it premiered.

Other specials came and died as time passed and favor was given over to other projects.  A full length movie known as The Muppets' Haunted House was put into production and then scrapped for being too awesome a concept(?).

Because of this, we do have as wide a selection of Halloween goodies to choose from.  But isn't the fact that all this potential went to waste the scariest thing of all and really the true meaning of Halloween?

No.  So here's a spooky Muppet Show clip to tide you over for tonight.

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