Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lost to Time

(Be sure to check out the first half of the one-year retrospective here.)

With so many creations under his belt, it's no surprise that many of Jim Henson's projects have been forgotten over time.  We know him as a puppeteer, writer, director, producer, and artist among many other roles.  But did you know he also planned on adding "musician" to his resumé?

No, Frank Sinatra doesn't really appear on this single.

During his Sam and Friends days, Henson released this single.  No one is really sure of the exact context it was intended to be used in (although the sound and style is very similar to soundtracks to his short films).  "Tick-Tock Sick" (with the B-side "The Countryside") is a rare gem.  It discusses the steady flow of time and how the mere ticking of a clock can disorient and change one's perception.  Give it a listen.


I felt this was a good way to introduce the latter half of my look-back over the year.  While we all have seen the more popular subjects of Henson's repertoire there are some posts that have not found as large of an audience.  Some are due to obscurity of the character or subject matter while others are due to poor timing.  Whatever the case may be, here is a chance to revisit some items you may have missed.

The Bottom Ten Posts

This list doesn't include any posts from the last three months, since it's hard to gauge how popular those are/will become.  Plus, those area ll too fresh in my memory and I'd feel like I'm just repeating myself.  No, the following ten posts have stayed at the bottom for a long time.

Topic: Link Hogthrob (Specifically, his role as captain of the Swinetrek)


It's disappointing when your favorite Muppet isn't appreciated by everyone else.  Since this is one of my earlier posts from "Pigs in Space" week, more time was spent discussing Link in this series of sketches only.  However, he was not confined to the Swinetrek and played many other roles in his career.  I've always been meaning to return to this character because there is more to him than just his inept space captain shtick.

Topic: "C is for 'Cookie'" by Cookie Monster


I guess a deep analysis of how some topics don't need to be deeply analyzed was too much for people to handle.

Topic: "Bein' Green" by Kermit the Frog


I'm not sure many people have noticed, but I always try to do something special and iconically "Jim Henson" for every 50 post milestone.  This was my 50th post, and I knew from Day One that this would be the special topic for such an occasion.  So I was shocked that Kermit's signature song wasn't a draw anymore.  When did society become so jaded?

Topic: Wayne and Wanda


Now this makes more sense.  Two minor characters who basically disappeared after the first season of The Muppet Show? Yeah, they aren't winning any popularity contests.  But, as with most obscure Muppets, I found them to be a lot more interesting that I thought they would be.  They were dropped for being unpopular (and their routine was probably getting old since the second performance) but I enjoyed each of their songs once I knew the joke because it became a challenge to top each previous number.

Topic: Super Grover


With Super Grover's approval rating this low, I'm nervous to see how people react to Super Beaker.  Apparently more people are Captain Vegetable fans.

Topic: "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon" by Ernie


Okay, it was the week after Christmas and nothing much was going on.  Everyone was tired.  So it's easy to see how this little song got overlooked.  But it's one I'd recommend checking out if you've never heard it before.

Topic: "Java"


Like "Mahna Mahna" and "Inchworm," "Java" is one of those classic early Muppet sketches that paved the way towards stardom.  And the story behind this one is especially important because it nearly self-destructed on live TV!  It could have cost Henson and the Muppets their careers!  And then where would we be?!  It's like the butterfly effect, man!

Topic: Marvin Suggs and the Muppaphones


This one should stay at the bottom, since I certainly do not advocate Muppet abuse.

Topic: The Muppets Valentine Show


This little-known special certainly pales in comparison to the great show that was to follow it (The Muppet Show, you may have heard of it).  So, I understand why people aren't actively seeking it out.  Still, anything featuring Thog can't be all bad.

Topic: Time Piece


Something about this being the least-viewed post out of 220 entries is just so bitterly ironic that I can't really be upset or confused about it.  This is, without a doubt, the most purely Henson creation in existence.  It is his mind, unfiltered and uncensored.  Apparently, too much Henson can be overwhelming.  Without any Muppets to buffer the impact, there isn't a huge draw to Time Piece.  Don't let the phrase "experimental film" scare you off.  It's worth checking out.  It is a perfect companion piece to "Tick-Tock Sick."  But maybe it's only for the true Jim Henson fans.  Think you can handle it?

And Finally, My Ten Favorite Posts

This list doesn't include posts that have appeared on the earlier lists.  Also, I'll leave out my commentary this time since these topics speak for themselves.

Topic: Yorick and the universal appeal of Muppet monsters


Topic: How Alice in Wonderland and the Muppets are a perfect stylistic match


Topic: Mokey's five-year journey toward self-discovery and defining herself as a Fraggle


Topic: The tumultuous history of the SNL "Land of Gorch" Muppets and puppet existentialism


6) The "What's a Muppet?" Posts
Topic: A history of Jim Henson and his Muppets, focusing on Sam and Friends, The Muppets on Puppets, Yoda and the Creature Shop, and the Walt Disney Company


Topic: Gonzo and why everyone's "least favorite Muppet," whoever they may be, deserves a second chance.


Topic: A Muppet Family Christmas and what it takes to be the best Christmas special


Topic: How the Muppet Babies episode "Gonzo's Video Show" accurately depicts a child's imagination


Topic: A case study of Frank Oz and Miss Piggy in which the puppeteer and puppet become one


Topic: Kermit the Frog and how his interaction with an uncooperative little girl proves he is the most important Muppet of all time


Clearly, there is a lot of angles we can take on the Muppets.  I hope you've enjoyed this look back.  I'm looking forward to the next year.  You may think we've covered most of the important Henson material, but we are just getting started.

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