Of Muppets and Men and Youtube

I was once again reminded this week of the power of YouTube as a place for archived videos. Here’s what I mean: my sixth graders have started our unit on theater writing for puppet shows (more on that another day). I like to show them views of the Muppets, Jim Henson’s wonderfully imagined world of incredibly characters. I can’t really waste 2 hours with a muppet movie, although sometimes we’ll watch a greatest hits collection of the Muppet Show if we can.

What I want is a fun and quick introduction. So, last week, bouncing around the Net is this new Muppets music video of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which is a hoot to watch (and it rocks!). I was looking for that video, when I came across the motherlode of muppet insights.

Someone has uploaded the entire documentary of a movie called Of Muppets and Men, which I have never been able to find on DVD or even VHS without having to spend about $100. That wasn’t going to happen. Yet here, on YouTube, is the entire movie — cut into pieces, of course. It’s pretty amazing, but then I stumbled on something just as good — a video of Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Michael Frith talking about the puppetry and character development of Kermit the Frog. My students were fascinated by the discussion. The video came at a perfect time because my students are just starting to flesh out their own characters and are beginning to construct their puppets in Art Class.

Here, then, are the two videos I showed the other day:


Meanwhile, my family used to watch a Muppets-Sesame Street video each year (a sort of tradition) called Muppets Family Christmas, but I only have it on VHS and again, it has not been available on DVD (and we don’t have a VHS player anymore since one of my sons jammed a Lego into it a few years back). I missed that movie. But … look … here is the entire move on YouTube. Man. Incredibly. (Of course, cuddling up in front of the computer is not like cuddling up in front of the television, is it? But the time is coming when all that tech will be integrated seamlessly, and then cuddling will just be cuddling, right?)
Peace (in the muppetville universe),

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