The Muppets passes my most important test – it’s funny as hell. At moments, it’s old-school, Muppet Show funny — and that’s my highest praise.
Puppets are a great art form: They don’t die. The most beloved outlive those who brought them to life. Jim Henson’s been gone for 25 years, and the Muppets are back on primetime television – on ABC, which rejected The Muppet Show forty years ago, making their zealous promotion of the new show especially sweet.
Posted in Richard Hunt
Tagged ABC, Bill Baretta, Dave Goelz, David Rudman, Gonzo, Jerry Nelson, Kermit, Piggy, Steve Whitmire, The Muppet Show, The Muppets
Writing is solitary, so it’s easy to forget that an audience is out there waiting for the book – until you get a wonderfully encouraging email from a complete stranger! Thanks to Julia Kosier of Wisconsin for this wonderful message. Continue reading
Today would have been Hunt’s 64th birthday. In honor of that, here’s another scoop from Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography.
Howdy Doody and Bob Smith, 1948
At just five years old, Hunt made a gutsy attempt at a television debut, a prescient predecessor to cold-calling the Muppets. He landed a spot in the kids-only audience of the Howdy Doody Show, at the NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. His parents had gone to great lengths to acquire “the hottest ticket in television,” most likely through Richard Senior’s job at the networks. The “Peanut Gallery” seated forty kids between 3 and 8 years old: ten tickets went to a sponsor, four to the host, a few to each cast member, and the rest to NBC’s public relations department. “Hardly anyone who wrote in for a ticket ever got one,” admitted host “Buffalo Bob” Smith. Continue reading
“Queen Elizabeth’s Purse” is a bright red, 50-page story of my 2014 trip to London – my very first time in Europe – to research Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography. It’s a story about how to do things you didn’t think you could, and enjoy yourself to boot; or, how I learned to love London. The zine provides an inadvertent advance behind-the-scenes look at the biography, taking the reader along on six interviews with Muppet producers, writers and performers, as well as a pair of Hunt’s London pals. 17 photos and drawings. Bonus: Find out what Queen Elizabeth really keeps in that purse!
Order one on the zines page!
Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson’s daughter Christine clowning around on the SNL set, 1975.
Did you enjoy last night’s Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special? Saturday Night Live didn’t quite know what to do with the “Mucking Fuppets” (as John Belushi called them), but
their appearances in SNL’s first year were a great springboard for the Muppets to prove their mettle with a late-night, grown-up audience, thus paving the way for The Muppet Show! Enjoy this clip
from 1975 — the sketch is opened by none other than Richard Hunt!