The Jim Henson Hour
The Jim Henson Hour is a television series that aired on NBC in 1989. It was developed as a showcase for The Jim Henson Company's various puppet creations, including the Muppet characters.
Nine of the twelve episodes produced aired on NBC before the program was canceled. Two episodes later aired on Nickelodeon in 1992 and 1993, and the final episode never aired in the US, but did air in the UK in 1990.
The Jim Henson Hour was modeled after the Walt Disney Presents specials, in which every week Disney would show off the latest innovations and creations of his production company. At the beginning of each episode, Jim Henson would enter an oddly-decorated set (alongside the Thought Lion puppet from his series The Storyteller) and introduce the evening's show. Beyond that, the series never had a set structure. The room where Henson and the Thought Lion performed their introduction was computer animated.
Three of the thirteen installments were hour-long mini-movies:
- The faux film noir "Dog City", narrated by Muppet Rowlf the Dog
- "Monster Maker", in which an alienated teenager begins secretly working at a special-effects company
- "Living with Dinosaurs", in which a young boy's stuffed Dinosaur comes to life and helps him deal with a troubled family life.
Other shows like "Secrets of the Muppets" went behind the scenes at Henson studios, showing how the Muppets are built and operated.
Ordinarily, however, the hour was split into two thirty-minute segments. These shows would always start with a modernized variation of The Muppet Show, titled MuppeTelevision. That would often lead into more serious and sometimes darker content, such as a rerun of The Storyteller. Occasionally, a light-hearted story or more Muppet antics would close out the hour in the second half.
The first episode produced —Sesame Street… 20 Years & Still Counting— was aired as a stand-alone special. Henson's series officially premiered a week later.
MuppeTelevision regularly occupied the first half of The Jim Henson Hour. It was an updated version of the classic series The Muppet Show, the new twist being that the Muppets were now running an entire cable television network rather than a single variety show. The Muppets broadcast their network's programming from a unique control room called "Muppet Central". Regulars included past favorites Kermit the Frog, The Great Gonzo and Link Hogthrob in addition to new characters Digit, Leon the Lizard, Lindbergh the Kiwi, Vicki, Clifford, Waldo C. Graphic, and Jacques Roach. Also appearing as a series regular was Bean Bunny, who had previously starred in the HBO TV special The Tale of the Bunny Picnic.
Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy appeared only intermittently, as their performer Frank Oz was busy with a directorial career. Miss Piggy did get her own thirty-minute special in one show, called Miss Piggy's Hollywood, in which she and Gonzo tried to interview unwilling celebrities.
The house band for MuppeTelevision was called Solid Foam, taking the place of the psychedelic Electric Mayhem band that had appeared in most previous Muppet projects. The band included:
- Digit on keyboard
- Flash on saxophone and vocals
- Clifford on bass guitar and vocals
- Beard on guitar and vocals
- An unnamed female drummer
Electric Mayhem regulars Zoot and Animal did eventually creep into Solid Foam in the episode "Food." Only Clifford would sustain any existence outside of MuppeTelevision. Dr. Teeth also appeared in the background of a few of Solid Foam's music videos.
MuppeTelevision also tends to get interrupted on some occasions by an illegal TV station called Gorilla Television run by Ubu the Gorilla, Chip, and Zondra.
Continuing in The Muppet Show tradition, every episode had a celebrity guest star. Louie Anderson, Ted Danson, Smokey Robinson, Buster Poindexter, and k.d. lang were among those who got a chance to appear in the show's brief run.
||"Outer Space/The Heartless Giant"
||April 14, 1989
- Intro – Henson states that this show is out of this world.
- MuppeTelevision – Digit gets satellite feed from other planets, and winds up breaking down. It's up to Kermit, Lindbergh, and Waldo to go inside Digit's brain to fix the problem. Louie Anderson guest stars.
- Musical Dance – "Neutron Dance" by The Extremes
- My Dinner with Codzilla – Louie Anderson has a dinner date with Codzilla.
- Miss Galaxy Pageant – An alien pageant hosted by Marty the Earthling (played by Chris Langham) as he interviews Zsa Zsa Porkmustard (a recycled and redressed version of Food from The Land of Gorch and Fraggle Rock) from Koozebane and Jo Beth Garfdoohoo (a recycled and redressed version of Poison Cackler from Fraggle Rock) from the Crab Nebula. Jo Beth Garfdoohoo ends up winning the competition by eating the judges (consisting of Gertha the Dragon from Puppetman, Jade Green Frackle from The Muppet Show, and Slivy Tove from The Muppet Show). This sketch features audience cameos by the Aliens from The Muppet Show, Boo Monster from Little Muppet Monsters, Cinders the Dragon from Puppetman, the Koozebanian Phoob from The Muppet Show, Pink Frackle from The Muppet Show, and Shakey Sanchez from The Muppet Show.
- War and Peace – Part one, war. Part two, peace.
- Bootsie and Brad – Bootsie becomes an astronaut and Brad is worried because due to her many outfits and variations, Bootsie hardly has any time for him.
- The Adventures of Space Guy – A sketch starring Louie Anderson as Space Guy as he and his crew of lobsters face off against Bean Bunny and his crew of Bunnies from the planet Cutetron.
- Closing Number – The Muppets perform "Chattanooga Choo Choo" with the Teppums.
- The Storyteller in "The Heartless Giant" – From an early German folk tale. A heartless giant (played by Frederick Warder), who once terrorized the land before being captured and imprisoned. He is befriended by the young Prince Leo (played by Elliot Spiers) who one night sets him free. His older brothers go after the giant to capture him, but do not return, so Leo sets off to find the giant himself. Once found, Leo decides to find the giant's heart, but this is no easy task – it sits in an egg in a duck in a well in a church in a lake in a mountain far away. No easy task indeed. Even when Prince Leo finds the heart and brings it to the giant, one of the guards grabs the heart and squeezes it enough to kill the giant where its dead body becomes a hill. The Storyteller tells his dog that when Prince Leo became king, he retold the story where he states that he gave the heart back to the giant and that the giant never bothered the kingdom again.
- Closing – Henson talks about the guards that were seen in "The Heartless Giant".
Note: This is the first appearances of Waldo C. Graphic, Vicki, Leon the Lizard, Clifford, Lindbergh, Brad and Bootsie, and the Extremes.
||April 21, 1989
- MuppeTelevision – Kermit tries to run the show with several water-related issues interrupting. Ted Danson guest stars.
- Musical Number – A fish sings "Splish Splash."
- Guest Spot – Ted Danson stars in a sketch where he is on a cruise ship run by pirates.
- Merlin M.D. – Rowlf the Dog plays Merlin as he helps a Whatnot man who has a fish through his head.
- Trailer – A trailer detailing "Karate Squid 3."
- Musical Number – "Maneater" by The Extremes
- The Underwater Life of Jacques Roach – Jacques Roach pilots a submarine with its crew consisting of rats and sheep.
- Fable – Clifford tells an environmental fable where Ted Danson stars as a fish becoming a human.
- Lighthouse Island – A boy named Zeb Norman (played by Chris Makepeace) comes to a small strange town to look for a gift for his fiancée Rosalie. He finds a pair of silver slippers in a local antique/curio shop run by a witch named Clara Buford (played by Helen Burns) who drags Zeb into going with her to Hog Island to obtain a mysterious pearl that was stolen from her rival Fred (played by Jerry Nelson).
- Closing – Jim Henson shows off a whale puppet and shows the viewer how small it is depending how you see it.
Note: This is the first appearance of Jacques Roach.
||"Power/The Soldier and Death"
||April 28, 1989
- Intro: Jim Henson finds the Storyteller's Dog in the Thought Lion's place as the Storyteller's Dog tells Jim that Kermit got him a job in front of the Public Library.
- MuppeTelevision – Gonzo and Leon convince Kermit to take a vacation so that they can have a chance at running the show. Willard Scott, Jane Pauley, and The Nylons guest star.
- Musical Number – "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Nylons
- Monster Telethon – A telethon that is run by the Muppet monsters and hosted by the Green-Furred Frackle.
- The Time Channel – The Timecaster tells the different time forecasts until he is interrupted by Beautiful Day Monster and some other monsters from the telethon asking if he has given any money.
- Mrs. Goldfarb – A soap opera sketch featuring Franklin telling Darlene (a recycled version of Maxine from the Muppet Meeting Films) that he has called Mrs. Goldfarb. It is crashed by the monsters asking if they have given any money.
- Fozzie Bear – Fozzie attempts to become a Weather Bear on The Today Show by replacing Willard Scott.
- Bootsie and Brad – Bootsie runs for President with Brad as her Vice-President.
- The Hat Sharpener – A story about a king (played by the Hippocritic Oaf from the "Cliff's Nightmare" episode of The Cosby Show) who didn't know how to rule a kingdom and worked as a hat sharpener. This sketch features cameos by the Fish Singer from The Muppet Show, the Inkspots from Fraggle Rock and by Earl the Dragon, Gertha the Dragon, and Candle the Dragon from the Puppetman pilot.
- Closing Number – "Sweet Vacation" by Kermit the Frog and the cast
- The Storyteller in "The Soldier and Death" – Taken from an early Russian folk tale retold in English by Arthur Michell Ransome and is also inspired by Godfather Death. A soldier (played by Bob Peck) returns home after 20 years of war, with three biscuits in his knapsack. On his way he meets three beggars to whom he gives the biscuits; in return one gives him a beautiful whistle, one the jolliest dance, and the final man, who gets the last biscuit despite the soldier being hungry himself, in return gives him a pack of magic playing cards and a musty sack that has the power to trap anything ordered into it. Using the sack, the soldier manages to trap a flock of geese, and so manages to feed himself. Upon arriving at an abandoned castle overrun with small devils, he plays them in a game of cards, winning 40 barrels of gold, and when they try to kill him, he captures them in the sack only letting them go when they promise to never return. He makes one of them swear to serve him and keeps its foot as leverage. Quickly becoming rich and famous because he removed the devils from a palace that is owned by the Tzar (played by John Franklyn-Robbins), his luck runs short when the soldier's son becomes deathly ill. Calling upon the devil, the soldier is given a glass goblet that allows the owner to see Death (performed by Alistair Fullarton). If Death is at the foot of the person's bed (as was the case with his son), he or she will recover if sprinkled with water from the goblet. If Death is at the head of the bed, nothing can be done. Then the Tzar becomes ill and the soldier (seeing Death at the head of his bed) makes a bargain with Death: his life in exchange for the Tzar's. Death takes his offer and gives the illness to the soldier, curing the Tzar. Lying in his death bed, he summons Death into his sack, and stops death from happening everywhere. But as time goes on, he sees people everywhere who are waiting for death that will not come. So he frees Death, who fears the soldier and his sack so much that he refuses to take the soldier's life. The soldier, old and weary of life, seeks out a way to die. He travels down to the underworld, forcing the devils at the gates (the same ones from before) to give him two hundred souls and a map to heaven. Terrified of the sack, the devils agree to his demands. Upon reaching the gates of heaven, he asks to be let in with the souls while begging for forgiveness from God, but is denied by the gatekeeper. He gives the sack to one of the souls, asking the soul to summon him into the sack when he has passed through the gates. But since there is no memory in heaven, the soul forgets and the soldier is condemned to live forever upon the Earth. In closing, the storyteller remarks (with a smile) that the soldier is still probably about his business. As the Storyteller tosses the bag aside, a devil emerges from the bag unnoticed by the Storyteller or the dog.
- Closing – Henson notices that the Thought Lion has a library card and notes that everyone should have one.
Note: This is one of the few episodes to feature Frank Oz. First appearance of the Solid Foam band.
||May 5, 1989
- Intro – Inspired by C.M. Coolidge's painting of dogs playing poker, Jim Henson states that he has made a movie inspired by it called "Dog City" and shows a trailer for it which is narrated by Jerry Nelson.
- MuppeTelevision – Kermit announces that it is "Muppet Night at the Movies" as they try to find the film to broadcast on ADN (short for the All Dog Network).
- Trailers – Bean Bunny shows two different trailers for his movie. The first one is "Bean Bunny and the Cuteness Thief" where Bean Bunny is stalked by Evil McBad (played by the Wolf from The Muppet Show). The second one is "Beanbo" (a parody of Rambo).
- Dog City Behind the Scenes – ADN shows some behind the scenes features of "Dog City" narrated by Rover Cleveland and featuring Lyle the Dog as ADN's anchorman. One of the scenes shown is that there are cats that are hired as stunt men that wear dog costumes.
- Dog City – Rowlf the Dog hosts a 1930s gangster-type story in which a dog named Ace Yu travels to Dog City to investigate his uncle's murder. While there, he meets a homeless dog named Collien, and gets in trouble with a gangster named Bugsy Them. Sprocket the Dog from Fraggle Rock makes a cameo as a dog that is thrown out of a bar.
- Closing – Henson is shown with his character Bugsy Them as Bugsy states that he didn't like the ending of "Dog City."
Note: Jim Henson won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Variety Music Program for this episode.
||"First Show/Miss Piggy's Hollywood"
||May 14, 1989
- Intro – Henson wishes the viewers a Happy Mother's Day and talks about the second half of the show detailing "Miss Piggy's Hollywood."
- MuppeTelevision – Kermit struggles to keep the ratings up. Meanwhile, Digit experiences several malfunctions. Bobby McFerrin guest stars.
- Graffiti Muppets – Bobby McFerrin performs with some Graffiti Muppets as Statler and Waldorf look on.
- Documentary – A documentary about the tranquility of nature turns into a war film as caterpillars and butterflies try to destroy each other.
- Hurting Something – A yuppie drama from another planet starring Anthony. It is a parody of Thirtysomething.
- Gorilla Television – Chip, Zondra, and Ubu hack the MuppetTelevision broadcast to feature Marc Weiner and his puppet Rocco. Unlike Ubu, Chip, and Zondra, Marc is shown to appreciate Jim Henson's show. Ubu and Chip end up angering Marc's puppet Rocco when Marc's hypnosis on him was interrupted.
- Muppet News Flash – Bobby McFerrin reads the news while The Muppet Newsman provides interpretations for the unhip.
- Response-O-Matic – Link Hogthrob is at the mercy of the Response-O-Matic.
- Closing Number – Bean Bunny and the cast sing "La Bamba".
- Miss Piggy's Hollywood – Miss Piggy hosts a tour of Hollywood, with 'help' from Gonzo. However, Piggy quickly learns that Hollywood isn't quite what she thought it would be. Meanwhile, Fozzie auditions at The Comedy Store which is attended by Statler and Waldorf.
- Closing – Henson demonstrates how a dog-type Graffiti Muppet works in front of the Thought Lion.
- This is the first episode in the series to be produced and taped.
- This is the first appearance of Anthony, Fern, Zondra, Ubu, and Chip.
- Airing on Mother's Day, this was the first episode of the Hour to air in a new Sunday night timeslot. According to the May 17, 1989 issue of Star-News, this episode was the lowest rated TV program among the three major networks the week it aired.
||July 9, 1989
- Intro – Henson talks about the Creature Shop, showing one of the devils from The Storyteller as an example of what the Creature Shop can make.
- Monster Maker – Based on the novel by Nicholas Fisk, a teenage boy named Matt Banting (played by Kieran O'Brien) wants to work for a famous creature and effects man named Chancey Bellows (played by Harry Dean Stanton). Matt winds up getting more than he bargained for when one of the creatures, the dragon-like Ultragorgon (voiced by Michael Gambon), supposedly comes to life and takes Matt under its wing. Brian Henson makes a cameo performing the slerks. A puppet later used as The Predator on Dinosaurs can also be seen in a movie that Matt is watching.
- Closing – Jim Henson mentions that although the creatures look real, they are not actually alive. Jim states that when the viewers see the credits, it will state that it took eight puppeteers (consisting of Martin Anthony, Tony Ashton, Michael Bayliss, Marcus Clarke, Sue Dacre, David Greenaway, Brian Henson, and Christopher Leith) to operate the Ultragorgon as Jim also states that his son Brian operated the Ultragorgon's head in the Ultragorgon's neck compartment. He also brings out Kermit the Frog who comments that he liked the special.
||"Fitness/The Song of the Cloud Forest"
||July 16, 1989
- Intro – Henson reminds the Thought Lion that he was supposed to be wearing a pith helmet. Jim also remarks that whenever they go to a fancy restaurant, the Thought Lion refuses to wear a black tie.
- MuppeTelevision – Kermit wants the show to be all about being healthy and fit, but doesn't have much luck with all the Muppets getting sick. Digit gets a cold, while Gonzo nose "goes off", and Link thinks that he has Canadian Snout Fever. Smokey Robinson guest stars.
- Exercise Video – An exercise video starring Bean Bunny.
- Musical Number – "Just to See Her" by Smokey Robinson and Solid Foam
- Merlin M.D. – Rowlf the Dog plays Merlin as he helps a Whatnot man who has a sword through his head.
- Muppet Labs – Dr. Bunsen Honeydew demonstrates the new Exercise Shoes with Beaker trying them out.
- The Swedish Chef – The Swedish Chef attempts to make cake and is constantly interrupted by Jacques Roach.
- Story – A story about a couple that lets some animals stay in their house.
- Closing Number – "Jump (for My Love)" by Smokey Robinson featuring Gonzo, Sweetums, Timmy Monster, Doglion, Link Hogthrob, Bean Bunny, The Swedish Chef, Digit, Vicki, Leon, Clifford, Beard, Flash, Jacques Roach, and the Chickens.
- The Song of the Cloud Forest – In this story that takes place in the rainforest, a golden toad named Milton (performed by Dave Goelz) worries that he may be the last of his species alive, and may never find a mate to love.
- Closing – Henson states that golden toads are endangered and that their homes are disappearing which happens to matter to Jim and the Thought Lion.
Note: According to the July 18, 1989 issue of the Kentucky New Era, this episode was the lowest rated program among all four networks.
||"Videotape/The True Bride"
||July 23, 1989
- Intro – Henson introduces a clip from "The True Bride" where the Thought Lion speaks in. When Jim asks the Thought Lion if he'll ever speak again, the Thought Lion says that he doubts it.
- MuppeTelevision – In order to be in two places at once, Gonzo decides to prerecord himself. Buster Poindexter guest stars.
- Music Video – "The Music Keeps on Rolling Along" by Solid Foam
- Guest Spot – Buster Poindexter is with the Solid Foam as Beard and Clifford state how they admire him.
- Bootsie and Brad – Talking Teddy and Sergeant Killing Death Machine visit Bootsie and Brad's tea party.
- Fozzie Bear – Meanwhile, Fozzie spends the night in a creepy motel room and sees how kids playing basketball at night are using their heads as basketballs.
- Closing Number – "All Night Party" by Buster Poindexter
- The Storyteller in "The True Bride" – Based on an early German folk tale, The True Bride. A troll (performed by Frederick Warder and voiced by Alun Armstrong) had a daughter, but she left straight off. So the troll took another girl to replace her to wait on him hand and foot. Her name is Anja (played by Jane Horrocks) and she has no father or mother, making the troll her only "family". Setting her impossible tasks, then beating her with his "contradiction stick" when she invariably fails, the troll makes sure to make her life miserable, until she one day makes a wish. Her wish is heard by a wondrous white lion the Thought Lion (performed by David Greenaway, Robert Tygner, and Mak Wilson and voiced by Michael Kilgarriff) who completes her impossible tasks for her. When she finds her true love in the form of a Prince (played by Sean Bean), he disappears one day, so Anja sets out to find him. When she finally does, he turns out to be bewitched in the hands of the troll's evil daughter, the Trollop (performed by Frederick Warder and voiced by Sandra Voe).
- Closing – Acknowledging the fact that The Thought Lion actually talked in "The Storyteller," Jim asks the Thought Lion why he doesn't talk anymore. The Thought Lion says that he doesn't have anything further to say.
||July 30, 1989
- Intro – Henson sees the Thought Lion eating chips and tells him that he will spoil his appetite. Jim learns from Kermit that the control room is covered in garbage.
- MuppeTelevision – Kermit tries to run the show with bags of talking garbage continuously bothering him. k.d. lang guest stars.
- Bootsie and Brad
- Musical Number – "(Waltz Me) Once Again Around That Dance Floor" by k.d. lang and the Muppets
- Musical Number – "I Love Trash" by k.d. lang
- How the Nightingale Got Its Voice – Kermit tells a story on how a nightingale got its voice.
- Observing Humans – Billy the Bear and a Raccoon observe a human family in their backyard.
- Closing Number – "On the Road Again" by the Garbage
- The Storyteller in "Sapsorrow" – From an early German folk tale, this is a variant on Allerleirauh as well as containing elements of Donkeyskin and the Cinderella story recorded by the brothers Grimm. There is a widowed king (played by Geoffrey Bayldon), who has three daughters. Two of his daughters (played by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders) are as ugly and as bad as can be, but the third nicknamed Sapsorrow (played by Alison Doody) is as kind and as beautiful as her sisters are not. There is a ring belonging to the dead queen, and a royal tradition that states that the girl whose finger fits the ring will become queen as decreed by law. Neither of the bad sister's wish their father to marry for fear that his bride will stand to inherit his title and riches. In an effort to secure the royal wealth for their own they each try on the ring, though the ring becomes stuck on one of the sister's fingers and Sapsorrow is forced to remove the ring. When Princess Sapsorrow slips on her dead mother's ring for safekeeping, she discovers, much to her own dismay, that the ring fits perfectly and the king (against his own wishes) must marry her according to the law. The princess attempts to stall the wedding by demanding three magnificent gowns: a gown as pale as the moon, a gown as sparkling as the stars, and a gown as golden as the sun. Once her father provides these, on the night of the wedding she takes the gowns and goes into hiding, disguising herself as a creature of fur and feathers known as Straggle Tag. She lives thus for years, working in the kitchen of a handsome but proud prince (played by James Wilby). On the night of the ball, she discards her disguise and attends three different balls in one of her bridal gowns and captures the heart of the prince, leaving him naught but a single slipper as she runs off into the night. The prince scours the kingdom for the girl whose foot fits the slipper, and agrees to marry Straggle Tag when hers is the foot it fits. At this proclamation, her pets strip away her disguise for good and the two become happily wed.
- Closing – Jim Henson demonstrates the performance of a Garbage puppet which was made from a real garbage bag.
Note: This was the last episode to air on NBC.
||"Secrets of the Muppets"
||Accompanied by a Cairn Terrier named Jojo, Jim Henson gives us a behind the scenes look at the Muppets and other projects. Upon learning this from Kermit, the other Muppets at MuppeTelevision try to deal with the fact that Jim is revealing all of their 'secrets'. He starts off by telling Jojo that she was built by Ed Christie with her mechanical riggings created by Tom Newby. Jim also tells Jojo that she was modeled after a real-life dog named Bamboo (who was also used in exterior shots). Jim then tells about the room that he is in which is actually a blue screen. Jim then gives Jojo a tour of The Muppet Workshop (with the puppets of Chip and Dip from Sesame Street, Codzilla from episode 1, P.J. and Kai-Lee from the Play-Along Video series, Pink Frackle, Poison Cackler from Fraggle Rock, an Orange Extreme, and Jacques Roach on display) as Jim demonstrates the operation of the Disagreeable Sandwich from the "Cliff's Nightmare" episode of The Cosby Show. Jim and Jojo meet Jane Gootnik who is preparing to reconstruct Gonzo since the principal Muppets tend to get a lot of use. Then he gives Jojo a tour of the Creature Shop in London where he sees the displays of Sir Didymus from Labyrinth, the Heartless Giant, and the Devils from The Storyteller, and the Ultragorgon's head from Monster Maker with an appearance by Dog the Dinosaur. Before leaving the Creature Shop, Jojo is invited into the OMD (short for Organization for Muppet Dogs) by the Storyteller's Dog and meets the other members consisting of Rowlf the Dog (the OMD's president), Sprocket the Dog from Fraggle Rock, Ace Yu, Bugsy Them, and Colleen Barker from Dog City, Foo-Foo, Ambrosius from Labyrinth, and the Farmer's Dog from The Tale of the Bunny Picnic before being called away by Jim. Back on the set, Jim shows a behind the scene footage of The Song of the Cloud Forest, how the Doozers and Gorgs from Fraggle Rock are operated, and how the Muppets ride bikes. The Muppets then start to get worried when it comes to the puppeteers as Jim starts out by showing Jojo that she is operated by Camille Bonora. Then he demonstrates to Jojo on how Waldo C. Graphic is operated. When it comes to the puppeteers for the Muppets of MuppeTelevision, Kermit states that the one under him is Jim Henson (which everyone already knows), the puppeteer for Beard is Jerry Nelson, the puppeteer for Gonzo is Dave Goelz, the puppeteer for Vicki is Fran Brill, the puppeteer for Bean Bunny is Steve Whitmire, and the puppeteer for Leon is Kevin Clash (who stated that he finally got Leon's tail in the shot). In the final scene, Jojo asks about how the Thought Lion works and goes near it. The Thought Lion roars scaring Jojo as Jim calms Jojo down.
Note: This was originally aired as a stand-alone special on Nickelodeon in 1992.
||"Living with Dinosaurs"
||December 30, 1990 (UK)/1993(US)
||A young, socially awkward boy named Dom (played by Gregory Chisholm) tries to deal with a new school, an unemployed stepfather, a pregnant mother, and asthma. The boy finds comfort in his favorite stuffed toy, a dinosaur named Dog (performed by Sue Dacre and David Greenaway and voiced by Brian Henson).
Note: Originally aired in the UK as a stand-alone special, "Living with Dinosaurs" was later reformatted as an episode of The Jim Henson Hour. However, NBC canceled the Hour before the reformatted version could air. The stand-alone version debuted in the US on Nickelodeon in 1993.
||"Food/The Three Ravens"
- Intro – Henson warns the audience that tonight's episode might make you hungry.
- MupppeTelevision – Kermit has trouble keeping the show running, because the entire staff is waiting for their lunch to be delivered.
- Music Video – "The Food Chain Song"
- Where Do Eggplants Come From – A stock boy tells an old woman where eggplants come from.
- Luncheon With Link – Link Hogthrob hosts a food review show.
- Let's Eat – An advertisement for food songs.
- Hurting Something – Anthony and Fern snack on the Screaming No-Nos.
- Gorilla Television – Chip, Zondra, and Ubu have a television consumer named Vivian Eggloff (played by Camille Bonora) in bondage in order to demonstrate how a person is a slave to media.
- The Swedish Chef – The Swedish Chef once again ends up in a duel with Jacques Roach.
- Closing Number – "You and Me" by Solid Foam and the cast
- The Storyteller in "The Three Ravens" – Based on the early German folk tale, The Six Swans. After the queen dies, an evil witch (played by Miranda Richardson) ensnares the king (played by Jonathan Pryce), and turns his three sons into ravens to rid herself of her rivals. The princess (played by Joely Richardson) escapes and must stay silent for three years, three months, three weeks and three days in order to break the spell. But after she meets a handsome prince (played by Robert Hines), this is suddenly not so easy, for her stepmother has remarried, and to the prince's father (played by Richard Butler)...
- Closing – Jim talks about the Screaming No-Nos and mentioned that they were made from wind-up toys.
Note: The last produced episode and the only MuppeTelevision segment to not feature a guest star. In this episode, the Solid Foam band has Electric Mayhem members Zoot and Animal in place of Solid Foam's usual members Flash and the unnamed Female Drummer.
Episodes - Production Order
- 1. First Show/Miss Piggy's Hollywood
- 2. Videotape/The True Bride
- 3. Food/The Three Ravens
- 4. Garbage/Sapsorrow
- 5. Dog City
- 6. Outer Space/The Heartless Giant
- 7. Fitness/The Song of the Cloud Forest
- 8. Power/The Soldier and Death
- 9. Oceans/Lighthouse Island
- 10. Monster Maker
- 11. Living with Dinosaurs
- 12. Secrets of the Muppets
- Jim Henson – Kermit the Frog, Dr. Teeth, Rowlf the Dog, Link Hogthrob, Waldorf, Muppet Newsman, Swedish Chef, Waldo C. Graphic (demonstration only), Whatnot (demonstration only), Timecaster, Timrek the Gorf, Doglion, Bugsy Them
- Camille Bonora – Fern, Jojo, Miss Belle, Blanche, Ruth, Twitch Bunny
- Rickey Boyd – Laughing Boy, Aart the Armadillo
- Fran Brill – Vicki, Zondra, Merlin's Assistant, Alfonso D'Bruzzo, Maxine, Colleen
- Kevin Clash – Clifford, Leon the Lizard, Codzilla, Doglion, Timmy Monster (voice), Zoot, Ace Yu, Blue Extreme, Green-Furred Frackle, Nick the Anaconda
- Dave Goelz – Gonzo, Digit, Cabbage, Doglion, Timmy Monster, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Frisky, Jade Green Frackle, Milton
- Brian Henson – Storyteller's Dog, Dog the Dinosaur
- Richard Hunt – Beaker, Statler, Lugsy Bunny
- Brian Knatchbull
- Trish Leeper
- Rob Mills – Sweetums, Gramps, Solid Foam Drummer, Ubu the Gorilla (2nd Time), Animal
- Jerry Nelson – Lobster, Narrator, Jo Beth Garfdoohoo, Sheep, Shark, Fish, Beard, Wolf, Bubba the Bartender, Luncheon Counter Monster, Cow, a guy with a sword through his head, Garbage, Raccoon, Slim, Orange Extreme, Ralph the Robin
- Frank Oz – Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear
- Mike Quinn -
- Dan Redican – Beautiful Day Monster, Rhonda, Anthony
- Gord Robertson – Lindbergh the Kiwi, Chip, Luncheon Counter Monster, Timmy Monster, Rat, Scruffy, Vinnie Molar
- Bob Stutt – Ubu the Gorilla (1st time)
- Karen Valleau
- Steve Whitmire – Waldo C. Graphic, Bean Bunny, Foo-Foo, Yellow Extreme, Jacques Roach, Flash, Garbage, Billy the Bear, Doozer, Mad Dog, Wilf the Howler Monkey
- Sharon Lee Williams – Purple Extreme (voice only)
Special guest stars
- Episode 1: 7.7/14 
- Episode 2: 6.2/13 
- Episode 3: 5.8/11 
- Episode 4: 5.6/10 
- Episode 5: 5.2/11 
- Episode 6: 4.6/10 
- Episode 7: 3.9/8 
- Episode 8: 4.0/9 
- Episode 9: 4.6/10 
The show on average brought in a mere 5.3 rating. The show ranked 100th out of 105 programs to air that season, and was the lowest-rated program to air on the Big Three networks that season.
Cancellation and "lost" episodes
The show frequently acknowledged its own low ratings, with segments offering satirical takes on what viewers would rather watch—violent movies, ridiculous stunts, etc. In the end, the show produced just twelve episodes, three of which did not make it to air before cancellation.
In 1992, children's cable network Nickelodeon aired Secrets of the Muppets, one of the lost episodes. They followed with another unaired episode, Living with Dinosaurs, in 1993. The final hour—consisting of the MuppeTelevision installment "Food" and The Storyteller episode "The Three Ravens"—aired in the UK in 1990. This is the only episode of The Jim Henson Hour that has never aired in the US.
After The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppets would not have another prime-time TV show until Muppets Tonight in 1996, six years after Jim Henson's death.
Today, the MuppeTelevision segments are bundled with the original Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight episodes into a single syndication package.
Unused episode ideas
In addition to the abandoned hour-long episodes of The Storyteller, Lead-Free TV and picture-book specials, Henson had many ideas for potential episodes or features that were never produced. These ideas included: The Saga of Fraggle Rock (a Fraggle Rock origin story), Inside John (a variation on Henson's Limbo concept in which the various parts of a seventeen-year-old boy's brain try to wrest control of him throughout a typical day) and ASTRO G.N.E.W.T.S. (a special that would have blended puppets with animation, computer graphics, and video effects). Other stories were proposed by Jim Henson involving enchanted bowling balls, extraterrestrial mailmen, outer-space adventures, and even a detective story with Kermit and the Muppet gang. Jim Henson also considered adapting Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and the works of A. A. Milne. Also proposed was "an hour-long musical special featuring The Electric Mayhem in Mexico".
Following the sale of The Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House to The Walt Disney Company in 2004, the rights to various portions of the show have been split between Disney and The Jim Henson Company. The Walt Disney Company owns all of the MuppeTelevision segments (including the 15-minute episode shown with Dog City), Miss Piggy's Hollywood, and The Secrets of the Muppets, while The Jim Henson Company retains ownership of the rest of the series.
- The Jim Henson Hour
- The Muppet Performers: Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Kevin Clash, Fran Brill
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-04-24.pdf
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-05-01.pdf
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-05-08.pdf
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-05-15.pdf
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-05-22.pdf
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-07-17.pdf
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-07-24.pdf
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-07-31.pdf
- ^ http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1989/BC-1989-08-07.pdf
- ^ a b Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones (page 413)
- ^ "The Jim Henson Hour Pitch Reel"
- ^ Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones, page 410.
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