Trying to recuperate from an injury I didn’t know I had, I’ve spent a lot of time moving from bed to couch to chair to bed to… well, you get the idea. I have the dueling problem of torn muscles in my hip which makes it hard to stand and an injured tailbone which makes it hard to sit. To sit… to stand… to lay?
It’s made me think about dueling desires I have as a performer to be true to myself vs actually making a living. Which made me think about dueling banjos, which made me remember this clip, which is an amalgam of some of the things I like the most: accoustic stringed instruments, Steve Martin and the Muppets. Watch:
Oh how could you not love it? I loved The Muppets so much during the heyday of their TV show. If you’ve never seen it, you have missed some of the best TV ever. It debuted in 1977 (can that be possible?) and ran until 1981, but reruns continued for some years. Jim Henson and Frank Oz created some of the most memorable characters ever, with Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Animal, and Gonzo among others. Guests included Pearl Bailey, Carol Burnett, Johnny Cash, Bob Hope, Elton John, Liberace, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Sylvester Stallone and Raquel Welch among many, many others.
The Muppets became famous on Sesame Street, of course, but muppets were seen earlier, most notably Rowlf the Dog on the Jimmy Dean Show in the 60s. If you don’t want to watch the opening set, forward through the first minute: As a little girl I used to watch it with my fingers crossed saying “Please let Rowlf be on!”
My early and continued love of the Muppets has helped me remember through the lean times as a performer that puppets are magical. Blogger Jill Tooley says that from Sesame Street she learned things like “don’t be afraid to be yourself”, “rely on your trusted colleagues” and “remember your manners”. Amen to that, sister.
Most of all I like to remember, when pulled in different ways to try to market more effectively or become a little more “edgy” or add more techno-wizardry to a show that it was Jim Henson who said “Simple Is Good” .
I’ve learned to use my ipod, to build a website, to blog and to send emails, but when it comes to my performing, I think it will always be just me and a stage and a roomful (or handful) of laughing children and a puppet.
What could be better?