Never Too Old For The Muppets

This year, for Valentines Day, I gave TC a muppet version of himself. The likeness is really sort of alarming. I had it built by the amazing and dedicated team at the fabulous Muppet Whatnot Workshop, (this link takes you to the site, where you can build one online!) which is tucked inside a corner of FAO Scwartz  that has been styled to look like the wardrobe department backstage at The Muppet Show.

photo: scott mccartney

The beard is custom. I took him down to Purl and found the perfect color yarn, I was even granted a small corner of their cozy worktable during the afternoon rush (for which I am extremely grateful) to sit and sew with encouragement. The eyeglasses are from the drugstore. It helps that TC is already sort of a muppet. When people who have never met him ask me what he is like I often tell them to picture Scooter from the muppets, post MBA.

Denyse likes to say that TC has an "aqualine profile", and luckily so does his muppet. This picture was taken right after the two of them met. Its a little eerie, right?

Remember The Muppet Show? Maybe some of the best television EVER. Though it only ran for a few seasons, the variety show attracted some of the biggest stars of music, stage and screen of its day. Celebrity hosts (it was sort of like Saturday Night Live, but with lots of backstage action... and muppets) included Steve Martin, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Buddy Rich, Debbie Harry, John Denver, Kenny Rogers, and many, many more. I loved it so much as a kid. Even my grandfather watched it. This was a man who wore ascots, mind you.

My favorite muppet was Animal, my grandfather preferred the two old men, Statler and Waldorf, who sat in the balconette and guffawed. A few years ago I was working on a project for Disney (who now owns The Muppets) with Munki Munki and did this artwork, which of course is based on the iconic photo of Jim Morrison. Everybody agreed that it wasn't quite in keeping with my usual style, and it was scrapped pre-production. I still want this as a poster, though I can't imagine where I would hang it....

Animal was usually in a euphoric drummer's haze, pounding his way through drum solos, but showed restraint and versatility when called upon. I like to think of him as a patron saint to all commercial artists for that reason. I especially love the clip below, where he accompanies the incomparable Rita Morena as she sings "Fever".

While he was much better known for this style of playing exhibited here, where he and Harry Belafonte go head to head-bashing head, he also turned in a few ballads during his tenure at The Muppet Show. The one below is one of his best...


And here's the best part: Word is that they are currently staging a come-back. Meantime, you can buy the first two seasons here. And, you can make your own muppet right here!