Tough Pigs Anthology
The Road to Hollywood
Chapter 1: The Swamp Years, Episode IV
The Muppet Movie is a perfect little gem of a movie. It just seems completely effortless -- like, once you've decided to make a movie with the Muppets, then this is the obvious story to tell, and that's the obvious way to tell it. Every time I see it, I'm blown away by how easy it all feels -- like they just took the puppets out, turned the cameras on, and this is the movie they were destined to make.
But, obviously, the true story is that that feeling of fluid perfection is only possible when a whole bunch of creative people work like mad on it. We only see the product, not the process.
This month, in the Tough Pigs Anthology: a glimpse into the process behind The Muppet Movie, using an early script to see what got changed along the way.
The script I've got is written by Jerry Juhl and Jack Burns, and it's dated June 12, 1978. It doesn't say which draft it is -- it's pretty polished, and most of the movie as we know it is there, but it's also got a lot of bits that would be cut and changed before they started shooting in mid-July. Some of these scenes may have actually been shot, and they didn't end up in the final edit -- there's a few pictures in the Muppet Movie Book that don't appear in the film -- but much of it was probably changed before shooting.
I'm not going to post the script as is -- I don't have the rights to do that, obviously, and also it would be boring, since anybody who reads this site has already seen the movie a dozen times. I'm just going to excerpt the bits that were cut and changed, as a kind of academic Muppet Theory scholarship type deal, and hope that I get away with it.
Okay, is everybody ready? Roll film!