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September 18, 2009

D23: A Video Account

Filed under: News — Tags: — Joe Hennes @ 9:58 am

Now that we’ve revealed all of the upcoming Muppet projects and merchandise from the D23 Expo and asked you which of the announcements you’re most excited for, you’re probably wondering what the Muppets actually, y’know, did. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we’ve pieced together the majority of their appearances. So close your eyes and pretend you’re in a theater with hundreds of screaming Muppet fans, while craning your neck to try and see over the lady with the big hair sitting in front of you. And now you might want to open your eyes, because it’s probably the only way you’d be able to enjoy these videos.

The first video is from Dick Cook’s keynote address. The Muppets showed up in a big ol’ riverboat and sang “Rainbow Connection”. As far as I know, nobody sang “Old Man River”.

Pepe got a little spotlight (Yes, I’m making fun of his height. What’s the shrimp gonna do about it, huh?) when he got the opportunity to announce the remastered Muppet*Vision 3D attraction. Pepe’s impromptu song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Sam the Eagle (looking very 1975 here) opened for Fozzie, Gonzo, and Pepe, who might’ve found Coke’s secret formula. Sam’s speech is cut off a little at the beginning, but he says, “Thank you Ms. Breier, I feel your pain. My fellow Americans, I wish to talk to you about the Walt Disney Company and the United States of America, and about how they are almost exactly the same thing. For example, they both have a rich history…

ToughPigs’ own Danny Horn (Remember Danny? He used to be the big cheese around here.) was on hand at D23. After the Muppet presentation, he stood in line for the opportunity to meet Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, and Bill Barretta, who were on hand to do something puppet-related. The following is Danny’s account:

The crowd files out and into a receiving line. There’s a table set up, and Fozzie, Gonzo and Pepe come out so that fans can meet them and take a picture with the Muppets. The puppeteers were absolutely amazing. The line went on for about two hours, and they were on the whole time — talking to people, making jokes, having fun. There was a camera set up so that they could look at video monitors under the table. (Every once in a while, they would joke about what they could and couldn’t see.) I was practically at the end of the line, and even at the end, they were exhausted but still totally into it, funny and warm.

The puppeteers took breaks every once in a while — the character would duck down under the table so they could rest their arms. Some people got to meet one character, some got two, and some got all three. If a fan came up and said that he really wanted to meet Fozzie, then Fozzie would come right up — they were really great about it.

As I got close to the front, I could hear some of the banter… Here’s some examples.

Gonzo: “Have a nice day at D23! See you next year at D24.”

A fan posed with Gonzo, and said that he’d never had his picture taken with a cartoon. Gonzo said, “I’m not a cartoon… but I was a cartoon when I was a baby.”

A couple came up dressed as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. Pepe was the only character up, and he had a lot of fun flirting with the Princess and posing for a picture with her. Then Aladdin posed, and the other characters came up. When they saw that Jasmine had moved away, they snapped at Pepe: “Hey, there’s a Princess here! Why didn’t you call us up earlier?” “I was busy,” Pepe said.

A fan got a picture with Gonzo, and then wanted one with Fozzie. Gonzo: “You want one with Piggy too? The nerve.”

Gonzo, talking to a woman: “Is that your husband? What’d you bring him for?”

So — charming, warm, funny, gracious.
Many thanks to Danny Horn, and to the kind souls who snuck cameras into D23 and uploaded to YouTube! We won’t tell, we promise.

Click here to put ’em together (and whaddya get?) on the ToughPigs forum!


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