Sunday, 5 September 2021

most sensational, inspirational, celebrational

Originally airing on the British ITV network before being picked up in syndication for American audiences, Jim Henson’s Muppet Show was first broadcast on this day in 1976—the characters and premise previewed with two pilots the previous two years, the first subtitled the Valentine Show with guest star Mia Farrow and Sex and Violence with an all Muppet cast.  

The first episode featured Joel Grey, the Master of Ceremonies from Cabaret, with the guest act being “Wilkommen” and father of Jennifer of Dirty Dancing fame. Musical numbers, guest interviews are interspersed with Fozzie Bear’s comedy routines, Gonzo’s random act of destruction and Muppet News flashes. The Swedish Chef’s cooking segments appeared in episode two.  Coincidentally on the same date five years earlier, the BBC was offered Sesame Street but rejected to add it to their programming schedule, framing the show as “indoctrination and a dangerous extension of the use of television” and having “authoritarian aims.” Independent broadcasters eventually brought the educational programme to the UK.