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Abandoned Muppet Film Projects
by Dale Dobson


Muppet adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical Evita casts Kermit as Kermita, a young, ambitious frog who uses every means at his disposal to fight his way out of the rural swamp where he was hatched. He finally makes it to the big time as husband to the president of Amphibina, Juana Cochon (Miss Piggy). Project almost gets off the ground until a script girl points out that cochon means pig in French, not Spanish. An effort to correct the pun and the script casts Rowlf the Dog as “Juan Perro,” but the update’s homosexual implications put the last nail in the project’s coffin.

The Lord of the Flies
This proposed Tolkien parody starring Kermit as an insect-munching Hobbit named Frogo was blessed with an intelligent, hilarious screenplay by William Goldsmith (The Princess Bride). Unfortunately, resultant confusion with William Golding’s dark social novel of the same name put the kibosh on this project when too many executives envisioned Miss Piggy’s head on a stake.

Fear and Loathing in Gonzoland
Incredible early buzz supported this highly experimental film, which was to send the inimitable Gonzo on a substance-fueled road trip with his namesake journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. The Henson Creature Shop produced a number of hallucinatory new Muppet characters and props during pre-production, with the assistance of conceptual artists Brian Froud (The Dark Crystal) and H.R. Giger (Alien). But internal political resistance from conservative executive Sam the Eagle caused the script to be toned down, diluted and simplified until it lost its character entirely. It was ultimately renamed and produced as a G-rated vehicle for Sesame Street’s Elmo and Oscar the Grouch characters.

Planned Muppet version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s classic horror novel cast Kermit as Doctor Froggenstein, Gonzo as Igor, Miss Piggy as Elizabeth and Sweetums as The Monster. Production executives liked the concept, but feared controversy over Kermit’s crucial line as his creature comes to life: “Now I know what it feels like to be JIM!”

I Am Curious (Green)
Subversive Muppet sequel to the controversial 1969 “Yellow” and “Blue” films, the former of which was banned in the United States at the time of its initial release. This never-produced film was to feature Kermit the Frog discussing existential, Brechtian personal and political topics with the Swedish Chef in between bouts of incomprehensible, orgiastic, flour-and-egg-covered sex.

Historical footnote: in 1987, the screenplay was circulated behind the scenes in Washington to derail the Supreme Court ambitions of then-Nominee Robert Bork, whose name was mentioned eight hundred times by the Chef character during moments of ecstasy.

Dr. Teeth and the Electric Rehab
The psychedelic Muppet band becomes a support group for saxophone player Zoot as he fights a long-standing heroin addiction, but Dr. Teeth’s rival pianist, alcoholic Rowlf, keeps leading him back to the dark side. Pre-production efforts from 1974 through 1978 failed to come up with an acceptable screenplay, while several alternative titles were considered (The Muppets Take Mescaline, The Great Muppet Reefer, Muppet Pleasure Mainline). The Henson company finally concluded the subject matter was not relevant or appropriate for the Muppets. A heavily reworked version of the script eventually surfaced on television as a 1979 After School Special starring Nancy McKeon, Kristy McNichol and Ronald McDonald.


© 2007 Dale Dobson, All Rights Reserved
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