Experimentation, Marketing, Nostalgia, Sociology

“The Muppet Show” — It All Started With a Pitch

The Muppet Show” ran from 1976-1981, and introduced us to memorable characters like Fozzie Bear, the Swedish Chef, Gonzo, and Animal, while also creating cultural phenomena like “Pigs in Space” and the two grumps in the balcony, Statler and Waldorf.

One of the challenges for anyone with a good idea is to get other people to appreciate the idea’s scope, tone, and subtleties. Usually, a prototype does this best — a prototype is a great way to get ideas across and make them stick.

The clip below is the pitch used by Henson and company to sell the show to CBS. It starts slowly, but gets going toward the end. A small snippet is missing from the end. It showed Kermit coming on within the CBS logo and asking, “Now, what the hell was that?” It’s a great example of a prototype — the tone, humor, pacing, and puppetry are all very much in keeping with the ultimate product. The best prototype sells itself.

And for a little more nostalgia, here’s the show’s famous opening:

Happy Friday!

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About Kent Anderson

I am the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. I’ve worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are my own.


2 thoughts on ““The Muppet Show” — It All Started With a Pitch

  1. Love this post. Thanks for the Friday smile. I will never forget being able to stay up past my bedtime as a kid the one night a week that the Muppet Show was on. The pitch was brilliant, especially for the time.

    Posted by Angela | Apr 13, 2012, 10:25 am
  2. I am a huge Muppets fan, but had never seen this pitch, which as you say really gets going toward the end in typical Muppets frenetic fashion. Many thanks for resurrecting this gem from the past and making this a happy Friday for us all.

    Posted by Sandy Thatcher | Apr 13, 2012, 1:45 pm

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The mission of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is "[t]o advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking." SSP established The Scholarly Kitchen blog in February 2008 to keep SSP members and interested parties aware of new developments in publishing.
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