Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Riverbottom Nightmare Band

WMW Riverbottom

Written by Mike Baldasare and Ryan Dosier.


RiverbottomPerformed by…
Chuck Stoat (Frank Oz)
Catfish (Dave Goelz)
Stanley Weasel (Jerry Nelson)
Fred Lizard (Richard Hunt)
Howard Snake (Jim Henson)

Only appearance…
Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (1977)

Best known roles…
“The Nightmare” band, the last-minute addition to the Frogtown Hollow talent show

Band members…
The group is led by Chuck Stoat on keyboards. His members are a pop-eyed Catfish, Stanley Weasel on guitar, Fred Lizard on drums, and Howard Snake on bass.

ChuckThe Riverbottom Nightmare Band (also known simply as “The Nightmare”) is the rude, raucous, and rocking last-minute addition to the Frogtown Hollow talent show in the 1977 special Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. They are a gang of terrorizing loud-mouths who make up a startlingly electric rock band. The band is made up of Chuck Stoat, the intimidating leader of the gang and keyboardist in the band, Stanley Weasel, Chuck’s nincompoop sidekick and guitarist in the band, Fred Lizard on drums, Howard Snake on drums, and a Catfish dancer.

Throughout the extent of Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, the Riverbottom Nightmare Band wreaks havoc upon the little town of Frogtown Hollow. They stole narrator Kermit the Frog’s scarf, drove recklessly through the streets, terrorized a music store, tore up the countryside on snowmobiles, and overthrew the Frogtown Hollow Christmas talent show.

hqdefaultThe Riverbottom Nightmare Band’s biggest scene in the special comes during their performance of the song “Riverbottom Nightmare Band” during the talent show. The song illustrates exactly who the gang is and showcases their dynamic and outrageous contrast to the rest of the special. The Nightmare is the loud, colorful rock and roll contrast to Frogtown Hollow’s quiet, simple folk and country.

Even though the Nightmare Band was only featured in Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, Chuck Stoat and Howard Snake both made cameo appearances in The Muppet Movie during the The Rainbow Connection finale. Fred Lizard later reappeared in a different role in episodes 403 and 404 of The Muppet Show.

bearWe know what you’re thinking… why on earth would Frogtown Hollow need the Riverbottom Nightmare Band? These villains hailed from Riverbottom and they wreaked havoc on Frogtown Hollow. While the town itself doesn’t need the Nightmare Band, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas needs them to add conflict and trials for Emmet and friends in the special. Plus, the band is fun, funny, and a group of rocking performers.

emmet-otters-jug-band-christmas-18The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

One thought on “Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Riverbottom Nightmare Band

  1. Seriously, Jim Henson’s characters have the best bands. The Electric Mayhem and these guys. I hadn’t seen EOJBC in 30 yrs, but I never forgot The Nightmare Band. The animals images and their sound are tattooed in my brain… but no one ever talks about them. I was beginning to think I’d imagined them as a child. I was overjoyed to find them here. I only wish they’d cut an album. And I want a t-shirt.

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