Answers from Ivan Corney
1. Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
As I’m sure you all know, it’s near impossible to just pick three favorites, considering that The Muppets are at their best when they’re an ensemble playing off of each other, but here goes.
First, I’d have to say Rowlf the Dog. He always seemed like he was goofily wise, and not afraid to get completely silly, much like Convincing John from Fraggle Rock. I suppose considering that, it’s more that I love Rowlf purely for Jim Henson’s infectious silliness that seems to reach through the puppet, and through the screen, until it hits you right in the funny bone. (Trust a dog to go straight for the bone…) Bill Barretta now does a fantastic job with Rowlf, and I’ve absolutely loved seeing more and more of Ol’ Brown Ears over these last few years.
Second, I’d say Floyd Pepper, whose sincere level of cool just exuded from the screen every time he sang or spoke. Although the same can be said for Jerry Nelson himself.
Last but not least, while I love all of Frank Oz’s characters, he just had this insanely silly energy whenever he performed Marvin Suggs, so it’s always a delight to see that character.
2. Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
Well, this question gives me a chance to throw Kermit in, since I could only pick three for the last question. Kermit on Sesame was odd. It was like, yes, he was a Muppet, but he also seemed to carry that same weight or gravitas (for lack of a better word) that a celebrity guest would. It was always a joy to see Kermit on Sesame, and it always felt like a special occasion when he was there, even before I had any concept of Jim Henson or Muppet Performers.
It’s hard to choose between Bert and Ernie for the second choice, but I think I’d have to say Bert. Frank Oz was wonderful being this straight-laced non-nonsense guy, who, despite having “boring” hobbies like bottle cap collecting or Pigeon Checkers, always had a fantastic infectious enthusiasm whenever he’d get excited about them.
Last but not least, I’d have to say Oscar the Grouch. He was always that reminder on Sesame that you needed a little edge and it couldn’t completely become Barney. Carroll Spinney seems like an absolutely lovely man, and although he didn’t perform too many characters, the two main characters he played, Oscar in particular, were always a delight to see.
3. Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Doc. Gerry Parkes was wonderful as Doc, and he seemed to exude that same level of magic that the Fraggles did, so it was completely believable that a Fraggle Hole could just open up in his workshop.
I love Junior Gorg purely because of Richard Hunt, and the energy he brought to the voice. Once I saw the behind-the-scenes clip of Richard Hunt explaining the origin of Junior’s voice, and doing the voice without a suit, it just made me love Junior Gorg even more.
Something would be amiss if I didn’t pick a Fraggle, so I’d have to say Gobo Fraggle was my favorite out of the five. While I pretty much love any character that Jerry Nelson performs, Gobo just seemed to have a great natural leader quality to him, and always seemed like the one you wanted to be friends with.
4. What is your favorite television program starring any of Jim Henson’s creations (e.g. The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, etc.) and why?
While I love them all, I’d have to say that Fraggle Rock is my favorite, purely for the thought and heart that went into the show. How many shows can you say sprang into existence to bring about world peace and inter-connectivity of the universe? I don’t think a show like that will exist again, although I hope it will.
5. What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
I’d have to say the original Muppet Movie. It seems like the most pure, and despite the plot being “get to Hollywood” it’s all about rejecting cheap tawdry advertisements and doing what you do with the people you love, to make the people who love you happy. Now if only they could have remembered that when it came to the Lady Gaga special…
6. What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
Quite possibly the hardest question on here. There are far too many to choose from. There are so many thoughtful emotional poignant songs that I can’t just pick one, so I’ll make my choice purely from the catchiness of the song. It would have to be “Subway” from Sesame Street.
7. If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Probably Steve Whitmire, because he seems like one of the nicest people in the business, and one of the most interesting.
8. If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
Thank you for being an inspiration to the countless people who never got a chance to meet you.
9. If the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects, what would you tell him was the “Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time”?
I’d be shocked, but I’d probably feel compelled to start singing “Obama-nah Doo-doo-do-do-doo!”
10. What’s the name of that song?
I’ve growwwwwn accustomed to your faaaacee!!!
11. If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
I’d have him investigate the greatest mystery of our time. Just who exactly is the Monster at the end of the book?
12. In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
The Lady Gaga Holiday Special, AKA “Selling awful albums to children through beloved characters under the guise of generic holiday goodwill.” At least they went with the catchier title.
13. Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
14. If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
I’d probably choose Rowlf, posing together sitting at back-to-back pianos.
15. What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
I don’t have much merchandise, but my cousin picked me up the original Muppet Movie soundtrack on vinyl for $2 the other day. So once that’s in my grubby little flippers, I’d have to say that!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, email@example.com