By Josh Hankemeier
Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
From ‘The Muppet Show’: Zoot. He’s been one of my favorites since I was little. Zoot’s preference to speak with his music rather than words makes him a very unique character. Also, he’s certainly the most mysterious of the “main group” of Muppets. Dave Goelz has been playing Zoot for 40 years…and even he doesn’t know much about him.
Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
I couldn’t pick three all-time favorites, but here are three characters who are among my favorites:
He’s cute and adorable, my favorite superhero is Super Grover and he helped John-John count backwards. What more can I say?
Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Junior Gorg: He’s my favorite Richard Hunt character! Also, “Doomsday Soup” is a favorite episode of mine because it reminded me of many spring cleanings at our old house. My Mom and Dad acted exactly like Ma and Pa Gorg in this episode, while I was stuck in the middle…just like Junior!
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?
So hard to choose. I’ll say The Muppet Show, because it has so many classic songs, sketches and characters even casual Muppet fans love.
What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
I’ll go with the majority of fans and say “The Muppet Movie”. The whole story is a lot of fun (“It’s a narrative of very heavy duty proportions!”) “The Great Muppet Caper” comes in at a close second.
What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
I can’t pick a favorite, so I’ll go with one song that means a lot to me: “Music Box” by Phillip Balsam. It’s from the Episode “The Lost Treasure of the Fraggles”. I walked down the aisle to this song at my wedding.
If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Caroll Spinney and his wife Debi Spinney. Mr. Spinney is a wonderful friend, a great storyteller and he reminds me a lot of Jim Henson. Debi is lovely too!
If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
“Thanks…thanks for everything.”
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 would have to pick “Just One Person” as it was performed at Jim Henson’s memorial service. If anything expresses just how much Jim Henson (and his legacy) was loved in one place in time…that would be it.
What’s the name of that song?
“Moon Over Me Cookie”
If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
He could help with the grocery shopping. Those aisles would also be perfect for him to do his classic “Near and Far” bit.
In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
“Kermit’s Swamp Years”. The blooper reel and the behind the scenes stuff is really all I want to see from that DVD.
Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
“Weird Al” Yankovic! (We are LONG overdue for a Weird Al/Muppet production).
If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
I’d pose with Yorick…and I would wisely be keeping my hands and feet away from his mouth.
What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
My Wilkins and Wontkins vinyl puppets from 1958. (I wish they still made Wilkins Coffee. I’d love to try some…even if Wilkins didn’t threaten to blow me up).