Archive | October, 2014

TEST

20 Oct

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The Muppets are a group of puppet characters known for an absurdist, burlesque and self-referential style of varietysketch comedy. Having been created in 1955 by Jim Henson, they are the namesake for the Disney media franchise that encompasses films, television series, music recordings, print publications, and other media associated with The Muppet Show characters.

Henson once stated that the term “Muppet” had been created as a portmanteau of the words “marionette” and “puppet“, but also claimed that it was actually a word he had coined.[1] The Muppets debuted on the television program Sam and Friends, which aired locally on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. from 1955 to 1961. After appearing on skits in several late night talk shows and advertising commercials during the 1960s, Henson’s Muppets began appearing on Sesame Street when that show debuted in 1969. The Muppets then became the stars of multiple television series and films, including; The Muppet Show (1976–1981), The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), and The Jim Henson Hour (1989). After Henson’s death in 1990, The Muppets continued their presence in television and cinema with Muppets Tonight (1996–98), a series continuation of The Muppet Show, and three films, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), Muppets from Space (1999); the former two were co-produced with Disney, who sought to acquire the characters since the late 1980s. In 2004, The Walt Disney Company purchased the rights to The Muppets (except for the Sesame Street characters, which were sold separately to Sesame Workshop, as well as Fraggle Rock and other characters retained by The Jim Henson Company),[2][3][4] and later formed The Muppets Studio; a division created specifically for managing The Muppets franchise.

Disney re-branded the franchise beginning in 2008, in anticipation of the seventh film, The Muppets.[5][6] The film, written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller and directed by James Bobin, was released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 23, 2011, and met with critical acclaim and commercial success.[7] An eighth film, Muppets Most Wanted, was released on March 21, 2014.[8]

A common design for a Muppet is a character with a very large mouth and big protruding eyes.

The puppets are often molded or carved out of various types of foam, and then covered with fleece, fur, or other felt-like material. Muppets may represent humans, anthropomorphicanimals, realistic animals, robots, anthropomorphic objects, extraterrestrial creatures, mythical beings or other unidentified, newly imagined creatures, monsters, or abstract characters.

Muppets are distinguished from ventriloquist “dummies”/”puppets”, which are typically animated only in the head and face, in that their arms or other features are also mobile and expressive. Muppets are typically made of softer materials. They are also presented as being independent of the puppeteer, who is usually not visible—hidden behind a set or outside of the camera frame. Using the camera frame as the “stage” was an innovation of the Muppets. Previously on television, there would typically be a stage hiding the performers, as if in a live presentation. Sometimes they are seen full-bodied. This is done by using invisible strings to move the characters’ bodies and mouths, and then adding the voices later.[9]

Muppets tend to develop, as writer Michael Davis put it, “organically”, meaning that the puppeteers take time, often up to a year, slowly developing their characters and voices. Muppets are also, as Davis said, “test-driven, passed around from one Henson troupe member to another in the hope of finding the perfect human-Muppet match”.[10]

When interacting with Muppets, children tended to act as though the Muppets were living creatures, even when they could see the puppeteers.[11]

Operation[edit]

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