19 October 2005 | wermuth601
NBC should have given this a longer chance
The Jim Henson Hour was broadcast in 1989. It was a mix of The Muppet Show and Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Jim Henson always introduced and closed the show in a room with a white lion. The first half hour for most shows was MuppeTelevision, which was similar to the Muppet Show but also different. It had many characters from The Muppet Show, but some were main characters (Kermit, Gonzo, and to a lesser extent Link Hogthrob), some made a few appearances (Fozzie Bear, Rowlf), and some only made special appearances (Miss Piggy, Bunsen, Beaker, The Swedish Chef). This was partly due to the facts that Frank Oz (Fozzie bear, Miss Piggy) and Richard Hunt (Scooter, Janice, Beaker) had limited availability on the show.
However, the new characters on this show were great. They included Bean Bunny, who was only hired to be cute, Leon, a purple lizard-like character, Digit, an android technician who also played in a band called Solid Foam, Waldo C. Graphic, a computer-animated bird who later appeared in Muppet*Vision 3D, and Clifford, the bass player for Solid Foam who would later host Muppets Tonight. MuppeTelevision also took place in a room full of monitors and usually featured a guest star (Bobby McFerrin, K.D. Lang) and even a theme (Science Fiction, Garbage).
The second half hour for five of the shows was The Storyteller, starring John Hurt. There were also half-hour specials, including Miss Piggy's Hollywood, Songs of The Cloudforrest, and Lighthouse Island. Some shows had specials for the entire hour, including Dog City (although that did have a 20-minute pre-show with the Muppets), Monster Maker, and The Secrets of The Muppets. After the show was canceled, all of the second half-hours have been shown on their own, and the hour-long specials have been shown without The Jim Henson Hour openings.
In 2004, The Walt Disney Company bought the rights to The Muppets, and unfortunately this is the only production where ownership is split up between companies. Disney owns MuppeTelevision, Miss Piggy's Hollywood, most of The Secrets of The Muppets, and the pre-show to Dog City, while The Jim Henson Company owns the rest. I hope that Disney releases the MuppeTelevision portions on television or DVD soon, as I have't seen those since the shows original run. I also hope that more of the shows original characters (especially Digit) come back someday.