The Muppet Show has made its way to Disney +, but it’s not completely intact. This is what has been cut and why.
The Muppet Show It finally made it to Disney +, and while fans young and old can now relive the best episodes of the variety show, they won’t be able to watch it in its entirety. The problematic content of the show comes with a disclaimer, but some segments will not yet be part of the Disney + collection. And it turns out that most of the cuts come down to something even Disney can’t beat: music rights.
Two episodes of The Muppet Show are missing from the show’s catalog on Disney +. The first, Episode 506, is a Alice in Wonderland-Themed entry hosted by Brooke Shields, who was the youngest guest star in the show’s history, who in typical Muppet fashion goes off the rails. The reason it was cut, however, was that it features a confused Fozzie, dressed as Tin Woodsman, singing The Wizard of Oz “We are going to see the magician.” The rights to that movie are owned by Warner Bros, which is currently working on a remake, making negotiations for the rights to the song prohibitively difficult.
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Music rights are at the core of most The Muppet Show Disney + omissions. Twelve episode songs were cut, including those performed by guest stars such as Don Knotts’ ill-fated collaboration with The Electric Mayhem, “Lullaby of Birdland,” while others are sung by the Muppets themselves, such as Beauregard’s rendition of “Dancing On. ceiling.” Broadway legend and Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist Actress However, Bernadette Peters’ guest appearance is the one with the most songs cut. While none of the songs are performed by her, Kermit’s nephew’s rendition of “I’m Five” and “They Call The Wind Maria” has been removed from the episode.
However, the cut that shows how complicated rights issues can be appears in episode 518. In this entry, Kermit’s old friends from Sesame Street he stopped at the show, and both casts sang a verse from their main theme. Despite Jim Henson’s involvement in Sesame Street, the cameo had to be removed because HBO owns the rights to the series.
Outside of music, most of the Disney + cuts were for segments filmed for territories with fewer commercial breaks than the US market. The ads were edited into the DVD releases of The Muppet show but they have been removed from the Disney + launch entirely. The only other thing that is fully compromised is Episode 519, which probably never had a chance to conflict due to music licensing.
The guest star of that episode was the show’s only British writer, Chris Langham, who has become an infamous figure since his unlikely appearance. Langham was a stand-in for the show’s originally scheduled guest star Richard Pryor, who dropped out at the last minute, and played a messenger who broke the news that yodeler Bennie Brillstein refused to appear on the episode.
Years after its appearance, Langham was stopped by Kent Police in November 2005 in conjunction with Operation Ore, a British investigation into child pornography. He was sentenced two years later and sentenced to 10 months in jail. Langham’s sentence was reduced to 6 months on appeal, but Disney decided it wanted nothing more to do with him and has tried to remove the episode whenever possible.
For fans dying to see The Muppet Show musical numbers omitted, physical media is really the only way to go. Most of these segments can be found on the DVD of their respective season or in The Best Of The Muppet Show DVD.
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