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It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights...

One of my fonder memories of childhood is watching "The Muppet Show." I didn't quite grasp all of the subtleties (I actually thought "Pigs In Space" was a serial, not just a recurring sketch, and was always wondering why I never saw the episodes they plugged as "Next time"), but I loved it nonetheless. And one of my favorite bits was when they would take songs and perform skits around them -- predating MTV and music videos by several years.

One song in particular stuck in my head. I loved it the instant I heard it, and I loved the skit they played with it -- a mother possum singing to her children, while the other forest animals looked on -- occasionally interrupted by a marauding horde of whooping hunters randomly firing their guns into the air, driving all the animals back out of sight. Unfortunately, I didn't know the title or anything about it, but for years I kept hearing bits and pieces of it on the radio. And dammit, not once did the DJ identify it for me. Finally, I told my sad tale of woe to a friend of mine who was a DJ at the college station. I gave him a few of the lyrics, he pulled a record off the walls (this was the 80's, after all), and tossed it out on to the turntable. As soon as the current song ended, he started up.

"This one's going out by special request to Jay. Here's Buffalo Springfield with 'For What It's Worth.'" And then it started...

"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down"

I was amazed and thrilled. I'd literally spent years wondering what that beautiful song was, and here my friend Bob had found it instantly and answered me.

(Bob also once played both the studio and live versions of Genesis' "Supper's Ready" on the air for me once, which clock in at 22:30 and 24:30 respectively, to much local protest, but that's a story for another time.)

Flash forward a few years. The Muppets returned to TV for a brief series, called "Muppets Tonight." I was visiting my friend Carl (who was about 10 years younger than me) and we were watching it. Just then we cut to Muppet Labs, where Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (and Beaker!) starred in a video for a rather odd little song. I recognized it immediately.

"Oh, cool! Thomas Dolby -- 'She Blinded Me With Science!'"

Carl spun around at me in disbelief. "What?!?!?"

"The song -- it's 'She Blinded Me With Science,' by Thomas Dolby."

"You know that? I gotta write that down! That song's been driving me nuts for years, and nobody could tell me what it was!"

The next day Carl went out and bought two Thomas Dolby CDs.

I guess what goes around, comes around.

J.


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Comments (22)

Ahh, how sad that as soon a... (Below threshold)

Ahh, how sad that as soon as you said possum I knew the skit!

I wish they'd bring back the Muppets, but I'm afraid they'd modernize them. They were funny (especially Waldorf & Stadler) without being raunchy.

If the show was on today, Miss Piggy would be a lesbian, Kermit's catch phrase would be "Who's your green bitch?", Gonzo would be permanently stoned, and musical guests would include Eminem and Green Day performing tributes to Old Dirty Bastard.

But I bet Waldorf & Stadler would still be a hoot.

Or a toot:"Hey Sta... (Below threshold)

Or a toot:

"Hey Statler, pull my finger!"

"That trick never works!"

"But today I'm wearing Depends."

But I bet the Swedish Chef'... (Below threshold)

But I bet the Swedish Chef's Chocolate Moose still wouldn't be vegan ...

Here, moosey moosey moosey ..

"Supper's Ready" is one of ... (Below threshold)

"Supper's Ready" is one of the greates epic songs of all time.

I loved that show. I was w... (Below threshold)
JimK:

I loved that show. I was way too old to watch it and used my little brother as an excuse. ;) "But he likes it when we watch together."

Heh.

I'm still a muppet fan.... (Below threshold)

I'm still a muppet fan.

Always have been, always will be

Wow. He played live versio... (Below threshold)
Jeff B.:

Wow. He played live version of "Supper's Ready" too? Even though it sucks?

(Assuming we're talking about the Seconds Out version here...awful mixing, removing Hackett entirely, and Collins doesn't sing it nearly as well as either he was capable of or Gabriel did originally.)

That studio version, though...michele's right: best epic ever.

For folks in and around NYC... (Below threshold)
arb:

For folks in and around NYC this weekend,
Muppets go BAM:

http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/32027.htm

Sharp as a Marble -- If any... (Below threshold)

Sharp as a Marble -- If any muppet character would be permanently stoned, it would be Kermit.

I grew up listening to Buff... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

I grew up listening to Buffalo Springfield (among many others, of course), so the possum skit didn't stick with me. If you'd asked me about it, giving me just about any line from the song, I would have been able to identify it for you, just like your DJ buddy.

When The Muppet Show was on (Saturday evenings before the networks took over programming for the night, as I recall), I was in my mid-to-late-twenties, and didn't have any children yet to use as an excuse. But I still watched it, and loved it. Statler & Waldorf were my favorites.

- I always liked the Piano ... (Below threshold)

- I always liked the Piano that ate Kermit - Guess its the eeeeevil conservative in me.....

- JT - you do know that "For what its worth" was one of the anthems for the asshats in the 70's don't you...(didn't mean to spoil it for you but its true...)....Right up there with "Log time coming" and "If I had a hammer"....BTW readers might be shocked if they saw some of the public exclamatins of Guthrie these days...He's become a regular neocon BushHitler Conservative....Finally got some common sense and working brain cells in his dodage....Funny how maturity has that effect on people....

This makes me feel old.... (Below threshold)
profligatewaste:

This makes me feel old.

Odd... Watching the Muppet... (Below threshold)

Odd... Watching the Muppet Show makes me feel young. ;)

My song of choice is "Mahna Mahna" with the wild-haired guy in sunglasses and the two pink cow-like things.

Gosh I just LOVED the Muppe... (Below threshold)
DragonLady:

Gosh I just LOVED the Muppet Show. My kids hate it and it just kills me, but I still make them watch Muppet Family Christmas every year. :-) Can't even mention Sesame Street around them.

I didn't know who did "For What It's Worth" (or for that matter know it's name) until I got the Forrest Gump soundtrack.

They did bring the M... (Below threshold)
jmflynny:

They did bring the Muppets back for a while, just a few years ago, but it didn't last. The last of the newer episodes of 'Muppets Tonight' was in 1998.

By the way, they have a very cool website.

www.muppets.com

FYI, a lot of the old Muppe... (Below threshold)
Splashman:

FYI, a lot of the old Muppet Show episodes are on DVD now -- 3 shows per disc. One of them (can't remember which right now) includes the very song/sketch you mentioned, Jay -- the Buffalo Springfield, crazy hunters, etc.

As Jay, I grew up watching the Muppets, and it was indeed my favorite show for a while. My two girls (5 and 2) love the Muppets. I don't get any of the newer stuff, though -- it's all garbage, IMHO.

I just recalled that as a kid, I didn't like the guest stars much. I loved the Muppets, and felt that the guest stars were just taking up valuable time when we could be watching more cool Muppets sketches -- Pigs in Space, Doctor's hospital, etc. And as I watch them now, my opinion hasn't changed. Heh.

Jim Henson was a genius. Too bad it wasn't in the genes -- his son tries hard, but that's about the best you say for his work.

Next time you are trying ... (Below threshold)

Next time you are trying to ID an old pop song, just email me. All my friends know me as the source for old pop music. E.g. the car commercial that used "The Weight" by The Band - someone asked me that one.
My blog only touches on it once in a while tho.

"For What It's Worth" was t... (Below threshold)
Steel Turman:

"For What It's Worth" was the most played song
in that little closet of a tent known as 'the bar' in
Cua Viet, on the DMZ in 'Nam in '68. I love it still.
Muppets rule.

Yah, this made me feel old,... (Below threshold)
Thomas Hazlewood:

Yah, this made me feel old, too. Muppets looks like it's for children, but, the undercurrent is purely adult stuff.

Try watching the older Rocky & Bullwinkle stuff. No music, but, the repartee aimed at adults, purely.

(Alumnus of Whassamattuh U. )

I saw the Muppets version o... (Below threshold)
Larry:

I saw the Muppets version of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" when I was a small child. I knew the song already from my parents. The Muppets version was maybe the best thing I ever saw on TV. I've been wanting to see it again ever since. I actually found this post while trying to find the video. It doesn't seem to be anywhere.

Muppets version of Buffalo ... (Below threshold)
Erik:

Muppets version of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" is on the episode with Bob Hope Season 2.

That skit always stuck with... (Below threshold)
Jen:

That skit always stuck with me too, that's how I found this blog, looking for it. Does anyone have it? I'll keep searching in the meantime. Miss the Muppet Show!




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