The Muppet Movie Minute 7: No Strings Attached

We talk about the Rainbow Connection and how this extraordinary swamp scene was filmed.

 

NOTES AND RESEARCH

Rainbow Connection

Look what it’s done so far.

What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing and what do we think we might see?

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.

The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell.

We know that it’s probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?

I’ve heard them calling my name.

Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors.

Three shots

  • CU
  • Zoomed in
  • Pan down to reflection

30 seconds in, he’s moved

  • Shifted toward the center of the log
  • Turned his body more facing water than along the log
  • Flipped to face other Side of log

The Swamp Scene

A large swamp set was created in a watertank on the studio backlot (the same tank that was used as the lagoon on Gilligan’s Island, complete with real trees that were shipped in from the Georgia bayous.

An on set photo of the swamp scene set

A diving bell equipped with a rubber sleeve was submerged into the tank so that Henson could perform Kermit from inside. Even though oxygen was being pumped in to Henson, and he was in continual contact with the surface via his headset

A great look at the diving bell Henson sat in. I love the top with the branch attached.

There were rescue divers nearby in case of trouble.

Steve Whitmire and Kathryn Mullen used a remote-control device to operate Kermit’s hand while he played the banjo in the long shots and manipulated his arms via arm-rods in close-ups.

Jim Henson and Kathryn Mullen on the set of The Muppet Movie with Kermit in the swamp
An on set photo of Jim Henson in the swamp water with Kermit
Henson and Kathryn Mullen in the swamp on the Muppet Movie set

According to Paul Williams, originally Kermit was going to be seen in the swamp sitting on a lily pad, however it turned into a log because it was easier to position Kermit and hide Henson.

A monitor (to see what Kermit was doing)

An illustration depicting the diving bell Henson used to control Kermit in the swamp scene of The Muppet Movie

(These are mostly my thoughts and observations. I have occasionally added some of Annie’s thoughts after the recording. I have done my best to attribute info where needed. Many of the more common facts about the film and The Muppets are not directly attributed to any one source. It is not my intention to claim all of the above information as my own. If you find a place that needs attribution, please contact me with the source and I will be happy to add it.)