The Great Muppet Caper Minute 20 – Misguided Confidence

Miss Piggy pleads her case to Lady Holiday to hire her as a high fashion model. She is hired as a receptionist.

NOTES AND RESEARCH

Miss Piggy

  • My “je ne sais quoi” and portfolio
  • Offered job as receptionist
  • Goes bananas
    • Type
    • Take shorthand
    • Make copies

Love the veil reaction

Bonnie Erickson

Designed Miss Piggy

In her time working for Jim, Bonnie designed and built an impressive roster of Muppets, including Miss Piggy, Statler, Waldorf, the Newsman, Zoot, and the caricatures of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Jerry Nelson for the Country Trio.

Smithsonian Magazine article

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-woman-behind-miss-piggy-11290861/

  • The evolution of Piggy and others
  • Her creative process

Jim Henson Legacy article

http://www.jimhensonlegacy.org/about/legacy-events/89-from-muppets-to-mascots-the-incredible-journey-of-bonnie-erickson

How did Bonnie get involved with The Muppet Show?

Bonnie accepted the offer to come on board with Jim to work on The Frog Prince, a one hour version of the classic fairytale narrated by Kermit the Frog. Although experienced in costume design, Bonnie had never made costumes for puppets. The advantage of designing for puppets? “No complaints from the actors!” shares Bonnie with a laugh.

What does Bonnie remember about Jim Henson? What are her memories of working for him?

When I ask Bonnie about Jim Henson, she remembers him for these things: his love of film and television; his sharp editing skills; his sense of music and humor; his ability to draw people into his world. He was a man who cared about the details of his work and who did not cut corners. “The richness of details contributed to an overall product which reflected great thought and care,” recalls Bonnie.

Jim, who prized play and collaboration as an important part of the process, created a good environment to be in and made it fun to work with the rest of the team. “It was a calling for the people there,” shares Bonnie, “and we were a group who was invested in our work.”

A big part of the work as part of the Henson team involved finding new materials to create with and discovering new ways of doing things.

What made Bonnie decide to create her own business?

In 1977, Wayde and Bonnie set up shop on 5th Avenue and 17th Street in Manhattan, putting together patterns for toys and samples, and also creating full-body costumes and puppets for commercials.

Jim Henson became a client when he hired Bonnie for a number of projects including Fraggle Rock and a 13-year run as Creative Director of the Product Division of Children’s Television Workshop.

One day, they received a call from The Philadelphia Phillies Major League Baseball team, who were looking for a mascot who could bring families back to the ball park. Wayde and Bonnie created the legendary Phillie Phanatic.

Since that legendary project, Wayde and Bonnie have created 16 other mascots with entertaining identities.

Arts ATL article

https://artsatl.com/piggys-creator-bonnie-erickson-speaks-work-woman-muppets/

ArtsATL: Would you say Miss Piggy is a feminist icon as well as a fashion icon?

Erickson: Isn’t it interesting? She’s done by a male performer, and yet she has become a symbol for sort of brassiness and independence that women appreciate. I would hesitate to say that she’s a feminist, because I’m not sure that that’s how Miss Piggy would feel about it or read it, but I see her as that. I think a lot of women feel the same way.

(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.)