Minute 84 – Evil Under the Sun – The Great Muppet Caper

A very brief cameo starts out this minute as Nicky and crew get inside the Mallory Gallery and Miss Piggy trucks down the English countryside.

NOTES AND RESEARCH

Oscar the Grouch
Caroll Spinney as Oscar the Grouch

According to Sesame Street Unpaved, “The character of Oscar was inspired by a nasty waiter from a restaurant called Oscar’s Tavern in Manhattan. Jim Henson and Jon Stone were waited on by a man who was so rude and grouchy that he surpassed annoying and started to actually amuse both Jim and Jon. They were so entertained that going to Oscar’s Tavern became a sort of masochistic form of luncheon entertainment for them, and their waiter forever became immortalized as the world’s most famous Grouch.” In the Ask Henson.com web column, Jim Henson Company Archivist Karen Falk said that the restaurant was named Oscar’s Salt of the Sea — and went on to say, “Some of the designs that we have in the Archives were done by Jim Henson on Oscar’s paper placemats!”

Caroll Spinney says that he based Oscar’s voice on another New York resident — a Bronx taxi driver who drove him to work on his first day performing the character. When Spinney got into the cab, the driver snapped, “Where to, Mac?”

During the first season of Sesame Street, the street set was arranged in such a way that Caroll Spinney, who is right-handed, was forced to operate Oscar’s head with his left hand. A subsequent redesign of the set allowed Spinney to switch hands.

During Caroll Spinney’s tenure as the character, in scenes where Big Bird and Oscar (both performed by Spinney) interact in a scene together, the situation has varied depending on the amount of lines one or the other is given. When Spinney performs Big Bird, a second puppeteer operates Oscar to Spinney’s voice. These puppeteers have included Jerry Nelson (c. 1970s)[5] and Jim Martin (1990s-2000s).[6] Paul McGinnis also puppeteered Oscar at the 2003 Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala.

In 2015, Spinney stopped physically puppeteering Oscar on the show, but continued to provide his voice for seasons 46 and 47. Spinney also continued to perform Oscar sporadically for live events. By then, Eric Jacobson had begun understudying the role of Oscar; sometimes lip-syncing to Spinney’s vocals, and performing the voice himself in other appearances and media. With Spinney’s formal retirement in 2018, Jacobson became his official successor, performing Oscar full-time.

 

What the heck do they use to unlock the window!?
– Sounds like a sci fi laser device

Mallory Gallery
“Still Very Far”
distressed sign

Ham Hock
Dirty Bird
Any Smokeys?

Still in prison uniform… she was on a laundry truck!

(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.)