Minute 98 – A Crazy Awesome Life – The Great Muppet Caper

Gonzo takes one last photo.

NOTES AND RESEARCH

Location Manager

Martin Baker

https://www.henson.com/jimsredbook/2014/03/351981/

For his first feature film directing effort, The Great Muppet Caper, Jim was careful to pull together an experienced team. When it came to logistics, there was no one better than Martin Baker, who would serve as the location manager for the film. Jim had first met Baker in 1971 when he was the guest travel coordinator for a Tom Jones special that the Muppets taped in London. As part of the group working at ATV studio, Baker was the floor manager for The Muppet Show and proved himself invaluable to Jim and the performers. Baker’s work on Caper helped launch his producing career and over the last thirty-five years, his credits include dozens of Henson productions. He continues to work with the Muppets and The Jim Henson Company through his independent company Baker-Coogan Productions, most recently on the feature film, The Muppets and the series, Me and My Monsters.

 

Police Liaison

Brian Dellow

  • Security Consultant
  • Personal Security for Sammy Davis Jr in the 1980s

 

Underwater Cameraman

Charles Lagus

Lagus was the first cameraman engaged by the BBC to shoot natural history footage, and worked with David Attenborough on his early Zoo Quest series in 1954.

 

Hot Air Balloon Company Ltd.

Colin Prescott

  • Native from Stockbridge, Hampshire he began ballooning at the age of 25 when an Afghan princess took him on his first flight. Colin continued his interest in hot air balloons by founding Flying Pictures, which counts Sylvester Stallone’s “Cliffhanger” and the last 8 James Bond films among its credits.
  • Over the years Colin has managed to combine his background in advertising with his hobby, operating many of the commercial advertising balloons seen in the summer skies and at balloon festivals around the world.
  • In 1981 Colin made the first ever hot-air balloon flight through a whole night, and later set the record for longest balloon flight in the British Isles.

 

Helicopter Pilot

Mark Woolf (sp. Marc Wolff, Mark Wolfe)

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0938103/

Flying Pictures

Originally founded in the late 1970’s by advertising executive and explorer Colin Prescot, the company made its name as the world’s largest hot-air balloon business. During the early 1980’s Colin met renowned helicopter film pilot Marc Wolff and agreed to expand the company to include helicopter filming services.

http://www.flyingpictures.com/team/

 

GONZO PHOTO – AUDIENCE

Early sketches for the end credits sequence reveals that Oscar the Grouch was to have gone back to America with the Muppets.

 

From Tough Pigs early script:

  • The Dubonnet Orchestra Leader: Armando di Fiore
  • In the newspaper office, Kermit gives a good reason for why they need Mr. Tarkanian to pay for their travel to London: They spent all their money on the opening production number.  The writers may have held onto this deleted joke for the premise to the unmade film The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made.
  • There are multiple references in the script to the fact that they’re going to bust open this story so they can get their jobs back.  It adds a little bit of urgency to their exploits in London.
  • When Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo plummet from the airplane and into the pond, they don’t meet a well-read British man with a wealth of information for broke tourists.  Instead, they meet a birdwatcher with a beard who looks and sounds exactly like Jim Henson. This was Jim’s original cameo. He seems to recognize Kermit right away and asks, “Do you know me?”  Kermit then begins to recap the entire movie (much like Fozzie did in The Muppet Movie) and stops when he begins to bore Fozzie and Gonzo, who then sinks into the pond. Later, Fozzie shows his distrust of the bearded stranger.  “I don’t know if I trusted that birdwatcher… He seemed manipulative.”

 

The film grossed $31.2 million domestically on a $14 million budget thus making it a box office success. It is the fifth-highest grossing Muppet film behind The Muppets (2011), The Muppet Movie (1979), Muppets Most Wanted (2014) and Muppet Treasure Island (1996).

The Great Muppet Caper has received generally positive reviews. The film holds a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a two star rating (out of four) and concluded his review by saying that “the lack of a cutting edge hurts this movie. It’s too nice, too routine, too predictable, and too safe.”

(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.)