Tuesday, January 12, 2010

French music video tribute to The Muppet Show

This is the second French CG animation homage to Jim Henson's Muppets I've seen so far.  Many elements of the Muppet Show are here -- the red curtain, musician Muppets, audience Muppets, a human performer singing a classic song.   No heckling Statler and Waldorf-like characters though, sadly.  Since these are all key-framed CG characters, these puppets do things no ordinary foam hand-and-rod puppet can do!  Dance with legs showing!  Throw things! 

Unfortunately, the animators focused so much on exaggerating the "puppety-ness" that puppetry basics like lip-synch and eye-focus are less than stellar.  Still, it's great to see a large-scale Muppet Musical Number again. 

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posted by Brian at 10:47 AM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jim Henson's "Time Piece" Now on iTunes!

Fantastic! Jim Henson's groovy 1965 Oscar-nominated short film Time Piece is now available on iTunes (for $2). Looks fantastic too, remastered and cleaned up.

Buy it here.

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posted by Brian at 12:13 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, August 01, 2008

Jim Henson's "The Cube" now on iTunes!

Continuing the cube motif is news about the release of Jim Henson's The Cube.

Certainly everyone knows about Jim Henson's puppetry work. But before Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, Jim was pursuing experimental film-making. The Jim Henson Company is starting to make its vast library available on iTunes for purchase, which is truly wonderful. In college, my friend Steve and I were big fans of his work The Cube, which could only be seen at the Museum of TV & Radio (now the Paley Center). Apparently, it originally aired on NBC (!) as part of its experimental programming on Sundays. (Wow, wouldn't it be nice to have that now?) Jerry Juhl wrote the surreal, existentialist script and it features Jerry Nelson (aka Floyd Pepper, The Count, Herry Monster), playing a monk.

"You'll never get out of the cuuubbbe!"

Buy it here.

via Muppet News Flash

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posted by Brian at 3:23 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The OM NOM NOM NOM Phenomenom nom nom

If you work in an office, there's a 97% chance you've been sent email about something odd, something interesting, gross, or funny spread from coworker to coworker, from friend to friend, from blog to friend, from some random person in the world with too much time on his hands to you (who ought to be working now, but hey...) It could be a political cartoon, a woman playing a ukelele cover of Britney Spears, or yet another photo of a cat with odd captions. The best of these memes inspire others to respond with their own versions.

Usually yours truly is a bit behind, riding the meme after it's already gone viral and spread everywhere like some media plague. At work, it's LOLCats and World of Warcraft-anything that have caught on, causing cascades of laughter down the cubicles. But yesterday, my coworker exposed me to a lovely, relatively nascent and contained meme, known by its trademark onomonopoetic label, OM NOM NOM NOM.

What is it exactly, you ask? Take a photo of something that looks like a mouth, preferably with some person or object near it as inevitable victim, draw teeth and menacing eyes, add the label "Om nom nom nom" to it and voilá! Now share it with others through email or posting to a website. (The semi-official Om Nom Nom Nom website though, is not user-friendly about letting you upload your own photos -- and may be inadvertantly keeping the meme from spreading as it should! *baps head*)

Mind you, the visual aspect of Om Nom Nom Nom, the cartoony monsterization of objects, dates at least back to the 1960s & 70s, notably with Jim Henson's Muppets and probably earlier artists before him. (Here's a Muppet example from the late 1970s):

I'm no Art Historian though. Can anyone find earlier examples of adding monster eyes and teeth to inanimate objects?

One of my favorite (and often blogged about) modern examples of this visual motif would be Amy Winfrey's Web (and soon Nickelodeon TV) cartoon, Making Fiends.

The most famous spoken use of "Om nom nom nom" I can find of course is from Cookie Monster, but I suspect earlier, less famous Muppet creatures also emitted that sound during their final feeding frenzies.

So far, I've found only one blog reporting about Om Nom Nom Nom as an Internet phenomenon, written last Fall, though "om nom nom nom" as a word (not a sound effect) seems to have been used on Internet forums and IRC chat channels as early 2003-05*.

So help me, fellow om nom nom-nivores, spread this meme across the globe!

* Apparently, some folks are using it as a slang word for oral sex.

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posted by Brian at 3:58 PM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Classic Sesame Street - "Fat Cat Sat"

I love this sketch from the early 70s. Simple "limbo" set. The humor is in the wacky lyrics, timing, choreography, dynamics of the music, and the contrasts and reactions between the characters. Lovely little rhythm guitar going on in the background (making the tempo feel faster than it really is). Great use of the screen space -- Jim Henson came up with the idea of using wide-angle lenses in video puppetry to give great depth of field, so the main singer puppet isn't moving back all that far, but it looks like he is.

Or for a hoot, try this faster version.

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posted by Brian at 2:14 PM 0 comments links to this post