Friday, December 30, 2016

Best and Worst "Stuff" of 2016!

We all know 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year.

We lost David BowiePrince
David Smyrl (Mr. Handford)George MartinFlorence HendersonGene Wilder"Toots" ThielemansMorley Safer, and Alan Rickman.


Puppet Up
 closed it's Las Vegas run early, and both The Muppets (2015) and 
No, YOU Shut Up! were cancelled.

There were a few bright spots such as The Electric Mayhem's live concert, various Muppet appearances - including Fozzie on @midnightSesame Street photobombing the 
Tonight Show w/ Jimmy Fallon, The Muppets opening Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (including Miss Piggy latter saving Tony Bennet), Fraggle Rock's return to HBO, and the debut of a new Henson series Splash and Bubbles. Other treats include Matt Vogel's great behind the scenes of Sesame Street web series "Below The Frame", the return of Pigs in Space, and Sonia Manzano receiving a Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award Emmy.

We even got to visit the debut of the Strong Museum's Henson collection



However, as our primary focus here is to talk Muppet "stuff" (that's we call ourselves Muppet Stuff) as our last post of 2016, we look back at the best (and worst) Henson related items released this year. 

The Worst:



Over priced and not very attractive are not how you honor the world most famous and fashionable pig. I mean $98 for a key chain? Come on. 

On the other end of the fashion spectrum was IntenCITY's line of Disney inspired fashions. While there were some really nice items for other Disney franchise, unfortunately their only Muppet related item looks like it was made by elementary school kids forced to make them during their lunch break. Cute, cheap, yet uninspiring. 

"Chase" Kira with closed mouth Fizzgig Pop!


A chase, or variant figure usually has something special about it - recolored, a different outfit, etc. but what Funko did for this chase was pretty lazy. It's just Fizzgig, but with a closed mouth. Not only that, the very thing that makes the figure different is hidden begins the "chase" sticker!

"The Best of Fraggle Rock"

Enjoy The Ride Records limited edition vinyl of The Best of Fraggle Rock. Should have been really special. There were 7 different vinyl colors made - each representing a different character, but each record had the same image of the Fraggles on the front and Trash Heap on the B side.

As we originally noted "It would have been a lot nicer and made the color choices more apparent if the different characters they represented were on the flip side, especially since Sprocket is only seen in the gatefold map."




The Best:

As only one of two official items released from the now cancelled The Muppets, we felt that it deserved a place on the list. Here's hoping Diamond Select follows it up with some Rowl's Tavern coasters or pint glasses someday. 



Seeing the many different artistic styles take on the world of Labyrinth and it's many characters is very inspiring. There are many gorgeous, funny, and brilliant images to found. With the continuation of Achia's Storyletter anthology comics, I could see Labyrinth becoming their next ongoing anthology project. 

With many great Labyrinth Pop! figures released by Funko this year we thought it best to include Ludo who rarely gets the merch treatment and as a large 6" figure too.
This Sesame Place exclusive was the perfect example of what their limited release "Classic Character Collection" should be - a fan favorite we don't see much of anymore that's realet represented in merchandise. Add to the fact that this is a puppet and not just a stuffed animal gives it much more interactive and has a great play-ability factor. Here's hoping the Pink one isn't too far behind!
While Zen Monkey Studios made some outstanding shirts and pins featuring characters from Labyrinth and Fraggle Rock, there Dark Crystal hoodie was a standout. Not only does is feature a gorgeous image of Kira, Jen, Fizzgig, Ursol, Aughra, and the Chamberlain on the back, the front features the crystal being broken into shards. Brilliant design, excellent execution. 

Dark Crystal ReAction Figure - Aughra



Funko did an amazing job bringing the long wanted, and until now never produced, line of Dark Crystal action figures to the market. While initially going to make straight replicas of Kenner's unproduced figures, instead they went above and beyond to give them a timeless yet fully sculpted look. The detail in Aughra is stunning, I just wish they used better glue on the packages. 


Labyrinth: A Visual History


Insight Editions put together another great coffee table book filled with never before seen photos and stories from the making of the film. The book even features many interactive reproductions placed throughout, giving it the feel that you stumbled upon it in the Henson workshop. I have high hopes for their Dark Crystal book scheduled for next year. And who knows if it also does well, maybe we'll get the Fraggle Rock book they planned to release last year!

Animal Action figure
This year saw Diamond Select Toys bring the Muppets back to the action figure world since Palisades Toys folded a decade ago. Thanks to a certain frogboy in San Fransico, series 1 was great, but series 2 really brought out the heavy hitters. Their Animal figure not only looked fantastic, but the inclusion of his drumset in both in the more expensive comic store version and the mass release (Toys R US, Barnes & Noble, etc) version was unexpected and needs to be recognized for a job well doe. If only the drumset fit together better and was able to stand on it's on without glue, tape, or puddy. 

Dark Crystal ReAction Figure - Ursol


Another greatly sculpted figure was Funko's Ursol the mystic figure. The detail that is seen in his body and jacket makes it an amazing piece of art. And in a better package then the rest of the regular line!


Which bring us to the our pick for the #1 release this year:
Statler and Waldorf Action Figure



Ever since Palisades released their 
Statler and Waldorf figures and their amazing Muppet Theater backstage playset, fans have been wanting their theater box. Diamond Select heard our pleas and not only released the box, but was able to included with both figures. It fits together perfectly and and is a must have for any serious Muppet fan. Not even the fact that the they're switched on the back cover or that the box was sadly not included in the mass release version could keep it from our #1 spot. 


Honorable Mentions:
Labyrinth
game by River Horse, Diamond Select's Muppet Minimates, Jim Henson's Storyteller: Dragons, and Labyrinth's 30th Anniversary comic. 


There's more great Muppet stuff to look forward to in 2017.

Let us know if your favorite made the list or what you think we over looked this year. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

More Muppet Pins at Five Below!

Discount retailer Five Below has another set of Muppet pins available!



You can find them at both Five Below and select Toys R Us locations!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie Re-Released!

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie has been re-released on DVD this year with a new Kermit only cover.


The DVD features the same widescreen version of the TV movie and bonus features as the previous release.

It's currently on sale for $5 at Walmart.

Unfortunately it looks like only the DVD was re-released this year though it may still available at Amazon and other retallers online. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

More Pigs In SPAAAAACE!

Last week the original crew of the Swinetrek returned for their first new adventure in 35 years. This week they're back again with another malodorous episode!


Funko's 25 Days of Christmas!

On one of the Days of Christmas, Funko gave to me, Super Grover and Animal Limited Edition Pop! figurines.

As part of their holiday promotion, Funko is releasing a new limited edition figure every day until Dec. 25. So far, two Muppet Pop! items have been released - flocked Super Grover and Animal. 

Super Grover
"On the 2nd day of Christmas, Funko-Shop.com is proud to present… the Flocked Super Grover Pop! This fuzzy guy is ready to join the rest of the gang hanging out at Sesame Street. The Flocked Super Grover Pop! is a Funko-Shop.com exclusive and is a limited edition of 5,000 pieces"






Animal
"On the 8th day of Christmas, Funko-Shop.com is proud to present… the Flocked Animal Pop! Here’s a blast from the past for all you Muppets fans! And now he’s fuzzy! The Flocked Animal Pop! is a Funko-Shop.com exclusive and is a limited edition of 4,000 pieces"


(Note: Since this artic was written Animal has sold out)
We'll keep you posted they release anymore Henson related items in the next week. 

You can find their entire LE holiday offerings on Funko's website. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Jennifer Connelly's 'Labyrinth' Audition!

To celebrate both Jennifer Connelly's birthday this week and Labyrinth's 30th Anniversary check out her original audition tape:


As a special treat, be sure to check out this rare clip from November 1986, when Connelly and Ludo appeared on the BBC series "Saturday Superstore" to promote the film.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fraggle Rock Returns to HBO Tomorrow!

... well sorta. 



No, not new episodes, and so far it's not scheduled to air on actual "HBO", but the entire series has been remastered in HD!

The series will air on HBO Family beginning tomorrow at 4:30 PM EST and the 
remastering of the series was personally supervised by Brian Henson. 

Can't wait to see how the show looks in HD until 4:40 tomorrow? Well you're in luck, as all 96 episodes will be available on HBO GO (HBO's streaming service for subscribers) beginning at 6:00 AM!

Now you can take the magic of Fraggle Rock anywhere as long as you have HBO!

Muppet Stuff Charity Toy Donations - Please Donate to Toys For Tots!

As a blog about merchandise, this time each year we like to give something back and spread the magic of Jim Henson and the Muppets to those less fortunate. 


This year's donations include a selection of Diamond Select Muppet action figures and Minimates, and Funko Sesame Street Pop! figures. 

Toy's For Toys announced this week they've received less donations than in the past. If you have the means to do so please consider donating a toy or two to your locale Toys for Toys drop off location.

You can find locations at Toys R US, Five Below, and from the Toys For Toys website.

The last day to donate is this Friday.

Monday, December 12, 2016

‘Top Puppet’ Coming to NBC from Craig Ferguson and The Jim Henson Company!

The Jim Henson Company is teaming up with former Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson to produce "Top Puppet" a puppet competition special at NBC.


Additionally, The Voice producer Talpa Media will be involved.

According to Deadline:
In Top Puppet, competitors will battle it out in front of a live studio audience and three judges who will seek originality. The goal is to feature the full spectrum of puppeteering on the show — from hand puppets to giant walkers, marionettes to humanettes, ventriloquists to singing hand puppets; with acts as grand as the spectacle of The Lion King or realistic as War Horse, or simple as sock puppets.

The special will premiere next summer and casting is underway. It is currently designed as just a one off, but it could lead to a full series if successful.

Do You Remember The Christmas Toy?

Do You Remember The Christmas Toy


Well, our friend Rachel sure does. She even made new Muppet Monday video about too!

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Return of Pigs In SPAAAAACE!

After nearly 35 years, the original crew of the Swinetrek have returned in their first new adventure!




The video was written and directed by Kirk Thatcher and produced in conjunction with soapbox studios.


We hope this is the first of many more to come!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jim Henson's The Storyteller Giants Now Available!

The first issue of the latest arch of Jim Henson's The Storyteller comics - Giants is now available from Archaia.

Cover 1

Check out the first few pages below:

Variant Cover






You can pick up your copy at your local comic book shop and from Amazon

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"Sesame Street Live" Gets New Producer!

Feld Entertainment Inc. and Sesame Workshop have inked a partnership deal to develop Sesame Street live show tours.

Beginning next October, Feld Entertainment will produce and tour live Sesame Street productions in the U.S. The current Sesame Street Live! tour produced by VStar Entertainment Group will continue through the summer.


The company will build and rehearse Sesame Street shows at Feld Entertainment Studios. Feld’s team will execute local marketing and sales plans throughout North America. Additionally, Feld will develop a line of consumer products to enhance the live experience.

The current Sesame Street Live schedule can be found here

Monday, December 5, 2016

Kate Spade Officially Debuts Miss Piggy Line with #Missadventure Episode!

We recently told you that fashion designer Kate Spade was teaming up with Miss Piggy for a new line of high end accessories.


The line officially launched with Miss Piggy's Kate appearance in Kate Spade's webseries #MissAdventure. “To the top” features Miss Piggy and Zosia Mamet in the elevator at the Empire State Building.



Since the initial announcement, a few items have been added to the line including this $98 Miss Piggy keychain. No that's not a typo. A $98. Miss Piggy. KEYCHAIN. 


and this $378 tote bag (presumably $98 of that is for the keychain):



The rest of teh currently available line of Miss Piggy Items can be found at Kate Spade.com.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sneak Peek 2017 Hallmark Keepsake Muppet Ornament!

While we didn't see it at NY Comic Con, next year's Hallmark Keepsake Ornament has been now been revealed!

'Merry Christmas Everyone' is Hallmark's 2017 Muppet Keepsake Ornament. As you can see, it features Kermit and Robin in their Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim roles from The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Hallmark artist Ken Crow, who also sculpted the Animal (2010), Beaker (2011), Fozzie (2012), and Electric Mayhem Bus (2016) ornaments, created the ornament

It's a departure from the classic Muppet Show feel of the last few ornaments, and is the first Muppet Keepsake Ornament to be brandished with a logo specifically from a Muppet movie. Even though this year's Electric Mayhem bus was the first movie specific Muppet ornament. 

Ken obviously used both Palisade Toy's mini PVC and this image from the movie's promotional materials for reference:



It's worth noting that the ornament bears a little more of a resemblance to the actual source material then the Palisades figure does.

This could be the start of whole new line of Muppet Christmas Carol ornaments which kinda makes more sense as Christmas ornaments then the Muppets being depicted as their everyday Muppet Show selves. 

Special thanks to Nate Downs for the heads up.

What do you think of this potentially new direction?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Muppet Christmas Socks!

The Countdown to Christmas has begun!

Just in time for the holidays, Disney has a new set of women's Muppet Christmas socks. 


The "no-show" set includes mix and match socks of Animal, Fozzie, Kermit, Bunsen, Beaker, and Miss Piggy. 


They can be found at a few retailers for a wide array of prices including Macy's ($12.99) and Amazon ($23.99!), but by far the best deal can be currently found at Kohl's, who has them for just $5.99!

They can be found at some Kohl's locations and online.

Thanks to Jennifer Bogdan for the heads up.