Kermit the Frog may be pushing 60 (he was introduced in 1955), but his film career is only 35 years old. The television character and his many friends made the jump to the big screen in 1979, while The Muppet Show was the top series in syndicated television. Their creator, Jim Henson, decided to try a feature to see how lifelike the Muppets could be with the benefit of big-screen budgets and technology. That led to a series of dazzling effects including Kermit riding a bicycle, Fozzie Bear driving a car and Muppets with feet. It also resulted in a surreal delight combining old jokes, pop-culture references and celebrity cameos by everybody from Orson Welles to Mel Brooks. Henson even found a spot for his inspirations, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, in their last film appearance. The plot, about Kermit’s efforts to make it in show business, was inspired by Henson’s own career, though it’s doubtful he was ever pursued by a crazed fast-food tycoon out to corner the market on frogs’ legs.
Dir. James Frawley
In attendance: Bill Hader