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Jim Henson's Muppet Stories characters

What should we play

Bean Bunny, supposedly.

Nate has been building out the pages on the Jim Henson's Muppet Stories books -- they're collections from 1991 of (mostly) Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies stories. There are also some "filler" stories in each volume, just a regular non-Muppet storybook-type stories.

Nate's been making character pages for all the characters in the books, including the characters from the filler stories -- Itsy Bitsy Spider, Solomon Sun, Mitzi Spider, Fred Fly, Carmen (groundhog) and Harriet (goose).

I would suggest that these aren't actually Muppet characters, or even characters in Muppet books, except in the most technical sense. Carmen and Harriet don't even really look like Muppets; they could be from anywhere. I think the characters that appear in the Muppet / Fraggle stories should have pages, but the filler stories should just be described on the book's page, without pages for the characters.

I'm also suspicious of Hannah Toad and Chester Frog, who appear in a couple stories with a character whose name is "Bean Bunny" but who doesn't look or act anything like the real Bean Bunny.

Anybody else have thoughts? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:54, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, that Bean's an imposter, and Nate has a page for him [[Bean_Bunny_(Kermit%27s_Tales)|here]]; of course, since this actually dates from 1989, it seems likely it was post Bunny Picnic but pre-Jim Henson Hour, so it could be an honestly odd artistic interpretation (but there's little context in what we have here to indicate one way or another, outside of shared name, mildly similar coloring and shirt). On the one hand, many are pretty far removed. However, there's several things in favor, both in our past policies and in the books themselves. First, they're presented as "Kermit's Tales," though obviously that's pretty nominal (a few appear on one cover, but otherwise, Kermit doesn't actually tell them). Second, they're actually older than 1991, dating from Jim Henson's Bedtime Stories from 1989, and thus were done while Jim Henson was actually alive and in a position to have final okay or at least let it pass. The book series, from Funk & Wagnall's, was the same thing F&W had done with the Sesame Treasury and Library, recollecting existing stories in multiple volumes, with a few new one-page puzzles or illustrations and such (those were the filler; the animal stories are the same length as the Muppet Babies, Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock stories). While Bean #2 is more realistic, Hannah and Chester, as shown there, are pretty Muppety. They were written and created by many of the usual Muppet people (Jim Lewis, Louise Gikow, Michaela Muntean), and with overall editorial supervision and approval by the usual Jim Henson Productions people who oversaw Muppet Magazine (Gikow, Jane Leventhal, Lauren Attinello, etc.) It's just that the stories were drawn by John Gurney, who specialized in more realistic art and hadn't done any Muppet stuff before, so it shows in Bean and most mammals, but the frogs and insects are more Muppety, odddly. And finally, they're really not unlike the characters in Category:Sesame Street Animated Segments, which had no Muppet involvement but which we keep because they were part of the fabric of the show.
So, I don't think we should go with a knee-jerk reaction because they don't look Muppety enough and don't have established characters (and true, they are kind of funky) but they were clearly in tended to be part of these Muppet collections done by Muppet people and at a time when "Jim Henson's" on a title actually meant something, at least more than trading on his name once he was dead. On the other hand, it is a field for endless stubs which a) would definitely not fit under our still developing definition of Category:The Muppets Characters family (they're their own odd corner) and b) would be of more interest to really *really* hardcore Muppet book geeks (and only some of them) than most of our visitors. So how's this as a potential compromise. One, since there's an actual label for this, would be to create a "Kermit's Tales" page. We have Category:Jim Henson's Muppet Stories but we might rename that Bedtime stories so as to include that page, the volumes, and if we subcat, any exclusive characters that otherwise don't fit. But my main notion is that the Kermit's Tales page could note the series in more detail (there's some on Bedtime Stories and it's half scattered in Nate's story synopses on the book pages, but clearly it's not as easy to find as far as explaining just what the heck these were and what Muppet people worked on them and so on) and a gallery of the scans for the minor characters created. Possibly, just as we ruled to allow recurring Sesame Street animated characters like Teeny Little Super Guy even though they were fully outsourced and had no Muppet connection at all (these are weird, but by Muppet people for Muppet books with a handfl of Muppety-looking characters mixed with Beatrix Potter refugees), recurring figures (I think Celia Skunk was in several) could have their own page, but right now, I think just merging everything (probably not more than a few sentences to say about even recurring Kermit's Tales characters) is the best bet. I know in recent months we've been asking "What's this got to do with the Muppets?" and that's fair enoughh, but our original definition was things dealing with Jim Henson and the Creature Shop as well, and obviously we're narrowing our scope in some ways. And it never hurts to talk about it. But, especially when we have categories and places where we can put these things and explain how they connect while also quarantining them from Gonzo (and in this case, while we have no idea how involved Jim Henson actually was, probably not much, it's more than some random thing from the Henson Company with no Muppets/puppets after Jim was dead.) So, following our Sesame example, either no pages for one-shot story characters at all, or just deal with it all in one page as opposed to spread out. Just as, for example, Fay Ray is about the dog but also all of Wegman's other dogs and each sketch with any of them, but we don't have a page for each skit, the way we do for each Muppet Show episode, and that's how we've handled the live-action skits too; series get a page (with as much detail about characters or production and skits as anyone cares to put, really), one-shots don't. "Kermit's Tales" was a series, actually made by Muppet people in a Muppet context (just with an outside artist and no established characters, but some of the Sesame book one-shots, while more apt to use the Anything Muppet look, fall into that exact same sphere), and on a scale of potential reader interest, definitely less likely to be looked for than The Mad Painter but probably more relevant than George the Farmer or Noodles & Nedd.
To sum up after my usual longwindedness, put everything on a "Kermit's Tales" page; Nate can have fun, it is info about a pre-Henson's death Muppet publishing project with pictures and such, and as with other pages, it would be more effective and interesting as an overall article (and easier for any visitors with vague memories of these to find what they're looking for) and this way won't drown out illustrated characters like Flossie. How's that as a compromise? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 22:37, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes! I totally agree with every longwinded thing you just said. A "Kermit's Tales" page merging all the info into one place sounds fantastic. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:51, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I just saw what you did with Puppet Up! characters. It looks great, and that's the kind of thing I had in mind. I may go ahead and get started on that later today, unless we want to wait for Nate to weigh in (and he has more of the stories than I do). I just scanned two images, though, just to show how schizophrenic John Gurney's art could be. We have two frogs who are pretty much identical to the frogs who appear with Robin in some of the Muppet stories. Then we have assorted critters who do look out of place. I'm not sure if some of these came early, or since they had different writers, whether some had Gurney use the Muppet style guide as a basis while others just let him do what he pleased; who knows. So that's another way the merge would be an improvement, as an easy way to analyze or show the contrast. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:07, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, some of this stuff just works better as one merged page. In lots of cases, I think it's fun to have tons of pages, especially when the individual pages can link out to other pages in interesting ways. But when there's a kind of "closed system", without a lot of outside connections, then it probably works better as a single page -- like with Minor Characters in Time Piece. That's a complete piece, which is a lot easier to read than seven individual pages would be. So if there are "closed systems", especially if they have kind of an oblique relationship to the Muppets, then I think one page can be more readable and interesting. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:13, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
I like the "closed system" way of defining this, and that's a good approach we can use for all kinds of things, both if the connection is less obvious but still vital and it's basically it's own world, or just where it's more effective as a complete piece, like the video pages or the recent merge of Muppet annuals and so on. For that matter, I used it way way back for Muppet Show Musicians and it's the kind of thing we were discussing, in far more fringe cases, with the mentions pages or merging most of the Frank Oz Films. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:23, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
I like the arguement so far. I don't think these pages should be deleted. I think, but I am an uber geek, that this bizarre little corner of the Jim Henson world deserves a spot on here, because it's just random and fun, a project that happened while Jim was still alive, and especially for the stories that could have outside connections to other projects, such as the Itsy Bitsy Spider (which one day might be done on Sesame Street or some other yet produced series. That being said, I have no problems fleshing out the story breakdowns on the main pages, for example "Up the Waterspout", but I think I'd like to see a gallery of the characters somewhere on the wiki. Is it possible to do a sort link (I don't know what you would really call it), where if you click on a character's name like Chester Frog, it would take you directly to their picture in the gallery (much like if you click on The Muppet Love Song Album it takes you directly to the synopsis on the minor unfinished projects page. OR could each story synopsis just contain a gallery of the characters, since I've already attached one picture from the story to the page. I want to finish the series as best I can, I think I have four more volumes to do, but I've broken two scanners in two months, so I've not gotten around to it just yet, but I'm itching to do so! -- Nate (talk) 16:47, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I finally got around to starting a Kermit's Tales page. I haven't merged anything yet (still trying to find out how many of these we have), but I noticed a few have the exact same text anyway, so that's another reason a merge makes sense. I figure a Characters section below the overview, probably headed by pairs and groups in many cases, like the duplicate text ones I mentioned, and I'm trying to work out the recurring characters (I only have four of the books myself to check, and there's a couple more Jim Henson's Muppet Stories volumes we don't have listed yet either, which have shown up on ebay or in library listings). Anyway, basically a progress report, but Danny, Nate, or anyone, feel free to start merging or parking and we can mess with the format. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 19:07, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Andrew! We'll start merging... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 20:37, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
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