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The Muppet Show transcript for Episode 117: Ben Vereen.


Kermit appears in the show's O.
Kermit IIt's The Muppet Show, with our special guest star, Mr. Ben Vereen! Whoo!
The banner rises, and the theme begins.
Chorus girls

It's time to play the music
It's time to light the lights
It's time to meet the Muppets
On The Muppet Show tonight!

Male chorus

It's time to put on makeup
It's time to dress up right
It's time to raise the curtain
On The Muppet Show tonight!

The curtain opens on Fozzie.
Fozzie Hey! I wouldn't say that The Great Gonzo is dumb, but when he graduated from school, he didn't get a diploma, he got a pension. Ah?
The audience laughs. The curtain closes.

To introduce our guest star,
That's what I'm here to do!
So it really makes me happy
To introduce to you —
Mr. Ben Vereen!

Open on Ben, who makes "jazz hands" as Muppets gather around him.
Kermit But now let's get things started
Kermit & gang

On the most sensational, inspirational
Celebrational, Muppetational
This is what we call The Muppet Show!

A Green Frackle whacks Gonzo with his own mallet.

Opening number

Main stage. Kermit enters to applause.
Kermit Hi-ho, hi-ho, and welcome again to The Muppet Show. Hey, our special guest tonight is a young man who soared to stardom on Broadway in Pippin, had his own television series, and is one of the really multitalented performers in show business, Mr. Ben Vereen. He really moves, and, speaking of that, let's get things moving right now on The Muppet Show!
A Two-Headed Singer croons "Jump Shout Boogie" while some Whatnots "jump, shout and knock [themselves] out."
Rowlf Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ben Vereen!
Ben appears and dances.
Waldorf Heh. No doubt about it, I'm beginning to like this show.
Statler Really?
Waldorf Yep, it's really starting to grab me.
Statler Hmm.
Two fuzzy orange hands grab Waldorf.
Statler Something's starting to grab you. (laughs)


The Muppet dancers from the opening number pass by Kermit, including the two-headed singer.
Dancer (JN) I don't care! Next time, use a deodorant!
Kermit Nice. Nice number.
Green head I wear the pants in this act.
Kermit That was great. Really hep to the jive.
He walks over to Fozzie, curious about a big green box.
Fozzie Hey, Kermit, Kermit? Hey, wha — what is this?
Kermit Oh, that belongs to uh, Marvel the Magician. It's for next week's show.
Fozzie Oh, that's very interesting.
Kermit Yeah, but Fozzie, don't go in there.
Fozzie Oh, come on, Kermit, I'm a big bear. I won't hurt anything.
Kermit Yeah, but Fozzie, don't slam that door.
Fozzie steps into the box and closes it.
Fozzie I didn't slam it. I closed it very quietly.
Kermit Yeah, and you're never gonna open it again.
Fozzie Wh-what do you mean?
Kermit Well, I tried to tell you it's a trick door. Only Marvel the Magician can open it.
Fozzie But — but Kermit, I have an act to do! Go get Marvel!
Kermit I can't. He's in Toledo. (walks off)
Fozzie And I'm in big trouble.

"Mr. Cellophane"

Main stage. Kermit enters.
Kermit Okay, right now I'd like to introduce Ben Vereen, a blockbuster of a talent.
Crazy Harry pops up in the balcony.
Crazy Harry Did somebody say "blockbuster"?
Statler Hit the dirt!
He and Waldorf duck. Harry sets off an explosion and laughs.
Kermit Well, there's uh, nothing like starting off with an explosive opening. Heh. Uh, hey, listen, you wanna have George the Janitor clean up that mess? Uh, now, as I was saying, we have a real dynamite guest tonight …
Crazy Harry Did somebody say "dynamite"? (Explosion.)
Waldorf I'm beginning to get a slight headache.
Kermit Hey, will somebody throw a net over Crazy Harry so we can get the show rolling? Right now I'd like to introduce our guest star — and you better not interfere with his act, Crazy Harry, because he has a short fuse.
Crazy Harry Did someone send for a short fuse?
Kermit Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ben Vereen!
Ben sings "Mr. Cellophane" and plays the titular, unseen character.
Ben I hope I didn't take up too much of your time.
He vanishes while walking away. Applause.
Statler I think the guests that come on this show should get combat pay.
Waldorf What about us?
Statler Well, we're volunteers.
Waldorf Maybe you are. I was drafted into this chicken outfit.
Statler Oh.


Fozzie is still trapped inside the green box. Kermit bangs on the box with a hammer.
Kermit It's no use, Fozzie. I don't think we'll ever get this thing open before the end of the show.
Fozzie Oh, I feel awful.
Kermit Yeah? Well, that's the way it goes.
Fozzie Well, I feel so sorry for everyone.
Kermit How do you mean?
Fozzie Well, they'll all be so disappointed when you tell them that today's show is canceled.
Kermit Canceled?
Fozzie Mm, yeah. Well, obviously you cannot do the show without me.
Kermit Um … uh … Fozzie … (aside) How shall I break this to him?
Fozzie What?
Kermit Uh, Fozzie, there is one alternative to canceling the show.
Fozzie Oh, there is? Yeah?
Kermit Uh, We can replace you.
Fozzie faints.
Kermit Fozzie? … He takes these things kind of hard.

Muppet newsflash

Newsman Here's a Muppet news bulletin. (runs to the desk) Dateline, New Brunswick. Mr. Melvin Cosgrove climbed a 30-foot pole and scrambled onto a six-by-six-foot platform. His goal: to break the world's record in flagpole sitting. That was 16 years ago, and yesterday his wife started wondering how Cosgrove was doing, especially since he was 84 years old when he started.
Newsman Authorities climbed the pole this morning and found that he had indeed passed away. As a fitting tribute to her brave husband, Mrs. Cosgrove announced that for the next ten days, she will fly him at half-mast.
He scowls and walks away.

At the Dance

Couples dance in a ballroom, starting with Mildred and George.
Mildred You know, I, uh, picked up a hitchhiker the other day.
George the Janitor Oh, really?
Mildred Yes, well, it's only right. I was the one who knocked him down.
We go on to Zoot and Janice.
Janice Tell me, do you like bathing beauties?
Zoot I don't know, I've never bathed one.
And on to two pigs.
Male pig You know, last week my cousin was seen on television by 30 million people.
Female pig Oh, what is he, a rock star?
Male pig No, a football.
And on to two Whatnots dancing cheek-to-cheek.
Green Whatnot You know, I really got my eye on you.
Pink Whatnot Oh, really?
He lifts his head and his eye sticks to hers.
Green Whatnot Really.
Uh-oh … it's that loud lady again.
Loud lady (loudly) Herman, today I auditioned as an announcer for a TV show. Yeah, but they didn't hire me. You know why? Because I'm a woman, that's why! Discrimination! Are you listening to me?!
Herman What kind of a program was it?
Loud lady Sermonette.
Back to Zoot and Janice.
Janice Did you know the Rolling Stones are here tonight?
Zoot No kidding? They're my favorite singing group.
Janice No, these are the other rolling stones.
Three giant rocks roll by.

UK spot

Rowlf plays "Für Elise" (sometimes hurting his hands on the keyboard).

Talk spot

Kermit Hey, you know, it's really great to have you on the show. You're — why, Ben, you're just a bundle of energy,
Ben (laughs) Yeah, well, as a dancer, I try to keep in shape, you know.
Kermit Oh, you're telling me. I've seen you dancing on Broadway and television and movies. Why, you must work out a lot, huh?
Ben (laughs) Well, yes, because you see, Kermit, as a dancer, your body is one of the most important things you have. Did you ever stop to think where, would you be without your, um … your body?
Kermit Uh … no, no, I never asked myself that, but it's a darn good question.
Ben (laughs) You see, as a dancer, I've gotta be able to go to a leap, uh, with great explosive power, you see…
Crazy Harry Did somebody say "explosive power"?
Kermit No!
Ben No!
Explosion. Harry's explosion propels Ben into the air. Kermit looks up and sees Ben hanging from the rafters.
Kermit Nice. Nice leap.
Waldorf Well, time for a tea break.
Statler All right.
He knocks the teacup off the balcony.
Waldorf Literal chap, isn't he?


Fozzie is still stuck in the green box.
Fozzie Kermit? Kermit! Kermit!
Kermit Hmm?
Fozzie Oh — Kermit! Hey, you can't do the show without me.
Kermit Well, Fozzie, what choice have I got?
Fozzie Bu— but a Muppet Show without Fozzie Bear? It's like Gilbert without Sullivan. Ham without cheese. Poca without hontas.
Kermit "Poca without hontas"?
Fozzie Yeah.
Kermit What's a poca?
Polka music begins playing. George the Janitor and Miss Piggy dance by.
Kermit I know, I know! That's a polka! Will you guys get out of here? (shoves them away)
Fozzie Aaaah! … See? Even in a box I'm funny. You need me! The show needs me, Kermit! Who cares about a frog? I'm stuck.

Veterinarian's Hospital

Piggy pretends to be a dog, using a metal mask as a muzzle. She takes her position.
Announcer And now Veterinarian's Hospital, the continuing stooory of a former orthopedic surgeon who's gone to the dogs.
George the Janitor is the patient. Rowlf sings and dances.
Rowlf Hut-Sut Ralston on the rillerah, with a brawla, brawla sooet …
Miss Piggy (RH) Dr. Bob, you can't sing at a time like this.
Rowlf I'm not singing "At a Time Like This," I'm singing "Hut-Sut Ralston." (laughs) An oldie but goodie. (laughs)
George the Janitor How'd I ever get myself into this sketch?
Rowlf Take it easy, George.
George the Janitor Ehh.
Janice Dr. Bob, the patient is sinking.
Rowlf Well, I vonder vat he is sinking about.
Others (groan)
Rowlf Well, laugh it up, nurse. These are the jokes.
Janice The only joke around here is you, Dr. Bob. This patient needs your assistance.
Rowlf Well, you're my assistants, but what he's gonna do with the two of you, I'll never know. (laughs)
George the Janitor Look, either give me some help or let me outta here.
Rowlf Well, what seems to be your trouble?
George the Janitor I keep breaking out in a cold sweat.
Rowlf (looks under the sheet) Oh-ho! Well, I see. You have a clear case of Penn-transit-phobia.
Others Huh?
Rowlf That's a dread fear of traveling through the state of Pennsylvania. (laughs)
Miss Piggy (RH) Enough of these pitiful jokes, Dr. Bob. You've dedicated yourself to saving lives.
Rowlf You're right. I saved six lives this week.
George the Janitor By operating?
Rowlf No, by not operating.
They all laugh except George.
Janice Dr. Bob, you've given this hospital a bad name.
Rowlf You're right. Fred is a terrible name for a hospital. (laughs) I'll have to give it a better name. How about Eunice?
George the Janitor This is impossible. Do you have a license?
Rowlf Of course. Every dog has a license. The leash laws are really rough. (laughs)
George the Janitor You dummy. I mean, do you have a license to practice?
Rowlf Yes, and I'm going to practice on you right now. Bongos.
Miss Piggy (RH) Bongos, Dr. Bob.
George the Janitor Bongos?
Rowlf begins playing the bongos.
Announcer And so Dr. Bob is about to begin his bongo practice. Tune in next week, when we'll hear Nurse Piggy say...
Miss Piggy (RH) (gasp) Dr. Bob, it's too late. You've lost him.
Rowlf Well, he couldn't have gone far. He was under the sheet just a second ago.
Others (groan)

Talking Houses

Zoom in on the two left houses.
House 2 My uncle's into poetry. He loves Edgar Guest.
House 1 Why?
House 2 Why else? He's a Guest house.
Zoom out. Musical button.


Hilda Ben, how are you enjoying the show?
Ben (laughs) Aw, Hilda … (kisses her hand) I'm getting such a big charge out of it.
Crazy Harry You say you want a big charge?
117 harry.jpg
Both No!
Explosion. Ben winds up in the rafters again.
Crazy Harry (laughs)
Ben You know, I'm getting a little tired of this.

Wayne and Wanda

Main stage. Sam stands on the proscenium.
Sam the Eagle Once again it is my great pleasure to introduce Wayne and Wanda, and their stirring version of "I'll Know."
Open on a gazebo setting. Music swells up.

I'll know, when my love comes along—

He sees an attractive woman and follows her, ditching Wanda.
Wanda Wayne! (scowls)


Fozzie is still trapped in the box.
Hilda At least, Fozzie, you will be glad to know that the show is dying without you.
Fozzie Oh, really?
Hilda Would I lie?
Gonzo and Scooter pass by.
Gonzo Did you hear them out there, Scooter? They love me. Me, The Great Gonzo.
Scooter Boy, that's the greatest show we've ever done.
Hilda So … I lie.
Fozzie (moans)
Hilda Oh, it could be worse, Fozzie. This little door could be shut.
She taps it, and it shuts.
Hilda Things are worse. See you, babushka. (walks away)
Fozzie Hilda! Hilda!
Kermit Fozzie?
Fozzie Hilda?
Kermit Fozzie, is that you?
Fozzie Who's that?
Kermit It's Kermit the Frog.
Fozzie Kermit!
Kermit Hey, listen, I've decided not to cut you from the show.
Fozzie Oh, thank you, Kermit.
Kermit Okay, get him onstage, fellas!
Fozzie Wha?

Fozzie's comedy act

Main stage. Kermit enters.
Kermit Well, folks, here comes the act you've all been waiting for. The Muppet Show 's own great comedian— here he is now, feeling a little uh … "cagey" tonight — but nevertheless still the old master of mirth, Mr. Fozzie Bear!
The curtain opens as Fozzie's fanfare plays. Two pigs drag the green box onstage.
Fozzie Thank you! Thank you! Hey, it's really great to be here. Huh. I spent the whole day at the doctor. I said, "Doc, it hurts when I do this." He says, "Don't do that." … Are you laughing? It's hard to hear. Ahem. Uh, then the doctor said, "Have you ever had this before?" I said, "Yes." He says, "Well, you got it again." Uh … Thank you, thank you. You've been a wonderful audience. Please get me off.
The pigs drag him away.
Kermit Great, great, great! Let's all hear it for Fozzie Bear. Come on out and take a bow, Fozzie.
The pigs drag him back on for a curtain call. They tip him over for his "bow" and drag him away.
Fozzie This is humiliating.

"Pure Imagination"

Kermit Okay, okay. And now, folks, once again, Mr. Ben Vereen.
Open on a rooftop setting. Droop sits, looking blue.
Droop Oh, boy. This place is so dull. I hate it here. It's so dull. (sigh)
Ben Hi, Droop.
Droop Oh, hi, Ben.
Ben Hey, look, I can take you out of this place, y'know?
Droop No, thanks. I'm not allowed to cross the street.
Ben No, no, that's not what I mean.
Droop Hmm?
Ben Listen.
He sings "Pure Imagination". One of the Small Bossmen does a dance in the sky, while a group of Muppaphone float in the air and sing. At the end of the song, they are joined by a variety of creatures, including one of the Bossmen, one of The Gawky Birds, Timmy Monster, and some of The Four Fazoobs.
Droop Gee, you sure have some imagination, Ben.


Kermit Okay, well, that about puts a lid on it for this week. We'd like to thank our special guest star, Mr. Ben Vereen!
Applause as he comes out.
Ben Hey, Kermit, you know — um — thank you. I've done a lot of shows in my time, uh, but this has been one of the, um, craziest.
Fozzie Hey, Kermit, Kermit, Ben, Ben!
Ben Yeah, what? What?
Fozzie Hey, I'm out! I'm out!
Kermit Fozzie, how'd you get out of the cage?
Fozzie Oh, Crazy Harry blew it up. It hurt a little bit, but, you know, I'm okay.
Kermit Well — well, Fozzie, I just thought the show was just dynamite.
Fozzie Yeah.
Crazy Harry Did somebody say "dynamite"?
Others No!
Kermit We'll see you all next week on The Muppet Show! … Would you cut that out?
The scene ends in chaos as the credits roll. Smoke rises from the balcony.
Statler Fantastic show.
Waldorf Brilliant show. By the way, your pants are on fire.
Statler Hm? (yelps)