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The Muppet Show
Guest Rudolf Nureyev
Production October 18-21, 1977
Premiere UK: January 22, 1978
NYC: January 23, 1978
Releases Season Two
Best of the Muppet Show


In preparation for guest star and famous ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, Sam the Eagle forces everyone to dress in tuxedos and act with dignity. But when Rudolf arrives in his street clothes, Sam thinks he's a vagrant and throws him out. Sam is similarly shocked when Rudolf dances Swine Lake with a giant female pig in a tutu. But Rudolf eventually dons a top hat and tails himself to perform a tap-dancing closing number.



  • This episode is referred to in Jim Henson: The Works as a "key moment in season two, and in the entire history of the Muppets." News that Rudolf Nureyev -- the world's most famous ballet dancer -- would be appearing on the show "generated unprecedented press coverage and audience curiosity." By season three, the show would have no more trouble attracting guest stars.[1]


Picture Description
213 cold open.jpg
Cold Open: Scooter calls for guest star Rudolf Nureyev, but he's nowhere to be seen. "Uh-huh. I knew he was too smart to show up."
213 trumpet.jpg
"The Muppet Show Theme": A green balloon comes out of Gonzo's trumpet, inflating mostly on its own. Gonzo bats it with his nose.
213 robin hat.jpg

Kermit the Frog wanders the backstage, noting how nice it looks while Scooter complains that he and Robin would rather not have to wear ties. Kermit asks where Robin is, and Scooter points out that he is underneath the hat in his hand, the only one Robin could find. Sam the Eagle arrives for an inspection, to ensure everything is well arranged for Rudolf Nureyev's arrival. He even examines Kermit's flippers and points out that Robin's hat is too big.

When Kermit leaves to introduce the show, Sam reminds him to do so with dignity. He then tells Robin how excited he is to have Rudolf Nureyev on the show, Nureyev being his "favorite opera singer."

213 intro.jpg
Sam finds Kermit's introduction to be less than dignified, and so stands behind him through his entire speech. It is here that Sam learns that Rudolf Nureyev is not an opera singer, but rather a ballet dancer. Sam decides, "Six of one, half dozen of another. Culture is culture." It is also here that Sam learns about the opening act...
213 minuet.jpg
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem perform Boccherini's "Minuet in A Major." It is a nice, classy number to appease Sam. It is also a boring one to the band, and soon Animal starts to freak out. The group decides to add their own personal touch to the piece.
213 sam kicks rudolph out.jpg
Appalled by the number, Sam is relieved to learn that Rudolf Nureyev was not around to hear it. An unidentified man arrives, announcing, "I'm here!" Sam responds, "Not for long you're not!" Assuming the man to be some "freak," Sam kicks him out of the theater.

Sam: "Who do these punk kids think they are?"

Kermit: "Well, that one thinks he's Rudolf Nureyev. In fact, that was Rudolf Nureyev."

213 pig opera.jpg
In an attempt to keep the tone of dignity and class going, Link Hogthrob and Miss Piggy sing "La Ci Darem La Mano" while trying to upstage each other. Their performance is halted by Sam, who pulls them up into the rafters with a giant magnet.
213 frog embrace.jpg
Backstage, Sam is so relieved to learn that Rudolf has forgiven him for kicking him out, that he embraces Kermit. Sam is only happy, however, until he learns the title of Rudolf's first ballet on the show: "Swine Lake."
213 swine lake.jpg
Kermit explains that in "Swine Lake," a beautiful princess has been turned into a pig by the wicked magician Trichinosis. The handsome prince, as played by Rudolf Nureyev, has not heard of the change. The portion of this "classic ballet" has Rudolf discovering what has occurred as he dances with the Ballerina Pig.
213 missing.jpg
UK Spot: A Whatnot who is literally missing much from his life sings "Something's Missing." In the end, a female Whatnot joins him, making his life whole.
213 vets.jpg
In a special Veterinarian's Hospital, Dr. Bob pays tribute to William Shakespeare. Upon discovering that the patient is a little "Hamlet," Nurse Janice suggests that things sound more like "Bacon."
213 kermit piggy.jpg
Backstage, Miss Piggy is very excited for her upcoming duet with Kermit, certain that it will be a mature and passionate love duet. Kermit informs her that she will not be performing it with him, but with Rudolf Nureyev. Piggy immediately drops Kermit to find Rudolf, running the frog over in the process.
213 robin intro.jpg
Robin makes the next introduction as Kermit is busy trying to get the spiked heel marks off his throat. And the hat's still too big.
213 steamroom.jpg
Miss Piggy tries to seduce a reluctant Rudolf Nureyev as they sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in a steamroom. In the end, Piggy is left only with his towel and a Rudolf Nureyev-shaped hole in the wall.
213 rowlf fozzie.jpg
Rowlf the Dog plays "Clair de Lune" with a few interruptions from Fozzie. First, Fozzie decides Rowlf needs a candelabra for his piano. Then he tries to light the candelabra, eventually destroying it and Rowlf's number.
213 sam rudolph.jpg
Sam apologizes to Rudolf for all of the things that Kermit has "forced" Rudolf to do on the show. Rudolf protests, saying, "I wanted to do them. And it was fun!" Sam is shocked to hear it and even more shocked to see Rudolf dressed, not in a ballet costume, but in a tuxedo, all ready for his final number...
213 top hat.jpg
The Muppet cast joins a tap-dancing Rudolf, all of them decked out in top hats, white ties and tails, to sing "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails"... Naturally.
213 closing.jpg
At the closing, Sam apologizes to Rudolf Nureyev.

Rudolf: "Sorry you threw me out?"

Sam: "No, sorry I ever let you back in!"

To end it, Rudolf tops Sam off with his top hat.

213 balcony.jpg
Statler: "Now, wasn't that a cultural show?"

But Waldorf is asleep. Statler shrugs and joins him.




Kermit the Frog, Sam the Eagle, Miss Piggy, Scooter, Fozzie Bear, Statler and Waldorf, Rowlf, Janice, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Animal, Zoot, Robin the Frog, Link Hogthrob, Ballerina Pig, Whatnots, Piglet

Background Muppets:

Nigel, Mahna Mahna, Gonzo


Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Link Hogthrob, and Waldorf
Frank Oz as Sam the Eagle, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Animal
Jerry Nelson as Floyd Pepper, Robin, Whatnots, and the Announcer
Richard Hunt as Scooter, Janice, and Statler
Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Zoot, and Nigel



  1. ↑ Jim Henson: The Works p. 90, 91, 101

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