|Release Date||September 27, 1994|
|Produced by||Jim Henson Video|
Muppet Classic Theater is a 68-minute direct-to-video feature released by Jim Henson Video in 1994. The production was notable for being the Muppets' first feature-length direct-to-video production (with to date the only other being 2002's Kermit's Swamp Years).
Taking place in The Muppet Theatre, Gonzo and Rizzo host a presentation of six fairy tales performed by the Muppets. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Robin the Frog, Gonzo and Rizzo star in the various stories. The production also marked the first appearance of Andy and Randy Pig and the Elvises, who later appeared on Muppets Tonight. The framing sequences in the Muppet Theater featured many recycled Whatnots—including Gimley, Wesley, Danny and Esther—along with Chickens, a rabbit, and the monster Bertha.
“My personal favorite among my own projects is Muppet Classic Theater which I co-wrote with Bill Prady. It was done relatively soon after Jim's passing, and it was in many ways a re-gathering of the clan. It was fun. Plus it’s just silly, with no great message. I'm fond of it and hope it sees the light of DVD someday.”
Three Little PigsPapa Pig tells his three children, Andy, Randy, and Sandy, that it's time for them all to live on their own. Papa tells Andy and Randy that they are strong smart boys who can take care of themselves, but they need to look after their sister Sandy. While the two dumb brothers build flimsy homes of straw and sticks, Sandy constructs a state-of-the-art brick house. The Big Bad Wolf comes and blows down Andy and Randy's houses. The siblings turn to Sandy for shelter, and she only lets them stay if they promise to show her some respect. However, the Wolf is still trying to get into the house to eat them. First, he tries to disguise himself as a pizza man, but the door gets closed on him. Then, he tries to go down the chimney disguised as Santa Claus but gets blasted into the sky by a rocket.
Cast: Miss Piggy as Sandy Pig, with Andy and Randy Pig, Papa Pig, and The Big Bad Wolf.
King MidasKing Midas finds a satyr sleeping on the royal roses, which is punishable by death. However, the satyr offers to grant King Midas one wish in exchange for his life. King Midas intends to wish for peace in the world, but Queen Midas overhears and interrupts, wanting money instead. The satyr mentions several options, and the queen chooses "the golden touch," which will cause anything Midas touches to turn into gold. Though the queen and the peasants rejoice in the new power and the kingdom's wealth, Midas wearies of it, and accidentally turns himself into a gold statue. In order to restore her spouse, the queen must renounce her interest in gold.
Cast: Kermit the Frog as King Midas, Miss Piggy as Queen Midas, Gonzo as the satyr, The Royal Doctor, The Royal Jester, and various Whatnots and animals.
The Boy Who Cried WolfA shepherd boy has a habit of overreacting to things (especially rash assumptions from his paranoid sheep) and causing the town to panic. One day, a wolf comes to eat the sheep. The wolf tells the shepherd that he's been watching him, and figures that he'd been crying wolf so much that nobody in town will believe him. As a test, the wolf gives the boy 24 hours to find help, but the townspeople are skeptical. Eventually, one of the sheep suggests they get help from his cousin Norman, a big sheep who crushes the wolf, and the shepherd receives a medal for "not crying wolf except when an actual wolf was present".
Cast: Gonzo as the shepherd and Kermit the Frog as the mayor, with The Big Bad Wolf, the Sheep, and others.
RumpelstiltskinA lonely king orders his loyal royal advisor to find him a wife, someone special and promises him his own castle if he can succeed. Many hopeful fathers bring their daughters, but the Miller lies to the advisor that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The advisor locks the Miller's daughter in a room to demonstrate her talent, or else be sent to the dungeon. A weird man suddenly appears and offers to turn the straw into gold for a price. He succeeds, but the advisor orders a second test, and again the weird man is the heroine's only hope. He assists but demands the daughter's first born child. The Miller's daughter and the king are wed and have a child, and as expected, the weird man comes to get the child. When the new queen begs him not to take the infant, the man agrees to let her keep the kid if she can guess his name. The Miller's daughter confesses the trick, and learns that the King didn't marry her because she could spin straw into gold, but for her own charms. The entire kingdom attempts to guess the name. Eventually, the man reveals that he went to summer camp, and the Miller's daughter knows that good mothers sew their kids' names into their clothing before sending off to camp. The label reveals his name as "Rumpelstiltskin."
Cast: Miss Piggy as the Miller's daughter, Kermit the Frog as the king, Gonzo as Rumpelstiltskin, and Papa Pig as the Miller, with Loyal Royal Advisor and others.
The Emperor's New ClothesRizzo, Montague, and Yolanda are hucksters selling hair tonic in the kingdom of Fozzalia. They are arrested and taken to Emperor Fozzie, an eccentric whose every whim and action set the fashion for his subjects. When Rizzo meets Emperor Fozzie, he notes that Fozzie's wardrobe is shabby. Claiming to be the best tailor in all the land, he is hired to make the emperor's new clothes. However, when Emperor Fozzie cannot see any thread, Rizzo says that the clothes are made of special material that cannot be seen by the dull and uneducated, so Emperor Fozzie and his court pretend that they can see the material. Emperor Fozzie decides to have a ceremony to show off his new clothing right away and invites the rats to be his guests of honor. However, when Emperor Fozzie shows off his clothing to the townspeople, the brightest person in the kingdom, Robin, sees the emperor as he is: naked, save for a pair of boxer shorts. The citizenry think that since the Emperor isn't wearing clothing, that public nudity must be the latest fad. The Emperor tells his people that they should stop doing things just because he does them, and that they should start thinking for themselves. Rizzo and his gang are then arrested for their misdeeds and have to spend ten years in the dungeon.
Cast: Rizzo the Rat as the tailor, Fozzie Bear as Emperor Fozzie, Robin the Frog as the boy, Montague and Yolanda Rat, and others.
The Elves and the ShoemakerA Shoemaker makes shoes so ugly that nobody will buy them, and the banker demands that he and his nephew Robin pay half of what they owe him the next day. Robin wishes for a miracle, and three elves (who resemble Elvis Presley) come and make blue suede shoes that people will buy. Business improves, and the Shoemaker soon figures out how to make shoes that are no longer ugly.
Cast: Kermit the Frog as the shoemaker, Robin the Frog as his nephew, the Elvises as the Elves, and the banker.
- Writer Jim Lewis puppeteered the clarinetist penguin shown during the opening scenes of the video.
- The European releases of the production, retitled "Muppet Fairy Tales," presented it as a two-part video (each containing three stories). The first part contains an alternate ending in place of the intermission section, with Gonzo and Rizzo singing off from the set of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and the cast dancing during the end credits. The second half begins with an alternate opening, much like the beginning of the video, that introduces "Rumpelstiltskin."
- In the "The Elves and the Shoemaker" tale, Rizzo walks onstage to speak to Kermit and Robin about a gift to give the Elvises. As Steve Whitmire was already performing Kermit, he could not puppeteer for Rizzo at the same time and Rizzo's voice is recognizably that of Dave Goelz.
- Also, in the same story, a puppeteer's head can be seen in the bottom-right corner after the banker leaves with the first half of his money.
- "Show Me Some Respect"
- "The Midas Touch"
- "Who Do You Think You're Fooling?"
- "Gotta Get That Name"
- "Nothing's Too Good for You"
- "Blue Suede Shoes"
- Muppet Performers: Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Steve Whitmire and Frank Oz
- Directed by David Grossman
- Written by Bill Prady ("King Midas" and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf") and Jim Lewis ("The Three Little Pigs," "Rumpelstilskin," "The Emperor's New Clothes," and "The Elves and the Shoemaker")
- Produced by Ritamarie Peruggi
- Production Designer: Val Strazovec
- Songs Written by Philip Balsam & Dennis Lee, Mark Radice, and Michael and Patricia Silversher
- Executive Producer: Brian Henson
- Project Supervisor: Rollie Krewson
- Costume Design: Jason Weber
- Floorwork: Jane Gootnick, Marian Keating, Julie Zobel
- Puppets: Paul Andrejco, James Chai, Ron Cole, Isabelle Dufour, Eric Engelhardt, Ann Timinelli, Jean-Guy White
- Costumes: Connie Peterson, Polly Smith, Barbara Davis, Lisa Boquist, Marc Borders, Carmel Dundon, Patty Farr, Sara Iams, Christine Moyes, D.J. Gramann, Thom Prager, Muriel Stockdale
- Props: Fred Buchholz and Mary Brehmer
- The video was sold as "Muppet Fairy Tales" in Europe.
- The episodes were released separately as bonus features on the UK DVD compilations The Very Best of the Muppet Show: Volume 2 and The Very Best of the Muppet Show: Volume 3.