This is the biggest infopark I've tried on the forums. Too many years to be sure of now, I'd saved the text of The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland presskit in a word file, obtained from some movie review site or another. That means it would be near impossible to archive.org search for it, although much of the info and quotes (just not the bios, which are among the most important for us) were actually on a Sony TV site I found (which also reprinted from the original presskits for Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets from Space). I'll find the link later. Meantime, here's that presskit. It's missing paragraph breaks and you'll note the occasional section where words run into each other, possibly from trying to transfer from HTMl or whatever the heck I did way back when, but anyway, here it is for data mining.
-Notes provided by Columbia Pictures-
THE ADVENTURES OF ELMO IN GROUCHLAND
Elmo loves his fuzzy, well-worn blue blanket more than anything in the whole world. The day doesn't begin until he's said 'good morning' to his blanket, and he never, ever goes to bed without it. They are inseparablea perfect team, and Elmo has promised Blanket that they will be together forever.
He is able to keep his promise until Zoe, Elmo's very best friend in the whole world, picks up his blanket and asks to hold it. Elmo snatches it out of her hand and adamantly refuses. It doesn't matter if it is Zoe, he's not sharing. A tug-of-war breaks out, and neither of them see Telly flying toward them on his new roller blades. He bursts between them, ripping the blanket from their hands, and with it wrapped around his head, continues whirling out of control down Sesame Street. Aghast, Elmo sets off in hot pursuit.
The chase ends at Oscar's trash can where Big Bird tells Elmo that Oscar sneezed on his blanket, tossed it into his can and left. When Oscar doesn't return, Elmo decides to take matters into his own hands and jumps into the trash can to retrieve his blanket. At the bottom of the trash can, Elmo finds his treasured blanket snagged on a nail. He tugs on it, and finally, with one giant yank, the blanket, nail and boards all fly off and Elmo and his blanket are sucked down a colorful, swirling tunnel into Grouchland, the yuckiest place on earth.
Thus begins a journey that takes Elmo on an action-packed adventure into a fun-filled, far-away land full of grouchy creatures, stinky garbage and the greedy Huxley, who flies through Grouchland in his giant flying machine, The Huxocopter, sucking up everything that isn't nailed downincluding Elmo's blanket.
Elmo begins to realize that he was selfish not to share his blanket with Zoe. Summoning all of his courage and determination, he sets off to face Huxley to rescue his blanket and make amends with his friend.
The lovable Elmo makes his feature film debut in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland as Jim Henson Pictures teams with Children's Television Workshop in a production for Columbia Pictures. Packed with action, adventure, humor and original music, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland will appeal to children and the adults who care for them.
Joining Elmo in the film are his friends Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie and the entire gang from "Sesame Street" as well as Vanessa Williams and Mandy Patinkin. Accompanying the cast of regulars and celebrity guest stars are a variety of new characters designed by Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop, among them a comical bunch called The Pesties, ruled by Bug The Bug; Grouch Girl Grizzy; The Stenchmen, unique trash monsters who sing and dance under the watchful eye of Grouchland's Queen of Trash (Williams); and Huxley (Patinkin), a greedy, grouchy thief who gives villainy a new name.
The film is directed by Gary Halvorson. Screenplay by Mitchell Kriegman and Joseph Mazzarino. Story by Mitchell Kriegman. Brian Henson, Stephanie Allain and Martin G. Baker are executive producers. Alex Rockwell and Marjorie Kalins are producing the film, and Kevin Clash and Timothy M. Bourne serve as co-producers. The creative team includes director of photography Alan Caso, production designer Alan Cassie, editor Alan Baumgarten and costume designer Polly Smith.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
When the cameras rolled on May 26, 1998, in Wilmington, NC, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland began its own 30-day journey. Relying on the quality of its classic, beloved "Sesame Street" characters as well as a host of new characters, a strong storyline, wonderful music and the Henson philosophyto stay true to entertainment, have fun and celebrate life Jim Henson Pictures and Children's Television Workshop joined together for the first time to make a movie.
Initiated as a project by Brian Henson, president of The Jim Henson Company, and David Britt, president and CEO of Children's Television Workshop, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland is a film that everyone can respond to, from the littlest two-year-old to college-age devotees, parents and grandparents.
"David and I talked about making a movie about five years ago," recalls Henson. "We decided that it would be a real opportunity for the two companies to come back together in a very intimate way. You see, over all these decades, CTW has really managed and produced 'Sesame Street' without Henson. We've provided the characters, the Muppeteers and a support base, but the two companies have never actually worked together. With this movie, we thought we could do that. As an added bonus, we both had arrangements with Columbia Pictures, which gave us the perfect team."
The next step was to find the right story. Stephanie Allain, president of production for Jim Henson Pictures, feels that the most important thing about filmmaking is "the script, the story that you're telling and how you tell it. If you start with the script, then I don't think you can go wrong. People go into a dark room to be transported to a different place from their reality, and it's really very important that the story is intact. If it's as good as it can be before the cameras roll, you're halfway there."
"We went through a lot of different concepts looking for the right story," recalls Henson, "and we felt it had to be more than the 'Sesame Street' audience was used to seeing on television. We finally decided that we wanted to make a movie with Elmo. It was before he became so popular, but we recognized that he was the up-and-coming star of 'Sesame Street,' and the idea of doing a movie around him felt right and very contemporary."
"Elmo was created as one of an ensemble of monsters on 'Sesame Street,'" explains Kevin Clash, the voice behind the little red monster. "We had a blue, a purple, a greenhe was built because we needed a red monster. One of the writers liked the way he looked and decided to write for him."
Clash became Elmo's voice after another puppeteer left the show. Richard Hunt, who was doing the show at the time and originated Forgetful Jones, Gladys the Cow and, of course, Stadtler, one of the "old guys" in the "Muppets Tonight" balcony, asked Clash if he'd like to take over. "I went in to the producers and did the voice, and they said okay. That's how it happened," says Clash.
"It's always hard to know what will make a character so successful," says Henson. "Kevin is the reason for Elmo's popularity. He's one of these performers that is so brilliant at his job that, if he picks up a character, it will become a big hit. He's just one of those wonderful performers who can push through a 'good' performance to do something that is so inspired and entertaining. Elmo is as successful as he is because of the man under him."
Kevin Clash not only performs Elmo, but is also co-producer of The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. "I'm wearing two hats in this movie," he says. "I love working Elmo, but he's on all the time, and I have all these other things to do. That can be a bit confusing sometimes."
The genesis of The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland came from Henson producer Alex Rockwell. "We started with the notion of what would happen if you went down Oscar's trash can, which has always been a bit of a mystery. That led us to think about a far-away land like Grouchland. What if Elmo lost his ball down Oscar's trash can and ended up in Grouchland to get it back? We didn't have a whole lot more than that, so we took it to screenwriter Mitchell Kriegman for his ideas."
"Children's Television Workshop had not done a feature since 1984," says CTW producer for the film, Marjorie Kalins. "We had to come to terms with what it meant to do a 'Sesame Street' feature in the '90s when kids' entertainment and family entertainment has changed so much. We came to the conclusion that it had to incorporate a strong adventure story and, at the same time, have all the elements of 'Sesame Street' that kids know and love."
"You've got a television show that has been on the air for 30 years," notes Kriegman. "It has lots of characters, lots of back story, lots of exploration, and you have to figure out a way to bring that to a movie theater in a big way, make it somewhat epic and make the emotions important.
"Mitchell took my concept to a whole other level," says Rockwell. "He said, 'no, no, no, not a ball... make it a blanket. It's Elmo's blanket, and he wants it back. That's what kids really lovetheir blankets.' And then he developed this great character of Blanket."
"The idea of Elmo and his relationship with blanket was always attractive to me," recalls Kriegman, "and Oscar the Grouch has always been one of 'Sesame Street's' strongest characters. He's a trickster who pops up out of a hole and says irreverent things, so I put all of these elements together and said, 'let's find a way for Elmo to go into the heart of Oscar's territory, where no one has ever been before.' That's where Grouchland came from."
"Mitchell has this wonderful, creative mind," says Henson. "A lot of the best gags in the film came from him. And then Joey Mazzarino came in, who knew the characters much better because he's been performing and writing for 'Sesame Street' for the past nine years and has won three Emmys for his work. Joey rewrote all the characters and got their voices really working. Then he added some really wonderful, off-the-wall comedy. The two talentsMitchell and Joeyworked terrifically well together."
When asked what he was looking for in the story, Mazzarino explains, "You don't want to get too scary with the kids. You have to keep it light and funny and, of course, the adults must enjoy it. The humor has to come from a happy place combined with good-natured fun that will make people laugh. We just write down the jokes, and if everybody laughs, we know it's going to be okay.
"Also, a lot of what happens comes from the Muppeteers," continues Mazzarino. "You can give them a scene, and they will make it better. Either they'll make the Muppet do something that you didn't think they could, or they'll say a joke in a different way and it's a hundred times better than when it came out of your word processor. And you've got to have Elmo. You've got to have lots of Elmo."
Elmo's appeal doesn't surprise anyone who has been involved with him either on the television series or the film. "Elmo has the innocence of a very young child," says Henson, "and at the same time, he's got a wit that, although it comes from an innocent place, is very entertaining to adults."
Allain feels that the secret to Elmo's appeal lies in both his physical traits and his personality. In addition to being the color red, which is "very attractive," says Allain, "His simplicity is very appealing. I think it's his heart, his spirit that draws people to him. It's indomitable. You can't stop Elmo. He won't take no for an answer, and he goes after what he wants, but he goes after it with an innocence that is very endearing and enviable. I think kids and adults zero in on that determination and say that it's a good place to be."
Adding to the charm of the script are six original songs written by songwriters who have never written for "Sesame Street." The musical numbers include Huxley's greedy, manic incantation "Make It Mine!," the Queen of Trash extolling the virtues of garbage in the upbeat "Point of View," a fun, rousing Grouch song, "Welcome to GrouchlandNow Scram!," grouches encouraging Elmo to "Take the First Step" and the entire Sesame Street ensemble happily singing "Together Forever."
Once the script was in place, the search began to find the right director. Gary Halvorson, who had directed 13 episodes of "Muppets Tonight," was approached by Henson to make his feature film directorial debut. "Gary was the first director that we worked with on 'Muppets Tonight,'" says Henson, "and we just kept working with him because he's got this incredible energy and musical talent. Also, he had the experience in television that would allow him to make this movie quickly. I gave him a script, he read it and made lots of notes which he gave to me at a meeting with Columbia Pictures. We only had that one meeting, and the studio said, 'Go make it!'"
Kalins was equally enthusiastic about the choice of Halvorson to direct. "Gary combines a great understanding of how to shoot Muppets with this powerfully strong musical sense. Among his long list of credits, he's directed opera. He brings an incredible tapestry of talent with him."
Asked about the particular challenges of directing a film versus television, Halvorson replies, "When I direct a sitcom, it's non-stop dialogue and jokes. A movie is about images and ideas without dialogue. When I started working on the script, I was asking myself, 'how can I do this scene without any dialogue?' And then there was the 30-day schedule. Traditionally, that's a pretty short amount of time for a Muppet movie, so that was a little scary.
"Also, when you work with Muppets, it takes more time to set up the shot and get the shot. Every minute of every day had to be carefully laid out, and the schedule had to be rigidly adhered to. For example, for a Muppet to go over and pick up a glass of water, I have to have three shots. It takes an hour and a half to rig the glass so that the Muppet can reach in, grab the glass, and then make a camera cut so that the glass sticks to the hand. We have to do an insert of the hand. What would be a very simple human action becomes extremely complicated.
"If you ask for something, it has to be carefully planned out," continues Halvorson. "The Muppeteers have to know, the Workshop has to know. They have to have the proper rigs; they have a different armature to reach for the glass; they have to have a certain kind of hand to pick up the glass. It takes a huge amount of preparation, and it's not something you can improvise on the set as you can with a human. Thirty days suddenly seemed very short."
Next began the search for the human stars. It ended with the casting of two of show business' biggest talents, Vanessa Williams and Mandy Patinkin. "We really wanted a great musical talent for the Queen of Trash," recalls Henson, "someone who's really known in the music world and who is a very appealing personality. We found Vanessa, who had everything that we had envisioned for the part."
Playing opposite Elmo in a film was a memorable experience for Williams. "I've arrived," says Williams, discussing the unique experience of playing opposite 'Sesame Street's' little red monster. "Elmo is adorable, but he does like to kid around a lot. It's truly wonderful to be working with him and to have such a fabulously rich musical number that I believe will be a show-stopper. But more than that, it's wonderful to be doing something that my kids will be able to enjoy and cherish for the rest of their lives."
"For Huxley, the greediest man in the world, we wanted a great comedic actor who could do wild, off-the-wall material, but make it feel real," continues Henson. "Mandy was perfect. He's an incredibly flexible actor, and it just so happens that he is an incredible singer. So as it worked out, we had two great musical actors."
"They sent me a script through overnight mail," recalls Patinkin. "I read it and loved it, so I said, 'I'll be there.' I literally took the job on blind faith. I found that, as far as I'm concerned, working with the Muppets is a hundred thousand times better than working with real people. It is the best time I've ever had on a movie, and I'm not exaggerating. My advice is, if you can't work with Muppets, don't work!"
Every production needs a certain look, and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was no exception. Design consultant Val Strazovick and production designer Alan Cassie were brought on board for their third film for Henson after Muppet Treasure Island and The Muppet Christmas Carol. "What they brought to this film," says Henson, "was a terrific experience based on how you create a set that Muppets can operate inside of. These guys are particularly talented at creating depth and a cinematic look with every set. We use all sorts of movie tricks to make the picture look deeper and make the movie look bigger, and it's that sort of trickery that Val is particularly good at."
Working with the producers and director, Strazovick developed the spectacular look of Oscar's trash can, Grouchland, Huxley's castle and Da Dump. "At first, they thought I had gone too far with Grouchland," says Strazovick. "They envisioned a real town with the rubbish being the rubbish, but I said 'no, no, no, this is such an opportunity to show something that isn't tradition. The whole thing should be as grouchy as those who live there.' Grouchland is about crankiness and fun. I thought, let's make it look silly, make it look funny. Almost like a child would draw, with crazy angles. It was crooked. The foundations were real but we twisted them."
"Everybody's idea of trash is a can full of rubbish, but the grouches don't see it that way," says Cassie. "They want trash. They live on trash. They think it is better than good stuff. That's their philosophy. So Grouchland became organized trash. There was a sporting goods trash dealer, a trash bank called The First Savings & Leave Us Alone, the ugly parlor, the car mess, Tone Deaf for the music shop and The Rotten Egg for the restaurant.
"To get enough trash, the props department went to all of the flea markets in the area. They bought 10 truckloads of it. Tons of it."
"Huxley's trash had to be newer items that were slightly 'grouched' because Huxley's stuff was the best," adds Cassie. "He sorted it out and stamped it 'MINE.' He didn't want trash. He just wanted other people's belongings, but it came from Grouchland because that was the only place he went. He had toys, teddy bears, Lionel trains, umbrellas, musical instruments... you name it, he 'collected' it."
In describing the set design for the Queen of Trash, Cassie explains, "She lives in Da Dump with the Stenchmen, and that design went back and forth because no one really knew what it should look like. It was finally decided that it would be a huge moving mountain of trash that the Queen would rise out from underneath to reveal herself. The Stenchmen were made out of plastic and paper trash bags.
"An amazing amount of thought, preparation and work went into piles of trash," says Cassie. "For three months, we had people up on ladders hot-gluing can after can, bottle after bottle and other assorted materials until it was completed. One of the biggest challenges that we faced was the Queen of Trash rising out of the center of Da Dump on a turntable with the trash parting on each side to reveal her. It turned out to be a fantastic set."
When Elmo chases his blanket into Oscar's trash can, he falls into a world that three generations of "Sesame Street" fans haven't seen in its 30-year history. Designing the set was a challenge, according to Cassie. "People were scared. They were apprehensive about it because no one had ever seen it... it's in people's minds.
"We've been hearing about Oscar's trash can and what's down there," says Allain. "Oscar's made jokes about his swimming pool, and we hear about elephants and all sorts of things in this impossibly small trash can. So now, for the first time, you get to see what's in that can."
"Oscar's trash is beyond trash," interjects Rockwell. "It's like a passageway to a whole other place."
Lighting the various sets for The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was a challenge for director of photography Alan Caso. "In this film, I wasn't able to use the camera as a point of reference from which you see the world of the movie. It was more like looking at it from a child's knees. The Muppeteers hold the Muppets up over their heads so that they are about six feet up in the air, and any humans in the scene are up in the air about nine feet because they stand on three-foot platforms in order to be in perspective with the Muppets. I'm standing on the floor looking up at everything. We had to work off ladders and platforms using a remote camera on a large crane which didn't allow us to look through the camera while we were lighting and shooting, but through a videotape on a remote head.
"The hardest set to light was Huxley's castle. It was a big cylinder that made getting light down in and around it difficult. It was also the darkest and moodiest set. The most rewarding was the Queen of Trash at Da Dump. When the Queen emerges from the depths of her trash kingdom, all the trash starts to glow and throb with sort of volcanic light. We underlit and upglowed the insides of these piles of trash until we got it to a point of translucence that worked. We were able to turn focus and change colors on the lights via remote, adding a kind of 'rock 'n' roll,' theatrical look to it. We didn't want the dump number to look like a theatrical piece, but we wanted to use the lights to give it this kind of earth-cracking-open, lava-spewing, ripping-open-from-the-center-of-the-earth kind of feel. The song starts with a crack of lightning. It had the nice feel of a moving, living set with pieces that glinted."
Like the rest of the production staff, Caso was very cautious with Oscar's trash can. "Since no one has ever been down there, Oscar's trash can was really just interpretation. There were a couple of light sconces and some chandeliers, but mostly this kind of murkybut not too murkylight and cobwebs. It was the lack of a scheme that was the scheme.
"Another challenge," explains Caso, "was keeping Elmo from glowing. He was so red that we tried to use a different light to offset some of the redness. The thing about all Muppets is that they suck up the light. Elmo, Grover, Telly, Cookie Monster those characters really suck up the light. Oscar lit the best. There were definite considerations to be dealt with in keeping light on the Muppets and trying to minimize it on the humans.
"The important thing to remember in lighting for The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was keeping it light and bright. You don't want to scare the children. You don't want these dark creatures popping out at four- and six-year-olds. These are characters that they see every morning on 'Sesame Street,' and though we certainly gave it a different look because it's a theatrical film, you do have to keep it in context to the children and the story."
When discussing lighting for the human actors, Caso says, "You'd have to be a moron to mislight Vanessa. She has this great face. She was so easy to light. And the same with Mandy. His face is so expressive. His talent is so infinite. You'd say, 'Okay, give me something different,' and in one take, he'd give it to you five different ways, one right after the other... from all angles, from pure knock-down, drag-out comedy to gut-wrenching drama."
The task of designing the new Muppets and the costumes for the human stars fell to the Muppet Workshop in New York. Ed Christie, Muppet art director for The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, was involved in designing the new characters for the film as well as supervising the overall build of the show.
"The film used a lot of the familiar 'Sesame Street' characters such as Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Telly, Grover, Rosita, The Count, Oscar the Grouch and, of course, Elmo. They appeared mainly in the 'Sesame Street' scenes. As we approached Grouchland, we focused on the new characters.
"We developed a character named Bug, a beetle-like creature who's the greedy Huxley's sidekick. We also created a group called the Pesties. They're more like cockroachesfurry things with big eyes that get in the way. They're like the Keystone Cops, always clanging into each other and running errands for Huxley. For the scene in Da Dump, we created the Stenchmen, the Queen of Trash's henchmen or guards. One is a football head, the other is made out of a spaghetti strainer, and the chorus is made of plastic garbage bags and paper bags. Some of the other Grouchland characters are Stuckweed, a plant that helps Elmo on his journey through Grouchland; a caterpillar that advises Elmo; a giant Godzilla-type chicken that pesters little Elmo; and 25 new grouches that populate Grouchland. We were able to re-dress them and use them again in the same town."
When asked to describe a grouch, Christie explains, "Oscar the Grouch and the grouches in Grouchland are all the same species. They look the same, have a certain shape to their heads and a certain bad attitude. They're grouchy, grumpy, smell bad, love smelly things. They wear distasteful clothes and use junk to adorn themselves."
"The Mayor of Grouchland is our version of Groucho Marx," adds Stephen Rotondaro, Muppet Workshop designer. "His costume was inspired by the mayor of Munchkinland in The Wizard of Oz. The other grouches are designed to reflect a mailman, a chef, a policeman we have an ice cream man called the Bad Humor Man. All totaled we have about 75 puppet costumes that are new.
"There is also a new grouch character named Grizzy. She is not the typical grouch. She tries to help Elmo, and consequently she wears clothes that aren't quite as distressed. They are a little nicer, a little newer and a little cleaner to help distinguish her from the other grouches, who have absolutely no taste.
"We also designed grouch wigs. There's one scene where the lady grouches are coming out of the 'ugly parlor' and their hair is in obvious disarray with things like pot scrubbers, old tin cans and soda cans, which they find attractive."
The task of designing the human costumes for the Queen of Trash and Huxley fell to Workshop designer Polly Smith. "I worked very closely with Gary to come up with a concept for the two characters' costumes," says Smith. "At the beginning, we came from completely different ends of the spectrum for the Queen of Trash. We finally agreed on design, fabrics, colors and then sent it to Vanessa for her approval. The clock was ticking. We had one week to build a costume and have it ready for our one and only fitting. The final fitting was done in North Carolina."
"I knew I wanted it to be mysterious, yet elegant and exotic," says Halvorson. "I wanted Vanessa to move around and, by using her arms, make the fabric flow."
In describing the Queen of Trash costume, Smith explains, "The entire costume is hand-painted and tie-dyed. It's a leotard with bits of rag and painted gossamer fabric so you can see through it. It shimmers when she moves. Her headdress is made out of bits of garbage."
"Some people would say that my costume was green and slimy," says Williams. "Others would say it's fairy-like. I think it's a combination of both. And my headdress is full of lovely knick-knacks: a fishing lure, an old fan, some dragonflies and butterflies, an old Slinky. It's extremely creative."
"The biggest challenge with a film like The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland," concludes Henson, "is that it's got to work for everyone. It has to be safe enough so that parents feel they can bring their youngest child to his or her very first movie, and at the same time entertain seven-, eight-, ten-year-olds, as well as young adults and parents. That's a very big challenge. It's about getting the comedy to work but always remaining innocent.
"A second challenge was that we had to make this film quickly. But when you get right down to it, it was the talents of the production designers, lighting technicians, cameramen, director, performers and the Workshop that made the characters. It was all of the wonderful, enthusiastic people who were part of this project."
ABOUT THE CAST
A small, red Muppet with a high-pitched voice, childlike Elmo is enthusiastic, friendly, cheerful and always wants to be part of everything. Like most three and a half-year-olds, though, he has a lot to learn. But that never stops Elmo. He has a very positive, optimistic view of himself and life. Elmo, like Cookie Monster, speaks "monster language" and always refers to himself in the third person.
Mandy Patinkin (Huxley) recently returned from a 40-city tour through North America with his acclaimed one-man theater concert.
He won a 1995 Emmy Award for his critically acclaimed performance in the CBS series "Chicago Hope." Other recent television appearances include playing Quasimodo opposite Richard Harris in the TNT film presentation of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and a film version of Arthur Miller's "Broken Glass" for BBC/WGBH-Boston.
In his 1980 Broadway debut, Patinkin won a Tony Award for his role as Che in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita and was nominated for his starring role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Sunday in the Park with George." In 1991, he returned to Broadway in the Tony-Award-winning musical "The Secret Garden." In 1992, he appeared as Marvin in "Falsettos" and in 1997 played a sold-out engagement of his one-man concert, with all proceeds going to benefit five charitable organizations.
His most recent film appearances include Men with Guns and Lulu on the Bridge. His numerous feature film credits include The Princess Bride, Yentl, The Music of Chance, Daniel, Ragtime, Impromptu, The Doctor, Alien Nation, Dick Tracy, The House on Carroll Street, True Colors, Maxie and Indian Warrior.
In 1989, Patinkin began his concert career at Joseph Papp's Public Theater. This coincided with the release of his first solo album entitled "Mandy Patinkin." In 1990, he released his second solo album entitled "Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Dress Casual." His 1994 recording, "Experiment," on the Nonesuch label, features songs from nine decades of popular music from Irving Berlin to Alan Menken. Also recorded on the Nonesuch label is "Oscar & Steve" and "Leonard Bernstein's New York." His latest Nonesuch recording, "Mamaloshen," combines traditional melodies and theater songs past and present sung entirely in Yiddish.
Patinkin resides in New York City with his wife, actress and writer Kathryn Grody, and their two children.
In her years as a performer, Vanessa Williams (Queen of Trash) has developed a reputation as one of the most respected and multi-faceted entertainers in the world. She has sold over four million albums worldwide and her skills as an actress have won her rave reviews from the most seasoned of critics. She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures.
The past several years have been extraordinary for Williams: a spellbinding, critically acclaimed nine-month run in "Kiss of the Spider Woman" on Broadway; her third album, aptly titled "The Sweetest Days," went platinum; an enormous hit Disney soundtrack single with the Oscar -winning "Colors of the Wind"; multiple Grammy nominations; two television miniseries and a television movie. She also starred in the features Eraser, Hoodlum and Randa Haines' Dance With Me.
Vanessa's starring role in Eraser elevated her into the category of sought-after leading ladies of the silver screen. Besides playing a moving target in the witness protection program in the 1996 summer blockbuster, she recorded "Where Do We Go From Here?" the end title theme for the film. Prior to the release of Eraser, Vanessa was cast opposite Laurence Fishburne in MGM-UA's Hoodlum, a crime drama set in the 1930s Harlem, which was directed by Bill Duke and starred Tim Roth and Andy Garcia.
Williams won the NAACP Image Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress for her starring role in the 1997 Fox release Soul Food, with Nia Long and Vivica A. Fox.
She will next be seen in the Fox feature Light It Up and TNT's "Don Quixote" and is planning a return to Broadway.
Zoe, a furry, three-year-old girl monster, is so excited about everything that she can't get her words out fast enough. She is one of the newer Muppets, introduced five seasons ago.
Grizzy is a young grouch girl (a bit older than Elmo) who has the mind of a crabby Peppermint Patty and is trapped in the body of Shirley Temple. In Grouchland, that just doesn't fly.
Grizzy has a passionate personality. That is to say, she cares deeply about things. Being a grouch, she cares about her Soggy Pants Sandy doll, not necessarily because she has a strong emotional attachment to it, but rather because it is stinky, soggy and hers. When Grizzy fights to keep Huxley from taking her doll, she gets into a big mess.
Rescued by Elmo, she is stunned at first, but then she realizes that they are similar beings. Elmo cares deeply about something toohis blanket. When Grizzy sees Elmo stand up against Huxley, she reluctantly admits that in order for him to see his blanket again, she has to do the right thing, which is, unfortunately, the ungrouchy thinghelp him. So, in typical grouch fashion, she tells him, "Listen, this is who's got your blanket, that's where he is. Good luck."
Big Bird is a six-year-old child who happens to live in an 8'2" yellow-feathered body with wings and a beak. Young children can relate because he is just like them. Big Bird is constantly charged with the excitement of discovery and constantly making mistakes. He takes it hard when things don't go his way. But Big Bird always tries again. His persistence in finding solutions lends a perennial source of wonder to "Sesame Street."
The resident grouch on "Sesame Street," Oscar the Grouch loves collecting junk and trash, standing in line, arguing, rainy days and anchovy milkshakes. He hates anything nice and sweet. He lives in a trash can that houses several elephants, a swimming pool, a music room and just about everything else. His world teaches children that the real world is made up of many different people whose views on one situation may be different.
Originally, goggle-eyed, cuddly, lovable Cookie Monster was solely a cookie gobbler. Over the years, Cookie
has become much more health-conscious, and even though cookies are still his favorite, he has acquired a taste for everything from apples to zucchini. He also eats nonfood stuff. He speaks in simple and direct "monster language," i.e., "Me want cookie." Watching Cookie Monster as he hunts and schemes for food, children see many ways to solve problems, test out solutions, try various methods and enlist the aid of tools and other people.
An earnest monster, Telly Monster worries about disasters that could never happen. He has tremendous compassion and empathy for everything and everyone. Telly is also the "Monster on the Spot" correspondent.
Furry, gregarious, wide-eyed blue monster Grover sees the world from a four-year-old's point of view.
Excitable and compulsive, Grover is always willing to help, but he rushes into things without thinking of the consequences. He has limited experience and few analytical skills, so he usually re-invents the wheel. Children recognize his difficulties in trying to be helpful and his bafflement with adult logic. Children truly share Grover's fantasy of feeling more confident and competent. As "Super Grover," he can do no wrong.
Count Von Count (AKA The Count) bears a comical resemblance to Count Dracula, but that is where the similarity ends. The Count's passion for counting knows no bounds: bats, raindrops, buttons and grains of sand are grounds for counting. His totals are always accompanied by thunderclaps. His counting mania usually causes humorous problems for others.
Bert, the eccentric, long-suffering, serious sidekick of Ernie, seems the older of the two. He is more domestic, responsible and analytical. Bert collects bottlecaps and paper clips, toots brass band music on his tuba and plays with his pet pigeon, Bernice. He usually gets the short end of the stick or has the tables turned on him by Ernie. So, Bert hesitates to play with Ernie, but then enjoys it once it starts. He always forgives Ernie, remaining "his old buddy Bert."
Ernie is free spirited and outgoing. He is constantly coaxing Bert into fun and games, which usually end up as Bert's loss. Ernie often teases, but his games and jokes are meant in a spirit of friendship. Also, he is excellent at explaining things, but sometimes is too smart for his own good, falling prey to his own jokes or talking himself into a mess.
Bug is a bug. He is not a grouch. But he's worked hard to overcome these inherent limitations to attain the lofty position as Huxley's trusted (if mistreated) personal assistant.
Whatever Huxley asks of him, Bug does willingly but in his own "buggish" way. Bug lives to serve. If he didn't work for Huxley, he'd be working for someone else. Bug has no life of his own.
Nothing belongs to BugHuxley owns it all except for one thing: Bug has heart. And in the end, Bug's heart proves bigger than all of Huxley's possessions.
The Pesties, named M'Lady, Little Ricky, Tanya, Lyle, Howard and Sydney, are the willing minions of Bug and Huxley. They always do what they're asked but with their own particular sense of style. They sing, dance, do lots of grunt workbut mostly they love to sunbathe.
It's hard to tell just how long they've been with Huxley, but as long as the food is good, they'll probably hang around.
ABOUT THE MUPPET PERFORMERS
Kevin Clash (Elmo) is a principal puppeteer with The Jim Henson Company and serves as the Muppet Captain on "Sesame Street." His Muppet characters include Elmo, Hoots, Natasha and many others from "Sesame Street;" Leon from "The Jim Henson Hour;" Baby Sinclair from "Dinosaurs;" Eliot Shag from "Jim Henson's Dog City;" Bad Polly from the feature film Muppet Treasure Island and Clifford from "The Jim Henson Hour" and "Muppets Tonight."
Clash began building puppets when he was 10 years old. At age 12, he began performing. After putting on puppet shows in his neighborhood, he eventually worked his way up to shows at Baltimore's Harbor Front.
His first work in television was for Baltimore's CBS affiliate, Channel 2, where he performed puppets for two local children's shows. One of the shows was screened at a children's television convention in New York and caught the attention of Muppet designer Kermit Love. It was Love who introduced him to the Muppets, and soon Clash began performing on "Sesame Street."
In 1986, Clash traveled to England to perform several characters and serve as assistant puppeteer coordinator for Jim Henson's fantasy film Labyrinth. In addition to Labyrinth, Clash's feature film credits include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I and II, in which he performed Splinter. Most recently, he performed a number of Muppet characters in the hit feature film Muppet Treasure Island, including one of the lead pirates, Bad Polly.
In 1993, Clash was honored with an Emmy Award for his work on "Sesame Street."
Caroll Spinney (Big Bird/Oscar the Grouch), who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on "Sesame Street" since their creation 30 years ago, has been a puppeteer for more than 50 years.
Starting with a show in his neighborhood barn, for which he charged two cents admission, Spinney set out to be "a puppeteer on the best kids' show in the world."
After attending art school in Boston, he launched his television career in Las Vegas, where he created a show titled "Rascal Rabbit" in 1955. Returning to Boston, he first joined the "Judy and Goggle Show" as a puppeteer, then moved over to "The Bozo Show," where he stayed for 10 years.
Since achieving worldwide renown on "Sesame Street," Spinneywho lives with his wife Debra on a farm in Connecticut has made guest appearances on many other television shows, always as Big Bird and Oscar.
He has performed in specials with Julie Andrews and Bob Hope, starred in his own 90-minute special, "Big Bird in China" in 1982, and made appearances in the second and third "Night of 100 Stars," Broadway's televised tribute and fundraiser for fellow thespians.
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird marked Spinney's motion picture debut in a starring role.
Originally trained in sculpture and acting, Martin P. Robinson (Telly Monster) "accidentally" joined a puppet company and has been a puppeteer ever since.
A nine-year veteran of "Sesame Street," Martin manipulates Snuffleupagus, Slimy the Worm, Telly Monster, Shelly the Turtle and Buster the Horse. He also built and performed the huge Audrey II puppet in the original stage production of "Little Shop of Horrors."
Robinson's credits include the feature film The Muppets Take Manhattan, the television specials "The Tale of the Bunny Picnic," "The MuppetsA Celebration of 30 Years" and the home video series "Jim Henson's Play-Along Videos."
Martin also performed the role of Leonardo in the feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Frank Oz (Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster) was born in England. The son of Isidore and Frances Oznowicz, Oz was raised in Belgium until he was five years old. The family then immigrated to the United States and settled in Oakland, California where Oz grew up with his brother Ronald and sister Jenny. From ages 11 to 18, Oz performed puppet shows in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1961, he was introduced to Jim and Jane Henson. Two years later, Jim Henson asked 19-year-old Oz to join the Muppets, which would turn out to be a historic collaboration.
One of Oz's first jobs was to operate the right hand of the Muppet Rowlf the Dog, while Jim operated the head, the left arm and did the voice. He now performs the ever glamorous Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Sam Eagle and Animal.
Movies in which Oz has performed include The Muppet Movie, The Dark Crystal, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets From Space. He also performs Yoda in Episode One: The Phantom Menace and the other Star Wars movies.
As an actor, Oz has appeared in The Blues Brothers, The Blues Brothers 2000, Innocent Blood, Spies Like Us, Trading Places and An American Werewolf in London.
In 1986, Oz directed his first movie, Little Shop of Horrors. Since then, he has directed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, What About Bob?, Housesitter, Indian in the Cupboard and In & Out.
He has been awarded four Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, an American Comedy Creative Achievement Award and three gold and two platinum records.
Today, Oz lives in Connecticut with his wife, Robin, an illustrator. They have three sons and a daughter. His latest film project was the summer comedy Bowfinger, which starred Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy.
Oz is a member of the Board of Directors for The Jim Henson Company.
Fran Brill (Zoe), upon receiving a B.F.A. from Boston University, came to New York as a young actress in a Broadway show, answered an ad for a workshop someone named Jim Henson was holding to train new puppeteers and shortly thereafter found herself hired as the first female "Sesame Street" puppeteer.
During her long association with the Muppets, Brill has also worked as an actress in film (Midnight Run, What About Bob?, Being There), television ("Law and Order," "All My Children," "Kate and Allie") and theater (off-Broadway and regional theaters). She is also a regular on the cartoon series "Doug" and has done countless voice-over and on-camera commercials.
Steve Whitmire (Ernie) is a principal puppeteer with The Jim Henson Company. His Muppet characters include Rizzo the Rat and Miss Piggy's dog, Foo-Foo, from "The Muppet Show;" Wembley Fraggle and Sprocket the Dog from "Fraggle Rock;" Bean Bunny, Flash and Waldo C. Graphic from "The Jim Henson Hour;" Robbie and B.P. Richfield from "Dinosaurs" and Jake from "Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky and Jake." Since late 1990, he has also performed Kermit the Frog and "Sesame Street's" Ernie.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Whitmire was making his own puppets in the sixth grade and remembers with particular affection a toy Rowlf the Dog he owned as a child. He developed an early passion for puppets from viewing the Muppets on "Sesame Street" and decided to forgo college in favor of performing puppets in an Atlanta theme park. This led to his gaining valuable local television experience with his puppets.
At an Atlanta Puppetry Festival, Whitmire met Caroll Spinney (Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch), who suggested he contact The Jim Henson Company about an audition. Whitmire auditioned for "Sesame Street," but Jim Henson decided to start him as a performer during the third season of "The Muppet Show."
In June of 1978 at the age of 19, Whitmire finished his first season of "The Muppet Show," got married and headed to Hollywood to work on the first Muppet feature film all in the same hectic month. So began his long and happy association with The Jim Henson Company.
In addition to The Muppet Movie, Whitmire's feature film credits include The Great Muppet Caper, The Dark Crystal, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Dreamchild, The Witches, Labyrinth, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets From Space. He has also worked on both record and home video projects including "Kermit Unpigged" from Jim Henson Records and the Jim Henson Video release "Muppet Classic Theater." Whitmire's television credits include "The Muppet Show," "Fraggle Rock," "The Jim Henson Hour," numerous Muppet specials, the ABC primetime series "Dinosaurs," "Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky and Jake," "Sesame Street" and "Muppets Tonight."
Jerry Nelson (Count von Count) is a principal puppeteer with The Jim Henson Company. His Muppet characters include Robin the Frog, Floyd Pepper, Dr. Julius Strangepork and Lew Zealand from "The Muppet Show;" Count von Count, Sherlock Hemlock, Herry Monster and many other characters from "Sesame Street;" Gobo, The Trash Heap, The Architect and the voice of Pa Gorg from "Fraggle Rock;" Beard from "The Jim Henson Hour;" and Balthazar from "Jim Henson's Secret Life of Toys."
Born in Oklahoma, Nelson has always been fascinated by sounds, from the nasal twang of Jack Benny on the radio to the moos and oinks of animals on a farm. It would seem only natural, therefore, that he would build his career on his own voice box. At age nine, he started performing a kiddie revue on a local radio station in Washington, D.C. From there he began collecting voices, most of them inspired by the serials and comedy shows on the radio. At age 14, Nelson made his first recordof barnyard animal noiseson a neighbor's recording machine.
Originally trained as an actor, Nelson began his stage career with the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., followed by appearances at the Gateway Theater on Long Island and in numerous films. He also performed on records and in television commercials. He learned about puppetry from working with Bill and Cora Baird and, in 1970, began his permanent association with the Muppets.
When his Muppet chores permit, Nelson can be found recording songs he has written or performing musical plays for radio, the medium which helped him nurture the many characters he now performs.
Nelson's film credits include The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island. He has worked on a number of record and home video projects, including "Kermit Unpigged" from Jim Henson Records and "Muppet Classic Theater" from Jim Henson Video. His television credits include "Muppets Tonight," "The Muppet Show," "Sesame Street," "Fraggle Rock," "The Jim Henson Hour," "Jim Henson's Secret Life of Toys" and numerous Muppet specials.
Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Grizzy) is thrilled to call The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland her first feature film. A 1993 graduate of Northwestern University with a BS in Speech for Radio/TV/Film, she began exploring a puppetry career by producing, writing and performing in an independent study video project while in college. That project, titled "Freeform," won the 1992 National College Television Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and brought her to the attention of the Jim Henson Company.
Since that time, D'Abruzzo has worked with the Muppets in several television series. On "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss," she performed more than 40 different characters, including Jane Kangaroo, Sarah Hall-Small and Sue Snue. Her roles on "Sesame Street" have been varied, ranging from Elmo's cousin, Mimsy, to the ever-popular Bean #3. Her other television credits include "Binyah Binyah!," "The Puzzle Place" and "Rory's Place" (on which she also co-wrote two episodes with her husband, Craig Shemin).
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Gary Halvorson (Director) The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland marks Gary Halvorson's feature film directorial debut.
Halvorson's work can be seen on some of television's most popular television series. For Carsey-Werner he directed episodes of NBC's "Friends," "The Drew Carey Show," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Grace Under Fire," "Roseanne," "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" and Jim Henson's "Muppets Tonight."
Television specials include Franco Zeffirelli's "Carmen," a MET/PBS production; "Dangerous Liaisons," a world premiere opera production for The San Francisco Opera; "El Gato Montes," a Los Angeles Opera Company Production; and "Carnegie Hall Salutes the Jazz Masters," for PBS Great Performances, hosted by Herbie Hancock and Vanessa Williams. The special celebrated 50 years of Verve Records.
Halvorson was nominated for an Emmy as Best Director for each of the four years, 1994-1997, that he directed the NBC broadcast of the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade." He received an Emmy for his direction of the ABC-TV special "Free to Be... A Family," hosted by Marlo Thomas and starring Lily Tomlin, Robin Williams, Carly Simon, Jon Bon Jovi and Whoopi Goldberg. He also received an Emmy Award for his direction of "Kids Inc.," a half-hour syndicated series on the Disney Channel.
For seven years, Halvorson was the director of the "American Comedy Awards" with stars that included Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Penny Marshall, Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. From 1993 till 1996, he directed "Adventures in Wonderland," a comedy children's series, for which he received an Emmy Award for Best Director as well as a nomination for a Special Emmy Award: Children's Best.
Halvorson directing credits also include ABC-TV's Emmy Award-winning special "Diana Ross: Red Hot Rhythm and Blues," with guest stars Billy Dee Williams, Bernadette Peters, Dick Shawn and Little Richard. For CBS-TV, he directed David Copperfield IX & X "Escape from Alcatraz" and "The Bermuda Triangle," with guest stars Ann Jillian and Lisa Hartman.
Halvorson won an Emmy for his direction of Walt Disney's "The Very Merry Christmas Day Parade" and directed the parade and premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame for that same company.
Alex Rockwell (Producer) serves as an executive producer of the critically acclaimed Jim Henson Television preschool series, "Bear in the Big Blue House."
Recognized throughout the industry for her expertise in the area of family entertainment, Rockwell worked at The Jim Henson Company from 1988 to 1997.
As executive vice president, creative affairs for The Jim Henson Company, Rockwell oversaw all creative affairs for the company's television and home video productions worldwide and supervised the development of primetime television programming as well as children's programming. This includes such shows as "Muppets Tonight," which currently airs on the Disney Channel; "ALIENS in the Family;" "Dinosaurs," the Emmy Award-winning primetime television series that ran from 1991 to 1994 on ABC; "Jim Henson's Dog City," the award-winning adventure/comedy show which ran on the Fox Children's Network from 1992 to 1994; and Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky and Jake," which aired on the Fox Children's Network.
In addition to her television responsibilities at The Jim Henson Company, Rockwell oversaw the development of Muppet feature films, including the 1992 release The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island in 1996. She also supervised made-for-video projects for the company, which included "Muppet Classic Theater," "Billy Bunny's Animal Songs," "Muppets on Wheels," "Things That Fly" and "Muppet Treasure Island Sing-A-Long."
Rockwell began working for the company as Jim Henson's creative assistant. She was named executive vice president of creative affairs in 1995. Prior to her affiliation with The Jim Henson Company, she worked for Time, WNET and Creative Artists Agency.
While senior vice president of programming and production at Children's Television Workshop, Marjorie Kalins (Producer) was responsible for all activities related to the creation, development and production of all projects for domestic television, radio and film. These included "Sesame Street" (PBS), "Big Bag" (Cartoon Network), "The New Ghostwriter Mysteries" (CBS), "Dragon Tales" (PBS, 1999) and CTW's home video business, among other projects.
As group vice president of production at CTW, Kalins was responsible for co-creating and executive producing "Cro," the animated series for ABC Saturday morning. She also oversaw the creation and production of the PBS series "Ghostwriter" and executive produced the animated special "The Wish That Changed Christmas" for CBS.
Prior to coming to CTW, Kalins served as vice president of production, east coast, with Home Box Office, where she was responsible for managing the production of all programming originating from the New York programming and sports departments. This included family, children's, drama, music and sports programming.
At Telecom Entertainment, where she served as senior vice president of production and business affairs, Kalins produced movies, miniseries and full-length series for all the major broadcast and cable networks including "Anastasia" (miniseries, NBC) and the Emmy-nominated "The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank" (CBS), for which she won a Peabody Award and a Christopher Award.
Joseph Mazzarino (Screenwriter) has been with Children's Television Workshop's "Sesame Street" since 1989, during which time he has received four Emmys for Outstanding Writing for a Children's Series. He is working on other features for Jim Henson Pictures including an original script entitled Muppet Haunted Hotel. Mazzarino also co-wrote an IMAX film for Sony entitled Rhapsody in Red with John Weidman and co-wrote the summer comedy Muppets From Space.
A writer, producer and director for some of television's most innovative shows, Mitchell Kriegman (Screenwriter, Story) created and is one of the executive producers of "Bear in the Big Blue House," a Jim Henson Television series nominated for two 1998 Emmys including Outstanding Pre-School Television Series.
Kriegman tapped into a generation's thoughts when he created and executive produced "Clarissa Explains It All," the widely popular Nickelodeon hit starring Melissa Joan Hart. The series, which ran from 1991-94, received a Parent's Choice Award along with Emmy Award and CableACE Award nominations. Kriegman was also an executive story editor for several groundbreaking Nickelodeon animated series, including the Emmy Award-winning "Rugrats," the Emmy Award-nominated "Ren and Stimpy" and "Doug."
Previously, Kriegman was a staff writer and segment producer on the long-running "Saturday Night Live" and a producer/writer for Comedy Central's "The Sweet Life" and "Higgins Boys and Gruber." Kriegman's other credits include writing for HBO's "Encyclopedia," the animated series "Alftales" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and the CBS Jim Henson Television holiday special, "Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree."
Since "Clarissa Explains It All," Kriegman has been involved in the myriad of projects that the series has spawned, such as the home videos "Clarissa Exlains Dating," "Clarissa Explains Siblings" and "Clarissa Explains Ferguson," the CD "Clarissa and StraightJackets SG: This is What NaNa Means" and the book Clarissa's All-In-One Perfect Guide to Everything Important.
Brian Henson (Executive Producer) is president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of The Jim Henson Company. Based in Los Angeles, he was named to his current position in 1990 after the sudden death of his father, Jim Henson. In addition to his corporate position with the company, Henson continues to work as a top director, producer and puppeteer.
As a director, Henson's credits include the hit feature films Muppet Treasure Island (1996) and The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992). He also served as second unit director and puppeteer on the popular movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989). In the realm of television, he has directed episodes of "Dinosaurs" and "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss" as well as the CableACE Award-winning children's series "Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories," which earned him an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Directing in a Children's Program." Henson currently is executive producer on "Farscape" for the Sci-Fi Channel. His other recent executive producing credits include "Family Rules" for UPN and "BRATS of the Lost Nebula" for Kids' WB!
Henson most recently served as executive producer on Muppets From Space, a Columbia Pictures/Jim Henson Pictures production, and on two primetime television projects, "Muppets Tonight" for ABC Television and "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss" for Nickelodeon. His other credits as an executive producer include "Gulliver's Travels," the hit NBC miniseries which was produced in association with RHI Entertainment, Inc.; "Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky and Jake," a pre-school series which aired on Fox Children's Network; "Jim Henson's Secret Life of Toys," which aired on The Disney Channel; "Dinosaurs," which ran for four seasons in primetime on ABC Television; and Jim Henson Video's direct-to-video production "Muppet Classic Theater," which was released in 1994.
Recognized as a top puppeteer, Henson most recently puppeteered a number of characters on the ABC television series "Muppets Tonight." His other puppetry work in television includes performing in and coordinating the crew of puppeteers for the company's Emmy Award-winning series "The Storyteller" and "Greek Myths." In film, he has led puppeteer teams in such movies as the Jim Henson/Nicholas Roeg film The Witches (1990), the fantasy film Labyrinth (1986) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). Outside of the company, he co-supervised the crew of 40 performers used to manipulate the giant man-eating plant, Audrey II, in the film Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and accepted puppetry and special effects assignments in Return to Oz and Santa Claus The Movie.
Stephanie Allain (Executive Producer) is president of production for Jim Henson Pictures and is responsible for overseeing all of its development and production activities. Most recently, she served as executive producer on Muppets From Space.
Before joining The Jim Henson Company in 1996, she was senior vice president of Columbia Pictures. She joined Columbia as a story analyst in 1988 and was promoted to a newly created position of creative executive the following year. In 1990, Allain was moved up to the post of vice president, where she supervised Boyz N the Hood, El Mariachi, I Like it Like That and Poetic Justice. In 1994, she was promoted to senior vice president. Films completed under her tenure include Higher Learning, Desperado and The Craft.
Martin G. Baker (Executive Producer) is executive vice president, production, for The Jim Henson Company. Baker is responsible for the physical production of all the company's motion picture, television and home video projects worldwide.
Baker began working for the company in 1979 as a production assistant after floor managing 96 episodes of "The Muppet Show." During his 20 years with the company, he has worked as an associate producer, co-producer and producer and has been integral to the production of such television projects as "The Muppet Show," "Fraggle Rock," "Jim Henson's The Storyteller," "Jim Henson's Secret Life of Toys" and "Muppets Tonight" as well as such film projects as The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, Follow That Bird, Dark Crystal, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets From Space.
Before joining The Jim Henson Company, Baker spent 14 years working for the ATV network in England.
Alan Caso (Director of Photography) is currently completing the feature film Reindeer Games for director John Frankenheimer. He has also served as director of photography on the feature films Muppets From Space, Ed, Stepfather III, Hotel Oklahoma and 84 Charlie Mopic.
Caso has several outstanding television productions to his credit, including the critically lauded cable series "Any Day Now" and "Sliders" and the acclaimed TNT miniseries "Tom Clancy's Op-Center" and "George Wallace," for which he received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Cinematography in a Miniseries and won the A.S.C. outstanding achievement award for the year. His other television credits include the telefilms "Good Old Boys," "Hit and Run," "Final Descent," "Blackout Effect," "Lying Eyes," "A Deadly Vision," "Saved By the Light," "Summer of Fear," "All She Ever Wanted," "Thrill" and many others.
Caso's next project will be a miniseries for CBS entitled "Shake, Rattle and Roll."
Born in London, England, Alan Cassie (Production Designer) has over 30 years experience in the movie industry. His career has taken him to many locations around the world, including Austria, France, Sri Lanka, Spain, Thailand, Kenya, Morocco and Israel on films directed by renowned directors such as Francois Truffaut, John Huston, John Schlesinger, Stephen Spielberg, Phillip Noyce and Michael Winner. He has worked under production designers Elliott Scott, Tony Masters, Alexander Trauner and Tony Walton.
Cassie was production designer on D.A.R.Y.L., directed by Simon Wincer, and served as supervising art director on such highly successful films as The Saint, Patriot Games, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Restoration. The latter won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction in 1996.
Cassie is intimately familiar with the special production design challenges of a Muppet film, having worked as supervising art director on The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.
For television, Cassie was tapped as production designer for "The Secret Life of Toys," a co-production with a German network and Jim Henson Productions.
Alan Baumgarten (Editor) previously collaborated with director Kevin Bacon on the Showtime movie "Losing Chase," for which he received an 'Eddie' nomination from the American Cinema Editors. He also teamed with Clive Barker on MGM/UA's Lord of Illusions and Fox's Nightbreed and with Brett Leonard on The Lawnmower Man.
Other credits include The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story for Walt Disney Pictures as well as numerous television projects, such as "Eerie, Indiana," "VR5" and "Lifepod." He has also edited music videos and several documentaries.
Polly Smith (Costume Designer) has been with The Jim Henson Company since 1980 when she was brought on board to design puppet costumes for the final season of "The Muppet Show." In the next few years she designed costumes for "Fraggle Rock" and co-designed the Muppet costumes for "The John Denver Christmas Special." Since then, Smith has received Emmy nominations for her designs for "The Jim Henson Hour" (1988) and "Muppets Tonight" (1996). She co-designed the costumes for the series "The Storyteller" (1986), which won a BAFTA award, and the series "Greek Myths" (1989), which received a BAFTA nomination.
Smith's film credits include Muppets From Space, Muppet Treasure Island and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Smith was also part of design teams for the films Dark Crystal, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Labyrinth.
Other television credits include: "Dog City," the first 26 episodes of "Dinosaurs," "The Muppets at Walt Disney World," "A Muppet Family Christmas" and "Miss Piggy's Hollywood."
Jim Henson Pictures was formed in 1995 by The Jim Henson Company and Sony Pictures Entertainment to develop and produce unique feature films for audiences of all ages. The Jim Henson Company, an established leader in family entertainment for more than 40 years, is an independent multimedia production company, one of the top licensers in the industry, a leading publisher of children's books and home to Jim Henson Television and Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices and production facilities in New York and London. The Jim Henson Company website is located at www.henson.com.
Children's Television Workshop (CTW) is a not-for-profit company using media to educate and delight children and families worldwide. Its expertise encompasses television, online, CD-ROM, print, product licensing, publishing, film and community outreach. CTW is best known as the creators of "Sesame Street." The 71-time Emmy Award winner is one of the pioneering shows in the arena of children's television. Featuring the "Sesame Street" Muppets, which are trademark characters of The Jim Henson Company, and a diverse human cast, the show is recognized for successfully blending entertainment and education to create a fun, nurturing environment for children of all ages. The 1998-99 season was "Sesame Street's" 30th anniversary on PBS.
CTW programming has been enjoyed in more than 140 countries, including 19 indigenous co-productions reflecting local languages, customs and educational need
s. CTW and Nickelodeon recently launched "Noggin," an educational cable network for children. CTW television titles include "Big Bag," "The New Ghostwriter Mysteries," "Ghostwriter," "CRO," "Dragon Tales" (PBS fall '99), "3-2-1 Contact," "Square One TV," "Encyclopedia" and "The Electric Company." CTW magazines include Sesame Street Magazine, Sesame Street Parents, Kid City, Contact Kids and Padres de Sesame. CTW can be accessed online at www.ctw.org.
Academy Award(s) and Oscar(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
I would think source it something like this:
Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland production notes from Columbia Pictures. 1999.
I'd think that would be best (possibly with a link to the thread the way we'd link to an active website) since some of this may end up on other pages, not just the movie page. But yeah, this is a little different, since usually we either have an active link, a print copy, or the official studio download, not a cut and pasted file. So I'm open to suggestions about it.
I was thrilled to see the Jack Benny mention in Jerry Nelson's section though, and there's stuff to flesh out Polly Smith, add notes about the movie in general, and so on. (I'd mostly forgotten I still had it in fact.)
Oh, and if anyone wants to clean-up and format the notes, feel free too. I just pasted it exactly as I had it in the word doc, but while there was no real spacing, some breaks between passages seem to have vanished (the bios were all stacked on each other like cordwood, but there was at least a clear end of paragraph before the next one began as a new sentence on the next line).
Okay, the formatting, what little there was, was there, but I forget Wiki doesn't recognize it, so I added some spaces. Still a big infodump, and some italics or bolding in relevant spots (like for cast/crew names, the way most presskits do) wouldn't hurt, but for now, I hope this helps a little.
I'm *still* missing a ton of info on my inaccessible backup drive (hopefully all safe there until I can afford to fix it), so that's one reason I'm trying to make sure I share this stuff, so if anything does happen, it's not lost. Plus, it's far more than one person could fully mine anyway, unless that's all one planned on doing, or spread it out over months.