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The charm, the zaniness, the corny jokes, the showbiz cliches--every element of The Muppet Show holds up 30 years after Jim Henson's legendary variety series' debut season. Well, perhaps not everything: Today's younger viewers might have a hard time placing some of The Muppet Show's then-guest stars, such as Florence Henderson or Ruth Buzzi. But then, the Show's real celebrities are perennial icons Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo the... whatever, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and the rest of the Muppets' harried, well-meaning family of entertainers. Season One finds the show pretty much in the basic shape longtime fans will remember: A musical introduction followed by backstage chaos, another musical number, a sketch, a scene with the guest star, and so on. A half-hour episode can fly by pretty quickly, but it's interesting to note that the series hadn't quite found its familiar tone through much of the first year. A reliance on too many disposable verbal jokes and redundant, so-so material for sketch fodder ultimately gives way to more creative premises and the development of key relationships between characters. By the final half-dozen episodes in the first season, The Muppet Show is truly cooking. Season highlights include Kermit's confession to guest Juliet Prowse that he always wanted to be a dancer, and Prowse's comparison of the little green superstar to Robert Redford. Joel Grey does a cabaret-style act for a roomful of Muppets and is later outraged when Kermit's introduction of the actor proves so thorough there is nothing left for the latter to say. Rita Moreno proves quite game in a funny piece, set in a French cafe, in which her dance with a man-size Muppet turns from romantic to table-smashing violent. Harvey Korman plays bumbling ringmaster Maurice the Magnificent, easily the worst animal trainer in history. Phyllis Diller bats out shameless one-liners ("I sang 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,' and it fell on me"), and Vincent Price toys with his own horror film image by playing a ghoul who turns into a maudlin orchestra conductor at midnight.

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Special Features

All 24 episodes from the 1976 season completely restored and remastered
The original pilot, "Sex and Violence!"
The original pitch reel of the show
Muppet morsels viewing mode with fun facts about the Muppets
Promo gag reel

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WD40364 Muppet Show Season 1 DVD (1976/Jim Henson) $14.99