Answers from Steven Hayes
1. Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
My all-time favorite Muppet character is Rowlf the Dog. He is tremendously versatile as a performer. Rowlf can go from moments of deep reflection and warmth to moments of pure hilarity. If Rowlf is featured prominently in any Muppet production, it is worth watching. My second would be Gonzo because he brings the insanity to the group, and my third would be Fozzie because he has great comedic timing.
2. Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
Ernie/Bert (as one choice!), Grover, and Cookie Monster because they all have this timeless quality about them and have such well-developed personalities. I think everyone in America has such great memories of these characters from their childhood.
4. What is your favorite television program starring any of Jim Henson’s creations (e.g. The Muppet Show,Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, etc.) and why?
“The Muppet Show” is the best Muppet television production ever hands-down. It had it all–comedy, music, craziness, and special guest stars. The writing was tremendous and it put the emphasis exactly where it needed to be – on character development.
5. What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
“The Muppet Movie” because I think it really took “Muppet Mania” to the next level. The story and music have become classic.
6. What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
This is a tough one. I’m going with “Turn the World Around” from the Harry Belafonte episode of “The Muppet Show.” You can tell how much everyone was enjoying the song because it played through the end credits of the show. The special Muppets that were designed from the look of African masks were incredible.
7. If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Considering that he still performs his characters, I would probably choose Dave Goelz because of his rich history in working with the Muppets for decades.
8. If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
Thank you for providing me with lots of great memories and for helping to inspire my creative potential.
9. If the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects, what would you tell him was the “Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time”?
The greatest Muppet moment is Kermit playing the banjo in the swamp at the beginning of “The Muppet Movie.” It is iconic.
10. What’s the name of that song?
I don’t remember.
11. If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
I wouldn’t have him bring me anything, because he always returns with the incorrect item. I would just use him for help in counting to ten and getting my letters of the alphabet in the correct order.
12. In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
The worst Muppet production ever made is “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.” There are so many problems with this one–no memorable songs, weak story, casting Ashanti as Dorothy, too much adult humor, being based on the original novel instead of the more-familiar movie version, and Rowlf’s screen time was maybe five seconds with no spoken dialogue. That is a recipe for disaster.
14. If you could have your picture taken with any Muppet, who would it be and how would you pose?
I would be photographed with Rowlf at the piano of course.
15. What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
My original Kermit Fisher-Price puppet has a lot of memories for me so it has the most sentimental value, but the Palisades action figure line is the best series of Muppet toys ever produced.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, email@example.com