News Update: October 14, 2014

71846-mmnewsOCTOBER 14, 2014

Grover made a video with the adorable Kid President, as they both deliver a pep talk about helping homeless people in need. The video is at once adorable, brilliant, and hysterical. I absolutely love it. You really can’t miss this one.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.41.34 AMCookie Monster and Elmo stopped by Entertainment Weekly last week to present the “Elmy” awards, celebrating the best in television. What followed was Elmo and Cookie parodies of House of CardsSherlock, True Detective, and Scandal–and some insanely funny moments. Again, this is a must watch, especially if you love the shows being parodied.

The latest Cookie’s Crumby Pictures parody skewers Twilight: Breaking Dawn with Twilight: Breaking Cookie. Featuring Cookie Monster as “Shortbreadward,” the parody is a wonderful delight and perfectly on point in the fun it pokes at the teen romance sensation.

Funko-SuperGroverIn anticipation of New York ComicCon, which wrapped over the weekend, Funko revealed that a new series of Sesame Street POP! Vinyl Figures will be released in the coming months, starting with the awesome ComicCon exclusive Super Grover figure (at right). According to our friends at Muppet Stuff, other figures in the upcoming series include Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Count von Count, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Grover. Look for the Sesame Street Funko POP! Vinyl series in 2015.

Earlier this week, Variety broke the news that The Jim Henson Company will be teaming with Billy Crystal to produce an adaptation of Which Witch? The animated feature film will be written by and star Crystal and is set to be directed by none other than Brian Henson, with Lisa Henson acting as one of the film’s producers. It’s so wonderful to see the Henson Company jumping back into the feature film game. With their co-production of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day debuting this past weekend, The Jim Henson Company has clearly set their sights back on feature films, which I think is wonderful. Hopefully this project, and the return of Brian Henson as director, will be nothing but great for the company.

f901e-trashheapwithfragglesHidden deep within the Variety article about Which Witch?, there is also a small footnote stating that The Jim Henson Company is also in development on four other feature film projects: a Fraggle Rock movie in development at New Regency, a sequel to The Dark Crystal, a non-sequel based in the Labyrinth universe, and a movie based on the Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas characters. All of these are ridiculously exciting, but we’ve heard most of these before (Emmet being the only surprise to me), so it’s probably safer not to get ones hopes up.

161af-franzoeprairieFinally, in bittersweet news, 44 year Sesame Street veteran Fran Brill has officially retired from performing. Fran, who brought wonderful life to characters including Zoe and Prairie Dawn celebrated her retirement with her Muppet friends and family in New York City with a celebration in her honor. After 44 years of incredible performances and bringing nothing but joy to the lives of countless children, Fran deserves her retirement. It’s incredibly sad to see her depart, and her light and spirit will be missed on the show, but we at The Muppet Mindset wish her nothing but the best in her retirement.

On a personal note, Fran Brill was one of the first Muppet performers I met in person. Years ago, I wrote an email to Fran telling her what a fan I was. She responded by offering to send me a signed photo of Prairie Dawn, which she then did. That was the first Muppet autograph I ever received. Later, in 2010, I met Fran in Chicago when she hosted a special 40th anniversary event for Sesame Street. She brought Zoe along, resulting in my first photo with a Muppet. Fran was nothing short of the kindest person I could imagine. She talked to me for half an hour for an incredible interview before one of the events, and then proceeded to sign a copy of Jim Henson: The Works for me with the inscription “Ryan, You are the best! The Muppets are so lucky to have you as part of the family.” I still cannot accurately express what this means to me. Thank you for everything, Fran. Sincerely.

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