Henson Perspective: Guest-starring Kaye Ballard!

As we get closer and closer to the end of the season, the competition is heating up and Ben and Pete start getting persnickety about a mere half-point in the weekly quiz. They also consider the who might have been the Electric Mayhem’s lead songwriter, the continuing enigma of Vendaface, and share what tangents they contemplated when bored with the episode’s musical numbers.

Sources and References:

In talking about the beginning of the episode, Ben mentions that Kermit pulls a nervous face while introducing Kaye Ballard. Judge for yourself about the appropriateness of suddenly blanching right before naming one’s guest-star:

Mere days after recording this episode, Neko Case, in her Substack newsletter, mentioned songwriter Roger Miller and specifically his song “You Don’t Want My Love”, as performed by the Country Trio at the top of this episode. She points out that the scatting that the Trio indulges in during their recreation isn’t that far off from the original recording. As she puts it, “He rasps, and scats (which should not be good, but IS!), hits gorgeous falsetto notes, and breaks my heart.” She ends the issue of the newsletter by saying, “And The Muppets! Again!” but I can’t seem to find her previous mention of our felted heroes.

Despite Ben’s assumption that Miss Piggy must have appeared on the cover of Cosmo at some point, the Muppet Fandom page believes that she has only done so as part of a series of mock photoshoots for 1981’s Miss Piggy Cover Girl Fantasy Calendar.

Ben’s potentially ill-advised dismissal of George Harrison as equal songwriter in the Beatles has some small mathematical basis. Not to remotely diminish the importance of “Here Comes The Sun” or “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” to the Beatles’ catalogue, the Wikipedia list of Beatles songs claims they produced 188 original songs, with 22 composed by George, which clocks in at him having contributed about about 12% out the group’s output That’s about equal to the number of songs the Beatles played that were covers or written by people who weren’t in the band.

Ben took details about Ballard’s life from Google excerpts of her biography, How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years. He also pointed out, creating the half-point rift that dogged the rest of the episode, that while her New York Times obituary listed her as both a flutist and a tuba player in the Spike Jones Orchestra, she was only listed as a tuba player in that ensemble on her own website. Curiously, while the website was available when researching this episode, in the months between recording and uploading, it has gone out of commission. Which is too bad, as she had an estate sale with autographed materials and a couple of very cool canes from her personal collection that Ben had his eye on for potential future acquisition. Additional details about her legacy and reputation came from her L.A. Times obituary.

Pete’s recollection of Dom DeLuise having appeared in The Muppet Movie was probably from the Harvey Korman episode. The larger map of connections that Ben worked out in preparation for Pete’s failing to remember or learn anything is as follows:

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