Little Muppet Monsters (partially found series; 1985)
After the first season of Jim Henson's Muppet Babies brought in huge ratings, in 1985 CBS decided to expand the series from a half-hour to a hour-long block, pairing it with a little show called Little Muppet Monsters to make a full hour-long package called Muppets, Babies & Monsters.
The show was based around three young Muppet monsters: Tug (performed by Richard Hunt), Boo (performed by David Rudman) and Molly (performed by Camille Bonora) who, after an incident where Scooter put them in the basement because Molly and Boo played water polo in the living room, host their own basement-based TV show featuring a musical act with Nicky Napoleon and his emperor penguins, a few cameos and segments (like "Fozzie's Comedy Corner" and a segment with Gonzo) from characters of The Muppet Show (including The Electric Mayhem during the opening credits, excitedly watching the show at home on their television and sofa), recurring animated segments like "Pigs in Space", "Kermit the Frog, Private Eye" and "Muppet Sports Shorts" (featuring Animal) and one original Muppet song per episode.
The show was cancelled after three episodes and was never rerun afterwards (although segments of "Pigs in Space" and "Kermit the Frog, Private Eye" from the second episode were used in the final episode of Muppet Babies). According to Muppet performer Kathryn Mullen, this could have been because Marvel Productions were having trouble getting the animated subjects in between puppet wrap-arounds and found footage for the entire season ready for airing, leading CBS to respond by reairing Muppet Babies repeats in the show's place until Marvel Productions had finished the animated segments, but then deciding to not pick up the show's remaining episodes and cancel it anyway since those reruns did so well in the ratings.
But a story from storyboard director Scott Shaw claims that it was cancelled because:
"The concept of this second half-hour was neither simple nor particularly well-developed. A trio of new (live-action) Muppet Monster Kids, working from the basement of the adult Muppets' home, create their own television station which broadcasts only to the TV sets in the house upstairs... Although eighteen episodes were produced, only three of them ever aired; Henson Associates and CBS agreed that the concept had never been properly thought out and just wasn't up to Henson's high standards. To Jim's credit, it was his idea to pull the show from the Saturday morning lineup. I've always felt that the juxtapositioning of live-action and animated Muppets invited an unfavorable comparison, to which the cartoon version inevitably suffered; the puppetry was just too good. The combination of Muppet babies, adults and kid monsters was very disorienting. Also, due to a lack of development time, the concept -- and therefore, the writing and designs -- never quite jelled. The now-vacant second half-hour was filled with repeats of the first season's Muppet Babies episodes, and the ratings stayed strong."
However, according to Mullen, the remaining fifteen episodes were never finished; the puppet wrap-arounds were made, but the animation was never put in, and there were a total of thirteen puppet segments shot (though most of the money was put into the show's animation) but ultimately, there were only three "true" episodes made ever. While the episodes that were broadcast have fortunately made their way online, the only other proof that can be found of the lost episodes' existence are two lone screenshots of their puppet parts, and while its no Muppet Babies for being rereleased, it's unknown if this show's unreleased footage will ever see the light of day, especially since a lot of Jim Henson products of similar caliber usually don't (lost Sesame Street material -ie. 1975's "Crack Master", the 1976 Wicked Witch of the West episode, and 1992's "Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce"-, a never aired 2001-2004 the Muppet Show remake, The All-New Muppet Show, and the unreleased 2009 stop-motion film, Monster Safari, to name a few).
Unaired episode listing
4. "Hi, Mars"
5. "Monster Measles"
6. "Gonzo's Talent Hunt" (FOUND; puppet segments only)
7. "Can't Stop the Music"
8. "Boo Monster Ace Reporter"
9. "Feels Like Rain"
10. "Foo-Foo Phooey" (FOUND; puppet segments only)
11. "Penguin for a Day"
12. "Gunko" (FOUND; puppet segments only)
13. "Mail-Order Guest"
The titles for episodes 14-18 are unknown.
UPDATE 2/22/15: Albeit without cartoons, three unaired episodes and a clip from All-Star Rock 'N' Wrestling Saturday Spectacular featuring clips from the unaired episodes including Rowdy Roddy Piper and Pee-Wee Herman have surfaced, courtesy of Henson Rarities! Thanks a ton! The found segments can be seen below.
- Final part of a three-part 2013 interview with Kathy Mullen, courtesy of toughpigs.com. Retrieved 28 Oct '13.