The Muppet Show "Juliet Prowse" (partially lost unaired pilot version of episode of sketch comedy TV series; 1976)
The Muppet Show was a half-hour family television program, created by Jim Henson, which aired on syndication in the U.S. and ITV in the U.K., from 1976 to 1981. The show starred The Muppets, attempting to put on a weekly variety show, while in between acts showing The Muppet's backstage antics. In addition to the numerous characters, a guest celebrity would perform and become intertwined with the plot in each episode.
The first two episodes of The Muppet Show featuring Juliet Prowse and Connie Stevens, were shot as pilots before the rest of the first season went into production. The pilot versions never aired, and were eventually reworked and reshot around the end of the first season's production. Several scenes and sketches were either shortened or cut entirely, while new sketches were added, and other scenes that were kept in used different takes from the pilot version.
Among the many differences include a longer version of the season 1 theme song, which includes an additional kickline of frogs and chickens who introduce Kermit, who then proceeds to sing about the various acts the show has to offer. The theme also included an appearance by Wayne and Wanda, a different joke from Fozzie (who was, oddly, missing his eyebrows for that scene only) and a verse sung by Juliet Prowse herself (marking the only time in either version where Prowse ever sang for the show). Sketches cut from the final version included a failed comedy monologue by Fozzie and a brief drum solo by Animal, who gets punched by a boxing glove. The more drastic change involved the backstage plot which involved Kermit getting rejected by a chorus girl after asking her on a date, an appearance by Hilda, as well as more exchanges between Kermit and Fozzie.
As of now, the only way to watch the original pilot version of the Juliet Prowse episode is on-location at the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles. Surprisingly, two versions of the pilot are included for viewing; one of them includes the UK spot "You and I and George", and the other doesn't.
On October 30, 2018, a local TV promo from 1976 was uploaded to YouTube by bigO! plabax, which featured footage from the original pilot version. However, apart from this, the rest of the pilot has yet to be recovered and viewable online.
- Muppet Central article on the pilot. Retrieved 23 Dec '22