Tag Archives: muppet magazine

From the Archives: The Pee-wee Herman Muppet Magazine edition…

It’s been awhile since I’ve waded into my personal archive of old magazine back issues and yesterday while moving something in the closet I saw a stack of them piled high and decided to scan through a few.  Next thing I knew I was organizing a hundred misc issues in stacks all around the office, flipping through every other one looking for fun stuff that I hadn’t seen in years.  I knew that if I completely gave into the urge I’d be sitting amongst them all night, so I decided to pick a stack and find something to write about.  At least then I’d feel like I did something productive with the time.  The stack I ended up choosing contained my entire collection of old Muppet Magazine issues, a publication that I’ve written about in the past (when they covered Weird Al, breakdancing, and Mr. T)  and one that I love dearly.

Pee Wee 0

While looking through the various issues, the one that kept going back to was the Winter 1987 issue that featured Pee-wee Herman.  Pee-wee’s been on my brain lately since he’s been filming his new Netflix film and I’ve been dying to see some footage cut together from it.  I’m really curious to see if he and the crew can recapture the magic of his 80s and 90s era flick.  I’ll probably love it regardless, I mean hell, I’m one of those fans that unironically loves Big Top Pee-wee, but it’s so rare for studios and performers to rekindle that magic when there are so many years between projects (for me Tron: Legacy and Mad Max Fury Road were some of the only ones that managed to do it successfully.)  I know that Rebuens has had a really great run with his Broadway revival of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, but I’ve yet to see it.

Pee Wee 8

Anyway, though I’m gonna take a deeper look at the Pee-wee interview in the Winter 1987 issue, it wasn’t the first time the magazine featured him, well kind of.  The previous Fall ’87issue had a pin-up of Kermit…er….Ker-mee Herman…

Pee Wee 1

I love that they did these parody poster pin-ups in the latter issues of the publication (I have a Kermit as He-Man, with full mullet, that I adore.)  Is it weird that I can totally hear Kermit doing a Pee-wee impression while singing Tequila and laughing in my head?  Also, seconds before this Miss Piggy stepped up to him in biker leathers and said: “I say you give him to me first!”  Anyway, back to the issue at hand…

Pee Wee 2

Though I want to concentrate on the Pee-wee interview, there’s a lot of fun stuff in this issue (I mean holy heck, there’s a Johnathan “Weekend At Bernie’s” Silverman interview for crying out loud.)  Here’s a couple of ads that stood out for me….

Pee Wee 3

Before he won out hearts as the cocksure Buck in The Great Outdoors, Chris Young was a pitchman for Kool-Aid Koolers.  So it wasn’t just the Jett’s pimping the Kool-Aid branded juice boxes back in the day.  Someone should have told him that only Cosby can pull off sweaters like that, and NO ONE can pull off Kool-Aid colored pants.  No one.  The other ad I wanted to highlight is awesome because of the great action-packed painted artwork for one of my favorite cartoons from the 80s, the Silverhawks…

Pee Wee 7

There were actually two variations of the same ad in the magazine, this one announcing the show coming to TV and another with the same art announcing the release of the first arc of episodes on VHS.  Guess this was one of those series that they had a marketing blitz ready to go!

Anyway, getting back to Pee-wee, the main feature in this issue is a 1987 interview by Kermit the Frog (or, um, Fred Newman)…

Pee Wee 4

I love that they chose to frame this article in a way where Pee-wee is living in the playhouse even when not filming, and very much in the spirit of the Muppets, the puppet characters from the show are all included in the interview.  I’m sure this can be cynically viewed as pandering to kids, but I see it as preserving the magic of the world these shows exist in.  Much in the same way that I don’t care for the hipster jokes about Muppets breaking the 4th wall to realize that they’re puppets (imagine the plethora of “art” pieces featuring x-ray images of Kermit with a human arm bone inside of him), I think there’s something to be respected about keeping the magic of a show like Pee-wee’s playhouse alive.

Pee Wee 5

Even though there’s nothing Earth-shattering in this interview, I love the thought of Kermit hanging out in the playhouse and talking about Christmas parties with Pee-wee.  Also, I imagine that the secret word of the day on Kermit’s visit was: “Yaaaayyyyyyy”.  So every time something said “Yaaaayyyyyy” everyone else would have to yell “Yaaaayyyyyy”.  It would be insane….

Pee Wee 6

Pop Culture Cartography

I was recently flipping through a few of my issues of ThunderCats magazine (as you do) and decided to finally remove and unfold some of the included posters that each issue contained.  Most of them are pretty bad, awkwardly painted versions of the characters in a sort of collage, but one of them kind of blew my mind.  It was a full on map of 3rd Earth!

Map of Third Earth

It looks like it’s pretty much strict to the season one stories as there’s no mention of the Lunataks, but it’s still pretty damn amazing.  I love knowing that the Ro-Bear Berbil village was right behind Cat’s Lair and that Castle Plun-Darr is out in a little peninsula.  I shared this scan on the Branded facebook page and on Instagram and when I was talking to folks about it, it reminded me that I had a couple other pop culture maps in my collection.  The first one that sprang to mind was another magazine centerfold, though this time it was from issue number four of Muppet Magazine from 1983…

Fraggle Map Muppet Magazine Issue 4 Fall 1983

The lands of Fraggle Rock!  Of course, this is just the immediate vicinity of the day to day Fraggle wanderings and doesn’t account for the vast lands of “Outer Space”, but I have to assume that Uncle Traveling Matt has this covered and is working on more maps…

Of course, my favorite map in my collection is a replica of One Eyed Willie’s treasure map from the Goonies.  I have it handing on my living room wall right next to a nifty portrait of the Fratellis by Matthew Luxich, a replica of the doubloon, and a print by Scott Fuller.

Goonies Art

goonies map

After wracking my brain I also realized that I had a map of Nockmaar from the film Willow that was in an old Sourcebook that I used to have….

Map of Nockmaar Willow

…as well as a pretty rad map of the Smurfs’ village that was an insert in the really cool World of the Smurfs book I reviewed a few years ago!  Though the Smurf book is out of print, it’s is still pretty easy to snag over at Amazon.

Smurf Village Map

Talking about these on Facebook, the super rad Douglas Bodine sent me scans of an amazing map of the world of The Dark Crystal!  The map was included in an old storybook called The Tale of the Dark Crystal

Dark Crystal Map

The last piece of pop culture cartography that I have is the map that was included in William Goldman’s The Princess Bride (which I totally forgot about until my girlfriend Jaime pointed it out…)

princess bride

I bet these would look pretty awesome framed and on the wall (well, I know the Goonies map does for sure.)  It also has me wondering what other cool pop culture maps are hanging around out there.  I know that a series of maps for the lands in the Masters of the Universe were just released with the MOTU Classics figures including Eternia and Etheria.  I’d love to get my hands on those.  So, any other cool pieces of cartography that are 80s-centric?

Gonzo was a plumber, but now he’s popping and locking with the best of ’em!

So I know it seems like I’m continuously going back to this same Fall 1984 issue of Muppet magazine this month, but in my defense there is a lot of neat stuff packed between those covers.  At first I had intended to just post tidbits from that issue while I was on vacation and out of the state, but there was so much neat content I couldn’t help but stretch it out a bit for fear of there being too much radness for one post!  Seriously…

This is the last tidbit though, I swear.  So we all know that Breakdancing really broke through to the mainstream in 1984 what with the release of Beat Street and Breakin’, not to mention classic episodes of sitcoms like Gimme a Break (where I first leaned of the phenomena back in the day.)  So, as a bastion of pop culture news for kids, it comes as no surprise that Muppet magazine was there at ground zero to cover it for the children of America.  This article features a couple of formative breaking crews, The Dynamic Breakers and their all-female spin-off the Dynamic Dolls.  The DB’s are themselves the more acrobatic members of a larger crew called the Dynamic Rockers, who were certainly a formative part of the hip hop scene at the outset.  The Breakers (Airborn, Duce, Kano, Flip and Spider), saw an opportunity to market their crew and ended up going on a media blitz in 1984 including talk and variety show appearances (even teaching Penny Marshall to do a headspin), and eventually ending up in this photoshoot/interview with the one and only Gonzo from the Muppets…

I can’t even summon the words for how cool it is to see Gonzo in his own Dynamic branded track pants.  Anyway, there’s plenty of advice for aspiring breakers in this piece including how to create your own outfit without going broke, building your crew around a variety of styles, and even a lexicon to Freshen up your lingo…

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a class-A, uncoordinated dork as a kid, and I have some very distinct memories of watching the Breakdance episode of Gimmie a Break or catching a bit of Breakin’ on HBO and then rushing out to the dining room where there was some space and trying my best to do a kick or backspin and then falling flat on my face.  I think all I ever managed to eek out was a sad moonwalk or two, but I suppose at least I gave it a shot.  Thank god none of that is on video…

The accordion is the wave of the future, the Sound of the 80s!

Seeing as I shared the Weird Al/Michael Jackson congratulatory advertisement earlier in the week, I thought it would be fun to follow that up with this Al Yankovic fluff piece (and not just because he’s interviewed by Fozzie Bear) from the Fall 1984 issue of Muppet Magazine.  There’s not really that much to dig into as far as revelations, or any trivia that isn’t pretty common knowledge, but it is fun to see the duo in similar Hawaiian shirts…

I found it rather interesting that these articles from Muppet are attributed to both a muppet character and to the actual author (in this case Katy Dobbs.)  I mean if you’re going to try and keep the fantasy of the Muppets alive by having them “interview” the celebrities, why then go so far as to list the actual writers with an “as told by” credit?  I get crediting for the work, but I think it could be handled on the contents page or something.  Just think it’s a little weird.  Anyway, I thought it was neat that Yankovic also brought up the fact that he always asks for permission when doing a parody, and to connect it to last week, Fozzie’s favorite song is “Eat It” by Michael Jackson…

Also included in the 4-page spread was the lyrics to “Eat It” and “I Love Rocky Road”, which is a nice touch.  Not sure if the lyrics were in the liner notes of Yankovic’s albums back then, but as a kid I would have totally loved being able to see them transcribed like that…

The vacation is almost over, but there’s still more Muppet Magazine!

It’s day five and I think we should be lounging around our resort today.  While I’m away looking for the arcade that was advertises to be at the place we’re staying, why don’t you take a gander at one of the meatier bits from the Fall 1984 issue of Muppet Magazine.  This time we’re taking a look at the cover story, which has reader questions answered by the man, Mr. T!

By the by, Mr. T plus the Muppets equals bliss.

Hopefully I didn’t get lost in Disney and will be back next week to catch up on some of the League Assignments as well as some other things I have on the back burner.  See you then!

Day 4 = Mini Halloween fun!

It’s day four.  If everything is going according to schedule I’ll be headed to the Magic Kingdom today and spending the better part of that time trying to convinve my wife that we should ride the Haunted Mansion at least ten times.  We’ll see if I win that argument.  In the meantime, while I’m out, here’s some more fun from the Fall 1984 issue of Muppet Magazine.  Today it’s all about Janice from the Electric Mayhem showing kids how easy it is to transform into your favorite rock superstar for Halloween!

The Michael Jackson and Boy George redos are fun…


…but my heart will always belong to Cyndi Lauper!

Vacation, Day 2! More Muppet Magazine!

It’s day two of my day job vacation, and I’m diving back into the Fall 1984 Issue of Muppet Magazine to share a couple more advertisements…

First up is this Advertisement for Unico.  I’ve never heard of this series, but tiny flying Japanese unicorns look pretty darn fun to me.  I love that this ad wasn’t geared towards girls, but instead features a boy and a girl.  Everyone loves unicorns, right?

Next up is this ad for Hallmark stickers.  What I thought was pretty cool about this is that beyond the odd issue of Stickers Magazine, I never tend to see ads for stickers, let alone the more generic Hallmark stickers.  It’s something I love about back issues of Muppet Mag!

Vacation = Muppet Magazine!

I think I’m officially off my yearly hiatus now, but this week I’ll be on vacation from the day job and hopefully hidden deep away from the outside world somewhere on Walt Disney World property.  But I didn’t want to leave the site with no updates for a week.  Therefore, I dug into my magazine archive to pull out one of my favorite issues of Muppet Magazine (the Fall 1984 issue with Mr. T as the main guest) so that I could share it with you all over the coming week or so.  So without further ado, and very slim commentary, I present Mr. T (with an awesome Animal T as well!)

The first thing I wanted to share today was an interior advertisement for the Go Bots that I thought was pretty darn cool.  So many of the Go Bots ads I’ve seen feature photos of the toys, but this one is covered in some very nostalgic artwork…

Last up is another advertisement, this time featuring the bulk (if not all) of the Ideal Alvin and the Chipmunks line of toys…


I’d love to have some of those minifigures now.  I wonder how much they’re fetching on ebay…