Donnie’s Dark Crystal Question

“…I am obsessed with Dark Crystal. when I learned about the prequel show, I was like yes, at least they can get Steve to voice sketk-Tek! I was excited… and then. … One night I actually watched Dark Crystal, then Fraggle Rock… I had never realized you used almost identical voices for the two (Marlin and Skek-Tek)….” comment by Donnie on August 4, 2017 at 11:17 PM .

Hi, Donnie. Yes, there are a number of performers who worked on The Dark Crystal who are still active and working. Mike Quinn, Louise Gold, Dave Goelz, and I were all Skeksis, as well as many other key characters on the film. To my knowledge none of us has been approached about the prequel…

Anyway, you’re right about the two voices being very close. Both Marlon Fraggle and the Skeksis Scientist’s voices were based on an actor from the 1930’s, ‘40’s, and ’50’s named Peter Lorre.

Jim and Frank asked some of us to put down some voices on tape that we thought might work as Skeksis. All I could think of was a breathy, lizard-like, creature, which somehow was Peter Lorre when he got excited. But when I recorded the voice I didn’t really think it was very good, so I didn’t expect them to ever use it.

The next day they both came to me and asked where the voice came from. I did the voice for them, and Jim said, “Well, that’s exactly the kind of sound we are looking for for the Skeksis”. “Really???”, I said. I think we were all surprised.

Though I did the voice as we shot the film, it was all re-recorded after the fact. In the original edit the Skeksis had their own language. It wasn’t just random words either, it had some real meaning to it, and was pretty hard to get right. So we dubbed the whole film in that language, but when it was shown to a test audience no one could keep track of what was being conveyed.

So, back to the recording booth we went to do another version. This time it was half English, half Skexish. But, once again, when tested the audience had no idea what was being said. So, we went back and dubbed it all in English only.

None of that would have mattered to me except for one reason. Do you remember the scene where the Scientist falls down the shaft of fire? Well, the Peter Lorre voice is a killer to do for a long session, all that breathing and growling, and we ended each time with me redoing the incredibly long scream as he falls….I’m not sure why that had to be dubbed again and again….(lol)

120 thoughts on “Donnie’s Dark Crystal Question

  1. Multiple-post day? Cool!

    It’s nice to hear this story in a little more detail, but ouch, must have done a number on your throat! I’ve only recently started considering myself a Dark Crystal fan and consider it a shame that there’s no behind-the-scenes footage out there of SkekTek death. That would be a really cool watch. Love all that technical stuff!

  2. I actually haven’t seen Dark Crystal, but oh man…. Marlon Fraggle. Probably one of the most beautifully weird characters there ever was.

          1. Hear that, everybody? If it ain’t in caps, it ain’t loud enough. Remember to LOL like you mean it.

    1. Hi J.S.

      It’s a wonderful movie, very unique in so many ways and if I have my facts right it’s the first entire movie that is puppetry from start to finish.

      Was also the first time Jim worked with the concept by Brian Froud.

      Also, after you’ve bought yourself the bluray/DVD hint hint, and watch the main feature you’ll possibly find the documentary very interesting, especially with how Jim talks about how performing Jen was much different than Kermit etc.


      Richard 🙂

          1. I’d grab a blu-ray copy myself, but it would be a bit hard to watch it with no player! Maybe later in the year. My DVD copy will last a while anyway.

          2. No such thing as a jolly good price when you have to ship anything to Australia, unfortunately. Still, I hear amazon is in the process of setting up here, so I’ll stay tuned. This really is on my list of things to track down, joking aside.

  3. Hi Steve,

    Again, it’s so interesting hearing you speak about your time on such a cult classic and like I may have mentioned a few times I’m an aficionado when it comes to the production side of things.

    This is all cool to read 🙂

    I know that on the special features of Labyrinth there was footage that you yourself had recorded which was thrilling to watch to say the least.

    Was there a highly significant moment for you working on Labyrinth?

    Also, keep being you 🙂

    Love Richard. X

  4. Whenever I see the Dark Crystal now as an adult, I get soooo sad thinking about how young Jim was, and how many quality, groundbreaking projects he would have produced if he had continued on. He may have even had a project opening in theatres this year!!!

    I know that’s negative, and we should just be so grateful for the projects that we have, that he did leave us, but it’s a weakness of mine. I can’t watch Dark Crystal or Labyrinth without feeling bittersweet.

  5. Hi Steve,

    This actually put something in perspective to me: Why Marlon Fraggle wasn’t used very often on “Fraggle Rock.” I’ve done Peter Lorre impressions myself, and they practically murder my throat (he was a great actor, but the voice HURTS!) I could only imagine what it did to your throat screaming all the way down that shaft.

    Live long and paws-purr,
    Erin T. Aardvark

  6. I’d grab a blu-ray copy myself, but it would be a bit hard to watch it with no player! Maybe later in the year. My DVD copy will last a while anyway.

    1. I need to find a multi region DVD player cos a few years back I bought the NTSC version of Fraggle Rock and wont play on my current bluray/dvd player.

      Methinks I’ll wait for Christmas

        1. I tried it a few months back (it’s a Sony bdp s1500) even bought a universal remote to try it which didn’t work for me.

          Will look around for a cheap multi region one later at some point

          1. The fact that it now appears the bluray/DVD player won’t play the World of Dark Crystal documentary is I guess a way of saying:

            “Get yourself a new multi region DVD player or at least one that’s easy to be made multi region.”

            I did a look online to see if I could find what you mentioned about downloading an image and seems that its available for practically ever make and model out there except mine, to quote Indiana Jones

            “It belongs in a museum!” 🙂

    1. Yup, guilty… at work and trying to concentrate… Sigh…

      At least it’s been a fun morning for a change!

  7. You must have been drinking A LOT of hot tea with lemon and honey between sessions! Your poor throat must have been so sore! But it’s a fantastic voice and helped make a memorable character, so I am glad of that.

  8. I love The Dark Crystal. I just wish there were movies made like that, a fantasy world done completely with puppets. These days they would just do it all with computers.

  9. Wow, I’ve always loved that voice, but I never made the Peter Lorre connection before. It seems so obvious now, of course. 😉

    So I’m wondering, did they ever try adding subtitles to the Skeksis instead of dubbing them, or was that discussed at all? It seems like that would have been an easier and cheaper solution, but on the other hand, I know that some people just refuse outright to watch a movie with subtitles.

    I only ever got to see The Dark Crystal a few years ago, but I loved it. It’s so profound. Also, I love the craftsmanship that went into building a whole world by hand. Nowadays a movie like that would be largely CGI, and I appreciate that for what it is, but I feel like the fantasy movies of the ’80s (not only the ones that Jim Henson made, but the ones like The Neverending Story and The Princess Bride) have a tangibility to them that is missing when the effects aren’t done in-camera.

    It doesn’t bother me if I see the strings or the mechanisms or whatever; it doesn’t destroy the illusion. On the contrary, it makes it more magical to me because I think, “Wow, somebody took some cloth, wire, fiberglass, etc. and actually turned it into an apparently living creature!”

    Am I rambling a bit? I’m sorry.

  10. Steve, I’ll have to remember these things next time I watch The Dark Crystal.

    What stories can you tell us about Labyrinth? Any dubbing/puppeteering misadventures? I hope you’re doing well.


  11. “To my knowledge none of us has been approached about the prequel…” I don’t think anyone is going to be calling Steve to work on this. Henson is beyond done with him.

          1. Fraggle fan:Why are you trolling all the time in this blog? are you retarded? because it looks like… you are a troll, and all of us are aware of it.

          2. This comment is directed toward Diego Fraga:

            Diego, please correct me if I am wrong, but I get the impression that English is not you first language. Is that correct?

            If so, I would just like to gently suggest to you that you not use the word “retarded” anymore. It’s a word that’s loaded with negative connotations and has been used to cause a lot of pain to a lot of people. People with developmental disabilities and their loved ones regard it as a nothing less than a profanity.

            I don’t believe that you meant to cause any harm, but using a loaded word like that could potentially cause a lot of unintended collateral damage to a lot of people’s feelings. Please keep that in mind and just be careful of that in the future.

            Thanks 🙂

    1. Oh look, yet another ray of sunshine has returned to enlighten Steve and us all about why Steve is apparently a terrible person.

      Haven’t you got something better to do than stalk the comment section of a blog belonging to a person you make a huge point of not caring about?

    2. You’re back at the “Tea-Party” as you named this blog Fraggle Fan ? You just can’t help it can you ?! So now you are entitled to talk for The Henson Company too ? It was a better use of your time if you watched the movie and then give you opinion.

      1. I’m just not going to suck up to Steve because he played Kermit. He got fired and for good reason. And kissing his butt like you are doing isn’t going to make him your friend or whatever. He doesn’t care about you.

        1. I think you will find that for most fans it’s way more than enough that Steve cares about Muppets, instead.

          1. He cares so much, he cost himself his job so now he can have ZERO influence on the muppets. Good Job.

          2. Are Dave, Eric and Bill super hard to deal/work with? My guess is not so much. Look, if Disney and Henson are LYING about Steve being difficult to work with then why isn’t he still working at Sesame Street performing Ernie and others? S. Street has nothing whatsoever to do with Disney OR Henson. Why does NOBODY want to work with him? You must ask yourself this.

          3. Having no facts to work with, for or against, it is useless to argue this one further without reducing it to name calling, right?

            We just have to wait and see what is true and where it all goes from here.

            Personally, I just want to see the future Muppets releases with Kermit and Rizzo performed by Steve as they are.

          4. We do have facts to work with though. Neither Henson, Disney or Sesame Street wants to work with Steve anymore. That is a fact. But I too care about the direction of the Muppets so I hear ya on that.

          5. Fraggle Fan, did you consider the hypothesis Steve not wanting to continue working with Disney, JHC or Sesame Street while having his creative abilities limited ?

          6. No, because Disney fired him, Brian Henson said he should have fired him back before he sold it to Disney in 2004 AND Steve said previously said he would “jump right back in” to work with the muppets again. So nothing at all indicates that this was Steve’s decision. Steve said himself he was let go. Nobody thinks this was Steve’s decision.

          7. This part confuses me as well, The Jim Henson Company should have never got involved in this but they did and even if they truly felt that way about Steve why voice it the way they did? What gain did they have to put down Steve Whitmire either than showing their support for The Walt Disney Company? We must remember that The Muppets will always be part of The Jim Henson Company even if owned by The Walt Disney Company, what I mean by this is that The Muppets will always be associated to Jim Henson not that their opinion on the Puppeteers who work for The Walt Disney Company matters to me. Because of this The Jim Henson Company is in a way a puppet to The Walt Disney Company. If they hope to continue promoting their father’s legacy using The Muppets they must keep the owners happy because The Walt Disney Company could very well make things difficult for them.

            How many times have we bought Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas hoping Kermit wasn’t edited out? in my case every time. All these years do you think The Jim Henson Company did not try to attempt to get permission to use Kermit? Seeing as he was absent from all releases I come to the conclusion that for whatever reason it was not allowed. This time around the recently announced Emmet Otter 40th Anniversary edition will include Kermit the Frog, his appearance is even promoted on the cover. A character that The Walt Disney Company own will be linked and help promote a production that has nothing to do with them. If i’m losing you think about Spider-Man in the Marvel movies. I’m not angry at The Jim Henson Company, i’m sad for them but also disappointed, they could have sided with The Walt Disney Company but there was no need to speak like that of the man who kept Kermit alive for 27 years to Fans regardless of what you thought of him. You can keep the boss happy without tearing others down.

            As for Steve Whitmire being removed as Ernie, i’m still trying to make sense of that in my head

          8. Fraggle Fan, nobody said that what happened was Steve`s decision. But Steve could “jump right back in” IF at least he had minimum conditions to do his work with quality while maintaining the Muppets integrity.
            If Steve was standing for what he considered right and the best for the Muppets, why should he accept to continue just because Disney was limiting his creativity and vision according to Jim Henson legacy ?
            If Brian Henson did want to dismiss Steve before Disney why didn`t he do it ? Because he was selling to Disney the best Muppet asset (their experienced performers) and Steve sure was one of the best. The Muppet characters and their performers where the trade for the million dollars The Henson Company received.
            I firmly believe if The Henson Company ofered the rights to Disney of the Muppet characters only, without any of their performers, Disney wouldn`t have paid so much as it did. The Henson`s where aware of Steve`s value & Disney was too.

          9. Julia, The Henson company sold the Muppets to Disney and Disney decided to hire the same performers. They didn’t have to though, that wasn’t part of the deal during the sale. They ONLY sold the characters, they can’t sell performers with it. That’s not even logical. A company can’t sell performers to another company. Disney had absolutely zero obligation to use the any of the same performers.

          10. Well, well Fraggle Fan. I gues you really are entitled to speak for the JHC or Disney, because you know everything !!! Can you explain me how the deal was made. Because i would like to know it you are aware of the conditions. Acquiring the rights for the Muppets could be limited to using the perfomers. It was the smartest thing Disney could do, hiring the performers who where the cause for previous Muppets success. I think you should stop googling !
            Hey, but let me know if you are aware of the Disney deal details, because in that case i have someone anxiously wishing to discuss the legal details with you.

          11. “As for Steve Whitmire being removed as Ernie, i’m still trying to make sense of that in my head”

            It’s the same reasons Disney let Steve go. He’s too difficult to work with. Plain and simple. And The Henson kids spoke up because Steve was speaking for Jim. “Jim wanted this and that” and they had to jump him to speak for their dad’s characters and not let someone else speak for their father.

          12. The reason you’ve shared why The Henson children spoke out like that has got me thinking now, that is a good point, I hadn’t looked at it like that.

          13. … if the whole thing is a difference in vision each of them had of Jim Henson. Remember, Jim always was a living legend for Steve. His family might have a more prosaic vision of what he stood for.

            Hence the disagreements…

          14. Julia accuses me of not knowing what’s in the disney contract all the while making huge leaps and bounds as if she DOES know…

          15. I`m not accusing you of anything Fraggle Fan.
            I am asking and requesting you to explain me the deal with Disney, that you`re claiming to know so well !
            You dont have the slightest clue of who you are talking to and how serious this is, do you ?!

          16. “You dont have the slightest clue of who you are talking to”
            Are you talking about yourself? You’re right, I don’t know who you are, don’t care.
            Listen, I’ve never worked for Disney or Henson, but I do work in Television/Film here in Los Angeles and I know enough about it that Disney (or any other company) would never ever ever sign a deal where they didn’t have full control over who they hired, whether it be puppet performers or anyone else. Doesn’t work that way.

          17. Ok. Considering your previous obsession for the Muppets act on AGT i guess you work for NBC.
            I`m glad you`re not working with Disney. Bitter and rude as you are here commenting and offending others, you should be kicked in a hurry, as far as i`m concerned.
            In conclusion, there`s no way you know the terms of the Disney deal with JHC and the Muppet perfomers.
            Everything is clear now.

          18. Julia, if it WAS in the contract that they HAD to hire the same performers then how did they JUST get away with firing Steve? Wouldn’t that break the contract? Companies hire and fire as they please. Doesn’t matter if it’s a beloved frog or not.

          19. Julia,
            “Did you consider the hypothesis Steve not wanting to continue working with Disney, JHC or Sesame Street while having his creative abilities limited .”
            This questions seems silly as Steve was let go from all of the companies listed. The only “not wanting” was from his employers, and they ALL let him go.

            Also, you said:
            “But Steve could “jump right back in” IF at least he had minimum conditions to do his work with quality while maintaining the Muppets integrity.”

            Again, he was fired. He can’t jump back in. When someone is fired, it’s ridiculous to think that the “fired” person has a choice in the matter.

        2. Just like I don’t care about you fake fraggle fan. By the way trolling his blog to suck up to Disney isn’t going to Make you there friend. Maybe good reason for firing maybe not.

          1. By the way faker one of the reason the sell to Disney never went through when Jim was alive, is because Jim wanted them to keep the same performers. That is not Steve side, but in Jim Henson autobiographies. The reason Disney does not want people passionate as Steve, that made it hard to work with, is because they are about money, not the art. Look at any big company like Disney has become, the founders was always more about helping people or this case the art. They pass away the suits take over, then it becomes about the money. Disney did not like working with Roy Disney because he was hard to work with. He wanted to keep the company like his brother made it to be, but the board wanted it to be more about money.

        3. And we don’t care about you. You’re just jealous of Steve. We aren’t asking him to be our friend. We just believe in him and want to support him. I believe in people being innocent until proven guilty and I haven’t seen anything to make me believe he is guilty.

    3. Fraggle Fan—regarding your Ernie takes…

      Don’t you find it odd that Joey Mazzarino and Fran Brill, as well as Roscoe Orman, Emilio Delgado, and Bob McGrath all left Sesame Street either by choice/or through workshop decisions (for the ladder group).

      No stains on the reputations on any of the aforementioned names and how easy/difficult they were to work with.

      How do you know anything about Steve’s situation with Sesame?

      1. From what I hear, those other folks you mentioned, left Sesame because they show moved to HBO, which is the exactly opposite of what it was suppose to be, free TV for under privileged kids. So it moved from the completely free PBS to the very expensive (for some) HBO. But I can’t 100% verify this is the reason. Also, those other people left the show very quietly. They didn’t go on tv and start a blog trashing their former employer, so yeah no stains on their reputations because they were civil and professional about their departure, no matter the actual circumstance.

        1. Well, yes. That is a noble thing that is worth taking a stand for. However, Steve hasn’t said anything yet about the reason behind his decision to leave Sesame Street. He hasn’t said anything about that particular former employer other than the content in ‘Blackballing.’ I do understand your perspective, but the “difficult to work with” claim during his time on Sesame hans’t been mentioned by anyone out of that camp (since I don’t really see the Hensons as part of that camp at this point.) Granted, I’m a fan of Steve’s no matter what, but until either party acknowledges why he left the role of Ernie, I just feel like there’s a lot of question marks as opposed to legitimate answers at this point.

          1. You’re correct. Neither party has mentioned his exit of Sesame Street. My guess would be because of an NDAs. But that’s just a guess.

          2. Steve no longer performed for Sesame Street because he was increasingly unavailable due to involvement with Muppets Studios projects. It’s as simple as that.

            As for the human actors of Sesame street I don’t believe they left because of a philosophical disagreement about the show moving to HBO. Over the past handful of years the writers were writing the humans into the show less and less. Then, (I forget if this was happening before the move to HBO or during) the show was going to be pared down from 1 hour to a 30 minute run time. With the show only being 30 minutes long there would be even less work for the human actors.

            The show is still available on PBS for free. The only difference is that when the shows are brand new they air first on HBO and then will air on PBS later. Luckily Sesame street has never addressed current events so it doesn’t get dated in that way.

        2. So you work in film and tv faker? Let me guess you are one of those jerk producers that think you know what’s best for a product.

          1. Why do you insist he left Sesame Street on bad terms? He might have left on good terms. Everyone knows sesame workshop was having money trouble. Yeah they might not have been able to pay him, but it doesn’t mean it was on bad terms. Steve might have been ok with it because it wasn’t worth his time to fly to New York to do a 5 second Ernie skit every week. Especially considering he had his hands full flying around doing Kermit appearances st various venues. Plus he might have felt they had someone capable to take over.

          2. Just like you’re making assumptions? I didn’t say that was the reason for Sesame Street, If you look at the post I said he might, I kept using the word might. I didn’t say it was a for sure reason. I was just trying to explain that you shouldn’t make assumptions that him leaving Sesame Street was on bad terms.

      2. Are you folks still going at it? This ‘conversation’ is going around and around like a broken record. Crikey, give it a break, will ya?

        Just agree to disagree and leave things alone for now. I’m sure there will be something else to argue about in the comment section of Steve’s next post.

        Sorry Steve, no matter how clearly and diplomatically you write, the clashes come a bounding this way!

        1. Sorry, It just makes me mad that Steve was just talking about something as simple as a character he did on Dark Crystal and then Faker uses it as an opportunity to attack Steve, I’ll try to ignore him.

          1. Oh plush he attacked my twin brother and that is one thing that always sets me off. But I’ll try to respect your wishes.

  12. Steve and Everyone,

    I love this post. Why? Because Steve can do Peter Lorre, one of my favorite actors of all time, and everyone is so happy in their memories of the charachters who are so beloved and of course … their voice (Steve Whitmire).

    The still from the making of Dark Crystal, looked like a group of puppeteers kneeling before a God. I’m picturing a lot of sore knees and arms.

    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never seen Dark Crystal, and now I pray that Netflix will air it, because I do not have the ability to play Blue Ray here.

    Great Comments: Anne Terri

    1. Anne, the movie has also been released in VHS and DVD form. Do a quick search on Amazon. It’s a great movie.

  13. Oh look, yet another ray of sunshine has returned to enlighten Steve and us all about why Steve is apparently a terrible person.

    Haven’t you got something better to do than stalk the comment section of a blog belonging to a person you make a huge point of not caring about?

  14. I love hearing these stories about the making of DC. I went to a screening of Labyrinth a few years back and Toby Philpott did a short Q&A which was fantastic. Its great to learn about the production of these films from the performers themselves.

  15. Aggggggggg, my post while writing it, got mixed in with the negative energies. Hoping mine Lit the blog room to thwart off the evil spirits who are haunting this page.

  16. So I’ll admit I’ve only seen Dark Crystal once, as a young adult. It scared the crap out of me and I never watched it again…although to be fair, there was a time when I was little that Animal scared the crap out of me too, so I could only watch the Muppets before dark or I’d have nightmares. I loved the Muppets even as a kid – it was just this weird thing that happened where my imagination would take over at night and I would dream of Animal chasing me around the room. Apparently my imagination had a dark side haha. Anyhow, I digress…

    I remembered why the Dark Crystal freaked me out when I was at the Puppetry Center in Atlanta recently and saw the materials on display. Not to spoil it for anyone, but there’s a full-size Skeksis in the middle of one of the rooms. Creeeeeeepy in person (in a creepy-cool way, if that makes sense), but also incredibly impressive given the level of detail of the character. I couldn’t tell you which Skeksis it was, but holy cow – from the costuming to the actual creature, it’s totally life-like even without the performers. I expected it to come to life at any second.

    These behind-the-scenes anecdotes are making me want to maybe try watching the film again…before dark, of course.

    1. You may like this video of Jim and Frank on the Russell Harty show in 83 discussing Dark Crystal

      On the subject of scared, and without ruining it I’ve never seen someone leap behind a chair so quickly before.

      Would be interested to know what Mike (Quinn) was performing on the show (he’s in the credits right at the end) 🙂

      1. That was so cool – thank you for sharing!! Forget leaping behind a chair, I would have probably passed out at that part! Not to mention the weeks of insomnia to follow lol. Hardy’s reaction to the Skeksis was great too.

  17. I was going through my Dark Crystal movie copie and just noticed in the final credits that Steve was one of the very few performers voicing his character the Skeksis Scientist. Many other Skeksis characters where not voiced by their performers. Well i will watch the movie again this next saturday, because the last time it was about ten years ago. It`s a great movie and i think the first time i thought it was also stop motion mixed with puppetry. But considering what i`ve learned from Steve`s post and comments, it`s all puppetry with no stop motion. (I also love stop motion movies). My first impression the first time was this is a great movie and with beautiful music score. And the scenery is something extraordinary.

  18. Speaking of fraggle rock,There might be a movie about the fraggles, so did you get asked to play Wembley for the movie.Just wondering

  19. I can’t be the only one who feels that these conversations just keep going uselessly in circles. Kind of getting tired of the whole thing.

    Let me try and sum-up the current arguments and questions:

    • Why did the Henson’s feel the to speak out about Steve’s dismissal? Was it necessary?
    • Just how much influence did Steve have over the people in charge of casting puppeteers? Was it blackballing or was it something else?
    • Why did Steve leave Sesame and are the reasons related to the events of last October?
    • Was Steve’s dismissal somehow associated with Disney’s financial overhaul?
    • Will Disney go back to the ‘Kermit 1,2 &3’ proposal now they know that (most) fans will accept the dismissal of the lead puppeteer of 27 years?
    • Just how devoted is Disney to Jim Henson’s vision and will it bother to hold up certain traditions?

    And my own personal question:

    Can we all please calm down and have a civil conversation without resorting to name-calling and jabbing each other with insults? I’ll admit I’ve stooped to that level, but I’m willing to work on my attitude if you are.

    Did I miss anything? I only listed the ones I’ve been paying attention to.

    1. Personally? I feel the exact same as you do. This is how I feel with the whole situation:

      * Do I have a perpetual appreciation for all that Jim Henson has brought to the world and his indelible footprints within pop culture? Damn right.

      * Do I admire Steve Whitmire for being with the Muppets ever since the 70s and working alongside THE master and all those other wonderful peeps, and keeping his legacy alive ever since? Damn right.

      * Is, in my opinion, what’s happened recently caused a lot of upset and as such somewhat slightly tarnished the feel good euphoria we all feel when we watch the Muppets/Labyrinth/Fraggle Rock/Dark Crystal etc and how stories of #Love, acceptance, friendship and compassion between Kermit and Miss Piggh and all the other of Jims wonderful creations especially with all the things going on in the world when we need to make #PEACE not war especially with each other. Damn right.

      I also refuse to get caught up in all the unneeded anger and drama here – I am #TeamSteve and yes, I admit that I’ve met him a few times now and whenever I’ve done so I’ve always felt that I’ve been in the company of a very good friend indeed and thus he has my support. Admittedly I don’t always post more of the serious side of things as (in my opinion- and this is only my opinion) Steve doesn’t need to explain himself and it says a damn lot that he does and offers tidbits of what it was like working with Jim and the intricacies of business that many or indeed most of us wouldn’t even think of.

      I also feel it’s highly admirable that Steve gives us (the Fans) this honour/privilege of addressing us all directly like this. Normally for this level of interaction with a highly talented individual one would look on periscope…

      *Does an aside to Camera ‘Do people still use periscope or am I showing my age here?’*

      Anyways, whatever happens here on in, I will be watching Muppets Christmas Carol come 24th December.

      God bless us, each and every one of us 🙏

      1. I hope everybody reads and absorbs this.

        KingRichard: no need to “admit” the fact that you’ve met Steve as if it was a disclaimer. I would say that gives you a far stronger basis to hold any opinion than most others here.

      2. KingRichard76

        God Blesses everyone, for certain, and #TeamSteve is strong. I have not had the privilege of meeting Iim or Steve, but love the concept of #TeamSteve.

        I’m Blessed to have grown up with the Muppets from the early days, through Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire, who were surrounded by many talented performers, and introduced the Muppets to my own children who are now in their 30s. There’s my age give away. I will fight for their Integrity, Peacefully. It would not be Christmas, without the Muppets Christmas Carol.

        Love Anne Terri

        1. In the past, there has been the ‘Stevie Scream Squad’ and a few of the more cheeky Muppet Central folks came together to create ‘SWAEHB’. After those two creative handles, ‘Team Steve’ is a little bland. If we’re gonna band together, we need a kick @$$ name!

          Also Steve, if you want a good laugh, this golden MC thread will open your eyes! I swear this was all done in good fun!

    2. No Marni, you’re not the only one who can see it going in circles. I’ve given up visiting the forums for that reason. At least here we have some new content every few days for people to go around in circles underneath of…

      It’s depressing that even to argue out the reasons why we should stop going in circles, is to go in another circle. And more depressing that it won’t actually stop it happening. Haters gonna hate. Trolls gonna troll. Passionate folks are going to go on attacking back and keeping the arguments alive.

      *shrugs and gives it one more stab anyway*

      What is the bottom, bottom line?

      There is little that we, the fans in the street, will ever know for certain about what happened. The ONLY credible voices come from the people who were physically present, and even those may be biased. Everything else (I mean EVERYTHING else) is hearsay and speculation.

      In the end, each person has to decide how much it matters. If you can get on with your support of the Muppets and your enjoyment of this great blog without needing to know more, fantastic! You’ve made it to an enviable position. But if you can’t shake that human desire for truth and understanding, please just remember as you form your views that they are going to consist mainly of assumptions and balanced probabilities rather than hard evidence. So you owe it to yourself to keep an open mind.

      I’ve been in that second group, reasoning it all out as best and honestly as I can, because that’s my nature and I can’t help it. On balance of evidence and benefit of reasonable doubt – as if this trial by internet was even a legitimate thing! – I keep coming down to a view which is supportive of Steve and compatible with enjoying this blog for what it is. I see many here who have done the same. Some others have reached the opposite conclusion; hanging out here is probably not healthy for those people and it does nothing for us, because more speculation and gossip is not what’s needed to reach the truth. Anyone still needing to make up their minds over “what happened” should be focusing on the primary sources – interviews, comments and public releases of the parties directly involved – and filtering out the poorly-informed musings of almost everybody else (including myself). Almost everybody else, for that reason, might as well finish musing on that particular topic and move the conversation on to more constructive things. This started out as a fun Dark Crystal post for pity’s sake.

      1. Guess it’s time to bring out the ol’ Troll Hammer and polish up the ol’ Troll Anvil again.

        Internet trolls are something that I will never understand. Why do they even bother to go on these blogs and put down the people writing them, and tell them to stop doing it? Just because they don’t agree with you? Come on, how old are you, five? “I don’t like what you’re doing, and that means nobody else can like it, either!” That’s the vibe I get from trolls.

        Just imagine them all falling into that fiery pit in “The Dark Crystal.”

  20. I have a question. It might be somewhat technical in nature. When Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem would perform live, how did you guys pull it off? An example of this is the Outside Lands 2016 show ( Was the signing live? How did playing the instruments look so real? Where did the rest of the music come from? How long did it take to rehearse and put together? This performance in particular looks very complex to pull off, and it was great. It’s a whole other dimension of just how good all of the performers is.

  21. Since discussion of things other than the current situation with the Muppets is on the table, here’s a question that’s been bugging me for a while:

    How do Wembley’s eyes work?

    I’ve seen a bunch of guesses, but nothing that makes me feel like I understand how you can get that range of motion on a relatively freestanding eyeball (as opposed to one that’s more set into the head or has an eyelid to house a mechanism.) I’ve also seen debate about whether they’re operated by remote or there’s a way for you to operate them inside the puppet.

    1. That’s an AWESOME question, Sara! I seem to remember hearing somewhere that it was a mechanism inside the puppet that makes the eyes work, but beyond that, I don’t know.

      I hope you get a chance to address this one, Steve; I would love to hear the answer!

      1. I always thought it was radio controlled from behind the scenes, like how the Doozers work. But I’m probably wrong, as I’m always wrong about things like this.

        Live long and paws-purr

        1. Well, I’m not sure anymore, either. I watched the thing where I thought they said that it was a mechanism inside his head, but they didn’t actually say that. So maybe I just made a baseless assumption. It wouldn’t be the first time. *sigh*

    2. As much as I’d like to scour through my copy of Of Muppets and Men, to quote it verbatim, I know that it says in there how when Dave first had Gonzo he set about to fit in a mechanism to operate his eyes which is inside Gonzo.

      This leads me to presume it’s the same with Wembley that there’s an eye mechanism used from inside Wembley and used by Steve the same way Dave did with Gonzo.

      Either way, it’s very clever and exceedingly effective 🙂

      1. You may well be right, but I don’t believe Gonzo ever had eyes that were quite as complex as Wembley’s. Wembley’s pupils seem to have an astonishing range of motion, more than a simple back and forth that wouldn’t require anything too complex to achieve. So far as I know, Gonzo just has moving eyelids, though MuppetWiki says that each lid can be moved on it own. I can imagine how the eyelid mechanism works, but something that lets a puppet with eyes like Wembley’s effectively roll his pupils is a mystery to me.

        1. Just an interesting side story since the subject came up regarding Gonzo’s eyelids (and you know because it’s nice to actually you know actually talk about Muppet stories – on-topic material…whatta concept!!) For the longest time, they did just move up and down together. Then on one live talk show appearance in the 2000’s, one of his eyelids got stuck in the up position. This inspired Dave to tweak the design further and make Gonzo’s eyelids move independently of each other.

    1. Wembley 💖 totally forgot Steve hit the top 40 in the UK with the theme to fraggle rock! Just another string to the bow!

      1. Serena. This is why these positive discussions and memories shared of these performances are so very important right now. This is what helps to to carry Jim Henson’s legacy forward, and remember those who were performing as the amazing Muppeteers at the time know this, for I believe after Mr. Henson left, they felt and still feel his Spirit among them. Many of us as fans, can still hum the theme to Fraggle Rock, and let’s not forget the composer Philip Balsam.

        1. So many “at the time” gone, RIP Andy Cunningham, Ehpant Mon in Return of the Jedi 5/6/17 , of Bodger and Badger fame, and Grotbags herself, Carol Lee Scott 4/7/17 friend of Richard Coombs …😢 that and Catweazle/Mr. Crowman too, what a crappy 3 months.., end of times indeed.

  22. I’ve been in a Henson mood lately, as I am sure others are, and I just rewatched Labyrinth. I first watched it when I was 14. At the time, I loved all aspects of the movie except the plot. I went looking for a passionate love story between the Goblin King and a girl my age, and the film was found wanting. I walked out convinced Jim just needed a good writer -like me! – my version would have ended with David Bowie and me (I mean Sarah) sipping Pina Coladas and making out on a glorious beach (insert 14 year old imagined version of what a XXX sex scene is like here).

    Alas, Jim never hired me to rewrite Labyrinth. Now, as a 45 year old woman I can say thank goodness for that!

    The movie was far ahead of it’s time in his message to young girls – and really everyone else too. It’s so beautiful and so true.

    Maybe Kermit – or the Muppets as a whole – have been your Jareth, Steve.

    Like Bowie, they have been glamorous, seductive, talented, alluring. The maze has been a terrific adventure, full of high and lows, stumbles and triumphs.

    You’ve been ejected from the labyrinth, Steve. But Jim tells us at the end of that film that everything Sarah experienced in the Labyrinth came from inside of her. Kermit and everyone else will always be with you on a personal level, no matter what.

    Your will is as strong, and your kingdom is as great…

  23. Saturday, finally ! Just watched the Dark Crystal movie again since the last time (about ten years ago). It´s incredible how life change us and our perception of things.
    But my first impression didn´t change. This is a great magic movie with a strong message, with beatiful characters extraordinarily performed, with impressive scenery and unforgettable soundtrack.
    Something i was now more aware and impressed than i was ten years ago, was the smoothness of movements, making them look much more real. An example is the movement of the hand and fingers of the Mystics and the Skeksis.
    Considering the year the Dark Crystal was released (1982) and the technology available at the time, it`s impressive how the final result turned out like this, making this a cult movie with a huge fan comunity as far as i`ve noticed.
    For the ones who didn`t have the chance to watch it untill now, there are endless possibilities available.
    Steve, the only thing i didn`t understand was, in the credits you and Brian Muehl are the only Skeksis also voicing their characters.
    The other Skeksis characters where not voiced by their performers (Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Louise Gold, Bob Payne, Mike Quinn and Tim Rose).
    Can you please, tell me, if you know, why was it like this ?
    PS: I watched de Dark Crystal 25th Anniversary version.

  24. Oh My God….you just made my day! I stopped reciving updates and I have no idea why. Thank you so much. I’ve seen the work print of the original, and in my opinion its an entirely different movie. It’s an amazing experience. On Fraggle Rock Wembeley was always my favorite, to this day if I can’t make up my mind I call it Wembeling, my mom says the same thing. Once again Thank you Steve, not just for responding, but for ,y childhood and fighting for the Muppets.

  25. Hi Steve, I was wondering if you and the other muppet performers get royalties from every movie, commercial, and tv special you do? Also, do you have an agent?

  26. Evening Steve,

    I’ve been going back through your posts and the comment sections to keep my mind off a migraine and ended up reading through an unpleasant chat I had with one of the more annoying readers of your blog. Instead of enraging me all over again, I did some thinking and ended up writing something about it.

    It’s actually kind of cool when you think about it. Your posts are that thought-provoking that the conversations down below can wind up teaching or reminding someone about something they should have already known by now.

    Cheers to a great weekend,


  27. Very cool to hear behind the scenes stories about Dark Crystal. I’d definitely be interested if Steve wrote a book one day.

  28. Steve and all,

    I wrote a blog post about the themes of duality and the divided self in Jim Henson’s work, and one of the works I examined was The Dark Crystal. I wanted to share it because I think there’s a lesson in The Dark Crystal for our divided Muppet fan community in these troubling times.

  29. Love the way Jim and frank bought loads of props for The Dark Crystal from joke shops for like 40p 🙂

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