This is one of the very few Muppet productions to feature Muppets associated with all four of the major Muppet franchises: The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies (who are seen as actual puppets here instead of cartoon counterparts). This special also features an onscreen guest cameo by Jim Henson; he can be seen in the kitchen doing dishes towards the end of the special. In addition the United Kingdom broadcast marked the first appearance of Doc on British television, as the UK version of Fraggle Rock featured new "Outer Space" segments, in which Sprocket's owner was a lighthouse keeper.
Because of the music rights being secured only for television, recent video releases of the special (at least on NTSC releases in the United States and Canada) cut out two musical numbers and at least four other scenes (see the alternate versions section of the Internet Movie Database link below for details, or an even more extensive list on Muppet Wiki found below as well). The exclusions have little effect on the plot, but many fans miss the material, and several of the edits are noticeably abrupt. However, PAL releases in countries like the United Kingdom and Germany keep almost every scene and musical number intact, mostly because US copyright laws do not apply in those countries.
TV Guide ranked the special # 8 on its 10 Best Family Holiday Specials list.
Fozzie Bear is driving Kermit the Frog, Gonzo the Great, Camilla the Chicken, Animal, Rizzo the Rat and his fellow Rats, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, Scooter, Robin the Frog, Beauregard, Lew Zealand, Sam the Eagle, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Marvin Suggs, and the other chickens up to his mother Emily's farm for Christmas while they sing "We Need a Little Christmas." Unbeknownst to Fozzie Bear, Emily Bear is preparing to go to Malibu for the holiday. The doorbell rings which she answers where Doc and Sprocket enter the house where they have rented the farm for the holidays wanting to spend a nice quiet Christmas in the country. Just then, Fozzie Bear and the other Muppets enter which disrupts Emily and Doc's plans for the holidays. Fozzie Bear introduces Kermit the Frog to Emily who mistakens Kermit for a lizard. When the telephone rings, Animal answers it and hands it to Kermit. The call is from Miss Piggy who is in the middle of a photo session and that she will be at the farm house soon. The doorbell rings again as Fozzie Bear answers it where the Swedish Chef has arrived to cook the Christmas Turkey. While Fozzie Bear shows the Swedish Chef to the kitchen, Gonzo is looking for Camilla when the doorbell answers again. Gonzo finds a turkey at the door who states that he was invited to the farm by the Swedish Chef. While Kermit has Fozzie herd the rats and chickens to his bedroom, Robin approaches Kermit stating that there is a lot of them here. Kermit says that the old family is coming together as they sing "Jingle Bells." It then changes to Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem performing "Jingle Bell Rock" before the rats, Doc, and Sprocket.
Fozzie Bear has some of the local woodland creatures chop down a Christmas tree and bring it inside. Rowlf the Dog arrives stating that he had to chase a truck all the way to him and quotes "And boy am I exhausted!". Rowlf enters the farm where he meets Emily, Doc, and Sprocket. Rowlf finds a piano which he plays as Fozzie Bear sings "Sleigh Ride" with a Snowman that came to life while doing comedy before the Penguins and the Woodland Creatures. After the performance, Fozzie goes into the house where he tells Kermit about his new act. During Fozzie's description, Kermit answers the phone where Miss Piggy tells Kermit that she is doing a little Christmas shopping before she goes to the farm house. The Swedish Chef has cornered Sprocket behind a chair as Doc tells him that Sprocket is not a turkey and the turkey who told him that is a turkey. The Christmas Turkey encounters Camilla and starts to hit on him. Scooter tells Kermit that he has found footage of their Christmas when they were babies. As the Christmas Turkey continues to hit on Camilla, Gonzo catches the Christmas Turkey in the act and ends up trying to fight the Christmas Turkey until he hears carolers approaching. The carolers are none other than Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Street Muppets as they sing "Deck the Halls." The Sesame Street Muppets enter the farm house where Emily states to Doc "Well, you know what this means." Doc asks if he and Sprocket have to give up their hammock in the attic. Emily states that either that or build bunk beds in the broom closet. As Sprocket gets Doc a hammer, he ends up meeting Ernie and Bert where they ended up in Sesame Street "small talk" before Doc leaves to go build some bunk beds. The Swedish Chef has finally caught the Christmas Turkey ends up diverting the Swedish Chef to try to make a meal out of Big Bird. The news comes on TV as The Muppet Newsman states that the worst blizzard in 50 years is approaching the area at a great rate and barometers are falling sharply as barometers fall on the Newsman. Scooter then looks outside and states that it is snowing outside as Count von Count counts the snowflakes. Kermit then quotes that Miss Piggy is out in that storm.
Fozzie Bear and Emily go over where everyone is going to sleep as Big Bird and Cookie Monster will sleep in the attic, Herry Monster will sleep in the bathtub, and Ernie and Bert will be bunking with Kermit. Then, when Fozzie asks about where Oscar the Grouch is going to sleep, Oscar states that he will be fine in his trash can. When Rizzo quotes to Oscar that maybe he can bunk with him, Oscar states that he never had a rat in his trash can before. When Janice states that she has just made Christmas Cookies, they end up eaten by Cookie Monster. When Janice asks who that strange creature was, Animal quotes "That my kinda fella." Ernie begins the Sesame Street pageant with him doing the father and Bert doing the mother in a telling of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." As the pageant progresses, Grover is shown playing the mouse while Herry Monster, Elmo, and the other Sesame Street Monsters play the reindeer. When Ernie reads the line to introduce Santa Claus, the Two-Headed Monster enters dressed as Santa Claus. When Bert asks Ernie on who told the Two-Headed Monster to play Santa Claus, Ernie states "He never been in a play before. I mean they said it. Uh, both of them said it." Bert tells Ernie to go to the big finish as they close out the pageant.
Doc comes in stating that it's cold enough to freeze a Winnebago as Emily is unaware that Miss Piggy isn't here. Kermit gets a call from Miss Piggy stating that her limo got stuck in the snow and that she is calling for a taxi. After the call from Miss Piggy, Fozzie approaches Kermit stating that now is a good time to show him his new comedy act with the Snowman which is outside. When Kermit and Fozzie argue on how cold it is, the Snowman comes in asking if he can warm up as Kermit meets the Snowman. When Fozzie addresses the crowd if they'd like to see his new comedy act, Statler and Waldorf are seen stating that they would love to see his act, hate to miss his act, and love to hate his act. When Fozzie Bear asks Statler and Waldorf where they came from, Emily states that Statler and Waldorf are good friends of hers and that they come visit her every Christmas. Fozzie is surprised that Statler and Waldorf know his mother as Statler and Waldorf continue to heckle Fozzie and the Snowman. When Fozzie and the Snowman tell each other the joke about the church that burned down, Statler and Waldorf quote "Holy Smokes" ruining their best joke. When the Snowman starts to melt, Statler and Waldorf heckle the Snowman stating "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the farmhouse" as Fozzie takes the Snowman to the back porch. As the storm gets worse, Kermit and Robin become worried that Miss Piggy won't be able to make it. The Swedish Chef calls in Big Bird where he tries to make a meal out of Big Bird only for Big Bird to give the Swedish Chef some chocolate-covered birdseed and the both sing "A Christmas Song." Afterwards, Big Bird asks the Swedish Chef what he'll be making, the Swedish Chef ends up making Shredded Wheat and Cranberry Sauce. As Beauregard states that there will be lots of snow for him to shovel tomorrow, Doc volunteers to help Kermit by going to look for Miss Piggy.
While Doc is looking for Miss Piggy, Kermit is called to the basement. When Robin states to Kermit about telling him about Fraggle Holes and that if they found one, they can go in to meet some Fraggles. Kermit sees the Fraggle Hole as he and Robin go in. As they travel through the Fraggle Hole, they go halfway as Kermit is surprised upon encountering Red Fraggle causing Kermit and Robin to back into Gobo Fraggle as Mokey, Wembley, and Boober also arrive with the five Fraggles curious about Kermit and Robin whom state that they are frogs. Boober claims that frogs carry disease where Kermit states that isn't true. When Kermit states that he wishes them a Merry Christmas, the Fraggle Five don't know what Christmas is. Robin states that Christmas is when everyone gathers together to be with their friends and family. The Fraggles state that they have a holiday similar to this as they sing "Pass it On" where the Fraggle Five are joined by the other Fraggles. Afterwards, Robin receives a Fraggle Pebble from Boober before Kermit and Robin leave. Upon reentering the farmhouse, Kermit and Robin are told by Scooter that Miss Piggy was heard outside. As Doc gets Miss Piggy to the farmhouse, Kermit tells the Swedish Chef to prepare some soup.
Now that everyone is present, Emily states that if there was anyone else coming, two of the Muppets will have to sleep on hangers that are hanging on the hooks on the wall. Gonzo and Animal like the idea as Floyd Pepper states that this is the only way Animal sleeps. Kermit states that is time for the annual "Carol Sing." During the carols, the Fraggle Five hear the songs and go check it out. When they appear behind the desk during the songs, Uncle Traveling Matt is seen next to Doc and Sprocket. After the songs, Kermit gives Miss Piggy a mink named Maureen who is a big fan of Miss Piggy. Robin the Frog gives Grover a Fraggle Pebble. Doc comes in disguised as Santa Claus and starts handing out presents as everyone starts to sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Jim Henson is seen watching this from the kitchen as he and Sprocket start to wash dishes. As the Muppets continue singing, Miss Piggy catches Kermit under the mistletoe and kisses him, and Kermit kisses her back. Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the Muppets then quote "Merry Christmas everyone."
When the special originally aired, the full rights to the songs were only secured for television. As a result, commercial video releases of the special in the US cut out several scenes. These scenes, however, are retained on the PAL video releases, as the US song rights are different than for other countries. All video releases derive from the 1989 edit, which contains less incidental music, and puts dissolves between scenes that originally faded to and from black for commercial breaks. (NBC added their own fades when airing the special.) Among the scenes that were cut from the video releases:
- Fozzie and the Snowman rehearsing their comedy act while singing "Sleigh Ride".
- The Muppets watching the home movies of their first Christmas together. In the edited version, Animal seems to rip through the screen immediately after they start watching.
- Miss Piggy's performance of "Home for the Holidays". This, unfortunately, meant cutting out the topper to the icy patch running gag.
- The original 1987 airing of the special had a brief 5-second shot of Fozzie and Elmo turning on the Christmas lights; this was cut in all subsequent broadcasts as well as the PAL DVD.
- In the caroling medley at the end, the problem with the music rights cuts out Kermit and Miss Piggy singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", and Statler and Waldorf singing "I Heard the Bells on Christmas".
- The scene with Fozzie and his mom hanging stockings was removed from later TV broadcasts. Henson remastered the special in the 1990s for television reruns, and had to cut this scene to make room for commercials.
Other edits that have been made to the special outside of the NTSC video releases include:
- The red A Muppet Family Christmas logo seen at the beginning was added for the home video releases of the special. In the original cut of the special, the logo is seen over Ma Bear's farmhouse at the end of the song "We Need a Little Christmas." However, it was slightly reworked for future television airings. This brief musical interlude was edited from the master and the logo was reinserted separately.
- The original 1987 airing featured a bumper in between 1980s holiday commercials with Kermit in front of a Christmas tree, saying "A Muppet Family Christmas will continue in a moment," as Fozzie is seen behind Kermit playing with two little stuffed animal bears as if they were puppets.
- The ABC airing has sponsor bumpers for Playskool and Toys R Us, plus a silent title bumper.
- The ABC, NBC, and DVD versions all have different end credits. The ABC version has the copyright information right below Jim Henson's name on the last credit. The NBC version has a completely different font, and has Henson and Disney logos after it. The DVD version is similar to the ABC one, but does not have the original copyright title, and cuts to a Henson logo.
- When this special aired on Nickelodeon, the following edits occurred:
- The title was seen in the first shot, instead of after the "We Need a Little Christmas" number ended.
- The music that played before Rowlf arrives at the farmhouse is cut.
- The Turkey meeting Camilla is cut (the scene fades to black after the turkey says, "This is starting to be fun").
- When Fozzie and his mom check off a list of who is sleeping where, a shot of a fireplace is shown over their beginning dialogue (originally, they were seen the whole time they were checking off sleeping arrangements).
- A shot of the tree is shown over dialogue of Fozzie getting ready to tell everybody that his mother has an announcement, as opposed to him being seen (this followed Fozzie and Elmo turning on the Christmas lights in the original version).
|Actor / Muppeteer||Character|
|Frank Oz|| Fozzie Bear|
Sam the Eagle
|Richard Hunt|| Scooter|
Gladys the Cow
|Caroll Spinney|| Big Bird|
Oscar the Grouch
|Jerry Nelson|| Robin the Frog|
Count Von Count
|Karen Prell|| Red Fraggle|
Maureen the Mink
|Kathryn Mullen||Mokey Fraggle|
|David Rudman||Miss Piggy's Cameraman|
Background Muppets (non-speaking)
Anything Muppets, Bobby Benson, Billy the Bear, Biff, Big Jeffy, Buster the Horse, Crazy Harry, Chickens, Clancy, Droop, Deer, Dimpley Fraggle, Elmo, Forgetful Jones, Fred the Wonder Horse, Fraggles, Feenie Fraggle, Fergus Fraggle, Louis Kazagger, Large Marvin Fraggle, Lou Fraggle, Marvin Suggs, A Muppaphone, Masterson Rat, Monsters, Marlon Fraggle, Morris Fraggle, Nigel the Conductor, Old McDougal, Osvaldo, el Grunon, Pops, Prairie Dogs, Prairie Dawn, Poco Loco, Rabbits, Raccoon, Rats, Rumple Fraggle, Sherlock Hemlock, Simon Soundman, Storyteller Fraggle, Tatooey Rat, Tosh Fraggle, Uncle Traveling Matt
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at A Muppet Family Christmas. The list of authors can be seen in the . As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|