austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Why don't you get things started

Occasionally, I have one of those weeks which challenges my mental model of the world. With the recent rise of Wikipedia and Wikipedia-like artifacts these seem to be happening more often. Let me warm up with the first of them, then: You know Rizzo the Rat, the who's about the only post-Muppet Show Muppet to really stand out enough that he could narrate a made-for-TV movie based on A Christmas Carol? It turns out he's not a post-Muppet Show character after all: he first appeared as a bit player in the Christopher Reeve show and got named on-screen in the Andy Williams show. I learn this through the Muppet Wiki, and incidentally there's also a Muppet Wiki, which could easily threaten to take over my entire reading life if I'm not careful. But apparently Rizzo was there for a season and a quarter or so, in what the Muppet Wiki folks describe as ``scene-stealing'' if background roles.

This goes back a bit farther than this week -- actually, it goes to when I got the first season of The Muppet Show on DVD: they ended a lot of sketches back then by a character either blowing up or being devoured by a larger Muppet. It all comes out pretty funny, but it is a bit odd to realize it was things like this which were laid down early in my mind as fertile sources for comedy, when you consider how little of the day I do spend blowing up or devouring people for the sake of being entertaining.

Also, after The Muppet Show went off the air, a daily comic strip based on it went out through King Features Syndicate. The strip was done by Guy and Brad Gilchrist, now currently known at least in comic strips circles as the people who've revitalized Nancy for King Features Syndicate. One again it's an odd little thing I'd never known about, and it turns out I could have e-mailed one of the folks behind it since at least one of the Gilchrists posts now and then in rec.arts.comics.strips. The Muppet Wiki has a link to some of the strips, particularly from the earliest days, and they're a pretty respectable, I'd say, adapting the Muppets to comic strip form about as well as could be done, I think, with about the right worldview and a couple solid laughs.

Trivia: Joseph Henry's 1831 electromagnet was on the list of items to be evacuated from Washington, DC, if it were to be attacked in World War II. Source: Joseph Henry, Albert E Moyer.

Currently Reading: Energy Forms: Allegory and Science in the Era of Classical Thermodynamics, Bruce Clarke.


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