Series: Muppets Tonight

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Muppets Tonight

Muppets Tonight logo

Series details

Released: 4 May 1997 (Spain)

13 September 1997 (USA)
Season 2, Episode 1

Director: Brain Henson
Writers: Jennifer Barrow, Dick Blasucci, Paul Flaherty, Darin Henry, Jim Lewis, Bernie Keating, Kirk Thatcher and Patric M. Verrone
Producers: Patric M. Verrone
Productions Companies: Jim Henson Productions - Brian Henson, Dick Blasucci
Created by: Jim Henson Productions
Genre(s): Comedy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 24 minutes
Technical Specification(s): Country: USA
Language: English
Sound Mix: Dolby
Color: Color
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Original Channel(s):

ABC/Disney Channel

See also

She Gave Her Angels Happy Tears

Muppets Tonight is an American live-action/puppet television series created by Jim Henson Productions. The show ran on ABC from 8 March to 14 July 1996. When it got canceled after only 10 episodes, the show moved to Disney Channel where the second season was broadcast and the entire run of both seasons was often repeated between 1997 and 2000.

Muppets Tonight is more or less a continuation of the The Muppet Show, both in narrative and in form. It is set in a television studio rather than a theater and features a human guest interacting with the Muppets in sketches and 'backstage banter'. Most episodes were created in two versions. A somewhat shorter US version allowing commercial breaks, and a longer version, initially created for the BBC (which doesn’t air commercials). The extra segments were called 'UK spots' but were also used for most other international airings, including Canada (The Family Channel), Belgium (BRT) and The Netherlands (KRO).

Prince (as ) appeared in the first episode of the second season of Muppets Tonight (production #206). It was first aired by Canal + in Spain on 4 May 1997 and later on US television on 13 September 1997, almost a full year after it had been recorded (on 28 October 1996). Reason for the delay was the cancellation of the show on ABC when pre-production for the second season was already underway.

Unlike many other guests on the show Prince attended the table-read the Sunday night before the actual shooting on 28 October 1996. He agreed on most of the proposed scenes, but requested that the planned show finale (‘Purple Rats') would be replaced with a stripped down rendition of She Gave Her Angels. This discussion is basically re-enacted in the show itself. Filming that final scene took all night, with production wrapping up in the early hours of 29 October 1996.

Songs performed

  1. Delirious (performed by the Muppets)
  2. Starfish And Coffee
  3. Raspberry Sorbet (snippet)
  4. She Gave Her Angels
  5. Let’s Go Crazy (snippet)

Cast & Crew

Bill Barretta‬
‪Kevin Clash‬‬
‪Dave Goelz‬‬
‪Brian Henson‬‬
‪Jerry Nelson ‬‬
‪Steve Whitmire‬
‪Leslie Carrara-Rudolph‬‬
‪Brad Abrell‬
‪Tim Blaney‬
‪Kevin Carlson‬
‪Len Levitt‬
‪Drew Massey‬
‪David Rudman‬
‪Joe Selph‬

‪with Prince (as )

Main Crew


Other Crew


Prince visits the Muppets Tonight studios and interacts with them and participate in some scenes.

Full Story

The cold open sees Prince entering the studio and encountering security guard Bobo the Bear who refuses to let him through as he can’t find Prince’s name on the guest list. When Prince shows him the Emancipation album with his symbol on it, Bobo thinks it’s a Rorschach test. While Bobo looks for the symbol on his list, Prince sneaks into elevator.

After the opening segment (with Kermit the Frog holding a -sign, to announce this evening’s guest star), Prince is greeted by various singing Muppets, dressed like him. Gonzo is wearing a Diamonds And Pearls era yellow suit, Kermit is wearing a Purple Rain era outfit, Seymour the Elephant is wearing bottomless pants (like Prince at the MTV Video Music Awards). The song the Muppets are singing is Delirious. Among the Muppets greeting him, there is also a Muppet called 'Purple Rain Man', which basically is a purple Muppet whose appearance and mannerisms are a parody of Raymond Babbit, Dustin Hoffman’s titular character in the 1988 film Rain Man. The dialogue segment for this character was a so called 'UK spot' and was only used in international versions of the show.

Prince is not featured in the two scenes that follow.

The fifth scene in the episode sees characters Zippity Zap and Clifford introduce Prince by telling the audience he made his debut on The Muppet Show back when he was still unknown. What follows is that 'old' footage. It is called 'Muppet Hoo-Haw' and sees Prince dressed in a farmer’s outfit exchange some country jokes with some Muppets.

Prince is not featured in the scene that follows.

The seventh scene in the episode takes place in a Muppet commissary. Prince tells Clifford, Rizzo, Seymour and Pepe that inspiration can come from everywhere, even from the lunch menu. What follows is a re-enactment of the Starfish And Coffee lyrics with some Muppets, including one that resembles Prince himself (third in line after 'Kevin’ and 'Lucy'). When the song is over the scene pans back to the commissary. There Rizzo the Rat bets $5 that Prince can’t repeat this with the desert menu, which happens to be 'Raspberry Sorbet'.

Prince is not featured in the three scenes that follow.

The international version of the show has a scene with Gary Cahuenga, a ventriloquist’s dummy with a mind of his own. He asks Prince if he likes to work with a dummy one day. Prince remarks: “In my business, they’re called executives.” This scene was not in the US version, which cuts in when Gary Cahuenga is leaving. Rizzo and Clifford enter and mention that for the show finale they plan to have 5,000 purple rats form a symbol. Prince replies that the symbol has a spiritual meaning and that he prefers to just go out on stage and play a song on the piano.

The twelfth scene in this episode sees Prince perform the (at that time still unreleased) song She Gave Her Angels, with some Muppets re-enacting the lyrics in the background. When the song is finished, a variety of Muppets enter the stage, asking for another song like that. Prince starts Let’s Go Crazy instead and says goodbye to the audience.

The show ends with another skit that does not feature Prince, followed by b-roll footage and credits.

Making of
Shooting Schedule & Locations
Additional Information

Promotion (at time of release) Trivia

  • H.M. Buff has stated in an interview that Prince recorded a humourous version of 1999 called 1799 in 1996 at Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota for a planned skit (in which he would have been on disguised as a 18th century musician) for this Muppets Tonight episode. This version did not make the final cut, however, and remains unreleased.

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