Live Journal entry 2005: If I directed “The Muppets’ Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
This was a question on the Tough Pigs forum but I thought my reply was pretty funny, so I decided to post it here too.
(Note: I would never personally harm Steve Whitmire. Nor would I laugh while he coward in fear behind Dave Goelz.)
In my Wizard of Oz…
I will have Jewel Staite as Dorothy. Queen Latifa can still play auntie Em if Louise Gold is unavailable (not puppeteering though). Uncle Henry will be played by Jeffery Tambor. (Because I gotta keep him in.)
Quentin Taratino will appear as the Wizard’s doorman with the following memorable line: “Who’s ringin’ that mother****in’ bell?!” (Hey, they bleeped out Dr. Phil VanNueter in a episode of Muppets Tonight. And it could not have been funnier. They also silently bleeped out a blooper of Dave as Waldorf saying “Ow my ass” or something like that. Anyway, why am I explaining myself?!)
Rizzo will be Toto. Bill Barretta will get disappointed with casting and therefore the casting would be momentarily rearranged having Johnny Fiama as the Wizard. This is very short lived.
Steve Whitmire becomes over worked and takes a week vacation. Eric Jacobson finishes all Piggy’s scenes, also requesting a week vacation. Filming screeches to a halt. Crew gets vacation until director feels like coming back from her vacation.
Filming resumes. Toto is played by Pepe and scenes are reshot. Crew takes another break to re-evaluate why they signed up for this in the first place. Director struggles to decide who to please with the casting of the Wizard: Hard core muppet fans like herself, or mainstream casual audience, thus thrusting the Muppets back into the super stardom spotlight they deserve.
On set director is seen on the phone entirely too much making ridiculous bargains as if she were Radar from M*A*S*H. Muppeteers mutter quietly among themselves. Steve speaks a tad too loudly one day and director overhears words like “crazy,” “caffeine dependant,” “bags under eyes,” and “rehab.” Steve is not seen for four days and after return sticks close to Dave Goelz, often hiding behind him as the director approaches, making for a very funny, yet sad sight.
Filming wraps with the exception of the Wizard scenes. Ricky Boyd grows tense.
Director finally agrees to shoot Wizard scenes. Brian Henson is cast as The Wizard. Scenes are wrapped in four days. Brian is absent for two. Director fumes. Steve goes missing for three hours. Dave find him hiding under the sink in his trailer.
WEEK 52 and 1/2
Brian returns to the set, sporting a black eye and stitches in his eyebrow. Bill receives medical bill for Brian’s stitches. When questioned, Bill replies with “had it coming smug pansy (muttermutter) Johnny Fiama (mutter) stupid monkey.”
Author realizes this post is getting out of hand.
Film premiere! Audiences are slightly confused and hard core fans delight in the return of Frank Oz as the Wizard.
WEEK 77 and 2 1/2 hours
Hard core fans TP directors’ house upon discovering Frank Oz was digitalized into the movie. Star Wars action figures are burned on director’s front porch in symbolic effigies.