Friends, ever since I first laid eyes on the Muppets, obviously thanks to episodes of Sesame Street – I have been a lifelong devotee to puppetry as well as the works of the late and great Jim Henson. That love for the characters created by Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and so many other talented puppeteers – grew in leaps and bounds though once The Muppet Show began airing in my neck of the woods in 1977. So much so that I can remember the excitement I felt when my Father informed me one morning that none other than Kermit the Frog would be hosting The Tonight Show. While I would normally fall asleep before Johnny Carson even had a chance to exit those iconic multicolored curtains, thanks to an evening nap I was all ready to stay up and watch Kermit fill in for Carson.
You might be interested to know that this particular episode of The Tonight Show originally aired on April 2nd of 1979 – just a few months shy of the release of The Muppet Movie here in the States. Kermit is joined on the show by the likes of Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Uncle Deadly, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, and Gonzo to name a few. The special guests on the program however are the legendary Vincent Price as well as Bernadette Peters – both who had already made appearances on The Muppet Show in ’77. In addition to singer and songwriter Leo Sayer and Dr. Michael Fox – a veterinarian that was at that time working with the Humane Society of the United States.
Musical numbers for this episode include Peters performing “Wake Up and Live” and “Just One Person“, the Electric Mayhem providing their rendition of “New York State of Mind“, the Javas dancing to “Java“, with Sayer singing “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “When I Need You“, and Kermit of course ending the show with “It’s Not Easy Being Green“.
Now before I let you enjoy this awesome 1979 episode of The Tonight Show with Kermit the Frog – I have to inform you that it gets even better – as this video includes the commercials that aired that night on NBC!