On a special December 23rd 1993 interview, after the September VHS release of The Muppet Christmas Carol, Larry King interviewed Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. They discussed several things including the movie, their personal lives, and the recent release of Jim Henson: The Works – The Art, the Magic, the Imagination (a 40th anniversary book about Jim Henson’s creative work). As usual Kermit and Piggy were perfectly in character, and, as anyone who has seen Muppets improvising (or watched an interviewer constantly forget that Elmo is five-years-old) knows, the whole thing was cute and amusing yet often weird. During the course of the interview Larry asked Kermit if he would like to stand in for Larry at some point to which Kermit agreed.
Afterward, Larry interviewed Frank Oz and Cheryl Henson (one of Jim’s three daughters and president of the Jim Henson Foundation). They discussed the phenomenon that is the Muppets; how people of all ages can find ways to identify with the characters while responding to them like real people, and the passing off of the role of Kermit from Jim to Steve Whitmire.
April 1st, 1994. A date which will live in puppetry.
Rizzo announced the CNN title cards. Gonzo stood in as director. Kermit the Frog hosted Larry King Live.
A full hour long episode was produced in the normal show format. The first guest was Ted Koppel. Kermit and Ted talked about Ted’s hair looking fake, their respective reporter careers, Ted’s impersonations (he does a really good Ross Perot), and then they sung a song (a modified version of You’re a Grand Old Flag that Ted sang to Nixon when they were in China with lyrics about the Great Wall).
Next to be interviewed were Hulk Hogan and Carol Alt; there to promote their upcoming (and ultimately short running) TV show Thunder in Paradise.
Then came David Gergen, who was councilor to the President (Nixon through Clinton). David ended up plugging Kermit’s book One Frog Can Make a Difference: Kermit’s Guide to Life in the 90’s, and he accepted a consideration of inviting Kermit to a state dinner.
David Gergen also brought along a Muppet version of the Clinton’s cat Socks. Kermit and Socks talked politics and rumors, as well as addressed a fight Socks had with another cat out on the White House lawn. Socks claimed it was a political discussion with Bob Dole’s cat.
As usual people called in with questions for the guests, although this was mostly Miss Piggy trying to derail the conversation and point out that it was unfair that she wasn’t there co-hosting, and at one point Animal called in to talk with Hulk. For the first half of the show Gonzo would walk on and give direction to Kermit until Gonzo found out that the show was “airing live” which caused Gonzo to freak out, run through the studio and production areas chased by a camera screaming his head off, eventually hiding out with Bernard Shaw on the set of CNN Inside Politics.
The 93 interview
, the whole 94 episode
, and a later 96 Larry King Live interview
with Johnny Fiama
and Sal the Monkey
promoting the Johnny Fiama Show
segment on Muppets Tonight
are all available to view on youtube through the Muppetwiki