Category Archives: Frank Oz

Go Watch Muppet Guys Talking

Muppet-Guys-Talking-the-Muppet-GuysIf you’re a Muppet fan, chances are you’re already anxiously awaiting the release of Muppet Guys Talking, Frank Oz’s documentary of . . . well, Muppet guys talking about life, art, and working with Jim Henson.  And who are the Muppet Guys? They’re Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Fran Brill, Dave Goelz, and Bill Barretta. More information — including how you can watch the documentary when it’s released later this week — is available over on  Go.

While you wait, you might also wanna check out this really wonderful interview with Frank Oz, conducted by those savvy fellas over at Tough Pigs. And I’ve gotta admit: I’m thrilled to be on the receiving end of some first-rate Frank Oz ballbreaking:

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NOTE: I actually love Paul McCartney.

A Today Show Update

UnknownOkay, I have it on good authority that the Today show segment will air tomorrow — Tuesday, October 15 — during the eight o’clock hour.

And while I haven’t seen the segment — and won’t until everyone else does — I can tell you that you’ll see Frank Oz in it.  So that should be enough, really, for you to wanna tune in.

Set  your DVRs now. Or not. I’m not the boss of you.


Okay, NOW You Should Adjust Your Sets…

UnknownIf you’ve got your DVR set for Tuesday, September 24, to catch me with Frank Oz on the Today show . . . well, it’s time to adjust your settings. NBC told us last week that this might happen, but now it’s been confirmed:

The Today Show appearance with Frank Oz has been moved from Tuesday, September 24 to Thursday, September 26. 

Not to worry, nothing’s gone wrong — apparently, these things happen all the time when scheduling live television.  While it’s a bit of a bummer that we won’t be there on Jim’s birthday (and official launch date for the biography), my bigger concern was whether Frank Oz’s schedule would still be open.  Thankfully, it was.

So, once again, set — or reset — those DVRs, because we’re gonna be on the Today show. Yes, really. I swear.

Do Not Adjust Your Set…

Here’s the announcement I’ve been waiting to make for a while, but I wanted to wait until it officially showed up in my own TV listings.  Which it finally did last night on my snazzy Verizon FiOs DVR:


On the same morning Jim Henson is published, I’ll be on The Today Show to talk all about Jim, some time (so I’m told) between 7 and 9 a.m. That’s pretty freaking cool in itself — and I’m both excited and a bit nervous about it — but what this listing doesn’t tell you is who’ll also be sitting with me to talk about Jim Henson . . . someone who knows quite a lot about Jim and the Muppets.

It’s this guy, right here. MV5BMTI1NTM4ODA0OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODMxMjQ0._V1._SY314_CR6,0,214,314_

Yup. It’s FRANK OZ.

If you’re writing it down, it’s The Today Show on NBC on September 24.  Check your local listings for the right time. You won’t want to miss this one because, come on, IT’S FRANK OZ.

Good as Goelz


Dave Goelz with Gonzo.

Over the past few weeks, advance copies of Jim Henson have made their way out into the world and into the hands of reviewers and other readers. It’s been gratifying to hear the (so far) overwhelmingly positive feedback, but there was one set of readers I was particularly interested in hearing from: Jim Henson’s friends and colleagues.  I made a point, then, of personally sending advance copies to a number of Jim’s collaborators, both as a token of thanks for their help in writing Jim’s story, but also to see if they — like Frank Oz — thought I had captured the Jim Henson they had known in the pages of the book.

You can imagine my delight, then, when I received a note from Muppet performer Dave Goelz (who I talked about earlier right here), who had this to say about Jim Henson:

“I loved it. Brian Jay Jones vividly portrays Jim’s journey, and also the intersecting journeys of his colleagues and friends. In spite of the fact that Jim and I worked together closely for many years, there were compartments of his life that I hadn’t known before. I was completely involved and couldn’t put the book down. A tremendous job.” — Dave Goelz

As I can’t seem to say enough: Thank you, Dave Goelz.



Frank Oz

One of the really great thrills of working on this project over the past five years has been meeting, interviewing, and, in many cases, getting to know Jim Henson’s family, friends, collaborators, and colleagues. To a person, they’ve all been generous with their time, warm in their welcomes, and interesting and engaging. I’ve spoken with people in living rooms and kitchens, offices and workshops, on studio sets, on Skype, and yes, even over the old-fashioned telephone.

It became immediately apparent that with a topic like Jim Henson, getting people to talk — and talk excitedly — would never be a problem. As a result, most of my conversations — which I usually tried to keep to an hour  — often sprawled out to two, three, sometimes beyond four hours. And even then, we still found it hard to wrap things up and stop talking.  Jim had, and still has, that effect on people.

There was one person, however, I was incredibly nervous about meeting in person: Frank Oz. My concern was never about him;  instead, I was worried that I would completely geek out and be unable to have a meaningful conversation with him. Not only am I a fan from way back, and not only is he pivotal to Jim’s story, but . . . well, heck, it’s Frank Oz. 

As it turns out, we had a great time and conversation together — so much so, in fact, that we had several more afterward. Oz is an incredibly private guy, so I won’t go into any detail except to say that he’s extremely thoughtful, forthright, introspective, brilliant, and — as you can surely imagine — genuinely entertaining and laugh out loud funny. Jim’s story wouldn’t have been complete without his participation, and I’m grateful — and thrilled — for his involvement and enthusiasm.

It is my great pleasure, then, to have the following blurb appear on Jim Henson’s biography:

I worked with Jim for over thirty years.  He was one of my closest friends. And yet I found out things about him in Jim Henson that were new to me.  Brian Jay Jones has captured the layers of Jim’s genius and humanity as well as the flaws that made Jim, like all of us, so delightfully imperfect. Jim needed this book to be written. I thank Brian for giving Jim life again. This book has captured the spirit of Jim Henson.

— Frank Oz

All I can say is: Thank you, Frank Oz. For everything.

Jim, Frank, and Merv

On June 26, 1984, Jim Henson and Frank Oz were out promoting The Muppets Take Manhattan and made a memorable appearance as guests on the Merv Griffin Show  (“Frank and I do entire Merv Griffin Show,” Jim wrote in his journal). Jim and Oz performed Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal and Fozzie before finally heading for the guest sofa.

I love the way Jim looks in this footage. He’s smartly dressed, and while relaxed, he’s still not quite comfortable appearing on camera. But don’t take my word for it; let Jim explain it himself.

Here are a little more than eleven minutes of fun from The Merv Griffin Show (sorry about the aggressive on-screen sales pitch — this is a promo for a Merv Griffin collection). Enjoy.