Lifeless Man Playing: The Muppet Present’s Unsung Spooky Ghost

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Glad Halloween!

Halloween, after all, is a time for spooky stuff. You understand what’s a spooky factor that occurred on The Muppet Present? Effectively, sure, it was spooky when Kermit was a vampire and bit Vincent Worth, however that’s not what I imply. I’m speaking a couple of completely different factor.

Yeah, okay, it was additionally spooky when Alice Cooper tried to get the Muppets to promote their souls to Devil, however that’s not what I’m speaking about both. I’m speaking a couple of spooky Muppet Present factor that doesn’t get mentioned as a lot on-line, in all probability as a result of it doesn’t instantly contain any of the primary Muppet characters.

I’m speaking in regards to the time Kenny Rogers sang his hit music “The Gambler” on a prepare , surrounded by gangly Muppets with human fingers, and it was a spooky ghost story. You possibly can watch it on YouTube right here.

I wrote in regards to the Kenny Rogers episode for our “The Muppet Present: 40 Years Later” overview sequence, however I need to single out this musical quantity in the present day, each as a result of it’s sufficiently eerie for Halloween, and since I needed to put in writing about one thing scary however we’ve already achieved an article on Bert and Ernie within the pyramid.

This isn’t a type of Muppet Present numbers that’s solely vaguely impressed by the music, or weirdly unrelated to the music. The staging of this musical quantity is a largely devoted retelling of the music “The Gambler.” When Kenny Rogers sings about handing the titular Gambler his whiskey and a cigarette, we see him bodily hand over that whiskey and that cigarette. And whereas the music just isn’t usually thought of to be scary – not like “Thriller” or “The Monster Swim” – this model of it’s fairly eerie.

To start with, there’s the design of the three Muppets within the prepare automotive. They’ve extra real looking faces than your common Whatnot. They’re outdated males, like Statler, Waldorf, and Pops – however none of these guys are creepy. They’re kinda cuddly. They’ve even made plush dolls of Statler and Waldorf that your youngsters can cuddle with. No person desires to cuddle with a Gambler doll. (If I’m incorrect and also you do need to cuddle with a Gambler doll, please let me know and I’ll concern a correction!)

And their fingers! They’ve actual human fingers! Actual fingers are often reserved for characters who’ve to stay their grubby little fingers in meals, just like the Swedish Chef and Angelo. However listed below are these three one-shot characters with 5 fleshy metacarpals on every hand. Has a chill gone down your backbone but?!

Essentially the most alarming a part of the quantity occurs later: Simply because the prophet Kenny Rogers foretold, the Gambler (who’s carried out by Jerry Nelson, glorious as all the time) dies in the course of the music. I’ve heard of a “useless hand” in poker, however that is ridiculous! And but, his time on Earth and on this prepare just isn’t over. He instantly comes again as a ghost! After which he begins doing slightly dance, now extra energetic than he ever was when he was alive. He appears actually blissful to be useless. And he’s fairly spry for a useless man! (That’s my favourite Offspring music.)

This doesn’t actually come throughout nicely in a screenshot, however the dancing ghost Gambler is even creepier than the sitting alive Gambler. I’m not the kind of individual to be simply unsettled by Muppet legs, however the Gambler’s do the trick. It’s like… they’re slightly bit too lengthy? They’re simply disproportionate to the remainder of his physique to make me go “Yuhhh!”

Based on my Google Dwelling, based on Wikipedia, based on a 2009 research by the Pew Analysis Heart, 18% of Individuals say they’ve seen a ghost. I’ve by no means seen a ghost, but when they’re something just like the Gambler, I hope I by no means do.

And but, I’ve to confess… he’s a reasonably good dancer. I can’t think about having strikes like his after I’m that outdated, or that useless.

In lots of ghost tales, a ghost is the spirit of an individual who died and has unfinished enterprise. As soon as they end their enterprise, they will transfer on to the subsequent world, like shifting on to the subsequent degree of Burger Time after you’ve constructed sufficient burgers. That’s how that recreation works, proper? I believe so. HEY, GOOGLE! HOW DOES BURGER TIME – NO, NOT “BURGER RESTAURANTS NEAR ME.” I SAID “BURGER—” YOU KNOW WHAT? FORGET IT.

Anyway, the Gambler may be very clearly an individual who died. And he comes again in ghost kind a lot extra shortly than ghosts often do in fiction, so he have to be keen to complete that enterprise. And what’s the very first thing he does? He dances! We are able to assume that, with a reputation like “the Gambler,” this fellow will need to have made most of his earnings by taking part in playing cards for cash. However you recognize what I believe? I believe he by no means actually needed to be an expert gambler. He all the time needed to make use of these lengthy legs of his to be… A DANCER!

And thus, as quickly as he dies, he does a joyful, translucent dance. And as quickly because the music his over, he fades away, having lastly fulfilled his true objective. He’s prepared to maneuver on. He is aware of when to stroll away – and when to shuffle-step away, leaving Kenny Rogers to smile awkwardly on the digicam.

I take again the whole lot I mentioned. The Gambler isn’t creepy in any respect!

Effectively, possibly he’s nonetheless slightly bit creepy. However I like him extra now.

By the best way, after I advised my spouse and Powerful Pigs contributor Staci that I used to be going to put in writing in regards to the Gambler as a result of he was scary, she requested if I needed to decorate because the Gambler for Halloween. That’s a good suggestion! Subsequent yr I’m going to put on a grey wig and a ratty outdated swimsuit, carry a pretend cigarette and playing cards, and go round doing ghost dances. Ha. I can’t wait to see how freaked out individuals get once they notice I’ve human fingers!

Click on right here to trip on a prepare with a useless man on the Powerful Pigs discussion board!

by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com

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