Advent Calendar House - TV Holiday & Christmas Specials

The Great Santa Claus Switch

Episode Summary

Muppets kidnap the Sandy Claws. Guests: Tori Schmidt, Tony Whitaker

Episode Notes

🎄It’s 1970, and Santa’s been locked up in an underground cave with 2 giant Muppet monsters.  

Join us as we venture through the tunnels under Santa’s workshop to uncover Jim Henson’s first ever TV holiday special, presented by The Ed Sullivan Show and featuring the first Muppet performances by Richard Hunt, Fran Brill, Marilyn Sokol, and John Lovelady, as well as the first appearances of Thog and a familiar-looking Frackle who’d later be reworked into the Great Gonzo.  

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🎙 Guests:  

Tori Schmidt (Muppets No Context, The Muppetwt Awards)  

Tony Whitaker (@muppetdude, Muppet Wiki)  

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💬 Topics & Tangents:  

1. “The Great Santa Claus Switch” on Muppet Wiki.  

2. ToughPigs.com’s transcript of the special, 2004.   

3. Jim Henson, Thog, and Lothar on “The Dick Cavett Show,” 1971.  

4. Taminella Grinderfall in “Tales of the Tinkerdee.”  

5. Jim Henson’s Red Book entries on the special’s casting and debut.  

6. Tony’s art of the Two-Headed Monster as the Miser Brothers.  

7. So Many Muppets Are Named Fred.  

8. Daniel Seagren as Spider-Man on “The Electric Company.”  

9. Richard Hunt as Elmo.  

10. Snarl, the Frackle who would become Gonzo.  

11. My Emmet Otter’s Teenage Mutant Jug-Band Christmas T-shirt.  

12. We have dubbed the green Frackle who looks like Thig with a beak and horns “Theg.”  

13. “This Is Halloween” in a Sesame Place parade.  

14. “8 Balls of Fur.”  

15. Stop calling them “Muppeteers.”  

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📼 Commercial Break:  

FritoLay Holiday Party Display Commercial, 1970.  

“Noëlco” Razor Santa Commercial, 1970.  

Merry Britsmas, all things Christmas from a British perspective.  

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“The Great Santa Claus Switch” © 1970 Sullivan Productions, Inc.