I realized this morning that I have not seen either Emmett Otter’s Jug-band Christmas or The Christmas Toy in many, many years. Mentioning this sad fact to my wife, I was informed that she has NEVER seen either of these movies. People: Ask the important questions before committing to the engagement.
For some reason, ABC Family does not include these fine films in their annual 25 Days of Christmas rota (with 800 airings of Harry Potter, maybe there’s not room). In a fit of Christmas pique, I turned to the Internet to tell me if they exist in DVD format. They DO. Emmett came out in 2006, and The Christmas Toy was just released this year. What’s more, you can get ’em in a two-pack. Hooray, right?
Here’s the other thing I’ve found, however: The Kermit the Frog scenes that bookend both movies? Erased from existence. They are not there. What’s more, it’s difficult to find specific information on exactly why this is. The best I’ve been able to dig up is the nebulous “legal reasons.” The website Muppet Newsflash suggested in 2008 that the excision has to do with Disney now owning Kermit and the Muppets.
This is where I’m confused. Both movies were made by Jim Henson Entertainment. The DVDs are both released by HiT Entertainment (which is also responsible for Barney, but don’t hold that against them). I now read the HiT was once Henson International Television. Is this company different from the Muppets proper? From Wikipedia:
On May 7, 2003, the Henson family repurchased the Henson Company for $78 million. Nine months later they sold the rights to the classic Muppets and to Bear in the Big Blue House to The Walt Disney Company (15 years after the announcement of the first Disney-Muppet deal).
Kermit the Frog served as the mascot for The Jim Henson Company until the sale of the Muppet characters to Disney.
There’s more on that Wikipedia page, but I don’t feel comfortable referencing it considering it DOES NOT CITE A SINGLE DAMN SOURCE. Seriously Wikipedia? And you wonder why people have issues with you?
Regardless, I guess that would explain why a movie that stars muppets could not include scenes with, well, THE Muppet. Maybe these are just muppety puppets. Further, I suppose it may explain why the movies themselves are absent from the (Disney-owned) ABC Family playlist (but the 800 Harry Potter movies they show each year are pretty damn Christmassy, right?). Beyond this, the Internet eight-ball is not forthcoming with more detailed answers.
So I’ve got my DVDs, and the main stories are all there for me to annoy my wife with. But it’s frustrating that an entire element of the movie that I remember fondly has been erased, Stalin-style, from existence due to corporate shenanigans about which I care not a whit. That includes the big song at the finish (jump to 8:11 in the clip). My fourth-grade self is furious.
It does, however, please me that the Wikipedia page for The Christmas Toy is emblazoned with the original, Kermit-centric VHS cover. Strike against the corporations, Internet citizenry!