Sunday, May 16, 2010

"When" by Rowlf the Dog

Choosing my favourite Muppet is a kind of Sophie's Choice not even Meryl Streep and William Styron combined could make; one thing many of those Muppets I like best have in common, though, is that they are performed by Jim Henson, and such is the case with Rowlf the Dog. Like many kids I'd always wanted a dog for as long as I could remember, and in the years before our family finally got one, I had a Rowlf puppet which satisfied my need in much the same way an inflatable lover is an adequate substitute for a real one (which is to say, not very much, but better than nothing).

Although I grew up watching The Muppet Show in its initial run, after watching Season One on DVD I was amazed to discover that many of Rowlf's finest moments were shown in the UK but sacrificed for commercial consideration in North America; imagine my delight in not only discovering a vast quantity of new material decades after I thought I'd seen it all, but doing so in flawless audio and video quality.

This song, simply entitled When, was written by Abe Burrows, and performed with the usual flair by Henson in Episode 219, during Season Two of the show; in this instance, though, Rowlf's performance wasn't the UK Spot. As a tribute to him, for years after Henson's death Rowlf fell silent, appearing only now and then to occasionally tickle the ivories; those who knew him said Rowlf was the character that was closest in style and substance to Henson himself. I can think of no better tribute to Henson on this, the anniversary of his death, than to let Rowlf sing again...
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