Remembering the Special: ‘John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together’

Did you know this was a thing? But then again when have the Muppets let us down? If it’s ever happened, it certainly hasn’t been around the holidays. That’s for sure.

Videos by American Songwriter

Kermit has starred memorably in a number of excellent Christmas offerings, from the host of the fantastic Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas to playing Bob Cratchit in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

But did you know the Muppets collaborated with one of America’s greatest songwriters? Mr. Rocky Mountain High, himself. John Denver. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

The Special

John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together aired in 1979 as a Christmas television special starring our favorite Jim Henson characters and Denver. The show first aired on December 5, 1979, on ABC and while it has never been released on any home video, the songs are widely available.

The 50-minute show opens with Denver and the Muppet gang singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with signature hilarity. Other songs include “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Deck the Halls,” “Silent Night” and “Little Saint Nick.”

The plot of the special is rather meta: it’s the creation of the special, itself. And at the center, of course, is the one and only (vein) Miss Piggy. During the planning for her performance, she goes head to head with Denver in her dressing room in what some perceive as flirtations. Dressed as a doll named Fifi, Piggy sings “I Will Wait for You” while Denver, as a wooden soldier, tries to keep it together.

The special ends with Denver telling the story of Jesus’ first day on Earth—aka the original Christmas—and then he sings a rendition of “Silent Night” with the Muppets while children from the audience join in the song. All in all, it’s a heartfelt, if not a little bizarre offering. But what else would you expect from the combination of Denver and Kermit?

See below for both the special and the soundtrack. And let us know your thoughts on the performances—especially Denver’s. What’s your favorite song? Comment below.

Photo: John Denver album cover art

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