We’re going to do our best to keep from setting you up for a disappointment by overselling The Muppets (out in theaters tomorrow). Seriously, we’re going to try. But the fact of the matter is, it’s utterly delightful — a charming, witty, and frequently heartbreaking little gem. If we’re responding to it with more enthusiasm than it deserves, so be it; we grew up loving the Muppet movies, and this new effort somehow manages to summon up the spirit of (to borrow the Star Wars parlance) the “original trilogy” while also existing as its own wonderful addition to the Henson canon. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll leave singing “Mahna Mahna.” So, in celebration of the franchise’s return to form, we’d like to pause and enjoy a few of our favorite moments from the earlier Muppet movies; add your own in the comments.
Kermit rides a bike, The Muppet Movie
“Jolson sang, Barrymore spoke, Garbo laughed, and now Kermit the Frog rides a bicycle,” began Roger Ebert’s original 1979 review of The Muppet Movie. “If you can figure out how they were able to show Kermit pedaling across the screen, then you are less a romantic than I am: I prefer to believe he did it himself.” It apparently had something to do with invisible strings and marionette crane, but never mind; the point is, early on in the gang’s inaugural screen effort, it was clear that it was going to be a magical experience. (Never ones to rest on their laurels, the Muppeteers put the whole gang on bikes for their next film.)