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Video: 'Muppets Most Wanted' trailer

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Looks like we have an addendum to the addendum; but since this movie comes out next week (and our own beloved editor is apparently clueless about its existence), now is a good time to share the trailer for Muppets Most Wanted.

Muppets Most Wanted stars (besides the Muppets, obviously) Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell and is directed by James Bobin. It hits American theaters on March 21.

Animation: The 'Clangers' are returning

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From 1969 to 1972, BBC-TV presented a series of 26 10-minute stop-motion animated children’s episodes about the Clangers, tiny pink mouse-like denizens of another planet, and their cook, the Soup Dragon. The series was popular with British children and parents alike.

The Cartoon Brew has announced, in an article by Neil Emmett, that Clangers (or The Clangers) will make a comeback in 2015, with 52 new episodes for CBeebies in Britain and the preschool channel Sprout in the U.S. The new series will be produced in stop-motion animation of knitted puppets by Peter Firmin, the original puppet maker and puppeteer (now 84), with writing supervision by Daniel Postgate, the son of the creator and original writer, Oliver Postgate. The article contains one of the original 10-minute episodes.

Here Come the Muppets Again

Walt Disney Pictures have announced several upcoming feature films, and among them is the sequel to the successful 2011 re-launch of The Muppets. Currently titled The Muppets… Again, the new film is scheduled for release in March of 2014. According to The Muppet Wiki, “The film is planned to be a ‘comedy caper’ set in Europe.  Ricky Gervais will star as ‘a male lead whose intentions are always in question’ along with Ty Burrell as an Interpol inspector, Tina Fey as a ‘Russian femme fatale,’ and a ‘slew of cameos’”. [Oh like they ever have that in a Muppet movie!] The sequel will be again directed by James Bobin, and scripted by Nick Stoller, who co-wrote the 2011 film with star Jason Segel.


image c. 2013 Walt Disney Pictures

Retrospective: Still the world’s most awesome fighting team

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After years of comics, cartoons and movies, they’re still a lean, green fighting machine.

TMNT 1987 series logoBorn in 1984 as an underground comics parody of various martial arts and mutant comic books, the reptilian superhero team known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles turned 28 last May, making them a bit old to still be considered teenagers.

Ha! It Kills Us!

Word is out around Hollywood that 80′s favorite ALF will be coming to the big screen finally. In case you need a refresher: “ALF stands for Alien Life Form, and the ’80s sitcom centered on a friendly furry alien creature (a puppet) who crash landed on Earth and took up with the Tanners, a suburban family. ALF, whose name was later revealed as Gordon Shumway, is sarcastic and has an appetite for cats. He courts trouble with government forces that are on his tail.” According to the article in Hollywood Reporter (and elsewhere), Jordan Kerner — who produced last year’s hit movie The Smurfs — was pegged by Sony Pictures to produce the new picture. Again, it will be a live-action feature film with ALF himself as a CGI character. Tom Patchett and Paul Fusco, creators of the original TV series,  will be involved as co-producers. Paul Fusco was also ALF’s main puppeteer and voice actor, and he’s expected to be the character voice for the new film as well. So far there’s no word as to a main script writer, a director, or a planned release date… but watch your cats just in case.

'Mongrels' axed by BBC Three

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Mongrels charactersBritish comedy puppet series Mongrels has been axed by its television station, BBC3.

The series, described as "Avenue Q meets Family Guy", centred on a troupe of five anthropomorphic animals who hung around the back of a pub on the Isle of Dogs in London.

Review: ‘The Muppets’ is the best puppet movie of 2011

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'The Muppets' movie posterRoger Ebert has written that the best way to enjoy a movie is in a crowded, reactive theater. I beg to differ.
The best way to enjoy a movie is in an empty theater, where you do not have to worry about your fellow moviegoer’s reactions coloring your own.

I learned this lesson from the Muppets; perhaps my fondest movie theater experience is having an entire theater alone with just my family watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. It's probably neither the studio’s nor the theater owner’s favorite way for you to watch a movie on the big screen, but if you find yourself laughing out loud alone in the dark, you know that it is really you laughing.

Sadly for the Muppets, but happily for me, I had the theater all to myself for The Muppets. I found myself laughing in the dark once more.

Funday PawPet Show manatee on auction block

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Hughbert T ManateeThe original Hugh T. Manatee, a regular member of the Funday PawPet Show cast, is up for auction.

Funds will be used to purchase new equipment for Poinkcast, HughTube and video archive digitization.

Update: The auction raised $102.50, just 43% of the winning bid for Poink T. Ferret in June 2007.

Puppeteer JR explained the sale [tip: BabsBunny]:

A few weeks ago, I started thinking, I'd love to have a YouTube channel focusing on stuff I've done and Hugh and Poink; [...] So, I created HughTube. [...] I decided I really wanted to build this up, film stuff with Poink and Hugh that hasn't been seen anywhere, and really build up the PoinkCast brand. I put together a list of stuff I'd need, and realized that if I did it all out of pocket it was going to take a while. So I posted it on FA and asked for donations.

August 2011 Newsbytes archive

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For historical purposes, a collection of links and other tidbits posted to Newsbytes in August.

'How To Train Your Dragon' to appear live on stage

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 ArenaHow To Train Your Dragon - the story of a young Viking who defies generations of tradition by befriending a dragon - was a hit for DreamWorks in 2010.

Loosely based on a children's book series by Cressida Cowell, the movie grossed nearly $500 million worldwide, and won the 2010 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture.

Now the story is being adapted for the stage.

BBC offers chance to tour 'Mongrels' set

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The BBC is offering viewers the chance to get behind the set of animal puppet sitcom Mongrels.

Limited numbers of tickets are available for tours and previews on 13th, 20th and 27th May. A random draw for the tickets will take place between now and midday on 9th May.

Czech mole to 'stow away' on Endeavour's final mission

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Space Shuttle Endeavour may be getting a stowaway – a hand puppet of Krtek, a mole created by Czech cartoonist Zdeněk Miler in 1956. [Spottacus]

Krtek is to travel with Andrew Feustel on the ship's final mission, planned for 19 29 April.

'Mongrels' wins RTS Craft and Design Award

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'Mongrels' charactersBBC Three puppet-based animal sitcom Mongrels has won the Royal Television Society (RTS) Craft and Design Award for "Production Design – Entertainment and Non-Drama".

Production designer Simon Rogers and his team took the award, defeating popular Channel 4 sitcom The IT Crowd and BBC children's comedy series Hounded.

However, Mongrels lost the award for "Tape and Film Editing – Entertainment and Situation Comedy" to Channel 4 sitcom Pete Versus Life.

'Mongrels' nominated for two RTS Craft and Design Awards

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'Mongrels' charactersBritish puppet-based sitcom Mongrels has been nominated for two Royal Television Society (RTS) Craft and Design Awards.

The series, which revolves around the lives of five anthropomorphic animals who hang around the bin yard of a pub on the Isle of Dogs, London, has been nominated for two awards which are given within the areas of TV production. The winners will be announced on 24th November.

Funday PawPet Show archive at risk over licensing fees

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Funday PawPet Show logo. The characters displayed are (L-R) Mutt, Tod Ferret, Arthur, Poink, and Rummage.

The Funday Pawpet Show now offers a near-complete episode archive – but perhaps not for much longer.

Over the past few months, several hundred old episodes have been detailed and put online for download, but the risk of five-figure licensing fees has led show lead Yappy Slyfox to threaten to pull the plug.

Originally, only each week's previous broadcast was available for download, although several "old tapes" that might just happen to contain early episodes were auctioned off several years ago.

The FPS annual telethon (which raised over $10,000 in 2007) is on November 14; its 11th anniversary will be celebrated a fortnight later. The show runs 6-10PM Eastern each Sunday.

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