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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
John Denver and the Muppets: Rocky Mountain Holiday (1982)

"Lie there by the fire...and watch the evening tire..."
- John Denver (from the song Poems, Prayers and Promises)

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: October 01, 2003

Stars: John Denver, Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Janice, Robin the Frog, Gonzo, Rowlf, Miss Piggy, Floyd Pepper, Scooter, Statler & Waldorf, Rizzo, Zoot, Dr. Teeth
Other Stars: voices of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Karen Prell, Richard Hunt, Kathryn Mullen, Steve Whitmere, Jerry Nelson
Director: Jim Henson

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:47m:28s
Release Date: August 26, 2003
UPC: 043396015920
Genre: music


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BC+C+ D-

DVD Review

With his childlike enthusiasm and an adoration for the youngest members of his fan club, John Denver became one of The Muppet Show's most popular guest stars when he visited the show in early 1979. Hitting it off with Jim Henson and company so well, a Christmas collaboration followed on both television and record that fall. At the time, naysayers and devotees alike must have pegged it as a desperate move to jump start his slowly sinking chart fortunes, but both incarnations were a smash, particularly the album that became a perennial bestseller over subsequent Christmas seasons.

Three years later, a follow-up reunion was commissioned, on Denver's home turf in Aspen to boot. John Denver and the Muppets: Rocky Mountain Holiday is a fun, relaxing, and charming 47-minute sabbatical. Filled with trademark Muppet slapstick (watch Fozzie mistake baby snakes for fishing worms!) and a hearty mixture of campfire standards as well as both old and new Denver songs (including Poems, Prayers and Promises and Catch Another Butterfly, two of his best) with the beautiful backdrops of Colorado's scenic pride and joy in view, its one of those few variety specials from that era that hasn't horribly dated.

While watching, two things struck me about the instigators of this project. First, has there ever been a more creative genius in puppeteering than Jim Henson? As a fan of his creations from as far back as their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show to Sesame Street and beyond, what a treat it was to watch the innovations he brought to that brand of entertainment. There's a sequence midway through Rocky Mountain involving the tiny frog Robin in which John goes all big-brother-y, picks him up and proceeds to deliver a pep talk. All the while, Robin remains in full motion without any visible signs of wires or human aid, just the way young imaginations would picture encountering a Muppet in real life. And what can I say about John Denver that hasn't already been conveyed by his loyal legions of fans over the years? His boyish charm, heartfelt sincerity and earnestly sweet nature made him a perfect co-star in all of his collaborations with the Muppets; it's really a shame they didn't work together more. You can tell by Denver's interaction with the likes of Piggy, Kermee, er, Kermit, and all the gang that he had quite an affection for them (check Mark Zimmer's review of the singer-songwriter's first appearance on The Muppet Show in 1979 for more proof).

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: I hate to be the bearer of not-so-good news, but lots of edge enhancement, high contrast, and grain are to be found in this presentation. It's easy to say, hey, it's a 21-year-old program, but I'm thinking an inferior back-up safety source was utilized. Maybe I'm being a little hard on this transfer, but I've seen video-based television product from earlier decades (The Ed Sullivan Show for one) that beats the quality contained herein by a country mile.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Presentable Dolby Digital mono that isn't exactly vibrant, but not muddy, either; merely average. If I remember correctly, there was an accompanying soundtrack album to tie-in with the special, which makes this monophonic presentation all the more frustrating.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Muppets In Space, Kermit's Swamp Years, Stuart Little 2
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Nope, no commemorative John Denver granny glasses, just three oft-ran trailers for other Columbia TriStar offerings.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

As the singer once known as Henry John Deutschendorf would have said, "Far out!" Despite so-so picture quality and lamentable mono audio, Rocky Mountain Holiday is a charming trip back in time for John Denver fans and Muppet devotees; even the younger set unfamiliar with both of the main draws should find it enjoyable, too.

 


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