JOHN DENVER AND THE MUPPETS
Rocky Mountain Holiday
Review by Michael Jacobson
John Denver, The Muppets
Director: Jim Henson
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: Bonus Trailers
Length: 47 Minutes
Release Date: August 26, 2003
let’s start unloading the truck.”
get the refrigerator down!”
I had to put my lasagna somewhere…”
many around the world, I remember being saddened by the death of John Denver.
But I don’t think I ever considered how much I really missed him until
I watched the Emmy nominated television classic John Denver and the Muppets:
Rocky Mountain Holiday.
and the Muppets worked great together…a fact I didn’t fully appreciate until
I started watching the new Columbia Tri Star DVD releases of The Best of the
Muppet Show. The always beaming
self-proclaimed country boy and those lovable ragtag puppets from Jim Henson had
a great rapport. To understand it,
you’d have to watch some of the other guest stars. Paul Simon, another guitar strumming songwriting legend,
looked painfully uncomfortable throughout his show.
With John Denver, it was a teaming as easy as any you could imagine.
done The Muppet Show and a famed Christmas special complete with album
release, Denver reunited with his Muppet
friends in 1982 to make Rocky Mountain Holiday.
This hour long TV special boasted 16 songs (in fact, it’s virtually
all songs with incidental dialogue) and brought the Muppets into Denver’s
world; namely, some good old Rocky Mountain camping fun.
no real story, per se, but the special has undeniable charm.
Some of the songs are forgettable, but the ones that aren’t are
stirringly beautiful. My favorite
numbers included the sweetly haunting “Catch Another Butterfly”, the elegant
“Poems, Prayers and Promises”, and the touching lullaby “No One Like
You”. For the camping
traditionalists, there are also renditions of classics like “Tumbling
Tumbleweeds”, “Happy Trails”, “Down By the Old Mill Stream”, and an
amusingly re-worked take on “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain”.
John and the Muppets sing “Home on the Range” with a rather
impressive harmony arrangement. And
fans of the original Muppet Show will smilingly recall “Grandma’s
Feather Bed”, which Denver performed on the show some years prior.
today’s kids enjoy it? Hard to
say. As mentioned, some of the
songs are strikingly lovely, but who can say if they would hit a chord with
tykes weaned on purple dinosaurs mutilating nursery rhymes. There’s not much story to follow, but there’s a sweet
running premise of John Denver’s friendship with young Robin and how they
helped bring out the best in one another.
guess John Denver’s earnest down home aura and Jim Henson’s childlike but
immeasurable imagination were similar; each seemed to instinctively bring out
the best in the other’s creations. Both
served as producers on this special. And
sadly, both were taken from us far too soon.
a testament to both men’s magic that a special like Rocky Mountain Holiday could
have so little story, such sparse dialogue, and still manage to cast such a
most programs shot on video, this DVD offers a decent transfer of problematic
source material. While colors are
good and well rendered, you can’t help but notice the occasional bleeding, or
the once-in-a-while haziness (especially in darker scenes) sometimes inherent in
a tape source. It’s perfectly
watchable, and as good as one could probably expect, but nothing more.
the audio doesn’t boast anything spectacular with its medium dynamic range and
very little in the way of stereo panning effects. Nevertheless, the songs sound quite good, and since they’re
the highlight of the program, it merits an extra ½*.
disc contains three bonus trailers.