Fraggle Rock: Where it All Began

Every time I go into a thrift store, antique mall or pawn shop I always check out the VHS tapes. I rarely buy VHS tapes anymore — it would have to be something I really wanted at this point for me to pick one up — but I do enjoy looking at them. Many of the tapes, especially the ones of television shows and specials, seem to bring back such great memories.

I did not buy this Fraggle Rock videotape, but I did sing the theme song to myself while I was looking at the cover. The elderly lady who began clapping along approved.

To make up for not buying the tape, when I got home I watched this on my computer as I danced my cares away.

Fwaggles! National Puppet Radio

Welcome to National Puppet Radio; I’m Rhett Kahn. Today we explore a topic that few ever stop to consider. Those that grow up as royalty but choose to leave it all behind. To many of us the concept of being immensely rich and living in the lap of luxury sounds wike quite an enticing concept. Surprisingly, those that have it sometimes see things differently. With the benefits of having people constantly waiting on you hand-and-foot comes few chances to make any decisions for themselves. Many people end up throwing away wealth and power for something more valuable than gold. Personal freedom. We are incredibly lucky today to talk with the former Prince of the Universe, Alexander “Junior” Gorg.

Junior is an imposing figure standing about 20 feet tall and about twelve hundred pounds. And let me tell you, he gets quite a bit of attention from passers-by. We meet at an outdoor café near a public park and it is an absolutely gorgeous day, not an ounce of sunshine in the sky. It was here that we sat down to begin our meal, and more importantly our interview. I start by asking Junior what it was wike growing up royalty. I mean, the royal family that ruled over the entire universe? That seems wike a pretty big deal!

“I never thought the world owed me anything just because I was the only son of the King and Queen of the Universe. Ta tell you the twuth, I don’t know that they were even wecognized as King and Queen BY the Universe. I mean, who were their subjects? I think they might have just been confused poor old wegular Gorgs…That being said, if they were King and Queen of the Universe, what did it weally mean in the long wun? Did it make any of us happy? We would put on these wediculous ceremonies and then we would go out in the yard and do meaningless chores, move leaf piles, plant wadishes, stare at trees, watch the moon…it was total nonsense!”

I asked if he ever had any leisure time; any chance to break away from the stuffy traditions.

“I guess I would have to say that my main past time was Fwaggles…Fwaggles every day, Fwaggles every night. In fact, my constant pursuit of the Fwaggles is what eventually led me to walk away from it all. I spent enough time chasing the Fwaggles, wanting to kill them or collect them or eat them or whatever the hell I was twying to do with them. One day when I was avoiding chores so I could wig up some cwazy device to trap the Fwaggles, it dawned on me. I was JUST WIKE them! Gwanted, I wasn’t as much of a hippie…but what was I weally accomplishing? What was I doing with my life? The answer was simple. Nothing.”

“The more I started watching them, the more I weally paid attention and the more I knew. They were just as trapped by their conventions as I was. They spent their whole life devoted entirely to meaningless cwaziness. I mean, they thought their whole world kept moving because of the ringing of a bell at the heart of the dank cave they lived in. They never stopped singing and dancing, they terrorized that poor old inventor guy and his dog for no reason, and worst of all they were constantly eating those poor construction worker guys that made those gweat sculptures in their town…At least I think they ate them…Anyway they ate something or other. Whenever they weren’t eating or singing and dancing; they were in our kingdom stealing from us! We would spend our whole year growing these gweat wadishes for our potions and those little slackers would just come up and take the fweaking things! And then twy to convince the viewers that they were the good pure cweatures and we were evil!”

I ask him who he means by the viewers…

He glances at his left and stares into the giant blank wall of glass that everyone lives next to and he seems to be looking at people who were, of course, not there. He looks back at my confused expression, sighs and says “No one, never mind…Anyway, they were always doing these cwazy things, living out their mild little dramatic pwoblems and finding some kind of liberal moral breakthrough. I mean these guys were fweaks! Just between you and me, there were a couple of times that I could have sworn they were asking our pile of garbage for advice! Talking to the rats that lived in it and everything! That‘s not normal!”

“Then they would wead a letter from Traveling Matt, and start the whole pwocess over again…”

Though I have ,of course, heard of Matt; I ask him to clarify for my readers.

“Matt was this Fwaggle who was supposed to be this bwave adventurer guy but was, in fact, a moron. The guy thought elevators magically changed the world outside of it and he thought that cars were living, thinking cweatures. I mean, he wasn’t the brightest Fwaggle in the uh….Fwaggle box?”

“I decided that in order to bweak away from this insanity I had to make some major changes in my life. The only problem was how? And then one day the solution fell right into my lap, and incredibly that solution came in the form of Traveling Matt himself! His adventures brought him right through the kingdom of the Gorgs! And I was just lucky enough to wun into him!”

I knew it was probably a very personal, meaningful event in Junior’s life but I had to ask, what was it that the renowned Fraggle statesman and adored world traveler said to the prince?

“Oh, he didn’t say anything but right before I ate him (by the way, NOT all that tasty!), he happened to drop his walkman and it had this great tape on it. A motivational tape by a speaker named Anthony Anthony. And the words he said changed my life. He said people didn’t have to be bored. They didn’t have to be complacent in life. You can get both success and personal satisfaction from hard work! Now, hard work is fine but it’s better when you get a little bit of money at the end! And I found an idea that would bring more money than I knew what to do with! See while my family was cwazy, there was one idea they had that was pure gold. We used to turn radishes into anti-vanishing cream! It kept us from vanishing for generations and I took that cherished family formula and marketed the cwap out of it. I mean, I sold out for all I was worth and it paid off in spades! It is incredible how many people out there don’t want to become invisible. In reality, it’s a total scam but the people eat it up! Not literally, of course, my anti-vanishing cream is extremely toxic but they buy it by the bucketful!”

“It also turns out that I am one hell of a salesman! I mean I walk into a room and people just seem to throw money at me. It’s wike there has always been a person inside me just waiting to get out, and that person knew sales! So that’s about the size of it. This is my new life. Now I’m no longer chasing the Fwaggles; I’m chasing the next big score! I don’t have to care about what’s going on with the Nirvana Tree! I actually chopped the fweaking thing down and had it turned into my desk. I even help out the ‘King and Queen of the Universe’ with a little bit of dough…I haven’t totally forgotten my woots!”

I ask if there was anything he wanted to leave our readers with and he thinks for a moment…

“I guess if there was one thing for you to take away from this; it’s be yourself! March to the beat of your own dwums and twy to find some success in life, even if it means walking away from royalty or possibly a murderous obsession with tiny imaginary cweatures in your yard. Yes, boys, I no wonger live by my oath to the Universal Royal Family. The words I live by these days are the ABC’s of Sales…Always Be Closing!”

Always be closing indeed. I hope the amount of charisma, intelligence and charm that Junior Gorg processed came through in this interview. He may no longer be a prince but he’ll always be royalty in my book!

As I walk away from our talk, I begin to get a whole new perspective on life. No longer will I just drift through the day, doing what I think is expected of me! I would reach freedom of my own! I had been trapped in a cage! Society norms were the bars. From now on I would do my own thing! I would make something of my life! And I would appreciate everything that I had! But mostly I think I’m gonna start trying to destroy those Fraggles myself! I mean, let’s face it; those worthless hippies have it coming, am I right?

For National Puppet Radio; I’m Rhett Kahn.

Retroist Fraggle Rock Podcast

Retroist Fraggle Rock Podcast

Welcome to the Retroist Fraggle Rock Podcast. This week I talk about the 1980s Jim Henson classic, Fraggle Rock. While I love the Muppets, their cave dwelling cousins also have a place in my heart. So I am very happy to finally get this show recorded. I talk about the show’s concepts, its characters, the larger mythology of the Fraggleverse and its trajectory from TV to DVD to the Big Screen.

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