Zero Mostel Recites “Fears of Zero” on the Muppet Show

Amazing talent – amazing sketch. “Fears of Zero” was a sketch written by Jerry Juhl for episode 202 of “The Muppet Show”. In it, Zero Mostel recites a poem about his fears, surrounded by the Purple Heap, the Green Heap, Shakey Sanchez, the Snerfs, and Timmy Monster. The fears take the form of these various monsters that crawl all over Zero-but he is able to quickly “dispel” them by counting them and wishing them away. At the end of the sketch, Zero reveals that his greatest fear has yet to come. Timmy Monster walks onto the scene, and Zero warns the audience that his most terrible fear is that the monster will count and dispel him! Sure enough, Zero fades away, leaving Timmy to ponder what has happened.

Unfortunately, one of Zero’s fears did come true: Zero’s fear of death. He died on September 8, 1977. Mostel would have the distinction of being the only guest on “The Muppet Show” to die before his appearance was broadcast.

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Garry Vander Voort

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