Beloved Jim Henson show Fraggle Rock celebrated the 30th Anniversary of its creation at The Spare Room in Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel this past Wednesday. Gobo and Red were on hand at a short red carpet at the entrance to greet celebrity guests. I didn’t actually recognize anyone, but was informed that Glee’s Josh Sussman was there, and I caught sight of Mindy Kaling’s name on the list but unfortunately never saw her. My friend and I stood gazing admiringly at the two Fraggles chatting and gesturing over a podium – the puppeteers looked really squashed underneath but they are probably used to it – before we finally went inside, after being assured that they would make the rounds inside as well.
It’s surprisingly difficult to peel oneself away from characters that were a big part of ones childhood. To this day, I can’t hear the intro to Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” without turning it into the Fraggle Rock theme song in my head (they have very similar bass lines). It’s also just fascinating, and slightly creepy, seeing creatures brought to life like that.
The Spare Room was kind enough to offer two free Fraggle-themed drinks for the occasion: “Enjoy The Architecture” (Fraggles like to eat the Doozers’ buildings) and “Wembley’s Wonderful Whoopie Water”. Both were very good, but the architecture drink wins for having a radish and a Doozer stick (sugar) for garnishes!
(more pictures after the jump)
There were also screens set up around the bar that were playing muted clips from the show, but the piped-in music was not related at all. I’m not sure why they didn’t play songs from the show, since the Fraggles did sing. Someone’s cover of the theme song popped up occasionally, but otherwise it was just like hanging out at a nice, if crowded, bar. I personally think the place should have been decorated to look like the Fraggle caves, but I suppose that is asking a lot!
The two bowling lanes that give the bar its name were also free for the night, so that was a fun treat. We killed some time bowling until we spotted Red mingling with the crowd. Karen Prell, Red’s original puppeteer from the show, was all smiles and perfectly happy to pose for photos. It was odd to go back and forth between looking at her face and the puppet’s face, knowing the latter was not actually seeing me, despite its appropriate expressions. I touched Red’s hand and it was fuzzy but very solid; I’m not surprised, considering the puppeteers were obviously just throwing them in the air when the Fraggles dived into their swimming hole. (The Muppets got thrown around a lot too.) I wanted to ask Karen questions about what it was like working on the show or how she got started puppeteering, but I felt like I was blocking other people who wanted photos, so I moved along. I did manage to say, “You guys are amazing”, and she beamed.