Screen shot 2011-08-05 at 5.56.23 PMPicture this: Christmas, 1970. It’s just a year after the premiere of Sesame Street, and the Muppets are kinda-sorta household names. They’ve spent four years doing popular guest spots on The Ed Sullivan Show — so, as a Christmas present, Ed gives the Muppets a whole hour of his show, all decked out as the Muppets’ very first TV special.

It’s called The Great Santa Claus Switch, and this isn’t just any guest spot. It’s a full-on Henson production — written by Jerry Juhl, music by Joe Raposo, puppets by Don Sahlin. For Christmas, Ed Sullivan gave Jim Henson the keys to his show — the primest of prime time on network TV — and told him to bring it back when he was done with it. This was the biggest, longest and loudest the Muppets had ever been.

Now, the Ed Sullivan folks own this special, so nobody knows if we’ll ever see it released on DVD. But here’s the full story, as a Christmas present from me to you.

Part One – The Switch is On
Part Two – Christmas Evil
Part Three – Wreck the Halls
Part Four – Hostile Takeover
Part Five – Christmas in Custody
Part Six – Frackle Rocks
Part Seven – The Flight Before Christmas
Part Eight – Merry Christmas to All

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