But Kermit’s financial troubles could be over, if he takes the wad of hundred-dollar bills Doc Hopper waves under his nose: “You’re in show business, right?” Hopper asks. “Well, I wanna do business!” The villainous Hopper is the owner of the Doc Hopper’s French Fried Frog Leg Restaurant chain, and he wants Kermit to be his new spokesfrog. Kermit finds the idea revolting, and he and Fozzie drive away. Hopper orders his assistant Max to follow the frog’s car, but Kermit throws a banana peel out the window, which sends Hopper’s car skidding into a fire hydrant.
The next morning, Kermit and Fozzie are driving across America, singing Movin’ Right Along. “The song is a rollicking traveling song which we will reprise from time to time throughout the film. Its primary lyric — the title — will not only denote the physical movement of the journey but will also be used in the show business sense of ‘moving right along, folks,’ when a joke dies.”
Between choruses, Kermit and Fozzie pull over and practice their jokes:
Tell me, Mr. Frog, what’s the difference between a mama pig and a polar bear that tells dull stories?
I don’t know, Mr. Bear. What is the difference between a mama pig and a polar bear that tells dull stories?
One’s a bearing boar and the other’s a boring bear!
[ Pause ]
[ The car pulls away. During the second vamp: ]
Now then, Mr. Frog, what do you get when you cross a latex tree with a giraffe?
Oh boy… I don’t know, what do you get when you cross a latex tree with a giraffe?
I don’t believe that one!
(pointing) Do you believe that one.
Fozzie is pointing at a freshly-painted billboard for Doc Hopper’s restaurant, with Kermit’s face smiling out at them. Fozzie stops the car, and Hopper and Max proudly show off their new billboard. Kermit shakes his head: “All I can see is hundreds of frogs on tiny crutches.” Max is apologetic: “I didn’t quite capture your smile…” Kermit refuses to help Hopper, and he and Fozzie drive away. “I’ve done my best with that frog,” Hopper says. “Now’s the time to do my worst.” Hopper and Max run to the limo parked behind the billboard.
Kermit and Fozzie sing another chorus of “Movin’ Right Along,” and they rehearse another joke:
Hey, Kermit, what did the porcupine say to the platypus?
I don’t know, what did the porcupine say to the platypus?
Somebody’s following us.
That’s not funny.
Right. It’s Hopper.
They notice Hopper’s limo trailing them. Fozzie says, “Listen, Kermit, you’re a big man with this movie. Can’t you do something?” Kermit says he’ll try.
“EXT. ROAD – DAY – WIDE SHOT: The limo approaches from a distance. The title “MEANWHILE…” fades in across the lower part of the picture. The limo gets closer. Over Max’s shoulder, he reacts to the “MEANWHILE…” floating across the road. It is seen, of course, backwards from his P.O.V. The limo crashes into the “MEANWHILE”. Big letters fly everywhere. The limo skids into a ditch…”
Well, for one thing, the rehearsal of Fozzie’s corny “jokes” are replaced by actual corny jokes. The polar bear and giraffe jokes from the script are replaced by a number of much-loved Muppet Movie moments — the “fork in the road” gag, Big Bird walking to New York to break into public television, “a bear in his natural habitat,” and Fozzie driving in a circle at the intersection.
An even more important development from the script to the finished movie is Max’s epiphany during the billboard scene. The “frogs on tiny crutches” line is there in the movie — but the stakes are raised from “hundreds” of frogs to “millions,” and Max echoes the line: “… Crutches?” When Kermit and Fozzie drive away, the thing that slows down Hopper’s pursuit isn’t the surreal gag with the “MEANWHILE…” sign — it’s Max, growing a conscience.
In the movie, Max refuses to open the door for Hopper: “I’m through, Doc. The frog is right. You’re asking him to do something terrible. I can’t be a part of it. It’s a moral decision, and I’ll stand by it.” Max backs down immediately, of course, but it’s a turning point for the character. In the script, Max is just a two-dimensional yes-man who simply drives Hopper around. The Max in the movie becomes an oddly sympathetic character, and one of the most affecting character moments in the movie is Max’s little cheer when Hopper is finally defeated.
Next in the Anthology: Meet the Electric Mayhem — Dr. Teeth, Floyd, Janice, Zoot and… Charlie? Chapter 6: Thunderously Loud
Chapter 1: The Swamp Years, Episode IV
Chapter 2: A Frog is Born
Chapter 3: Oh, Henry!
Chapter 4: Slow Night at the El Sleezo
Chapter 5: Movin’ Right Along
Chapter 6: Thunderously Loud
Chapter 7: Another Hopper Chase
Chapter 8: All’s War in Love and Fairs
Chapter 9: Swine Fever
Chapter 10: Counting Down
Chapter 11: The other “I have a dream” speech
Chapter 12: Over the Rainbow
by Danny Horn