There are a lot of old Muppet projects with a whole lot of potential that never quite got the chance to shine. Among those is Tales of the Tinkerdee – an unaired pilot featuring Kermit the Frog, Taminella Grinderfall, King Goshposh, and more. The world expanded from specials like Hey, Cinderella and The Frog Prince would’ve seen more twisted fairy tale stories, and a potential new direction for the Muppets in those early days. It would’ve been real cool to see more from those characters.
And it turns out that Muppet fan artist Danny Beckwith agrees! He created an entire pitch surrounding the world of Tinkerdee, and we’re excited to share it with you! Below you’ll find Danny’s pitch, a full animatic video, and a little explanation in his own words about what possessed him to put it together.
Tales of the Tinkerdee started, as most of my projects do, as a challenge to myself: What if Tales of the Tinkerdee was brought back to television? What would it look like? What would be the tone and theme? These through-provoking questions and more led me down the proverbial rabbit-hole and into the wondrous land of Tinkerdee.
If you haven’t seen the original Tales of the Tinkerdee, I highly recommend it. Jerry Juhl and Jim Henson’s original concept is fantastic. Traditional fairy tales meet the nontraditional witty humor of the Muppets. I won’t spend time regaling you with the humor, heart, and wonderful absurdity of the original, so go watch it now (easter egg fans – this version builds on ideas presented in the original. I even did some math to find out how many years it would take to eat 67,000 peanut butter sandwiches and it turns out it’s quite a timely year, just in time for a revival!)
Many of the characters from the original are present in this updated version and some may be familiar. Sir Winit, for instance, is clearly based on Sir Linit from the 1967 ads for Linit Fabric Finish, because the puppet design is just so endearing to me. Other characters, like Sweetums, were inspired by original concept art. I wanted to marry nostalgia with the new, the familiar with the unknown, and the silly with the sacred. Fairy tales are the perfect vehicle to display these ideas. Many stories started as oral traditions, they change and change again based on who is telling the story. I felt like Tinkerdee is one of those Henson/Muppet oral traditions, whispered about by fans.
At the end of the day, my version of Tales of the Tinkerdee is based on the theme: Live your story. It’s about what happens when you try to live a life that isn’t yours or you’re persuaded to live a life because of social pressure. I know, weighty stuff. But I think the truest thing we can be is ourselves. I wanted to explore that concept through this revival series and demonstrate for audiences of all ages that you’re not alone when you don’t feel like you, but it’s the best thing you can be. I’m a strong believer that you can “write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”
You see, stories change us, whether we know it or not . . . and some people know how to use those stories to change the world or manipulate others (cue evil witchy laughter)!
I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did making it! More episodes are being written and explored as the land of Tinkerdee has much to offer.
Click here to discuss the witchiest witch of them all on the ToughPigs Discord!
by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com