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Statler

The Muppet Show
by yo go re

Some Muppets are more famous than others - Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo, Rowlf and Fozzie are the big guns of the felt and foam world, for instance - but some achieve fame without ever getting any kind of recognition. You don't believe me? Just ask those two old guys who sit in the balcony.

Mr. Burns While fans know the sexy senior citizens, to everyone else the pair remains nameless. Nameless, that is, until now. Non-Muppet fans, we give you the glory that is Statler and Waldorf.

The old pair, who sat through (almost) every show at the Muppet Theatre, never seemed to be having a good time. Well, no, that's not accurate: they were having a great time; it just had nothing to do with what was going on onstage. They entertained themselves, picking on the stars and the guests with equal abandon. Seemingly inseparable, the two have finally been split apart by the gang at Palisades.

The Hotel Pennsylvania
(formerly the Statler Hotel)

Location:401 7th Ave
Capacity:1,700 rooms
Height:18 stories
Opened:1919
Check-in:4 pm
Check-out:noon
Bonus!:Its phone number (still today) was made famous in the Glen Miller song "Pennsylvania 6-5000." The hotel of choice for competitors in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Home of Lindy's restaurant, famous for its cheesecake.
Statler is the tall, thin member of the pair. Well, relatively thin - he's still got the physique of an old man, after all, an old man who spends his days sitting in a dirty, run-down theatre. That means he's got a bit of a paunch underneath that dark three-piece suit.

For such a sedentary guy, Statler has quite a bit of articulation. If a lesser company had done this figure, he would have been permanently molded in a sitting position, moving maybe at the neck and shoulders. Palisades - whose motto is an encouraging "Play With It!" - has made a Statler that's up to par with the rest of the Muppets. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips and knees, which means he's able to either sit or stand as you see fit. Standing semi-erect (like the similarly aged Mr. Burns, Statler has "a fine hump!"), he's 6" tall.

Contrary to urban legend, Jim Henson did not base either Statler's or Waldorf's face on one of his professors at the University of Maryland. Excellent! Statler's large jaw and prominent jowls are sculpted expertly, and he seems to be in mid-taunt: his mouth is half open and his eyebrows are furrowed. His "skin" is dimpled and speckled just like the real thing would be, though he has a much finer texture than some of the other Muppets - I suppose foam gets smoother with age.

Palisades has made sure to make their figures worth the sometimes-high pricetags by including impressive, We hate our lives! highly detailed accessories with each character. Statler comes with a high-backed chair that stands 4" tall. The upholstery on the cushion, arms and back looks very realistic, and would fit perfectly into the Muppet Theatre. Unfortunately, since we never saw Statler's legs on the show, he doesn't fit in his chair very well - his feet don't reach the ground and he tends to fall out of the seat. I wish the chairs were just a little bit smaller, so that Statler and Waldorf fit better.

Additionally, Statler includes some Muppet Vegetables - specifically, a pair of tomatoes and an avocado - to throw at Fozzie. Eat us! Since they're Muppet veggies, that means they each have eyes and a mouth, the better to help heckle the acts. The green guy is wearing a pair of dark glasses, but he's still pretty neat. The veggies are perfect for stocking your Muppet Kitchen. Finally, Statler has a playbill for the evening's entertainment - including "Nudity: An Editorial by Sam the Eagle" and "Pigs in Space."

You can't have Statler without Waldorf, so it's a shame that Palisades couldn't find a way to make them a two-pack. Perhaps no stores were interested in such a pricey item for such an obscure set of Muppets. Their loss, because there isn't a Muppet fan alive who doesn't dig "the two old guys who sit in the balcony."


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