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IBM Television

The Muppets' 1967 IBM Sales Films 63

harrymcc writes "Forty-three years ago, before most people had ever heard of the Muppets, IBM contracted with Jim Henson for a series of short films that it used to educate and entertain its sales staff. These little-known movies — some of which feature cutting-edge office automation equipment such as very early word-processing systems — remain fresh, funny, and surprisingly irreverent. And one of them features the first appearance of the Cookie Monster, who got his big break on Sesame Street a couple of years later."
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The Muppets' 1967 IBM Sales Films

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:36PM (#32423510)

    and IBM is still populated with muppets...

  • And thats why the stocks went through the roof. Best investment IBM has ever made.

  • by Itninja (937614) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:40PM (#32423582) Homepage
    Just like when Bill did his two-step with Jerry on TV...or maybe not at all. Oh god...I just threw up in my mouth a little....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:41PM (#32423602)

    Computer! Computer! Computer starts with C!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Em Emalb (452530)

      I wish they would have explained the internet for people.


      • I wish they would have explained the internet for people.

        "The internet is for porn! The internet is for porn! So grab your dick and doubleclick for porn, porn, porn!"

        Whoops, sorry, that was the *Trekkie* Monster.

    • B is for Briefaxse, with money bring to me
      C is for Candlestick, I hit you in the knee
      D is for Deutschland, und Deutschland victory!
      K is for KOMPRESSOR, KOMPRESSOR is for me!

    • Developers! Developers! Developers!

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:44PM (#32423644)
    John Cleese did a lot of stuff like this. Some were pretty good.
  • Good thing they had Jim Henson, otherwise the office equipment might have had their feelings hurt, you know where that leads to, getting your tie caught in the printer. Don't forget the word processors, without the Muppets we would have had an legacy of spell checkers getting it wrong. Well actually I think they passed over Firefox's spell checker. (^_~)
  • Statler and Waldorf (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cgfsd (1238866)

    Could you imagine Statler and Waldorf evaluating IBM products and software?

    Now that would fun to see.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:54PM (#32423794)

      "Sounds like IBM should stand for International Business MORONS!"

      Both Laugh

      • "Sounds like IBM should stand for International Business MORONS!"

        Both Laugh

        If only I had mod points...

        Statler and Waldorf are the best.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MrKaos (858439)

        Both Laugh

        and then, uncontrollably

        S:It's Better Manually
        W:I've Been Married
        hahaha - so was I
        S:It's Broken Maan
        hahaha - thats a good one
        W:I'm Being Managed
        hahahaha - you too
        S:I Believe Magic
        hahahaha - SO DO I
        W:I've Been Meeting
        Both: Every Day
        S:It's Boring Me
        W:Well you're not Blue any more

        *Both Laugh*

    • by NekSnappa (803141)
      Actually I think the first coffee break bit was a prototype for them.
      • by MrKaos (858439)

        Actually I think the first coffee break bit was a prototype for them.

        Both:Not any more, hahahahahaha

  • in the past, when facing problems not resolved in a manner timely enough for me, i have referred to tech vendors as "fucking meat puppets"

    but, thanks to this vendor educational material, i now know to refer to tech vendors i am displeased with as "fucking sock puppets"

    i regret the past inaccuracy

  • The MAN! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Silly Man (15712)

    See, the Muppets worked for THE MAN!

    The Muppets are bring me DOWN!

  • by DansnBear (586007) <DansnBear.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:49PM (#32423728) Homepage Journal
    Actually, the first "Cookie Monster" appearance was before this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookie_Monster):

    "In 1966, Henson drew three monsters that ate cookies and appeared in a General Foods commercial that featured three crunchy snack foods: Wheels, Crowns and Flutes. Each snack was represented by a different monster. The Wheel-Stealer was a short, fuzzy monster with wonky eyes and sharply pointed teeth. The Flute-Snatcher was a speed demon with a long, sharp nose and windblown hair. The Crown-Grabber was a hulk of a monster with a Boris Karloff accent and teeth that resembled giant knitting needles.These monsters had big appetites for the snack foods (like cookies) they were named after. Each time the Muppet narrator, a human-looking fellow, fixes himself a tray of Wheels, Flutes and Crowns, they disappear before he can eat them. One by one, the monsters sneak in and zoom away with the snacks. In 1967, Henson used the "Wheel-Stealer" puppet for an IBM training film called Coffee Break Machine. In the sketch, called "The Computer Dinner", the monster (with frightening eyes and fangs) devours a complex machine as the machine describes its purpose and construction. At the end of the sketch, the talking machine explains that its primary purpose is to produce the greatest explosion known to man. The monster promptly explodes. This sketch was also performed in October, 1967 on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was also later performed on the George Burns episode of The Muppet Show using the Luncheon Counter Monster. Two years later, Henson pulled the puppet out of the box again for three commercials selling Munchos, a Frito-Lay potato chip. This time, the puppet was called Arnold, the Munching Monster. After the three ads were produced, Henson had the opportunity to renew the contract. He chose not to, because at that point he was working on Sesame Street — and that monster puppet was moving on to the next stage in his career."
    • by fermion (181285) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:29PM (#32424276) Homepage Journal
      I will add to this that Jim Heson was a pioneer, not only in puppetry, but in industrials. We only wish the commercials we see know were as interesting as the what he made. I have the privilege of seeing films of these narrated by, I believe his daughter, as part of a presentation by the Jim Henson foundation.

      Part of this is that the commercials were character driven, which we know is a workable formula. It worked for Charmin and Wendy's. I think they are difficult to make, and I think it is one reason why the brand carry's so little power.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        ...as someone who avoids the vast vast majority of commercials (Tivos, and before that, multiple VCRs)... I would say that Jack in the Box commercials come to that. But even for those, I only need to see them once.

  • Smithsonian (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Verdatum (1257828) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:57PM (#32423832)
    The Smithsonian wrapped up an exhibit on Jim about a year back. It had some of the scratchpads used to put together these commercials, and the above mentioned training films. Great exhibit. sad to see it go.
  • That's no surprise (Score:4, Informative)

    by hellfire (86129) <deviladv@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:01PM (#32423880) Homepage

    These little-known movies... remain fresh, funny, and surprisingly irreverent.

    Everything Jim Henson ever created remained fresh, funny, and surprisingly irreverent. I had my son watch sesame street for as long as I could, and I bought the Muppet show seasons for my niece as they come out. The old movies are still hilarious. The man was a genius!

  • And RC Cola (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:08PM (#32423974) Homepage Journal

    I was just reading today about Jim Henson's mid-1960s TV commercial for RC Cola [youtube.com], featuring two birds that evolved later to become Big Bird.

  • ...but I am sure there is a 'hand up their ass' joke in this somewhere.
  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:28PM (#32424254)

    It's time to dress up right
    It's time to get things started
    On the IBM tonight

    And now for the origins of the muppet show tune
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXu4P6KpoLU [youtube.com]

  • by WoodenTable (1434059) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:30PM (#32424288)

    I ves a beet cunffoosed by thees soobmeessiun, becoose-a it seems tu hefe-a beee trunsleted qooeete-a puurly! Loockeely zee erteecle-a itselff helpffoolly leenks tu a trunsletur [utexas.edu], su here-a is zee soommery dune-a reeght:

    Furty-three-a yeers egu, beffure-a must peuple-a hed ifer heerd ooff zee Mooppets, IBM cuntrected veet Jeem Hensun fur a sereees ooff shurt feelms thet it used tu idoocete-a und interteeen its seles steffff. Zeese-a leettle-a-knoon mufeees — sume-a ooff vheech feetoore-a cootteeng-idge-a ooffffeece-a ootumeshun iqooeepment sooch es fery ierly vurd-prucesseeng systems — remeeen fresh, foonny, und soorpreesingly irreferent. Und oone-a ooff zeem feetoores zee furst eppeerunce-a ooff zee Cuukeee-a Munster, vhu gut hees beeg breek oon Seseme-a Street a cuoople-a ooff yeers leter.

  • Love those old IBM coffee break films with the Muppets. I'm still looking for one of these films where two Muppets try and order a pizza through a DOS PC with an external modem. Like most computer endeavors it doesn't work the first time and like most computer geeks the two Muppets try and again and again and again. It's hilarious.
  • Anyone have a link to Monty Python Siemens training skits?
    • by karnal (22275)

      Anyone else hold back the urge to giggle when they mention this company? I do.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:37PM (#32425070)

    The "eating the expensive advanced computer piece by piece" bit they did again (reworked slightly) on the Muppet Show. Even used the exact same prop, but I believe a different monster.

    • by GaryOlson (737642)
      Just think if they had continued to develop "the digital caffeinetic generator with 74 pica-analog capacitators attenuated dicottiliginously for maximum coffee control". You'd be catchin' some of those "dextrose wavelengths" at the corner Coffee Tech; and Starbuck's existence would never come to pass. Jim Henson had a good dream.....
    • by hitmark (640295)

      the best part of it may well be when the machine mentions a part, the monster grabs it, is about to eat it, then the machine mentions that the part can be had from any corner electronics store for cents, so the monster throws it away. This in the middle of a machine that claims to be built from the most expensive materials known to man...

  • from the first few seasons on Netflix last month. Was surprised to see Jim Henson's Muppets every week from the Land of Gorch, and again, some pretty irreverent, funny stuff.

    The Mighty Favog!

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud