11/20/1980 – ‘Ext. Happiness Hotel – Stunts (MM2)’

With scenes set in and around London, location manager Martin Baker had his work cut out for him on Jim’s second Muppet feature film, The Great Muppet Caper. Finding appropriate settings required shoe leather and diplomacy, securing police permits and finding just the right place to serve as Highbrow House in Holland Park or as the Happiness Hotel. For the latter, Baker chose the Gloucester Hotel on Westbourne Terrace. With lots of architectural details but decidedly not grand, it was the ideal place for Kermit, Gonzo and Fozzie to encounter the Muppet gang.

The exterior shoot (which, despite being noted in Jim’s journal on November 20th, actually happened on October 12th,) required stunt drivers to perform Bo’s unique braking technique – crashing into the front of the building. His creative driving also required seven swerving cars, one swerving van, two swerving taxis and a London bus.

Along with organizing the location and its requirements, Baker did a lot of follow up post shoot. He wrote numerous thank you notes to the organizations or private homeowners that allowed filming at their location, and in the case of one police inspector helping with the security detail, Baker arranged for photos to be taken with the characters and the officer’s family.

Learn more about The Great Muppet Caper.

Page from Martin Baker’s location book for The Great Muppet Caper, 1980.

Call sheets for the exterior shoot at the Happiness Hotel for The Great Muppet Caper, 1980.

Call sheets for the exterior shoot at the Happiness Hotel for The Great Muppet Caper, 1980.

Martin Baker with Kermit and Fozzie on The Muppet Show set.

Read more from Jim Henson’s Red Book in Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal available from Chronicle Books.

This entry was posted in 11-November '80, 1980, Great Muppet Caper and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.