2/1/1981 – ‘To Albuquerque for balloon sequence.’

After five months of shooting in the UK on The Great Muppet Caper, the Henson team returned to the US to finish up. The last sequence shot was actually the opening sequence of the film. After a nod to the MGM lion, the camera pans the skies to find a hot air balloon. As the titles roll, the balloon floats in, eventually crashing onto a city street where its inhabitants, Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo emerge and begin the opening musical number. Jim often visited his dad who had retired to Albuquerque, and he loved the New Mexico desert. In choosing a spot to shoot the opening, he would have been very familiar with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, so Albuquerque would have been the obvious choice.

Learn more about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

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

Storyboard panels from opening title sequence of The Great Muppet Caper, 1981.

Storyboard panels from opening title sequence of The Great Muppet Caper, 1981.

Storyboard panels from opening title sequence of The Great Muppet Caper, 1981.

Storyboard panels from opening title sequence of The Great Muppet Caper, 1981.

Storyboard panels from opening title sequence of The Great Muppet Caper, 1981.

Storyboard panels from opening title sequence of The Great Muppet Caper, 1981.

Storyboard panels from opening title sequence of The Great Muppet Caper, 1981.

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