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Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Rise of Uncle Deadly by Nicholas Napoli

When I was young, long before the days I myself became an uncle, I could name every single character in the accompanying Muppet cast picture, all except for one. Who was this mysterious blue evil dragon? How did he get in that picture with all the main characters? Did they even know he was there? What was his name? That question haunted me for years. Uncle Deadly wasn’t around much whilst I was growing up, from my recollection, he didn’t appear in any of my Muppet videos, not in the playhouse series, the movies or even A Muppet Family Christmas, I couldn’t find him anywhere. 

Of all the Muppet monsters, Uncle Deadly is by far the one that scared me most as a kid, luckily by the time I finally met Uncle Deadly I was already a teenager. When I first discovered the internet, I used it to update myself on Muppet knowledge I knew I was missing. One of the first questions I needed answered, was the name of the blue dragon, after some searching, at age ten, I learned the scariest name, I’ve ever known, Uncle Deadly. 


Back in the day, searching for Uncle Deadly was not easy, if searching online for Uncle Deadly pictures, if you did not specify, by also including the name “The Muppets” all you got were pictures of dead uncles and not a single Uncle Deadly picture in the bunch. 

As the years past, thanks to The Muppet Show HMV Collection, The Muppet Show: The Complete First Season and YouTube, I was able to finally meet Uncle Deadly in all his glory and style. I’ve always enjoyed Uncle Deadly’s design, for me he stands out, although he’s a Muppet, there is something very different about him, and I like it. This is why I was beyond excited and surprised, I never thought in childhood, that this would ever exist, thank you Palisades, I snatched all three versions available.

Palisades Uncle Deadly Action Figure, is hands down, one of my all-time favourite pieces of Muppet merchandise. Years later, once The Muppet were under The Walt Disney Company’s ownership, Uncle Deadly made his second appearance in action figure form as Emperor Palpatine from The Muppets Star Wars Action Figure Line and was also released as a Vinylmation figure, I hope we get a plush toy next.


Apart from a few toys and an occasional classic sketch from The Muppet Show to fall back on, Uncle Deadly was mostly dead. Little did anyone know, that Uncle Deadly was preparing to make his comeback, granted a slow rise back to fame, but in the end, he
finally got there, back in 2011. After years of hiding in the shadows, Uncle Deadly returned, in The Muppets (2011) paired of with Bobo Bear and Tex Richman, hoping to destroy The Muppets. At the end of the movie, not only does Uncle Deadly save the day, he makes sure to inform us that he is not a Moopet, he is a Muppet! Three years later The Muppets returned to the big screen, sadly Uncle Deadly only made a small cameo this time around, was his comeback short-lived? Would he now fade into obscurity for another twenty years or so? What I most like so far about Uncle Deadly’s journey, is that years later he would not only be revived but also becomes Miss Piggy’s best friend. Miss Piggy has never had anyone else besides Kermit to properly interact with as friends, this is why she spends most of her time communicating to Foo-Foo when Kermit is not around, she is a friendless pig. Luckily Uncle Deadly fixed that, and this was a very welcomed and clever dynamic to introduce into The Muppets, I would hope, it makes writing for Miss Piggy much easier. 


In the short lived 2015 series titled The Muppets, once again Uncle Deadly continues to remind us he’s alive and well, and as in every production he has a large role in, he stole the show. Not only has Uncle Deadly become a Muppet favourite amongst fans, he has joined the ranks of Animal, The Swedish Chef and Beaker in appealing to the general audience too. We have Jerry Nelson to
thank for Uncle Deadly’s origins, he created this character, he brought Uncle Deadly to life. Matt Vogel is the brilliant performer who has helped revive Uncle Deadly and fleshing him out tremendously as a character. Matt Vogel captures the spirit of Uncle Deadly perfectly and I can not wait to see what the future holds for everybody’s favourite and deadliest uncle. As of right now, he has recently finished hosting a weekly online segment known as Muppets Thought’s of The Week, for the first time in my life, Uncle Deadly is not missing in action. In fact, Uncle Deadly is now so popular, I had the chance, to watch him perform live at the O2 Arena last July. When I was little, I never thought I’d see Uncle Deadly again, sitting in the audience at the O2, I could not believe my eyes.


Granted Uncle Deadly was set to make a comeback many years earlier, as far back as the late 90’s, he had been planning a revival, with the help of his friends Kirk Thatcher, Jim Lewis and John Derevlany. Together they wrote and developed a Goosebumps style, type of horror show, titled “Uncle Deadly’s House of
Badness”. 

Sadly, this show never took off, luckily Uncle Deadly’s long-time girlfriend Christine McConnell succeeded where he couldn’t. 

Uncle Deadly is so easy to come across these days, he’s everywhere online, you can even find him wishing you a Happy Halloween alongside Janice, who would have though back in the 90’s that this would ever be possible again? Uncle Deadly is now the star of his own book, who would have ever guessed? Uncle Deadly is The Phantom of The Opera. It’s an exciting time to be a Muppet Fan, especially a fan of Uncle Deadly, he took his time to make his comeback and by the looks of it, he’s not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon. I hope we get to spend many more years celebrating Halloween alongside Uncle Deadly. 






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