I had a sort of Proustian rush the other day when I heard Jim Croce’s “Time In a Bottle” come on the radio. The song bounced around my inner workings in my very early years (it was a posthumous hit for Croce–who died in a plane crash) and filled the airwaves of my youth along with Abba and “The Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack in the late 1970’s. As soon as I heard the first few chords of the song, I immediately was awash with thoughts of my brown-carpeted family room, the pretzels or animal cookies I may have been eating, the laundry basket full of washcloths on the floor, my childhood blankie, a bookshelf full of children’s books and the old twist-knob color t.v. that was situated opposite it. And on that television, today’s great thing is being broadcast:
93. The Muppet’s Show “Time In A Bottle” Production
Could there be anything more heartpinchingly bittersweet? Though the song could easily be about two lovers, Croce actually wrote this about his son. The scientist muppet, could be singing about either or something else entirely, like Cookie Monster for instance. You can fill in your own blank.
Interestingly, the scientist muppet seen in this clip is know as a “whatnot”. A whatnot is a kind of muppet template on which you can build any human looking muppet–like a Mr. Potato Head body before you plug the eyes, nose, mouth, shoes, and “whatnot”. They’re known also as “anything” muppets. Here’s a couple of examples of muppets that started their lives as whatnots.
This clip dates from the 1977 episode of “The Muppet Show” which featured Edgar Bergen as a guest host. Jim Henson provides the vocals for this sweet cover version.
I dearly love this clip. I think I was just at the right age to appreciate something sweetly sad. What would you do if you could keep time in a bottle? Spending it with you DOES sound nice…but I might also use it to watch everything that’s backed up on my Tivo.