The Ghost of Faffner Hall

Last updated
The Ghost of Faffner Hall
Also known asJim Henson's Ghost of Faffner Hall
Directed byTony Kysh
Starring Louise Gold
Richard Hunt
Karen Prell
Mike Quinn
Mak Wilson
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer Jim Henson
Production companies Jim Henson Productions
Tyne Tees Television
DistributorThe Jim Henson Company
Release
Original network ITV (UK)
Original releaseAugust 16 (1989-08-16) 
November 8, 1989 (1989-11-08)

The Ghost of Faffner Hall is a British children's television series from Jim Henson Productions and the British ITV company Tyne Tees Television which aired from August 16, 1989 to November 11, 1989 in the UK, and slightly later in the US. The puppets for this show were created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, and the series was recorded at the Tyne Tees Studios in Newcastle upon Tyne and directed by Tony Kysh, then senior director within that company's children's department.

Contents

Plot

Faffner Hall is a music conservatory that was founded by Fughetta Faffner. When Fughetta Faffner passes away, her ghost lurks in Faffner Hall and it is currently run by her great-great-grandnephew Farkus Faffner who hates music. Now Fughetta must thwart Farkus' plans with the help of Mimi, Riff, and the Wild Impresario. During this time, they meet up with the famous musicians that visit Faffner Hall.

Characters

Main characters

Guest characters

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Your Body Is an Instrument"Tony Kysh Jocelyn Stevenson & Patrick Barlow August 16, 1989 (1989-08-16)

Farkus Faffner plans to auction off Faffner Hall's collection of musical instruments. The late Fughetta Faffner, a distant relative of Farkas and the founder of the hall, is horrified when she learns of Farkas' plans. The residents of the hall, including Riff, Mimi, the Wild Impresario and the ghost of Fughetta, attempt to teach Farkas that instruments are worth more than their monetary value.

Guest Spot: Bobby McFerrin shows that he can express himself using his body. Double bass player Gary Karr and trumpet player Håkan Hardenberger also appear.
2"Delighting in Sounds"Tony KyshDavid Angus & Patrick BarlowAugust 23, 1989 (1989-08-23)

Faffner Hall is holding a "Festival of Sounds", and the Wild Impresario is trying to find a sound to top the bill. He gets a note in the mail from his old girlfriend Zola of his from his days in the Wild Bunch. Zola says in her note that she is coming to see Wild. Meanwhile, Farkus Faffner plans to blow up Faffner Hall where he will blame its residents and claim the insurance money.

Guest Spot: Nigel Kennedy and Joni Mitchell appear where Joni mentioned that she once dated the Wild Impresario
3"Sound Becomes Music"Tony KyshDavid Angus & Patrick BarlowAugust 30, 1989 (1989-08-30)

When an infant alien lands in Faffner Hall, Farkus comes up with a plan to become rich while Fughetta and Mimi discover that the alien needs music.

Guest Spot: Riff whistles a riff of his own, then explains where he got it from: a dream he had which includes Mark Knopfler, George Martin, Paddy Moloney and an orchestra of The Frackles playing the tune he whistled as he heard a teakettle. While composing her song, Mimi encounters a wizard named Fish (played by Derek William Dick) to play the melody that she created.
4"Music Is More Than Technique"Tony KyshDavid Angus & Patrick BarlowSeptember 6, 1989 (1989-09-06)

Mimi informs Riff that the violinist virtuoso Piganini has booked a recording studio in town and plan to ask him to perform at Faffner Hall.

Guest Spot: While hiding in the closet, Piganini encounters a janitor that Piganini claims to resemble Ry Cooder. The janitor gives Piganini the courage to overcome his stage fright and perform at Faffner Hall.
5"The Voice Is an Instrument"Tony KyshJocelyn Stevenson & Patrick BarlowSeptember 13, 1989 (1989-09-13)

Farkus Faffner enlists a zookeeper as his business partner where he sells Faffner Hall to the zookeeper so that he can turn it into a zoo.

Guest Spot: Back when Faffner Hall was at its peak, Fughetta Faffner recalls when she played a maid in a Spanish opera with Thomas Allen. The Faffner Hall Composer Busts recall to Fughetta about an a capella group they heard on the radio recently called the Electric Phoenix who use their voices as instruments (one of the members even does an imitation of Miss Piggy). Wild Impresario brings up the fact that Marion Montgomery was one of his old friends and was accompanied on the piano by Joseph the Tiger (a recycled version of Butch the Tiger).
6"Reacting to Sounds"Tony KyshJocelyn Stevenson & Patrick BarlowSeptember 20, 1989 (1989-09-20)

Fughetta Faffner does her half-century sound check around Faffner Hall where she must make sure that there is one ghost in Faffner Hall according to Page 17 Paragraph 4C of the "Rules of the Dead." Fughetta soon starts to hear the voice of J.J. Ready (who invented the cash register in 1877)

Guest Spots: During Fughetta's sound check, the ghostly sounds that Fughetta, Mimi, and Riff here have been coming from H.K. Gruber and his orchestra and the trumpet of Dizzy Gillespie.
7"If You Can Play, It's an Instrument"Tony KyshDavid Angus & Patrick BarlowSeptember 27, 1989 (1989-09-27)

Mimi discovers that a guy had broken the obo record by playing the longest note while on a tightrope. The original record holder was Fughetta's cousin Finkel back in 1853. Meanwhile, Farkus Faffner plans to use the instruments as scrap metal.

Guest Spot: In his quest for junk, Farkas asks the Wild Impresario to show him something about music, so Wild shows him a tape with The Scottish Chamber Orchestra that demonstrates the instruments they play. A saxophone salesman (played by Courtney Pine) comes to Faffner Hall.
8"Improvised Music"Tony KyshJocelyn Stevenson & Patrick BarlowOctober 4, 1989 (1989-10-04)

A TV crew is coming to Faffner Hall for a special on the building; the regular residents hope it makes for good publicity. However, Farkas Faffner has another scheme: he wants to turn the hall into an amusement park!

Guest Spot: Gil Evans Orchestra and Ladysmith Black Mambazo appear.
9"Notation: The Sign That Gets the Sound"Tony KyshDavid Angus & Patrick BarlowOctober 11, 1989 (1989-10-11)
Guest Spot: James Taylor performs with the Wild Impresario.
10"Discovering New Sounds"Tony KyshDavid Angus & Patrick BarlowOctober 18, 1989 (1989-10-18)
Guest Spot: Thomas Dolby demonstrates the sounds that you can make with a synthesizer. Patrick Moraz is the other musical guest.
11"Music Brings Us Together"Tony KyshJocelyn Stevenson & Patrick BarlowOctober 25, 1989 (1989-10-25)

Using a talking skull (a recycled version of Yorick the Skull from The Muppet Show ), Farkus Faffner traps Fughetta Faffner in her solidified state and traps her as part of his haunted house plot. Mimi, Riff, and Wild Impresario end up summoning Fughetta's Great Uncle Fishknife for help.

Guest Spot: Guest musician Youssou N'Dour shows Fughetta how to communicate with music despite language barriers. Steve Turre plays on seashells with a tourist family of dragons, and Yomo Toro plays his guitar.

Note: David Rudman gives an uncredited performance as the dragon son (played by Earl the Dragon) in the segment with Steve Turre.
12"The Power of Music"Tony KyshJocelyn Stevenson & Patrick BarlowNovember 1, 1989 (1989-11-01)

A ghost exterminator named Madame Mumu (a recycled version of the Geri and the Atrics piano player from The Muppet Show ) arrives at Faffner Hall where Farkus enlists her to get rid of Fughetta at the time when Farkus has a cold.

Guest Spot: Madame Mumu comes across the room where Los Lobos is performing where Cesar Rosas is finding it hard to adjust to the upbeat mood of the music ever since his girlfriend left him.
13"Anyone Can Make Music"Tony KyshDavid Angus & Patrick BarlowNovember 8, 1989 (1989-11-08)
Guest Spot: Michala Petri and Robin Williamson appear in this episode.

Cast

Muppet performers

Special musical guests

Critical reception

Alan Carter of People magazine lamented the absence of classic Muppets characters but otherwise gave the show a brief but favorable review: "This one sings." [1]

See also

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References

  1. Carter, Alan (September 11, 1989). "Picks and Pans Review: Jim Henson's the Ghost of Faffner Hall". People. Retrieved July 2, 2015.