Gusworld's Muppet Race Mania Guide: Voices

Racing!
No matter what they thought of the game itself, the release of Muppet Race Mania was a major event for most Muppet obsessives. Not only did it mark the first major Muppet release featuring new material since 'Muppets From Space', it also marked the vocal reappearance of a number of favourite characters: notably Rowlf, Link Hogthrob, Scooter and Janice. Since the deaths of their respective performers (Jim Henson for the first two, Richard Hunt for the other two), these characters had made brief on-screen cameos, but hadn't spoken.

Rowlf While Steve Whitmire (who took over Kermit on Henson's death) voiced Link, Rowlf was given new life by Bill Barretta. Scooter and Janice's voices were provided by Matt Vogel (who spends most of his time understudying Big Bird and Oscar on Sesame Street).

While this may have seemed like a permanent recast at the time, it didn't work out that way. The next time the Muppets made a major appearance -- their 2002 special 'Very Merry Muppet Christmas' -- Barretta continued to play Rowlf, but Vogel was nowhere to be seen. Scooter and Janice were both taken over by Brian Henson. Link didn't appear.

(A note of thanks to the very useful Tough Pigs Recast FAQ, which was my main source for most of this information.)

The other notable point about the voiceovers in the game is this: while it was inevitable that the 'classic' Muppets were going to dominate, much of the funniest material comes from the newer, Muppet Tonight-era characters. Bill Barretta in particular shines, and his dialogue for both Pepe, Bobo and Johnny Fiamma is the most amusing thing on the CD in vocal terms. The other dominant presence is Statler and Walford, simply because they have the most material.

And finally, a mystery: who does the voices for Sweetums, Bill and the Pig Chief? While it seems likely that Dave Goelz and Kevin Clash did the latter two -- they played the roles in the original movies and they were scheduled for recordings for this game anyway -- John Henson, who normally plays Sweetums these days, isn't credited anywhere. Did someone else step in?

Return to the main Muppet Race Mania page

MAILClick here to mail comments or questions

GUSWORLDReturn to Gusworld Central