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Title: Conrad & Cassandra
Date: 1982 (Nos. 1 through 4), 1983 (Nos. 5 & 6)
Description: Great musical numbers don’t stand a chance in this duo’s hands.
Until it’s release on DVD, I’d forgotten that The Muppet Show had Wayne & Wanda, a vaudeville act that always befell some kind of misfortune inspired by the song they were singing. For instance, when they sang “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” a ton of snow fell and buried them. Cute.
Wallace & Ladmo had a similar team, Conrad & Cassandra. This vaudeville act always befell misfortune inspired by—their disastrous lack of talent, their obvious contempt for each other, and their frequent attempts to upstage (and, oh yes, assault) one another. Far from “cute.”
I remember the genesis for this duo came about through casual conversations in the Office/Prop Room/Dressing Room. Often we would spend the time either before taping started or during cartoon/commercial breaks chatting about any number of subjects, and laughing. Many ideas for the show sprung directly from these informal exchanges. I don’t remember exactly what the conversation was that led to C&C (I’m pretty sure none of us were thinking of, or even remembered, Wayne & Wanda at the time), but most likely it had something to do with Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald musicals, the target of the send-up. Why we would’ve been on that subject is anyone’s guess, but I do recall that Pat came up with the name Conrad. The new “singing sensation” made their debut soon afterward.
These clips are not for the fainthearted. They exhibit: biting, strangling (long before The Simpsons made it part of pop culture), slugging, bullying, god-awful, ear piercing singing (even I can’t stand Cassandra’s singing—and it’s MY VOICE!), and one near expletive!
In clip number 6, “Maria,” a potted plant was supposed to fall from a balcony window and hit Pat’s extended foot as he knelt below. It should have been no problem—it was a relatively small pot and he had on protective shoes. However, he leaned a little too far forward and the pot bashed his knee instead. The ensuing agony was real! As he writhed in pain, he let escape a sound very close to the word “SH*T.” In the clip, you can even hear Ladmo off camera reacting to the utterance. Afterward, poor Pat literally limped off the set.
Never let it be said that Pat McMahon didn’t suffer for his art!
Now, all may suffer the return of Conrad & Cassandra!