Buffalo Springfield’s 1966 anti-war anthem “For What It’s Worth” is timeless — so much so that Billy Porter revived it to take on the tumultuous year that was 2020. Maybe the most creative revamp, though, came in 1978 when The Muppet Show tweaked the track into a tender warning against killing forest creatures.
The Muppet Show came to Disney+ in February, reviving classic episodes featuring everyone from Johnny Cash to Kenny Rogers singing with Kermit and crew. The new version of “For What It’s Worth” crops up in a Season Two episode starring Bob Hope, and includes several creatures that originally appeared in 1977’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas.The Old Lady Possum puppet turns up this time as the lead singer, who was voiced by Muppets mainstay Jerry Nelson.
The clip starts off with gentle flute music and a pristine Muppet forest. Animals emerge as the tune transitions into the iconic opening lines as sung by Nelson: “There’s something happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear/There’s a man with a gun over there/Telling me I got to beware.” The rest of the animals join in on the chorus, “Stop children/What’s that sound?/Everybody look what’s going down.” We then cut to three hunters blasting blindly through the woods, making the “man with a gun” very literal.
The lyrics then diverge from the original sentiment, as the possum sings, “The strangers come into our woods/We’d understand them if only we could/But what’s the reason that they can give/For not wanting you and me to live?” Luckily, the hunters only succeed in shooting a motorcycle, a tractor, and a cement truck. The animals emerge after the trio leaves, all whispering in unison, “Stop.”
According to the Muppet Wiki, the segment raised the ire of Field & Stream writer Richard L. Hall over the depiction of the hunters and their unsafe firearm usage. Given the tone of the quotes given, we’re going to assume his anger was tongue-in-cheek: “When the program ended a few minutes later with a deranged fuzz-ball [Animal] screaming ‘Bunny rabbit! Bunny rabbit!’ and shooting the hell out of everything, I was about ready to boot the tube.”