The Muppets are celebrating their 60th birthday this year!
Jim Henson created the group of puppets back in 1955 for his first TV show, called “Sam and Friends.” Henson said the term Muppet had emerged from a combination of “marionette” and “puppet.” Henson’s wildly imagined collection of characters has been delighting children and adults with their absurd antics and comedic sketches ever since.
Muppets are not born in a day. They are carefully created through an extensive and creative process. Once the molding of the Muppet is complete, the real work begins. The puppeteers or “Muppet performers” can take up to a year to develop their characters and voices. A Muppet may be passed around to different puppeteers until they find their “perfect human–Muppet match.” You may have noticed almost all the Muppets are left–handed. That’s because the puppeteers operate the head with their right hand and operate the arm rod with their left hand.
Here’s a couple more fun facts about the Muppets’ origins you may not know
Kermit the Frog started his life as a lizard and eventually his character evolved into a frog. Miss Piggy was based on the singer Peggy Lee. In 1979, Miss Piggy’s puppeteer Frank Oz opened up to the New York Times about her rough childhood. He stated “She grew up in a small town in Iowa; her father died when she was young, and her mother wasn’t that nice to her. She had to enter beauty contests to survive, as many single women do. She has a lot of vulnerability which she has to hide, because of her need to be a superstar.”
Other famous inspirations for the Muppets include The Who’s Keith Moon, whom Animal (the drummer) is based on, Elton John, who inspired Electric Mayhem leader Dr. Teeth, and even Mick Jagger’s lips, which served as the model for Electric Mayhem’s guitarist Janice. Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Midnight Cowboy” was the inspiration behind Rizzo the Rat.
Muppets “Statler” and “Waldorf” get their names from the New York City hotels The Statler Hilton (now the Hotel Pennsylvania) and the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel.
Fozzie the Bear was named after Fraz Fazakas, the puppeteer who helped create the system that allowed Fozzie to wiggle his ears. Rowlf the dog was originally created for a Purina Dog Chow commercial in 1962 and soon after rose to fame on The Jimmy Dean Show.
During his life Jim Henson created over 200 Muppets with several of those rising to celebrity like status. His other well–known Muppets have starred in Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock. While their creator is no longer with us, The Muppets will live on to bring joy to all who tune in for a Muppet show. It’s not easy waiting for the next Muppet installment so while you hold tight for their next adventure to be announced, enjoy this wonderful collection of Muppet fan art.
I don’t care what you think of me, unless you think I’m awesome. In which case you are right.”
Here’s some simple advice: always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware the advice from experts, pigs, and members of Parliament.”
It seems the words on my coffee mug are right: ‘It is hard to soar with Eagles when you work with turkeys’.”
What should you do if someone gives you a large boulder as a present? Take it for granite! Wocka! Wocka!”
Oh, I tell ya, Camilla, great plumbers are born, not made! I’m the prince of plungers, fair maiden!”
Well, how do you like the film?
I’ve seen detergents that leave a better film than this.”
- Who is your favorite Muppets character and why?
- What would you like to see in future editions of Fan Art Friday?