1. The original Kermit was made out of an old coat that once belonged to Jim Henson’s mother and the eyes were made from ping-pong balls.
The original Kermit now resides at the Smithsonian.
2. Jim Henson first created The Muppets in 1955 for his TV show called Sam and Friends.
Sam and Friends was Jim Henson’s first TV show. The show was only five-minutes long and aired twice daily on WRC-TV, in Washington, D.C.
The show ran from May 9, 1955 to December 15, 1961.
3. According to Jim Henson, the Muppets got their name from a combination between the words “Marionette” and “Puppet.”
4. Kermit would occasionally don a blond wig to assume a feminine alter ego, Kermina.
5. The name of The Muppet Show pilot, that aired in 1975, was The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence.
The title was meant to be a parody of the proliferation of sex and violence on television.
6. The Muppet Show is not an American show, it’s actually British.
Jim Henson produced for two pilots The Muppet Show, neither of which led to the show being picked up a by American TV networks.
British commercial station ATV, offered a deal to Henson for him to produce the show at their ATV studios in Elstree, England. ATV, as part of the deal, would broadcast the show over ITV stations in the UK. The show was then sold to the U.S. as part of syndication deal.
7. Kermit was not the original host of The Muppet Show. Nigel, the orchestra conductor, hosted the “Sex and Violence” pilot. He was dropped because he was deemed “too wimpy” to host the show.
8. The first Muppet to achieve national stardom was Rowlf the Dog, he was a cast member on The Jimmy Dean Show from 1963 to 1966.
Rowlf was first created for a Purina Dog Chow commercial in 1962.
9. Miss Piggy first appearance was on the Herb Alpert’s 1974 TV special Herb Alpert and the TJB.
10. According to her puppeteer, Frank Oz, Miss Piggy’s had a pretty rough childhood.
In 1979, Oz told The New York Times:
“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.”
11. Statler and Waldorf are named after two New York City hotels: The Statler Hilton (now the Hotel Pennsylvania) and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
12. During it’s six year run, no celebrity was allowed to be The Muppet Show more than once.
13. Guest stars on The Muppet Show could request to appear in a scene with their favorite Muppet. Miss Piggy was the most requested. Animal was a close second.
14. Gonzo first appearance was as Snarl, the Cigar Box Frackle, in the 1970 TV special The Great Santa Claus Switch .
16. The largest Muppet is Thog, he stands over 9 1/2 feet tall and is 4 feet wide.
17. Kermit’s version of “Rainbow Connection,” from The Muppet Movie, reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979. It remained in the Top 40 for seven weeks.
The song also received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
19. Almost all the Muppets are left-handed.
The reason Muppets are left-handed is because the puppeteer uses their right hand to operate the head, while operating the arm rod with their left hand.
20. Miss Piggy is a New York Times best-selling author.
Her book Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life was on the New York Times bestseller list for 29 weeks (from June 28, 1981 to January 24, 1982).
21. Before settling Queen’s on “Bohemian Rhapsody,” The Muppets Studios had a long list of possible songs they wanted to perform, they almost considered doing Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was clearly the best choice — the video won the “Viral Video” award at the 14th Annual Webby Awards.
22. Fozzie was named after puppet builder Faz Fazakas, who among other things, helped create the mechanism that allowed Fozzie to wiggle his ears.
There is a common misconception that he was named after Frank Oz.
23. The idea for the animated series Muppet Babies, came from the dream sequence in the film The Muppets Take Manhattan.
24. Jim Henson’s final performance as Kermit the Frog was on the May 4, 1990, episode of The Arsenio Hall Show.
Two weeks later Henson would die from organ failure cause by Streptococcus pyogenes.
25. Jim Henson reportedly created over 2000 Muppets in his lifetime.
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