With the upcoming The Muppets reboot, we bring you some interesting facts you should know about the Muppets. “It’s time to put on makeup. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to get things started with some Muppet facts tonight.”
1. Disney bought the Muppets in 2003, but only the “classic Muppets” (the ones from The Muppet Show and the Muppet movies). Sesame Street characters are owned by the Sesame Workshop, and the Fraggles are owned by the Jim Henson Company.
2. In Portugal, Kermit the Frog is named “Cocas.” In Spain, he’s “Gustavo.”
4. Until 1983, HBO aired only movies and sports. Its first show was Fraggle Rock.
5. Telly initially had dazed eyes and a TV antenna on his head. Ironically, during the first few seasons of Sesame Street, he was supposed to warn children that they shouldn’t watch too much TV.
6. An early draft of the screenplay for The Muppet Movie included a recurring role for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He was supposed to appear several times, disguised as a sheriff, a busboy, an extra, and as a head on Mount Rushmore.
7. The Muppet characters’ frames are made out of flexible polyfoam (foam rubber isn’t used because it disintegrates). The “skin” is made out of a synthetic material called antron fleece, which is furry, dyeable (very important), and doesn’t get fuzzballs.
8. Miss Piggy’s full, original name was Miss Piggy Lee.
9. The protoype of Kermit was a lizard made from cardboard and covered in material cut from Henson’s mother’s fuzzy green coat. The eyes were two halves of Wacky Stacks, a 1970s line of toy plastic eggs. (When the manufacturer went out of business, Henson bought their entire stock so he’d have Muppet eyes forever.)
10. Two Muppet-sung songs made the pop chart: “Rubber Duckie,” by Sesame Street’s Ernie, hit #16 in 1970, and “Rainbow Connection,” by Kermit the Frog, reached #25 in 1979.
11. The first season of Saturday Night Live featured regular Muppet sequences. New characters from “The Land of Gorch” were created for the show, including “King Ploovis,” “Queen Peuta” (she has three feet), and “The Mighty Favog.” The adult-oriented sketches weren’t very popular with audiences or the writers, and were discontinued in early 1976.
12. Meep! Meep! In more than 30 years, Beaker from The Muppet Show has spoken only three lines: “Sadly, temporary,” “Makeup ready,” and “Bye-bye!”
13. In 2005 Kermit the Frog was given the key to the city of Kermit, Texas.
14. Oscar the Grouch around the world: In Pakistan, he’s “Akhtar” and lives in an oil drum. In Turkey, he’s called “Kirpik” and resides in a basket. There is no Oscar in the Israeli version of Sesame Street. Instead they have Oscar’s cousin, “Moishe Oofnik,” who lives in an abandoned car.
This story was originally published in Uncle John’s Fully Loaded 25th Anniversary Bathroom Reader.