Kermit and co are back on screens - brush up your knowledge today
The fuzzy Jim Henson creations have been entertaining families for decades. With longer careers than many famous entertainers, Kermit and his band of crazy critters have a place in the hearts of adults and children the world over. Muppets Most Wanted is their 12th big screen release and it’s due to reach Dubai cinemas within days. Whether you’re a Sesame Street kid or The Muppet Show devotee, their latest adventure looks set to be a winner as Kermit and co get wrapped up in a European jewel-heist caper. To get in the mood, here are some factoids about the film’s stars.
Kermit wasn’t always a frog Kermit is one of the most instantly recognisable characters of the Muppet crew, but did you know that he started life as a completely different species? The very first Kermit was made out of Henson’s mother’s old coat and some ping-pong balls and was more like a lizard than the frog that we have come to know and love. In 1969, by the time he appeared on Sesame Street, he had evolved into a frog.
What is Gonzo? In all honesty no-one knows exactly what kind of animal the blue, long-nosed, big eyed Gonzo is. Some say he’s part turkey, part alien. Despite nobody knowing quite what he is, he sure is unique. His original name, before Gonzo the Great, was Snarl the Cigar Box Frackle and he first appeared in a 1974 TV special, before moving on to The Muppet Show. Developed and performed by puppeteer Dave Goelz, Gonzo is also the only remaining original cast member of The Muppet Show that still regularly performing with The Muppets.
Bald bears? Fozzie is the The Muppet’s stand- up comedian. On The Muppet Show Fozzie Bear would finish his gags with his catchphrase ‘wocka wocka wocka’ which was usually followed by heckles from Waldorf and Statler. Like most bears he’s furry all over but underneath his trademark brown hat is a special little secret – he’s actually bald on top.
The first Muppet celebrity was Rowlf the dog Kermit and Miss Piggy may be the top draw Muppets now, but in 1963 Rowlf the Dog was the biggest. He was originally created for a pet food commercial and then later the piano-playing pooch was added to the cast of The Jimmy Dean Show in 1963, where he was an immediate hit. Each week, fans would send bags of mail to the jazzy Muppet – racking up more letters than Jimmy Dean himself. Rowlf was performed by Jim Henson with a then 19-year-old puppeteer named Frank Oz.
It’s Doctor Kermit to you Kermit is a smart chap and in 1996 he received an honorary doctorate from Southampton College in New York. By rights the green felt Muppet could be referred to as Doctor Kermit, or Doctor The Frog for formal occasions. Dr Kermit received his doctorate for his work promoting environmental awareness and was bestowed the honour during the graduating class’s speech.
The Jim Henson stitch Muppets may appear seamless on TV but even Kermit has a stitch right down the middle of his face. Jim Henson patented a near invisible stitch that allows the characters’ faces to move. The stitch works impeccably on the Muppets’ fleecy material and ensures that the cast are ready for their close-ups.
Kermit the Frog wasn’t the original host of The Muppet Show In the early 1970s, Henson recorded two pilots for a weekly Muppet TV series. The first was called The Muppets Valentine Show, and was hosted by a human-looking Muppet named Wally. When that pilot failed to fly, Henson produced another; this time with the vaguely amphibious Muppet Nigel at the helm. It wasn’t until Henson started work on The Muppet Show in 1976 that Kermit was finally installed as the host and face of the show – and the rest is of course Muppet history. The Muppets Most Wanted is out in cinemas across Dubai from Thursday 10 July.