The overload of Muppet madness all over the world of entertainment reminded us of the Jim Henson’s projects, such as the Muppets. Although the Muppets have been put on the back burner in the last several years, the fever of this phenomenon is not new at all. Jim Henson and his creations have been making a great entertainment for young and adults since the 1950s. We have got you covered with a history of the much-adored Muppets and other Henson creations, from all the way back to first project called Sam and Friends, all the way up to the new film called The Muppets.
The Sam and Friends was the first Jim Henson’s Muppet show which debuted on the television. When the show was conceptualized, Henson was still in college. The combination of singing contemporary songs and edgy humor with titles such as Visual Thinking made Sam and Friends a success. The Muppets were supposed to be only a small segment of the show, when the CTW first approached Henson about their new TV program for children called Sesame Street. However, their huge popularity made them the base of the program back in 1969.
Sesame Street and its iconic characters, such as Cookie Monster, Grover, and Big Bird, set the standard for children’s entertainment, more than 40 years later. After every American network turned down pitch for The Muppet Show, Henson brought the concept across the pond. Kermit along with his crew made one big splash. The combination of celebrity guest appearances and vaudevillian-inspired sketches launched the Muppets into international superstardom.
Many big names made memorable appearances on the show, such as Julie Andrews, Steve Martin, and Elton John. The Muppets released their first feature film in 1979, which was named The Muppet Movie. Movie Labyrinth gained a huge cult following, but there was another Henson film from the 1980s, which left everyone surprised – The Dark Crystal. Although the movie was unlike anything Henson had done before, he had only words of praise for it.
As one of HBO’s first original series, Fraggle Rock made its debut in 1983. This show aimed at older children and tackled some major issues, such as social prejudice and conflict, through a puppet perspective. The Muppets were animated in 1948, with Muppet Babies. The stars of this programs were younger versions of the Muppets who lived together in a nursery. This show ran for seven years on CBS and was a great success.
After movies, such as Muppet Treasure Island and A Muppet Christmas, the company of Jim Henson tried to bring back the celebrity guest stars and silly sketches of the original Muppet Show with the new series called Muppet Tonight. Although the show lasted for only two seasons, big names, such as Billy Crystal, Sandra Bullock, Michelle Pfeiffer, were all guest hosts. Disney bought the right for the Muppets in 2004. At first, it looked like we had seen the last of the Muppets.
However, Disney launched Muppet Studios in 2009, with many viral videos. The old-school Muppets were focused on social harmony, love, and a good humor. We think that you will agree those are things which we all could use more today.