The Muppet Show

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The Muppet Show
Tv muppet show opening.jpg
Opening sequence
Genre Variety
Format Puppetry
Sketch comedy
Created by Jim Henson
Presented by Kermit the Frog
Starring Jim Henson
Frank Oz
Jerry Nelson
Richard Hunt
Dave Goelz
Louise Gold
Steve Whitmire
Kathryn Mullen
Eren Ozker
John Lovelady
Theme music composer Jim Henson
Sam Pottle
Opening theme The Muppet Show Theme
Ending theme The Muppet Show Theme
Country of origin United Kingdom
United States
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 120 (List of episodes)
Location(s) ATV Elstree, Borehamwood, England
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–26 minutes
Production company(s) ATV
ITC Entertainment
Henson Associates
Distributor Disney-ABC Domestic Television (current)
Original channel ITV (UK)
syndication (US)
Picture format 576i
Audio format Mono (1976–81)
Stereo (1981)
Original run 13 September 1976 (1976-09-13) – 15 March 1981 (1981-03-15)
Followed by The Muppet Movie (1979), Muppet Babies (1984–92)

The Muppet Show is a comedy-variety television series that was produced by puppeteer Jim Henson and features The Muppets. After two pilot episodes produced in 1974 and 1975 failed to get the attention of America's network heads, Lew Grade approached Henson to produce the programme for his ATV Associated Television franchise in the UK. The show lasted for five series consisting of 120 episodes which were first broadcast in Britain between 5 September 1976 and 15 March 1981. The programmes were recorded at ATV's Elstree Studios just north of London.

The series shows a vaudeville or music hall-style song-and-dance variety show, as well as glimpses behind the scenes of such a show. Kermit the Frog stars as a showrunner who tries to keep control of the antics of the other Muppet characters (and his temper), as well as keep the guest stars happy.[1] The show was known for outrageous physical slapstick, sometimes absurdist comedy, and humorous parodies.[2] Each episode also featured a human guest star. As the show's popularity rose, many celebrities were eager to perform with the Muppets on television and in film.

Many of the puppeteers also worked on Sesame Street. Muppet performers over the course of the show include Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Fran Brill, Eren Ozker, Steve Whitmire, Louise Gold, Kathryn Mullen, Karen Prell, Brian Muehl, Bob Payne, and John Lovelady. Jerry Juhl and Jack Burns were two of the show writers.


Opening sequence[edit]

Theme song[edit]

The Muppet Show Theme (written by Henson and Sam Pottle in 1976)[3] is the show's theme song. It is the opening and closing theme for every episode of The Muppet Show, and was performed in by The Muppets in a scene of The Muppets Movie.

Each episode ended with an extended instrumental performance of "The Muppet Show Theme" by the Muppet orchestra before Statler and Waldorf gave the last laugh of the night. Some last laugh sequences featured other Muppets on the balcony. For example, in one episode, the Muppets of Sesame Street appeared behind the duo who told them: "How should we know how to get to Sesame Street? We don't even know how to get out of this stupid theater box!"

Every season, the TV version of the song was presented with re-worked lyrics. While the opening sequence evolved visually over the course of the series' five seasons, the musical composition remained sequentially the same. Throughout the years, the song has become a staple of the franchise.

The "Muppet Show Theme" is almost identical to the German song "Ich brauche keine Millionen" composed for the musical Hello Janine! by Peter Kreuder in 1939.[4][5]

First series[edit]

For the first series, each episode began with a shot of the title card. As the camera zoomed in, the spotlight immediately lit up the O, the center of which swung back to reveal Kermit, who introduced the "Very special guest star" from this position before retreating behind the sign. The title card then lifted up to reveal the curtains, and the camera pulled back to reveal the Muppet orchestra with Crazy Harry playing a triangle. Two chorus lines, one of four chorus girls and one of four chorus boys then took turns crossing the stage, the former group entering from stage right and the latter from stage left. The curtains then parted to reveal Fozzie Bear who each week tells a joke before the curtain abruptly closes on him. As the curtains close, Kermit appeared in front of them to visually present the guest star. The last verse was then performed from a set of cake layer-like risers. Kermit and the chorus of Muppets raised their arms as the song finished and the logo once again lowered into place with Gonzo trying to use the O as a gong, swinging at it with a mallet before some incident occurs.

Second series[edit]

For the second series, each episode began with a shot of the title card and Kermit introducing the guest star from inside the O. He stayed perched in the sign as it was lifted into the rafters. The curtain was then raised, revealing a series of arches. Next, a group of full-bodied monsters walked on-stage, followed by a group of females singing a verse, followed by the males singing the following verse. Statler and Waldorf followed with a new wisecrack each week in place of Fozzie's joke except a couple of instances where they merely sit down in their seats. Kermit was shown seated in the arches with the rest of the cast. The camera changes shots further and further away before the logo is lowered before them. Kermit and Fozzie run to the left and right sides of the logo respectively behind the arches so they wouldn't get hidden out of the shot. Gonzo is inside the circle and plays a note on his bugle, often wrongly or with some kind of incident that changed every week.

Third, fourth, and fifth series[edit]

For the third series, the opening remained the same except for two differences: initial shots of Zoot and Rowlf and an additional shot where the audience asks, "Why Don't You Get Things Started?" Also, some episodes featured had a special scene during the opening that took place either backstage or the orchestra pit, in place of a comment by Statler and Waldorf.

For the fourth series, the opening was shortened. The shots of women and men singing in the arches were replaced with a single shot of men (on the top row of arches) and women (on the bottom row of arches) singing one short verse. The rest of the opening remained unchanged from the third season's opening.

For the fifth series, the opening underwent some changes. The shot of Rowlf and Zoot were replaced with a shot of a new Zoot puppet. This opening reverted to having the men and women sing two different verses, but they were re-shot. The arches appear to be slightly thicker and wider than previously. Statler and Waldorf then sang a new verse expressing their hatred toward The Muppet Show. This was followed by a shot of the orchestra and then a shot of a few rows of arches filled with characters saying, "And now let's get things started", before the audience says, "Why don't you get things started?". The rest of the opening remains the same from previous versions.


Muppet Theater[edit]

The Muppet Theater is the setting for The Muppet Show, a grand old vaudeville house that has seen better days. In episode 106, Kermit identifies the name of the theater as The Benny Vandergast Memorial Theater, although by the time of It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, it is simply called "The Muppet Theater." It is then that the theater becomes registered as a historical landmark.

According to The Phantom of the Muppet Theater, the theater was built by a stage actor named John Stone in 1802. At some point a production of Hamlet ran in the theater, with Stone playing the title role. An alternate exterior is also shown in the book.

Locations seen in the Muppet Theater include backstage right (which includes Kermit's desk), the dressing rooms, the attic (featured in four compilation videos released in 1985), the canteen, the prop room, the stage, Statler and Waldorf's Box, the auditorium, reception, the recording studio, the stage door lobby, and the back alley. A replica of the theatre serves as the setting for the Muppet*Vision 3D attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure.

Scooter's uncle J.P. Grosse owns the theater, and rents it to the Muppets, as Scooter is only too happy to remind Kermit. In a deleted scene from It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Kermit reveals that J.P. has died and left the theater to the Muppets in his will. This would have taken place sometime after 1996, as J.P. can be seen (and referred to as such by the head of the KMUP network) in episode 107 of Muppets Tonight, the 1990s reworking of The Muppet Show.[6] The Muppet Theater is shown to be in New York City as Rachel Bitterman plots to tear down the Muppet Theater and build a club. She is thwarted when Pepe the King Prawn manages to get the Muppet Theater to be made into a national landmark.

In The Muppets, a version of the Muppet Theater is seen in Los Angeles and is located next to Muppet Studios. It is the main storyline of the movie that the Muppets reunite to raise money to buy back the Muppet Theater deed from an oil magnate named Tex Richman.

Recurring skits[edit]

Fozzie Bear (left) and Rowlf the Dog (right) perform "English Country Garden" on episode 2.18 of The Muppet Show
  • A Poem by Rowlf – Rowlf the Dog would recite a classic poem while other Muppets end up interrupting him. Only appeared in the first season.
  • An Editorial by Sam the Eagle – Sam the Eagle gives an editorial on a specific topic which ends up occurring during the editorial. Only appeared in the second season.
  • At the Dance – The sketch was a regular during the first season, but was used less frequently from the second season onward. Muppet characters (some of them being Whatnots) circulated on a semi-formal dance floor offering rapid fire one-liner jokes and come-backs as the couples passed in front of the camera. Debuted in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, and played a large role in the plot for a season five episode.
  • Blackouts – A bunch of short, comic sketches traditional to Vaudeville that end with the lights turning off or a quick closing of the curtain. Only appeared in the first season.
  • Cold Openings – The Cold Openings would appear at the beginning of each episode, and would officially introduce the guest star. During the first season, Kermit would introduce the guest star during the opening theme. His introduction would be followed by a clip of the guest star, usually surrounded by a group of Muppets. Beginning the second season, the Cold Openings would appear before the opening theme song. Scooter would visit the guest star in his/her dressing room, usually saying "Fifteen seconds to curtain". This would then be followed by a brief joke. In the fifth season, the guest star would enter the Muppet Theater and would be greeted by Pops the Doorman. Pops would always say "Who are you?" as soon as he saw the guest star. After the guest star introduced himself/herself to Pops, a joke would follow.
  • Fozzie Bear's Act – Fozzie Bear gets on stage and performs his famously bad jokes. Statler and Waldorf heckle him in a perpetual rivalry. The sketches became less frequent as Fozzie's off-stage presence became more prevalent. In one first season episode however, Fozzie turned the tables on Statler and Waldorf with help from Bruce Forsyth and they waved the white flag in surrender. Mainly appeared during the first season, but made occasional appearances in later seasons.
  • Muppet Labs – Muppet Labs is "Where the future is being made today!" These segments featured the latest invention from Dr. Bunsen Honeydew with his assistant Beaker getting the worst of its inevitable malfunction. During the first season, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew hosted Muppet Labs by himself. The writers soon realized that another character was necessary to show Bunsen's failings which resulted in Beaker being introduced in Season Two.
  • Muppet Melodrama – A sketch where Uncle Deadly would capture Miss Piggy and put her in perilous plights in order to force her to marry him. Wayne would often have to be the one save her. Only appeared in the third season.
  • Muppet News FlashThe Muppet Newsman gives a news brief only to have some disaster befall him (typically the same disaster he was just describing), or another strange scenario (such as the time that he ran on stated "There is no news tonight" and ran off). In the first season, the Muppet Newsman read out news items that occasionally featured the guest star for that week playing a character that was somehow involved in the item. Muppet News Flashes often used absurdist humour. In one sketch, the Muppet Newsman stated that the Atlantic Ocean had been kidnapped. Another example is this statement: "Reports are coming in from all over the world that Television News Reporters are blowing up. These unlikely rumors are... KA-BOOM!" A third example (a cross-over with the Swedish Chef's sketch) has the Swedish Chef open and cause a wine bottle "explosion" (if a bottle is shaken too much before opening it for the first time, fizz will shoot up and out of the bottle) and flies through the air, classified as a UFO by the Muppet Newsman. As the scene goes, he was reported directly above the Muppet Newsroom and he landed on and crushed the Muppet Newsman.
  • Muppet Sports – A sports sketch that features different sporting activities that are covered by Louis Kazagger. Debuted in the third season.
  • Musical Chickens – A bunch of Muppet chickens would peck the keys of a piano and play a classic song in order to show off their musical talents.
  • Panel Discussions – A sketch where Kermit the Frog, the featured guest star, and other Muppets discuss various topics. Only appeared in the first season.
  • Pigs in Space – Parody of science fiction programmes like Star Trek, but also 1930s sci-fi serials. The spacecraft is called USS Swinetrek and the title voice-over is a parody of Lost in Space. It features Captain Link Hogthrob, Miss Piggy as first mate, and Dr. Julius Strangepork (the name a take-off on "Dr. Strangelove"). Usually, the sketches would involve the long-suffering Piggy putting up with the wacko Strangepork and the brain dead Link treating her as an inferior because she is a woman. The early sketches also usually featured odd introductions for all the characters, such as calling Link the flappable captain, Miss Piggy the flirtatious first mate, and referring to Dr. Strangepork as "describable." Dr. Strangepork usually got the most unusual description out of the three during these introductions as he was the oddest member of the group. This portion of the introduction was dropped during season three, and the announcer would simply claim it was "time for...Piiiiiigs...iiiin...spaaaaaaace!" Debuted in the second season.
  • Rowlf at the Piano – Rowlf the Dog would sing classical songs and would be occasionally accompanied by the other Muppet characters.
  • Talk Spots – While sitting on a wall, Kermit the Frog would talk to the guest star and would occasionally be joined by the other Muppets. Mostly appeared during the first season, but made occasional appearances during the second season, and made two rare appearances in the third season (one of which featured Sam the Eagle and the Swedish Chef in place of Kermit).
  • Talking Houses – A bunch of houses that tell jokes to each other. Only appeared during the first season.
  • The Swedish Chef – A cooking show parody. It consists of the Swedish Chef, who speaks mock Swedish, semi-comprehensible gibberish which parodies the characteristic vowel sounds and intonation of Swedish. He attempts to cook a dish with great enthusiasm, until the punch line hits. A hallmark of these sketches was the improvisation between Jim Henson (who performed the Chef's head and voice) and Frank Oz (who was his hands). One would often make something up on the spot, making the other puppeteer comply with the action. Famous gags include "chickie in du baskie" ("two points!"), Swedish meatballs that bounce, and repeatedly adding pepper to a recipe. The Swedish Chef was frequently seen chasing a fraught-looking chicken around the set whilst stating 'Yur puurt der chir-ken in der bewl' or words to this effect. Debuted in the pilot Sex and Violence.
  • UK Spots – Due to shorter commercial breaks in the United Kingdom, every episode of The Muppet Show lasted two minutes longer in the UK than in the United States. The extra segments that were filmed to cover this time differential have been referred to as "UK Spots." Most of these UK Spots consisted of a short song.
  • Vendaface – The Vendaface (voiced by Jerry Nelson) is a vending machine that can give any Muppet a facelift. The Vendaface was apparently only meant to be used once, but David Lazer said that they shouldn't build such an expensive puppet only to use him once. The writers then decided to have him on the show a few more times in the first season. The Vendaface later appeared in episode 66 as the Vendawish (voiced by Jerry Nelson) which was a wish-granting machine.
  • Veterinarian's Hospital – Parody of the soap opera General Hospital and other medical dramas, this segment consists of Dr. Bob (played by Rowlf the Dog) cracking corny jokes in the operating room with Nurses Piggy and Janice, much to the bemusement of the frazzled patient. Each installment ends with Dr. Bob and his nurses looking around in puzzlement as a disembodied narrator tells viewers to "tune in next time, when you'll hear Nurse Piggy / Dr Bob / Nurse Janice say....", whereupon one of the three 'medics' will prompt a corny response from one of the others. On a number of occasions, the "Veterinarian's Hospital" sketch would crossover with the cast or set of another, such as "At the Dance" or "Pigs in Space." On one occasion, Dr. Bob was the patient while the guest star (Christopher Reeve) played a doctor going to operate on Dr. Bob, and once Nurse Piggy was replaced(much to her chagrin) by guest star Loretta Swit, parodying her Nurse Houlihan character from M*A*S*H. In the first season the narrator was usually performed by John Lovelady, but Jerry Nelson performed the role in both the Harvey Korman and Rita Moreno episodes, before taking over the role permanently from the Phyllis Diller episode. In the introduction, Dr. Bob went from "a former orthopedic surgeon" to "a quack" who's "gone to the dogs."
  • Wayne and Wanda – Each sketch would feature Wayne and Wanda singing a song, only to be interrupted by some sort of pun relating to a lyric. Sam the Eagle introduced these sketches, as he felt that they were among the few cultured aspects of the show. Only appeared during the first season, however a few new sketches appeared in later seasons (with just Wayne).

Guest stars[edit]

John Cleese as a Mexican maraca soloist as part of his 1977 guest appearance on The Muppet Show

No guest star ever appeared twice on The Muppet Show, although John Denver appeared both on the show and in two specials (John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together and John Denver & the Muppets: Rocky Mountain Holiday), while Dudley Moore reappeared in the special, The Muppets Go to the Movies. Additionally, several guest stars from the series had cameos in one of the first three Muppet theatrical films. Originally, the producers had to call upon on their personal contacts to appeal to them to appear, especially considering that doing so meant an overseas trip to Britain to do so. However, the situation changed when the renowned ballet dancer, Rudolph Nureyev, offered to appear; his performance on this unusual TV program produced so much favorable publicity that the series became one of the most sought after for various celebrities to appear in.[7]

Many episodes featured actors, such as Dom DeLuise; some featured veteran performers like Ethel Merman and Rita Moreno; some featured well-known pop singers, including Elton John, Diana Ross, and Leo Sayer. Sayer's show used his hit "The Show Must Go On": he changed the lyrics in the second verse slightly, from "I wish I could tear down the walls of this theatre" to "I wish I could tear down the walls of this Muppet theatre". The last episode, in 1981, featured then-James Bond actor Roger Moore.

One episode featured staff writer, Chris Langham, (who wrote some episodes of this show starting in Season Three) guest starring due to Richard Pryor being unable to make the taping of the episode at the last minute.


Many of the characters who appeared on The Muppet Show have previously appeared in earlier productions in various ways.

Character Actor/Muppet Performer Description
Afghan Hound Louise Gold, Richard Hunt (episode 44), Kathryn Mullen (episode 115), Alice Dinnean (2011–present) An Afghan Hound who appears occasionally[8]
Aliens Frank Oz, Dave Goelz An alien duo who appear in episode 88. The duo later make cameos in The Jim Henson Hour and Mopatop's Shop.[8]
Angus McGonagle John Lovelady Also known as the Argyle Gargoyle, Angus McGonagle is a Scotsman who can gargle Gerswhin gorgeously. The sound effects of Angus' gargling were provided by John Lovelady. He was designed by Michael K. Frith and Bruce McNally and built by Jane Gootnick.[8]
Animal Frank Oz (1976–2001),[9] Eric Jacobson (2001–),[10] Drew Massey (2005) A savage and frenzied monster and the drummer for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem; Author Christopher Finch calls Animal "the ultimate representation of a long line of Muppets who personify unbridled appetite",[9] both "carnivorous beast" and "physical manifestation of pure libido." He was designed by Jim Henson and built by Dave Goelz.[11]
Announcer Jerry Nelson (1976–2011), John Lovelady (2012-2014) An unseen announcer who would announce the segment that is about to come on; in the Gene Kelly episode, the Announcer is revealed to be a blue Whatnot.[8]
Annie Sue Louise Gold A young female pig who is Miss Piggy's innocent rival.[8]
Baby Band Dave Goelz (episode 56), Louise Gold (episode 56), Jim Henson (episode 67), Richard Hunt (episode 56), Jerry Nelson (episode 56), Kathryn Mullen (episode 106), Frank Oz (episode 67), Various Performers A bunch of babies who are often seen as members of Bobby Benson's Baby Band. They were built by Calista Hendrickson.[8]
Baskerville the Hound Jim Henson (Purina Dog Chow commercials), Jerry Nelson, John Lovelady (episode 3), Frank Oz (Sesame Street; episode 10), Dave Goelz (episode 120) A hound who appears occasionally and was first used in the commercials for Purina Dog Chow with Rowlf the Dog. Baskerville the Hound's name is a homage to The Hound of the Baskervilles. He was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin.[8]
Beaker Richard Hunt (1976–92), Steve Whitmire (1992–present) Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's lab assistant, who performs "ill-fated" experiments, which often results in him getting blown up, eaten, or knocked over. He was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin.[12]
Beauregard Dave Goelz[13] A creature of indeterminate species who works as the "sweet but dim-witted" stagehand and janitor of the Muppet Theater.[13] Goelz called him "big and strong and clumsy." He was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Mari Kaestle.[14]
Beautiful Day Monster Frank Oz (1969), Jim Henson (1969; episode 3), Richard Hunt (episode 8), Jerry Nelson (episodes 9, and 26), Dan Redican (1989), Bill Barretta (2011–present) A monster who was previously on The Ed Sullivan Show and Sesame Street.[8]
Behemoth Dave Goelz (episode 15), Richard Hunt (episode 19), Jerry Nelson (episode 26), Bill Barretta (1996–present) A large orange monster who is one of the full-bodied Muppets. He is one of the Muppets that eat other Muppets. In recent appearances, Behemoth was often named Gene after Bill Barretta's brother Gene Barretta.[8]
Betsy Bird Betsy Baytos A giant red and yellow dancing bird who appears in the final season. She was named after Betsy Baytos. According to Jim Henson, Betsy was dropped since the costume seemed to hide Betsy's dance movements. Despite this, Betsy Bird did appear in the special Here Come the Puppets! and was featured in the "Birds" entry of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. She was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Cheryl Blaylock and Caroly Wilcox.[8]
Billy the Bear Frank Oz (episode 52), Jerry Nelson (episode 98), Richard Hunt (episodes 73, and 99) Dave Goelz (episode 84), Brian Muehl (episode 114) A bear who appears occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Bird Dancers Various Performers A bunch of large dancing birds who appear occasionally. The people who performed the Bird Dancers are actually dancers from London's Royal Ballet.[8]
Black Rooster Frank Oz (episodes 44, and 69), Jim Henson (episode 51) A rooster who appears occasionally.[8]
Bobby Benson Richard Hunt (1976–92), David Rudman (2011–present) A shady-looking man who leads the Baby Band.[8]
Bossmen Various performers 12 foot tall Muppets who appear occasionally. They were operated with long rods.[8]
Brewster Dave Goelz Also known as the "Guru," Brewster is a wise white-bearded man who appears occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Brown Bat Dave Goelz A bat who appears occasionally; once sang the song "Leatherwing Bat" with Judy Collins, Harold the Woodpecker, and a Singing Owl. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Bruno Jerry Nelson A Whatnot security guard who appears occasionally in the final season.[8]
Butch the Tiger Jim Henson (episode 88), Brian Muehl (episode 120) A tiger who appears occasionally.[8]
Camilla the Chicken Jerry Nelson (1977–2003), Alice Dinnean (2005), Matt Vogel (2008–present) A chicken who is Gonzo's girlfriend.[15]
Chick Frank Oz In the Roger Miller episode, this chick was the source of the Cluckitis. The Chick later made other appearances in this show and appears in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Chopped Liver Richard Hunt (episode 48), Dave Goelz (episode 113) An alien from the Zabar galaxy. In the "Alice Cooper" episode, he was a member of Alice Cooper's band called "The Vile Bunch." Chopped Liver was featured in the "Monsters" entry of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.[8]
Clodhoppers Various performers One performer was required for each of the full-figured puppets. The Clodhopper's feet were attached to the performers' feet while their heads and hands were the performer's hands. The puppeteers were dressed in black to hide themselves against the black background. The Clodhoppers were designed by Jim Henson in 1972 for a Broadway show which was never developed.[8]
Crazy Harry John Lovelady (1974–77), Richard Hunt (1975), Jerry Nelson (1977–2003),[16] Louise Gold (episode 45), Rickey Boyd (2005), Matt Vogel (2008–present) A crazed Muppet pyrotechnician who likes to blow up things.[8]
Crocodile Peter Friedman (episode 14), Frank Oz (episode 27), Jerry Nelson (episode 38), Richard Hunt (episode 72) A crocodile who appears in various sketches.[8]
Dodo Jerry Nelson A dodo who appears occasionally. He later appears in Muppet Treasure Island as one of the pirates on Long John Silver's side. The Dodo was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Lyle Conway.[8]
Doglion Jerry Nelson (episode 33), Frank Oz (episode 35), Jim Henson (episode 48), Kevin Clash (1989), Jim Martin (The Cosby Show episode "Cliff's Nightmare"), Bill Barretta (1996) A dog-faced monster with horns who is one of the Full-Bodied Muppets.[8]
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew Dave Goelz[17] A scientist who is often paired with and serves as a foil for Beaker.[18] Dr. Bunsen Honeydew performs science experiments that usually go wrong and has an "affable cluelessness" whenever Beaker is a victim of these experiments.[12]
Dr. Julius Strangepork Jerry Nelson (1977–2003),[16] Matt Vogel (2009–present) A pig who appears in "Pigs in Space" sketches with Link Hogthrob and Miss Piggy where he was a chief science officer.[19]
Dr. Teeth Jim Henson (1975–90), John Kennedy (1990–2001), Bill Barretta (2001–present), Victor Yerrid (2005) Leader of the Electric Mayhem and keyboardist. Dr. Teeth is based upon New Orleans singer and pianist Doctor John. He was designed by Jim Henson and Michael K. Frith and built by Don Sahlin.[20]
Droop Jerry Nelson, Jim Henson (episode 15), Richard Hunt (episode 44), Peter Linz (2011–present) A green monster with a long pointy nose and bird-like feet. Droop originated in The Great Santa Claus Switch where he was called Snivelly. He was built by Caroly Wilcox.[8]
Eric the Parrot Jerry Nelson A parrot who appears occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Fazoobs Frank Oz, Jim Henson, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson Four musical aliens from the planet Koozebane who appear occasionally.[8]
Fish Singer Louise Gold A fish who would often be paired up with the Gills Brothers. She later made cameos in The Ghost of Faffner Hall.[8]
Fleet Scribbler Jerry Nelson A gossip journalist for "The Daily Scandal" who sometimes reports on the goings-on at the Muppet Theater. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Fletcher Bird Graham Fletcher (puppeteer), Steve Whitmire (voice) A large multi-colored dancing bird. He was named after Graham Fletcher.[8]
Flower-Eating Monster Jim Henson A dog-eared monster that eats flowers who appears occasionally. He was designed by Jim Henson.[8]
Floyd Pepper Jerry Nelson (1975–2003),[16] Matt Vogel (2008–present) Member of the Electric Mayhem and bassist. Author Christopher Finch says that Floyd is most like Nelson, and if there were a spin-off of The Muppet Show centering on his band, Floyd "would probably emerge as the central figure". He was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Dave Goelz.[21]
Foo-Foo Steve Whitmire[22] Miss Piggy's dog. She also appears as a real dog in full shots.[22]
Fozzie Bear Frank Oz (1976–2001),[20] Eric Jacobson (2001–present)[10] The Muppet Theater's comedian bear that can never make any good jokes. Finch calls Fozzie "a sweetly insecure and absolutely terrible comedian". According to Oz, Fozzie is such a bad comedian that he "can't afford good joke writers, and he can't write good jokes himself". He was designed by Michael K. Frith.[20]
Forcryingoutloud Bird Frank Oz A green bird with a yellow beak who appears occasionally. Forcryingoutloud Bird was featured in the "Birds" entry of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. He was designed by Jim Henson.[8]
Gaffer the Cat Kathryn Mullen An eyepatch-wearing cat who appears occasionally. She was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Marianne Harms.[8]
Gawky Birds Various performers 11 foot tall rod-puppets who appear occasionally. They were operated with long rods. The Gawky Birds were featured in the "Birds" entry of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.[8]
George the Janitor Frank Oz (1974–76, 1992), Richard Hunt (episode 45), Steve Whitmire (1996) An elderly janitor who first appears in The Muppets Valentine Show where he discovered with guest star Mia Farrow's help that he loved his mop.[23]
Geri and the Atrics Geri: Jerry Nelson
Drum Atric: Dave Goelz
False Teeth: Richard Hunt
Guitar Atric: Louise Gold
Piano Atric: Frank Oz
Tambourine Atric: Jerry Nelson
Tuba Atric: Steve Whitmire
Vocalist Atric: Kathryn Mullen
A band of six elderly ladies and one singing false teeth who appear occasionally.[8]
Gladys Richard Hunt She works as a cafeteria lady in the Muppet Theater's canteen delivering the food made by the The Swedish Chef to its customers. She also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Gnu Jerry Nelson A gnu appears in various sketches. He was built by Tim Miller.[8]
Gogola Jubilee Jugband Banjo Player: Richard Hunt (episodes 4, and 18), Jerry Nelson (episode 9)
Jugband Female: Eren Ozker
Jug Blower: Dave Goelz (episode 4), Jim Henson (episodes 9, and 13)
Paul: Jerry Nelson (episodes 4, and 23), Peter Friedman (episode 13)
Slim: Frank Oz
A jug band consisting of five Whatnots that appeared in Season One.[8]
The Great Gonzo Dave Goelz[18] The Muppet Theater's stuntman, who believes that all his stunts are works of art. Haberkorn calls Gonzo "the most grotesque Muppet", who revels in being different and resists categorization. A prototype version of Gonzo previously appeared in The Great Santa Claus Switch as Snarl.[24]
Gorgon Heap Frank Oz (episodes 3, and 28), Dave Goelz (episode 19), Richard Hunt (episode 16), Jerry Nelson (episode 25) A large purple monster. He is one of the Muppets who eats other Muppets. There was also a hand-puppet version that was used occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Harold the Woodpecker Richard Hunt (episode 29), Jerry Nelson (episode 44) A woodpecker who appears occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie and was featured in the "Birds" entry of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.[8]
Herbie the One-Octopus Band Unknown An octopus who is a one-man band. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Hilda Eren Ozker (1976) An old seamstress/wardrobe mistress who speaks with a Slavic accent.[8]
J.P. Grosse Jerry Nelson (1977–78), Kevin Clash (1996) Scooter's uncle who owns the Muppet Theater. He was built by Mari Kaestle.[8]
Janice Fran Brill (in "The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence" and "Muppet Meeting Films"), Eren Ozker (1976–77), Richard Hunt (1977–92),[25] Brian Henson (2002), Tyler Bunch (2005), David Rudman (2008–present) The hippie-like member of the Electric Mayhem and guitarist who is often paired with Floyd Pepper. She was designed by Michael K. Frith and Bonnie Erickson.
Kangaroo Jerry Nelson (episode 69) A kangaroo who appears occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie[8]
Kermit the Frog Jim Henson (1955–90),[26] Steve Whitmire (1990–present)[10] A frog who is the Muppet Theater's director and Jim Henson's greatest creation as Jim designed and built Kermit. Author Michael Davis calls Kermit Henson's "altered ego", and Finch claims that Kermit is most like Henson. Finch also says, "Reasonably even-tempered and often long-suffering, the small green frog generally serves as the glue that holds the rest of the Muppet universe together". Kermit has been around since Jim Henson's 1955 series Sam and Friends (where he was featured in a pre-frog appearance) and had also appeared on Sesame Street.[27]
Koozebanian Creatures Male Koozebanian Creature: Frank Oz
Female Koozebanina Creature: Jerry Nelson
Baby Koozebanian Creatures: Various Performers
A bunch of aliens from the planet Koozebane.[8]
Koozebanian Phoob Jerry Nelson An alien from the planet Koozebane.[8]
Lenny the Lizard Dave Goelz (episode 3), Jerry Nelson (episode 7), Jim Henson (episode 28), Richard Hunt (episode 32) A turquoise lizard who made many appearances on the show. He was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Lew Zealand Jerry Nelson (1978–2003),[16] Bill Barretta (2002–2005), Matt Vogel (2008–present) The Muppet whose "vaudeville-inspired act" includes throwing "boomerang fish" at the audience. He was originally a Whatnot before a permanent puppet was made for him. The construction of his Whatnot head was done by Dave Goelz while the character finishing was done by Amy van Gilder.[16] Jerry Nelson later spoke about Lew Zealand: "I think Lew was my tribute to Frankie Fontaine. He had that dopey voice, but he could sing beautifully. We never did that part of it on the show, but just the idea of this guy who had a boomerang fish act. There were some really ridiculous acts on the show, and that was one of the all-time dopey ones."[28]
Link Hogthrob Jim Henson (1977–90),[20] Steve Whitmire (2001–present) A "bumb, pompous"[20] pig who appears in the sketches "Bear on Patrol" and "Pigs in Space." He was designed by Calista Hendrickson.[19]
Lips Steve Whitmire An additional member of the Electric Mayhem and trumpet player. He was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Mari Kaestle.
Louis Kazzager Jerry Nelson A Muppet sports commentator who provided commentary for Muppet Sports. Louis Kazzager was inspired by Howard Cosell. He was designed and built by Mari Kaestle.[8]
Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers Lubbock Lou: Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt
Bubba: Richard Hunt
Gramps: Frank Oz (1983), Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt (episode 43), Rob Mills (1989)
Lou: Louise Gold
Slim Wilson: Jerry Nelson, Jim Henson (episode 85), Frank Oz (episode 70), Steve Whitmire (episode 112), Brian Henson (1996)
Zeke: Jim Henson (1977–78), Steve Whitmire (1979–81)
A jugband who debuted in Season Two replacing the Gogolala Jubilee Jugband.[8]
Luncheon Counter Monster Dave Goelz (episodes 30, 35, and 50), Richard Hunt (episodes 34, and 47), Jerry Nelson (episode 63), Kevin Clash (1988), Gord Robertson (1989), David Rudman (2008) A hungry purple monster.[8]
Lydia the Pig Abby Hadfield A bespectacled red-haired pig who appears occasionally. Unlike the other pigs in this show, Lydia has hooves instead of hands. Her tattoos were drawn by Jim Henson whenever she is shown with tattoos.[8]
Lyle the Dog Richard Hunt (episodes 86, and 119), Dan Redican (1988), Dave Goelz (1992) A dog who is featured in various roles. He was named after his designer and builder Lyle Conway.[8]
Ma Bear Jerry Nelson A bear who is Fozzie Bear's mother. She was featured in the "Cleo Laines" and "Kenny Rogers" episode of The Muppet Show. She later had appearances in A Muppet Family Christmas (where she was named Emily Bear), The Muppets at Walt Disney World, and The Muppet Christmas Carol.[8]
Mahna Mahna Jim Henson (1969–90), Bill Barretta (2001–present) A purple, wild orange-haired Muppet in a green tunic. He is the singer of "Mah Nà Mah Nà." He was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin.[8]
Marvin Suggs Frank Oz (1976),[9] Eric Jacobson (2011–present) Finch calls Marvin one of Oz's "more unusual creations." Marvin Suggs plays the Muppaphones (small, round, little balls of fur) by hitting them over the head with a mallet. He was designed by Rollie Krewson.[9]
Mary Louise Rollie Krewson (episode 14), Eren Ozker (episode 3), Fran Brill (episode 8), Louise Gold (episode 32) A young Whatnot girl. She once auditioned with an unnamed frog three times under three names only to be hooked off stage by Miss Piggy who states that she is the only one who can sing with a frog. She also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Mean Mama Jerry Nelson (episode 28), Richard Hunt (episodes 25, 35, and 111), Jim Henson (episode 27), Dave Goelz (episode 26), Louise Gold (episode 66) A large voracious brown monster who fits in the category of the Muppets who eats other Muppets. There was also was a hand-puppet version that was used occasionally.[8]
Mickey Moose Jerry Nelson A moose who appears occasionally. He is a parody of Mickey Mouse.[8]
Miss Kitty Dave Goelz (episodes 1, 3, and 7), Jim Henson (episode 13), Richard Hunt (episode 19) A purple monster who appears occasionally. Miss Kitty was previously used in The Great Santa Claus Switch as one of Cosmo Scam's henchmen.[8]
Miss Mousey Jerry Nelson A mouse who was a rival of Miss Piggy for Kermit the Frog's affections. She also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Miss Piggy Frank Oz (1976–2001),[9] Eric Jacobson (2001–present)[10] A diva pig who is the Muppets' break-out and "authentic superstar"[29] and Oz's most well-known character.[9] Authors Maryanne Fisher and Anthony Cox call Piggy "uniquely strong and feminine", but "domineering and demanding." She was designed and built by Bonnie Erickson.[30]
Mildred Huxtetter Frank Oz (1976), Dave Goelz (episode 15), Richard Hunt (episode 9, 1974), Louise Gold (episodes 28, and 53) A purple beak-nosed woman who is George the Janitor's dancing partner. She was a prominent figure in the first season, but was later relegated to minor background appearances.[8]
Molly and Melville Molly: Louise Gold
Melville: Steve Whitmire
A mother sperm whale and her son that appeared in the "Chris Langham" episode of "The Muppet Show" during the "Friendship" song where Kermit and Robin helped to protect them from a group of Pig Whalers. Melville is named after Herman Melville (the writer of Moby-Dick). Their storyboards were provided by John Stevenson and their puppets were built by Jan Rosenthal. At eight feet long, Molly the Whale was the largest hand puppet built for "The Muppet Show." After filming on the show had wrapped as revealed in "The Muppet Show Fan Club," the puppet for Molly the Whale was donated to Greenpeace and became a mascot in their efforts to save the world's real whales. An extended version of Kermit and Robin's encounter with Molly and Melville was featured in the book "The Whale Tale" (which was also written by John Stevenson) and they are featured in The Muppets Character Encyclopedia in the "Under the Sea" entry.[8]
Mrs. Appleby Kathryn Mullen A frog who is the pack leader of the Frog Scouts. She was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Nomi Frederick.[8]
Mulch Jerry Nelson (1980–81), Kevin Clash (1996) A blue hunchbacked humanoid monster. He was built by Bob Payne. Mulch later appears in Muppets Tonight as the hulking assistant of Dr. Phil van Neuter.[8]
Muppaphones Various performers A bunch of furballs who serve as Marvin Suggs' instruments.[8]
Muppy Dave Goelz An Old English Sheepdog who is J.P. Grosse's pet dog. An actual dog was used for long shots of Muppy.[8]
Nigel the Conductor Jim Henson (1975–76), John Lovelady (1976–77), David Rudman (2011–present) The conductor of the Muppet Orchestra. He was built by Dave Goelz.[8]
Ohboy Bird Richard Hunt A blue bird who appears occasionally. He was designed by Jim Henson. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Ohreally Bird Fran Brill An orange bird who appears occasionally. She was designed by Jim Henson. She also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Old Skyball Paint Jerry Nelson A horse who appears occasionally. He later made cameos in The Ghost of Faffner Hall.[8]
Paul Revere Horse Jerry Nelson (episodes 45, 51, and 53), Kevin Clash (1996) A long-legged horse in New Balance Sneakers who appears occasionally. When in full shots, it took two Muppet performers to operate the legs. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie. He was designed by Michael K. Frith.[8]
Penguins Richard Hunt (episode 69), Steve Whitmire (episode 69, 2009 "Bohemian Rhapsody" video), Jim Henson (episode 95, 1987), Dave Goelz (1984), Martin P. Robinson (1985, 2008), Pam Arciero (1985), Kathryn Mullen (1985), Jerry Nelson (1992), Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (2008), Various Performers A bunch of penguins who appear occasionally. Although they mostly quack, some of them actually speak.[8]
Pops Jerry Nelson (1980–2002), Matt Vogel (2008-present)[16] The Muppet Theater doorman. He was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Mari Kaestle.[31]
Prairie Dogs Various performers A bunch of prairie dogs who appear occasionally.[8]
Quongo the Gorilla Jerry Nelson (episodes 43, 72, and 109), Frank Oz ("Muppet Meeting Films"), Richard Hunt (episode 105) A wild mountain gorilla who appears occasionally.[8]
Righton Bird Dave Goelz A purple bird who appears occasionally. He was designed by Jim Henson. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie and appears in the "Birds" entry of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.[8]
Rizzo the Rat Steve Whitmire An inner-city rat. Steve Whitmire describes Rizzo as "a sarcastic kind of New York character"[32]
Robin the Frog Jerry Nelson (1971–2002),[33] Matt Vogel (2008–present) A small frog who is Kermit's "sweet-voiced nephew"[34]
Ronald Duck Cynthia Adler (episode 13) Richard Hunt (episode 44) A duck in a sailor hat who appears occasionally. He is a parody of Donald Duck. In the "Petula Clark" episode, Ronald Duck was a companion of Mickey Moose.[8]
Rowlf the Dog Jim Henson (1962–90),[35] Bill Barretta (1996–present) A pianist dog who was first used in Purina Dog Chow commericials. He was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin.[36] He then appeared in The Jimmy Dean Show. Finch calls Rowlf "the first fully rounded character performed by Jim Henson", and also calls him "wonderfully down-to-earth, with a dry, self-deprecating sense of humor" and "a master of the double take." He was built by Don Sahlin[37]
Sam Eagle Frank Oz (1975–2001),[38] Kevin Clash (2002–2003), Eric Jacobson (2005–present),[10] Drew Massey (2005-2006) An eagle who is the Muppet Theater's patriotic and self-proclaimed delegator. Critic Jordan Schildcrout describes Sam as "a cross between Uncle Sam and the Bald Eagle (which is America's national bird) with a dash of Richard Nixon, [who] represents a conservative, nationalist Puritanism that makes him a snob and a prude." He was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin.[39]
Scooter Richard Hunt (1976–92),[40] Adam Hunt (voice, 1999), Brian Henson (2002), Rickey Boyd (2005), David Rudman (2008–present) The Gofer of the Muppet Theater and nephew of its owner J.P. Grosse. Richard Hunt based Scooter's voice and personality on how he remembered himself when he was younger. He was designed by Michael K. Frith.[25]
Screaming Thing Jerry Nelson A green creature with pink feathers and three legs that rotate like a pinwheel. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie[8]
Shakey Sanchez Jim Henson (episode 19), Jerry Nelson (episode 16), Steve Whitmire (episode 103) A small pink creature who appears occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie[8]
Shark Jerry Nelson (episode 76), Frank Oz (episode 88), Richard Hunt (episode 91) A shark that appeared occasionally. The Shark appeared in the "Under the Sea" entry of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.[8]
Singing Food Various Performers A collection of Muppet fruits and vegetables that are used in various sketches. The Singing Food consists of an Artichoke, an Asparagus, some Beans, a Bell Pepper, a Cabbage, a Cantaloupe, a Cauliflower, a Corncob, a Eggplant, a bunch of Grapes, a Grapefruit, an Onion, three Potatoes, a bunch of Scallions, and a Tomato. Later Muppet projects had the Singing Food added with other foods from the other food groups.[8]
Singing Owl Jerry Nelson An owl who appears occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Sopwith the Camel Jerry Nelson A bactrian camel (named after the Sopwith Camel) who appears occasionally. He is one of the Full-Bodied Muppets and was built by Caroly Wilcox who constructed him in a week. It took two dancers to operate Sopwith the Camel with the front dancer using his arms to control Sopwith's head. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie[8]
Statler and Waldorf Statler: Richard Hunt (1976–90),[25] Jerry Nelson (1975, 1992–2003) Steve Whitmire (2005–present), Drew Massey (2005-2006)[41]
Waldorf: Jim Henson (1975–90),[20] Dave Goelz (1990–present), Victor Yerrid (2005-2006)[41]
Two "grouchy but dapper"[42] gentlemen who heckle the Muppets (especially Fozzie) from the upper balcony box. Statler and Waldorf were named after the late-18th/early-19th century robber barons E.M. Statler and William Waldorf Astor. They were designed and built by Bonnie Erickson.[43]
Sundance the Lion Dave Goelz (episode 68), Jerry Nelson (episodes 88, and 101) A lion who appears occasionally. Although he is a full-bodied Muppet, Sundance does have a Live-Hand Muppet counterpart that was used in Seasons Four and Five. He was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Tim Miller.[8]
The Swedish Chef Jim Henson (1975–90), David Rudman (1992), Dave Goelz (1999), Bill Barretta (1996–present)[44] A chef that speaks in mock Swedish. Based on the "standard finger puppet",[45] the Swedish Chef was a collaboration between Jim Henson and Frank Oz (who provided the hands). Frank Oz would deliberately do unexpected things, like tossing chickens and juggling meat cleavers, that Henson would have to improvise through. He was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Jim Henson and Bonnie Erickson.[20]
Sweetums Jerry Nelson (1971, performer), Carl Banas (1971, voice), Richard Hunt (1976–90),[25] Rob Mills (1989), David Rudman (The Cosby Show episode "Cliff's Nightmare"), John Henson (1990–2005), Victor Yerrid (2005), Noel MacNeal (2008), Matt Vogel (2009–present) A large, hairy, full-sized ogre-like Muppet who appears in The Frog Prince before his appearance in The Muppet Show. He told Kermit, "Jack not name; Jack job!" in The Muppet Movie. He was designed by Jim Henson.[46] His performer could see only by looking out of his mouth.[47]
Talking Houses Talking House #1: John Lovelady, Jerry Nelson (episodes 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 17)
Talking House #2: Jerry Nelson
Talking House #3: Frank Oz (episode 19)
Talking House #4: Eren Ozker (episode 19)
A bunch of houses that tell jokes to each other and appeared occasionally in the first season. Because the Talking Houses never appeared outside of their sketches, it was never made clear whether they were supposed to be full-sized or in scale with the Muppet Show's other Muppet characters. They were designed by Michael K. Frith.[8]
The Country Trio Jim: Jim Henson
Frank: Frank Oz
Jerry: Jerry Nelson
A hillbilly band who were both caricatures of and named after their performers. Jim and Frank were designed and built by Bonnie Erickson while Jerry was designed by Bonnie Erickson and built by Don Sahlin. They also make a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
The Frackles Blue Frackle: Dave Goelz (episodes 4, 19, and 20), Jim Henson (episodes 11, and 27), Richard Hunt (episodes 3, 15, 42, and 55), Jerry Nelson (episode 31), Frank Oz (episodes 4, 7, and 40)
Green Frackle: Jim Henson (episodes 3, 19, and 42), Richard Hunt (episode 40), Frank Oz (episode 3), Eren Ozker (episode 20), John Lovelady (episode 18)
Snake Frackle: Richard Hunt (episodes 7, and 27), John Lovelady (episode 3), Frank Oz (episode 109)
Blue Bird-Like Frackle: John Lovelady (episode 7)
Green Bird-Like Frackle: Eren Ozker (episode 3), Abby Hadfield (episode 27)
Pink Frackle: Dave Goelz (episode 120), Fran Brill (The Cosby Show episode "Cliff's Nightmare")
Jade Green Frackle: Richard Hunt (episodes 111), Dave Goelz (1989), Tyler Bunch (2011)
Emerald Green Frackle: Steve Whitmire (episode 110)
Green-Furred Frackle: Frank Oz (episode 103), Dave Goelz (episode 103), Kevin Clash (1989)
Purple Frackle: Jerry Nelson (episode 120)
Gray Frackle: Steve Whitmire (episode 103, 1989), Mike Quinn (1992)
A race of monsters who come in different types. They were seen on The Great Santa Claus Switch before appearing on The Muppet Show.[8]
The Flying Zucchini Brothers Frank Oz (episode 31, 40, 41), Jerry Nelson (episode 40, 41), Dave Goelz (episode 40, 41), Richard Hunt (episode 31, 40, 41, 80, 118), Mak Wilson (2014), Nigel Plaskitt (2014) A group of Italian acrobat/stunt performing Whatnots who appear occasionally. Although there are three of them, an episode guest starring Wally Boag shows six of them.[8]
The Gills Brothers Jim Henson, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Steve Whitmire A quartet of fish singers who appear occasionally. They are a parody of The Mills Brothers. They also make a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie[8]
The Lautrec Sisters Louise Gold, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz A quartet of dancing rats. Two of them later appeared in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie[8]
The Muppet Newsman Jim Henson (1976–89), Jerry Nelson (1996), Brian Henson (2001–03), Steve Whitmire (2008–present) A bespectacled newsman who hosts the Muppet News Flash where something related to what he is reporting on befalls him. He was designed and built by Bonnie Erickson
The Mutations Various Performers A trio of purple Full-Bodied Muppet Monsters who mostly dance. The heights of the Mutations vary depending on who is performing them. They are a parody of the music group The Temptations.[8]
The Snerfs Various Performers A group of thin monsters with a variety of mouths. They were designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin.[8]
The Snowths Frank Oz Two furry pink, tube-mouthed, horned creatures who sing along to Mahna Mahna's song. They were designed by Jim Henson and built by Rollie Krewson. In The Muppets Character Encyclopedia, a Snowth was seen in the entry for the Koozebanians indicating that the Snowths come from Planet Koozebane.[8]
Thog Jerry Nelson (1970–81), Jim Henson (episode 36), Tyler Bunch (2011–present) A friendly 9 1/2-foot blue monster who is a Full-Bodied Muppet. He is the biggest Muppet character on the show. His ears often go up if he is startled or excited about something. Despite his size, Thog is actually a gentle soul. He was previously used in The Great Santa Claus Switch as one of Cosmo Scam's henchmen. He was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin. When it came to The Muppets, Thog was rebuilt by James Kroupa who made him large enough not to be able to fit between the arches for the telethon's theme song. Thus, Thog had to walk in front of the arches.[8]
Timmy Monster Steve Whitmire (episode 95), Dave Goelz, Jim Henson (episode 27) A large green monster who is a Full-Bodied Muppet.[8]
Tom, Dick, and Harry Tom: Jerry Nelson
Dick: Dave Goelz
Harry: John Lovelady
A green-furred, three-headed monster who appears two times. Tom is the green-faced head, Dick is the pink-faced head, and Harry is the blue-faced head.[8]
Trolls Various Performers Three trolls who appear occasionally. One has red hair, one has green hair, and one has gray hair. They were designed by Michael K. Frith.[8]
Trumpet Girl Louise Gold, Eren Ozker(1976), Frank Oz (episodes 2 and 5), Alice Dinnean (2011–present) The female trumpet player of the Muppet Orchestra. Due to the addition of the trumpet player Lips, she switched to trombone during season 5.[8]
Uncle Deadly Jerry Nelson (1976–90), Matt Vogel (2011–present) Also called "the Phantom of the Muppet Show", Uncle Deadly is a sinister blue dragon-like monster who lurks around the theater and appears occasionally on the show. He was designed by Michael K. Frith.[8]
Vendaface Jerry Nelson A facelifting vending machine. The Vendaface was apparently only meant to be used once, but David Lazer said that they shouldn't build such an expensive puppet only to use him once. The writers then decided to have him on the show a few more times in the first season. The Vendaface later appeared in episode 66 as the Vendawish (voiced by Jerry Nelson) which was a wish-granting machine.[8]
Walrus Dave Goelz (episode 76) A walrus that appears occasionally.[8]
Wayne and Wanda Wayne: Richard Hunt (1976–81, episode 78), David Rudman (2011–present)
Wanda: Eren Ozker (1976–77), Kathryn Mullen (episode 78), Alice Dinnean (2011–present)
A pair of snobby singers who are introduced by Sam the Eagle who approves of their "wholesome, uplifting and decent" act, but is frustrated by their inability to get past the first verse of any song. While their sketches always begin as mellow and classy, they always end in disaster, seemingly foretold by the title of their chosen song. Wayne was built by Rollie Krewson. They are a slapstick tribute to Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. After a recurring run in the first season, they disappeared after Eren Ozker quit the show. Wayne still appeared occasionally as a background character or as the hero in a series of Melodrama sketches co-starring Miss Piggy and Uncle Deadly, but soon vanished as well. It was eventually revealed in the Linda Lavin episode that Kermit had fired them, but forgot why he did and decided to rehire them. Unfortunately, seconds after they started to sing, Kermit remembered why he fired them (because they were terrible) and instantly fired them again and forced them off the stage. Wayne and Wanda would reappear in The Muppets Take Manhattan as guests at the wedding of Piggy and Kermit, and Wanda was seen participating in a choir. Wayne and Wanda appeared throughout The Muppets, where they are caught kissing during a blackout. In the Linda Lavin episode, it is hinted at that they are married, because Wanda states that they "get on fine with what we get from my mother".[8]
Whaddyasay Bird Jerry Nelson A red bird who appears occasionally. He was desgined by Jim Henson.[8]
Whatnots Various Performers A bunch of customizable puppets whose blank faces can be changed in each act. They are similar to the Anything Muppets from Sesame Street.[8]
Winky Pinkerton Steve Whitmire (episode 56), Dave Goelz (episode 52) A penguin who does bird impressions who appears occasionally. He also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie. He was built by Brian Henson.[8]
Winny Richard Hunt A bird who is a canteen waitress in Season Four replacing Gladys. She was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Tim Miller.[8]
Wolf Frank Oz (episode 91), Jerry Nelson (1988) A wolf who appears occasionally. He later makes appearances in the "Dog City" episode of The Jim Henson Hour, in The Muppet Christmas Carol as one of the poor people during the Scrooge number, and in Muppet Treasure Island as one of the pirates on Long John Silver's side.[8]
Wolfhound Frank Oz (episode 76), Steve Whitmire (episode 86), Jerry Nelson (episode 115), Dave Goelz (episode 119) A wolfdog who appears occasionally. Besides being refurbished for different roles in both Dog City projects, Wolfhound appeared in The Muppet Christmas Carol as a guest at Fozziwig's Christmas Party.[8]
Woodland Animals Various Performers A group of forest creatures who appear occasionally. The Woodland Animals consist of a Deer, a Raccoon, a Weasel, a Beaver, and recycled and unclothed versions of Mayor Harrison Fox, James Badger, George Rabbit, Nat Muskrat, Old Lady Possum, and Will Possum from Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas.[8]
Yorick Jerry Nelson A talking skull (not to be confused with Yorick from Sam and Friends) who appears occasionally. He later makes cameos in The Ghost of Faffner Hall. When packaged with Uncle Deadly and a Ghost as part of Palisades Toys' producing of Muppet action figures, he was referred to as a Muppet Skull.[8]
Youknow Bird Jim Henson A pink bird who appears occasionally. She was designed by Jim Henson. Youknow Bird also made appearances on The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss living in the Jungle of Nool. She was designed by Jim Henson. She also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Zelda Rose Abby Hadfield (episode 27), Jerry Nelson (episode 42), Richard Hunt (episode 56), Louise Gold A tall pink female Whatnot. She is a recycled and regendered version of Fred from the Munchos commercials. She also makes a cameo in "The Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Movie.[8]
Zoot Dave Goelz[40] A member of the Electric Mayhem and saxophone player. Dave Goelz calls Zoot "a puzzle to me", "non-verbal" and "just a fifty-year-old burnt-out musician." He was designed by Bonnie Erickson and built by Dave Goelz.[25]


Since 1969, Sesame Street had given Jim Henson's Muppet creations exposure; however, Henson began to perceive that he was pigeonholed as a children's entertainer. He sought to create a programme that could be enjoyed by young and old. Two specials (The Muppets Valentine Show and The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence) were produced and aired that are considered pilots for The Muppet Show. Neither led to the sale of a prime-time network series. However, the prime-time access rule had just been enacted, which took the 7:30 to 8pm ET slot from the networks and turned it over to their affiliates. CBS suggested it would be interested in Henson's proposal as a syndicated series it could purchase for its owned-and-operated stations, to run one night a week in that time slot.[citation needed]

Lew Grade, head of the British commercial station ATV, offered a deal to Henson that would see his show produced at the ATV studios in Elstree, England. ATV, as part of the ITV network, would broadcast the show to other ITV stations in the United Kingdom, and its distribution arm, ITC Entertainment, would sell the show in the United States and around the world. Henson put aside his misgivings about syndication and accepted.[48]



The first pilot episode evolves around a character called Wally. The show develops while he is typing the script on his typewriter. In the second pilot, a new character called Nigel acts as the backstage boss. Statler and Waldorf grumble from a living room while watching the show on television. In both pilot episodes Kermit the Frog only plays a supporting role.

Series 1

Kermit becomes the host of the show from the start of the first series, while former host Nigel gets a part as the orchestra leader. Statler and Waldorf now watch the show from a balcony. Other characters from the pilots, including Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Sam the Eagle, The Swedish Chef, George the Janitor, Mildred Huxtetter, Crazy Harry, Brewster, Nigel the Conductor, and Droop continue to make appearances. Characters from previous Jim Henson productions also make appearances, including Rowlf the Dog, Sweetums and Robin the Frog (from The Frog Prince), Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great, and Thog (from The Great Santa Claus Switch). New characters include Fozzie Bear, The Muppet Newsman, Scooter, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, wardrobe lady Hilda, Uncle Deadly, Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphones, Trumpet Girl, and the singing duet of Wayne and Wanda. Recurring sketches include "Veterinarian's Hospital", "At the Dance", "Talking Houses", "Pressing Questions (Panel Disscussions)", "Fozzie's Monolouge", "Chatting with Guest Star", "Muppet Labs" and "Gonzo's Act".

Series 2

Several changes were made for the second season. Each week, Scooter would now greet the guest star in his or her dressing room before the opening theme song. The opening theme sequence was replaced with one involving the cast in arches. Sketches such as "At the Dance", "Talk Spot", "Panel Discussions", "Talking Houses", and "Fozzie's Monologue" either made fewer appearances or were dropped altogether. Several characters were rebuilt, with noticeable changes in Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo the Great. Characters like George the Janitor, Hilda, Mildred, and Wayne and Wanda were dropped from the series. New sketches include "Pigs in Space" and "An Editorial by Sam the Eagle". New characters include Bunsen Honeydew's assistant Beaker, Link Hogthrob, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Doglion, and Annie Sue. Muppet performers Eren Ozker and John Lovelady departed from The Muppet Show after the first season. In early episodes of the second series, female puppeteers were auditioned to replace Ozker. Louise Gold was eventually hired as Ozker's replacement. Jack Burns quit his role as writer after the first season.

Series 3

All of the characters and sketches from the previous season remained. New characters included dimwitted stagehand Beauregard, boomerang fish-thrower Lew Zealand, cafeteria lady Gladys, Bobby Benson and His Baby Band, and sports commentor Louis Kazagger. New segments included "Muppet Sports" and "Bear on Patrol". Two new puppeteers, Steve Whitmire and Kathryn Mullen joined the troupe of Muppeteers during this season.

Series 4

Most of the characters and sketches from the previous season remained. Canteen worker Gladys however, was replaced by a new character, Winny. Rizzo the Rat also made his earliest appearances.

Series 5

The cold open featuring Scooter visiting the guest star's dressing room was replaced by a new opening in which Pops, the doorman, would greet each guest as they entered the theater. New characters included Pops, Lips, and Gaffer the Cat.

Muppet performers[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The Muppet Show program was nominated for 11 BAFTA Awards during its run, winning 2,[49] and was also nominated for a total of 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning 4, including the 1978 award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Series.[50] and was presented with a Peabody Award in 1978.[51] Also in 1978, the show received the Television Award of Merit by the Mary Washington Colonial Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.[52]


Reruns of The Muppet Show aired in syndication for many years and eventually turned up on TNT from the channel's sign-on in 1988 to 1992. From 1994 to 1996, reruns aired on Nickelodeon. In 1999, the reruns moved to Odyssey Network (which was co-owned by Henson's company), featuring new introductions by Brian Henson, until Odyssey shut down Henson's half of the channel in 2001; the show has not been seen on American television since.[53]

Outside the US, The Muppet Show and MuppeTelevison segments and Muppets Tonight were all put into an umbrella syndication package called The Jim Henson Hour. Disney Channel UK picked up the original series from 2005 to 2007.

Home video[edit]

Compilation releases[edit]

In 1985, Playhouse Video released a collection of video compilations under the Jim Henson's Muppet Video banner. Ten videos were released, featuring original linking material in addition to clips from the show.

Videos included:

In 1993, Jim Henson Video released two compilations under the It's the Muppets banner, Meet the Muppets and More Muppets, Please! Later, three volumes of The Very Best of The Muppet Show were released on VHS and DVD in the UK (volume 3 was a release of full episodes as opposed to compilations). Unlike the Playhouse Video releases, It's the Muppets and The Very Best of The Muppet Show did not include any original footage or guest star clips, but all compilation collections did include material cut from the original US broadcasts.

Series releases[edit]

In 1994, Jim Henson Video released The Muppet Show: Monster Laughs with Vincent Price, featuring the episodes with Vincent Price and Alice Cooper. Both episodes were edited. In addition to replacing the first season opening and the ending logos with Zoot, the Vincent Price episode was edited to remove the songs "I'm Looking Through You" and "You've Got a Friend" (the latter of which would be cut again when released on the first season DVD) as well as a sketch with the talking houses, while the Alice Cooper episode removed Robin's performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".

Time-Life began marketing 'best of' volumes of The Muppet Show for mail-order in 2001, with six initial volumes with three episodes on each VHS and DVD. Unique to each episode was an introduction by Jim Henson's son, Brian. Nine more volumes were added for 2002, the Muppets' 25th anniversary. The collection was available for retail in 2002 via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment by which time Time-Life had released its tenth volume.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the first season on DVD in Region 1 on August 9, 2005. The rights to the episodes and characters used in The Muppet Show, and subsequent film outings, were bought in February 2004 by the Walt Disney Company.

Several songs were cut from the Season 1 DVD release due to music licensing issues. There have also been some cuts in the intro sequence, and backstage scenes leading up to these songs. However, episodes that used Disney music remained unaltered (for example, episode 14 of Season 1 used "Never Smile at a Crocodile" from Peter Pan).

  • "Stormy Weather" (Joel Grey episode) sung by Wayne and Wanda
  • "Gone with the Wind" (Jim Nabors episode) sung by Jim Nabors
  • "The Danceros" (Jim Nabors episode) sung by The Danceros
  • "All Of Me" (Paul Williams episode) sung by Two Monsters
  • "Old Fashioned Way" (Charles Aznavour episode) sung by Charles Aznavour with Mildred Huxtetter
  • "You’ve Got A Friend" (Vincent Price episode) sung by Vincent Price, Uncle Deadly and a chorus of Muppet Monsters

The only uncut release of Season 1 on DVD so far is the German DVD release by Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment division from 2010 (which also contains English audio). However, the intro and end credit sequences on this release are in German.

DVD name Ep # Release date Content
Season One (1976–1977) 24 August 9, 2005
Season Two (1977–1978) 24 August 7, 2007
Season Three (1978–1979) 24 May 20, 2008


The cast of The Muppet Show appeared on the Kenny Everett show at lunchtime on Capital Radio in 1976.

The Muppet Show characters went on to star in The Muppet Movie, which was the first film to feature puppets interacting with humans in real-world locations, and later films such as The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets from Space, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, The Muppets, and Muppets Most Wanted the last two of which relied heavily on the The Muppet Show as a plot basis.

The Jim Henson Hour featured many of the same characters, plus new and boldly different content. The Muppet Show format was later revived as Muppets Tonight in 1996. The first 10 episodes aired on ABC, while the rest aired on The Disney Channel. Today, all three incarnations are syndicated together as a single package.

The Muppets appeared as toddlers in the long-running animated series Muppet Babies (the Muppet babies characters were a spin-off from a daydream sequence in The Muppets Take Manhattan). Animated versions of the Muppets were also featured on the short-lived series Little Muppet Monsters.

In December 9, 2001, the MuppetFest celebration included The Muppet Show Live was staged at the Hollywood Palace in Hollywood, California. The special guest stars included Jon Voight, Brooke Shields, Joe Pasquale and Paul Williams. Lionel Richie was scheduled to appear in the show singing "Say You, Say Me" immediately after "Bein' Green," but Richie was unable to attend the show because of illness.

In 2005, the Muppets launched an award-winning web-series titled Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony. The biweekly web-series created new episodes for 15 months on and starred Statler and Waldorf, along with many other popular Muppet characters from their theater box from The Muppet Show. Each episode featured the duo as they discuss upcoming films, watch movie trailers, and share the week's "balconism".

The Muppets were brought back in 2008 for two half hour television specials on the Disney Channel called Studio DC: Almost Live.

There was also a comic book adaption to The Muppet Show that was published in 2009 and was written and drawn by Roger Langridge.

For the channel on Disney Xtreme Digital, over 100 new, web-exclusive sketches have been produced as of January 2009, including a muppet performed version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

In 2006, the first French private TV network TF1, with Walt Disney Television, produced a French version of the show called "Muppets TV" with original Muppets and French guest stars. Low ratings canceled the program after only a few months.[citation needed]

In the 2011 Children in Need special, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy make a brief appearance for the original song "Mah Nà Mah Nà" with various guests and presenters.

In November 2011 it was reported that a pilot for a revival of the series had been ordered by NBC.[54]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Archived December 17, 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Clark, John (14 August 2005). "Speaking Of Dvds: Lisa Henson, 'The Muppet Show'". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  3. ^ 1976; Fuzzy Muppet Songs; Walt Disney Records Label
  4. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  5. ^ The Muppets's The Muppet Show Theme sample of Marika Rökk's Ich Brauche Keine Millionen | WhoSampled
  6. ^ Mifflin, Lawrie (1996-03-10). "Following in the Frog's Footsteps". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  7. ^ McKim, D. W.; Brian Henson. "Muppet Central Guides – The Muppet Show: Rudolf Nureyev". Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh "The Muppet Show" (1976)
  9. ^ a b c d e f Finch (1993), p. 103
  10. ^ a b c d e Stein, Joel (2011-06-08). "Exclusive: On the Set of the New Muppets Movie". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  11. ^ Finch (1981), p. 77
  12. ^ a b Stelle, pp. 96–97
  13. ^ a b Stoessner, p. 75
  14. ^ Finch (1981), p. 40
  15. ^ "Episode 318: Leslie Uggams" (1978-15-05), in The Muppet Show: Season Three (Disc 3) [DVD] (2008), Walt Disney Home Entertainment
  16. ^ a b c d e f Finch (1981), p. 80
  17. ^ Finch (1981), p. 84
  18. ^ a b Finch (1981), p. 85
  19. ^ a b Finch (1993), p. 114
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Finch (1993), p. 102
  21. ^ Finch (1981), pp. 81–83
  22. ^ a b Finch (1981), p. 32
  23. ^ The Muppets Valentine Show (Television production). 1974-01-24. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  24. ^ Haberkorn, p. 32
  25. ^ a b c d e Finch (1981), p. 83
  26. ^ Davis (2008), p. 26
  27. ^ Finch (1993), p. 36
  28. ^ "A Chat with Jerry Nelson, part 2 « Muppet Fans Who Grew Up – ToughPigs". 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2014-04-21. 
  29. ^ Finch (1981), p. 28
  30. ^ Fisher, Maryanne; Anthony Cox (2009). "The Uniquely Strong but Feminine Miss Piggy". In Jennifer C. Garlen and Anissa M. Graham. Kermit Culture: Critical Perspectives on Jim Henson's Muppets. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 181. ISBN 9780786442591. 
  31. ^ Finch (1993), p. 119
  32. ^ Eastman, p. 80
  33. ^ Henson, Jim (2005). Cheryl Henson, ed. It's Not That Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 1-4013-0242-4. 
  34. ^ Lewis, Jim (2006). Before You Leap: A Frog's Eye View of Life's Greatest Lessons. Des Moines, Iowa: Meredith Books. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-696-23232-9. 
  35. ^ Finch (1993), p. 32
  36. ^ Parish, James Robert (2006). Jim Henson: Puppeteer And Filmmaker. Ferguson Pub. p. 52. ISBN 978-0816058341. "It was Don Sahlin whom Jim [Henson] assigned to create Rowlf the Dog (and his sidekick Baskerville) for the company's new client, Purina Dog Chow" 
  37. ^ Finch (1993), pp. 32–33
  38. ^ Finch (1981), p. 72
  39. ^ Schildrout, Jordon. (October 2008). "The Performance of Nonconformity on The Muppet Show—or How Kermit Made Me Queer." The Journal of Popular Culture, 41:5, p. 832. Quoted in Kermit Culture, pp. 121–122.
  40. ^ a b Finch (1981), p. 82
  41. ^ a b Garlan and Graham, p. 220
  42. ^ Schneider, p. 40
  43. ^ Schneider, pp. 40–43
  44. ^ Garlan and Graham, p. 221
  45. ^ Stoessner, p. 77
  46. ^ Frawley, James (Director) (1979). The Muppet Movie (Motion picture). 
  47. ^ Eastman, p. 22
  48. ^ Collins, Andrew (10 February 2012). "Welcome back, Muppets". Radio Times. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  49. ^ "BAFTA Awards Official Site". Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  50. ^ "Emmy Awards Official Site". Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  51. ^ "Peabody Awards Official Site". Archived from the original on 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  52. ^ "Jim Henson's Red Book". Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  53. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1994-04-06). "Muppets Take Nickelodeon The syndicated series, now available on cable, is as fresh and funny now as when it was produced in the '70s and '80s.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  54. ^ Conlan, Tara (22 November 2012). "Muppet Show returns to TV? It's time to play the music…". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 

External links[edit]