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Sunday, 22 April 2012





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Muppets on the Walk of Fame

The colourful and lovable characters featured here certainly need no introduction as they have been keeping both children and adults entertained for a long, long time. It is hard to believe that these inanimate characters have succeeded in capturing not only the hearts of millions of children but also made in roads into the highest portals of the entertainment industry today. The famed stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, known as The Walk of Fame, is adorned with stars dedicated to such legendary, respected entertainers as Bob Hope, Mae West and Charlie Chaplin. And guess who else has managed to join their ranks? The famous Muppets of course! The Muppets are a group of puppet characters created by “The Muppeteer” legend the late Jim Henson starting in 1954–55. As Lisa Henson, the daughter of their creator Jim Henson says, “Now, the Muppets have truly arrived with their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”

It is true that one of the celebrities among the Muppets, Kermit the Frog has had a star since 2002—and “Muppets” creator Jim Henson also has on. However, in March this year the new star was awarded to all of Henson and Co.’s Muppets, comprising more than 800 characters.

The dedication of the star on the the Walk of Fame’s 2,466th ,coincided with the DVD and Blu-ray combo-pack release of “The Muppets” feature film, the seventh in the franchise, which also counts two TV series, numerous books and albums, and a short- lived comic strip and magazine among its myriad of projects.

Classic Muppets in attendance included Kermit, Miss Piggy, Pepe the Prawn, Animal, Fozzie Bear and Gonzo. They were joined by Walter, a Muppet introduced in the new film who was the storyline’s catalyst. The Muppets bantered over which one would take home the plaque presented to them before Sweetums emerged to help unveil the star.

The unveiling of the star outside the Disney-owned El Capitan Theatre drew more than 100 people. The theater appears in the film as the old Muppets Theatre and was also the location of its world premiere in November.

The film was a resurrection for the famous puppets who remained quiet since 1999’s “Muppets in Space,” which flopped at the box office, failing to recoup its $24-million budget. The recent “Muppets” film, however, was a success, debuting at No. 2 and grossing more than158 million US dollars.

The Muppet Show was a British-American television programme produced by puppeteer Jim Henson featuring Muppets. After two pilot episodes were produced in 1974 and 1975, the show premiered on September 5, 1976 and five series were produced until March 15, 1981, lasting 120 episodes. Many of the puppeteers also worked on Sesame Street.

So, most of you must be familiar with the Muppets. Who among these dynamic characters is your favourite? The dramatic but charming prima donna with the golden hair, Miss Piggy, Kermit, the skinny- legged green frog, Fozzy, the big brown with the toothpaste grin or the lovable Rowlf the Dog. No doubt each of you have your own favourite characters but it is no secret that they are all so lovable in their own way, even the ugliest and the tiniest of them all.

The Muppets enjoy a rich history. Having first emerged on “Sam and Friends” in 1955, Kermit became the show’s break- out star. After creating puppets for “Sesame Street” in 1969, Henson gave Kermit his own spin-off in 1976; and “The Muppets” we all know and love was born.

Famous Muppets from The Muppet Show include Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo the Great, Rizzo the Rat, Rowlf the Dog and the band Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem featuring Animal on the drums. Other well-known Muppets include Sesame Street characters such as Big Bird and Elmo, and the main characters of Fraggle Rock.

In 1987, Kermit and other Muppet characters co-hosted an ABC News special which attempted to explain the stock market and the potentially disquieting events of the Black Monday stock price decline in a manner that both informed and entertained the audience about the complex subject.

After earlier unsuccessful attempts, the Walt Disney Company bought the Muppets in 2004 Exceptions include characters appearing on Sesame Street (as they were previously sold to Sesame Workshop, although they have always had creative rights, only reimbursing the Jim Henson Company to create and provide their Muppet characters for their use) and the Fraggles of Fraggle Rock (which are still owned by the Jim Henson Company).

The legal trademark on the term “Muppet” is currently held by The Muppets Studio, a wholly owned division of the Walt Disney Company, although Sesame Workshop and the Jim Henson Company continue to occasionally use the term on their characters with certain permissions from Disney.

[Kermit the frog]

Kermit the Frog is puppeteer Jim Henson’s most famous Muppet creation, first introduced in 1955. He is the protagonist of many Muppet projects, most notably as the host of The Muppet Show, and has appeared in various sketches on Sesame Street, in commercials and in public service announcements over the years. Kermit was performed by Henson until his death in 1990. Since then, Kermit has been performed by Steve Whitmire.

The earliest ever trace of Kermit first appeared in 1955 on WRC-TV’s Sam and Friends. This prototype Kermit was created from a turquoise woman-size coat that Henson’s mother had thrown into a waste bin, and two ping pong ball halves for eyes.

Initially, Kermit was as a lizard-like creature. He subsequently made a number of television appearances before his status as a frog was established, which was shortly before Sesame Street began. His collar was added at the time to make him seem more froglike and to conceal the seam between his head and body. Kermit was one of the original Muppet characters on Sesame Street. Though he was intended to be removed from the cast after the first season, he returned as a full-time character in the third, and remained a regular character for many years. He most often interacted with Grover and, to a slightly lesser extent, Cookie Monster.

Following the death of Jim Henson, Kermit was used less frequently on Sesame Street, but still made new appearances until 2001. Unlike the rest of the show’s Muppets, he was not created for the exclusive use of Sesame Workshop, and has rarely been a part of the show’s merchandise. All Muppet characters originally belonged to the Jim Henson Company, but when the opportunity came for Sesame Workshop to buy its characters for $180 million, Kermit was not included in the deal.

The character now belongs to The Muppets Studio, owned and controlled by the Walt Disney Company. Sesame Workshop does have permission to use old sketches featuring Kermit, but such sketches are rarely used in new episodes. Kermit made his first new appearance since 2001 in the show’s fortieth season premiere on November 10, 2009.

[Miss Piggy]

The prima donna pig who is one one of the central characters on The Muppet Show loved by all is Miss Piggy. She’s convinced that she’s destined for stardom, and will not let anything stand in her way. Anyone who crosses her path is in for a lot of trouble. Whenever she thinks she’s insulted or thwarted ,she would change from the sweet, charming Misss Piggy to a violent raging one in an instant. Kermit the Frog another character who has won the hearts of many has learned this the hard way; when Miss Piggy isn’t smothering him in kisses, she’s sending him flying through the air with a karate-chop.

Miss Piggy first broke into show business by winning the Miss Bogen County beauty contest, a victory which also marked her first meeting with the frog of her life, Kermit(whom she often calls “Kermie”). The rest of the story to her stardom, as they say, is history.

In 1976, Miss Piggy started out in the chorus of The Muppet Show.



Fact file:

* Kermit and Miss Piggy got married in The Muppets Take Manhattan -- although subsequent events suggest that it was only their characters in the movie that married and that their relationship is really the same as ever. Kermit and Miss Piggy occasionally perform musical numbers together. 

*Kermit is the only Muppet to be featured prominently on both The Muppet Show and Sesame Street.

* Kermit also served as the mascot for The Jim Henson Company, until the sale of the Muppet characters to the Walt Disney Company.

* A Kermit puppet can be seen at the National Museum of American History.

*Kermit was awarded an honorary doctorate of Amphibious Letters on May 19, 1996 at Southampton College, New York, where he also gave a commencement speech. He is also the only amphibian to have had the honour of addressing the Oxford Union.A statue of Henson and Kermit was erected on the campus of Henson’s alma mater, the University of Maryland, College Park in 2003.

* On November 14, 2002, Kermit the Frog received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star is located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd.

* On Kermit’s 50th birthday, the United States Postal Service released a set of new stamps with photos of Kermit and some of his fellow Muppets on them. The background of the stamp sheet features a photo of a silhouetted Henson sitting in a window well, with Kermit sitting in his lap looking at him.

Some characters and their roles...

Kermit the Frog - The theatre director and host of the Muppet Show. He served as the main protagonist of the series, specials, and films.

Miss Piggy - An arrogant, self-centered, and glamorous diva pig in dual pursuit of stardom and Kermit.

Fozzie Bear - A dubiously talented but irrepressible stand-up comic bear and Kermit’s unofficial second in-command.

Scooter- The gofer whose uncle, J. P. Grosse, owns the theatre.

Gonzo - Also known as The Great Gonzo or Gonzo the Great, he is a stunt performer, performance artist and the Muppet Show’s resident oddball of unknown species,

Rowlf the Dog - The show’s resident wisecracking pianist dog.

Robin the Frog - Kermit’s small nephew.

Statler and Waldorf - Two old men who occupy the box seat at every show and heckle the performances

Foo-Foo - Miss Piggy’s dog. J. P. Grosse (performed by Jerry Nelson) - Scooter’s uncle who owns the Muppet Theatre.

Facts and pix : Internet


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