Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

The Muppet Show 1976-1981

The Muppet Show was first broadcast in 1976 and was a huge success, lasting 5 seasons. Shown below are some of the Muppet collectables that were made during this time...

This 13" Gonzo doll was made by Bendy Toys in either 1977 or 1978, and is somewhat of a rare item. This is the very first doll of Gonzo ever to be made. It is part of a series of dolls that were only available in Europe. I was quite lucky and found this one in a nostalgia shop in Toronto during the 1990s. The other figures in this series include Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal, and the Swedish Chef.  A smaller sized series of dolls included Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Rowlf. Puppet heads of Fozzie, Statler and Waldorf were also made.

Bendy Toys products are all made out of synthetic foam. The dolls have a bendable armature embedded inside the foam figure, which is painted and then dressed in doll-like clothing. As these foam figures are now over 30 years old they are quite fragile. If you have one of these in your collection, or manage to find one, I would avoid bending it into any new position. Foam is not made to last more than 15 years. I suspect the reason why the Gonzo doll has not yet crumbled into powder is because the entire foam figure has been coated in paint, which is acting like a sealant. Poor Gonzo! I've also shown the back view of Gonzo with a doll stand base for support.

  
The Fisher-Price Muppet Show plush toys and puppets, produced from 1977 to 1979.
 
There were six characters in the original Fisher-Price plush toy series: Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Scooter, Rowlf and Animal. Three of the characters were offered as plush dolls - Kermit, Fozzie and Scooter - and three were offered as full sized puppets with legs, to match the dolls -Miss Piggy, Rowlf, and Animal. (Although the Miss Piggy puppet did not actually have legs it was made with a foam body tube under her dress to give the character height, therefore the puppet didn't need legs to look complete). Kermit and Fozzie were the only characters to be offered in both doll or puppet format, however their puppet counterparts were simply "cut-off" at the waist and did not have legs. According to the Muppet Wiki website, the Kermit and Fozzie puppets were added to the series in 1978 while the dolls of these two characters were available as part of the series initial release in 1977.

The Fisher-Price puppets of Kermit and Fozzie were sold in closed boxes rather than the open style boxes used for the above series of six characters, which made the Kermit and Fozzie puppets seem somewhat separate from the collection. Both of these puppets were very popular toys in their day, as were the other Fisher-Price Muppets. Though they are very common, these two hand puppets are becoming more and more of a challenge to find in mint condition. Alas, the plastic on the inside of this specific Kermit puppet's mouth is starting to break down and is now sticky to the touch. I'm not certain how common this is with other copies of this puppet, so if you plan to purchase one of these for your collection its something to keep in mind. In the early 1980s when the Henson company was training puppeteers for Fraggle Rock in Toronto they used these Fisher-Price Kermit puppets in their workshops!

The Kermit doll shown above has Velcro on his hands and feet (on the back of the leg). Originally felt was used for the tongue and black shape inside the Kermit doll's mouth. The collar was also originally made with a soft plush fabric (shown above). All of these were later replaced with a thin canvas-like material, the same as what was used on the puppet version of Kermit.

Fozzie has a hard plastic hat which is odd by today's standards. During the 70s all Fisher-Price toys were made in a similar style that incorporated plastic shaped pieces into their plush toys. (The Woodsey finger puppet series is one example of this.) Therefore Fozzie ended up with a plastic hat and Scooter with plastic shoes (Scooter is discussed in more detail below). The inside of the Fozzie doll's ears were originally made with felt, and later replaced with the canvas-like fabric. Unfortunately the felt used in the early Kermit and Fozzie dolls tends to get holes in it easily and disintegrates over time.

Though he makes for a nice plush toy, Fozzie is the only character that was not made in scale with the other five characters in this Fisher-Price series. He is noticeably smaller than he should be. The Fozzie doll is more in scale with the series of Fisher-Price Muppet Show Dress-up dolls (shown on the 1980-1989 page of this blog) that were offered shortly after this initial series of dolls and puppets went out of production. As this Fozzie doll was included with the initial release of Muppet Show toys in 1977, this suggests that the Dress-Up dolls may have also been developed at this time, with Fozzie initially included in the Dress-Up series. However I'm just speculating.

Muppet Museum Fact: The original Fozzie Bear puppet used by Frank Oz on the Muppet Show is now in the Teddy Bear Museum in Warwickshire, England.

Along with the Kermit and Fozzie dolls, the Fisher-Price Rowlf puppet was one of only three Muppet Show characters to be offered when this collection was first launched in 1977. This puppet is similar in style to the Ideal Rowlf puppet that was made during the 1960s, though both are very different in appearance. It is not possible to confuse the two. I have the Fisher-Price Rowlf in his original box, which ironically, is somewhat dog-eared! This is a great toy puppet. I've spent hours and hours of my childhood playing with this one, and hours of my adulthood too! Rowlf is too awesome not to play with! Rowlf has a plastic shaped head covered with fabric and a plastic nose. It's interesting that although Fisher-Price put this much work into Rowlf, they put so little work into the Fozzie Bear puppet released the following year. It would have been awesome to have a larger Fozzie puppet made in the same style as Rowlf.

Fisher-Price made their Scooter doll with very hard plastic shoes. Scooter's face is perfectly shaped to look just like the character. Fisher-Price added a lot of excellent detail to this Scooter doll. Although it's not likely to be noticed, under his yellow jacket collar the doll has a second orange collar to match his shirt, as seen on the Muppet Show. I've also included a closer look at the patch on Scooter's jacket. It's odd that Fisher-Price placed this patch on the front of Scooter's jacket rather than on the back where it should have been, but it's a nice detail none the less. The doll has Velcro on its hands. The glasses are made out of a softer plastic than the shoes.

Although Scooter was a popular character and a reasonable choice for the Fisher-Price series, future Muppet toy collections would drop the character in favour of Gonzo. It wasn't until the 2000s, some 20 years later, that another Scooter doll was made (which I don't have), this time for the Disney's MGM Studios theme park gift shops. To my knowledge a toy puppet of Scooter has still never been made!

Muppet Museum Fact: The original Scooter puppet that was performed by Richard Hunt on the Muppet Show is now part of the collection at the Ballard Museum in Connecticut, USA. I visited there in 2003 and was thrilled to see Scooter up close in the fleece! Very cooool! He's always been one of my favourite Muppets.

The Fisher-Price Scooter doll was made with a variation in fabric colour and can be found with dark blue or light blue jeans. There's no difference in value due to the variation, I just find it interesting to discover this type of thing as it reveals a part of the history of the manufacturing process for the toy. In my experience the light blue version is far less common than the dark blue version.
 
As you can see, I had fun taking this picture! When I was setting up the two dolls to show the variation I thought of how they looked like a gay couple and what a coincidence it was that puppeteer Richard Hunt, who created the character, was also gay. Don't they look cute together! I call this photograph "Scooters in Love"! :) Such an inspiring work of art, this could be the start of a whole new career! Kidding aside, I think it would be cool if they made Scooter be gay, but only if they didn't use homosexuality as a punch line. That's such an uncreative cop out and not cool at all. But to have Scooter be the first official gay Muppet would be awesome if they did it with respect, and a nice tribute to his original performer.

 
The three puppets in the series are Miss Piggy, Rowlf, and my favourite of them all, Animal.  The Plaid Stallions vintage toy blog (which I am not associated with in any way) has pictures of the 1978 Fisher-Price catalogue ( http://plaidstallions.blogspot.ca/2011/11/1978-fisher-p%20rice-muppet-show-catalog.html ) revealing that Miss Piggy was added to the series in 1978, along with the collection of action figures shown below. Despite this, the Muppet Wiki website lists Miss Piggy as being offered in 1979. Therefore, as only the plush dolls of Kermit and Fozzie, and the puppet of Rowlf, were available in 1977 it is likely that in 1978, the puppet version of Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Animal and the doll of Scooter would have all been added to the collection.

Unfortunately, after 25 years the foam used for Miss Piggy's body has decomposed and turned to powder so it is impossible to find one in mint condition. Even if the puppet was left untouched by human hands in the original box all this time, the foam would still have become powder. Keep this in mind if ever you go shopping for one of these on e-bay! And if you do have one in the box, try not to shake it or move it! The first photo of the Miss Piggy puppet above, with the white background, was taken in the early 1990s and shows the puppet as it looked before the foam decomposed. The following image is what the puppet looks like now (I inserted a large drinking glass inside of the puppet to hold it up for the photo). It's a shame that the first ever toy puppet of Miss Piggy is in such a state.

In addition to the challenges caused by the foam, keeping one of these puppets in mint condition is made more difficult by the rooted doll hair which is quite easily messed.  It is quite difficult to find one with the original hair style. The Miss Piggy puppets were first sold in open window boxes which allowed for the puppet's hair and plastic rubber face to get quite messy and dirty while still on the shelf at toy stores. Therefore, Fisher-Price repackaged this puppet in a closed window box to keep the puppet clean until it could be sold. The cellophane window boxes are, in my experience, less common than the non-cellophane boxes. I have several copies of this puppet and have noticed that for some of them the plastic used for her face has begun to break down and is sticky to the touch. So this is something else to check for if ever buying one for your collection. Poor Miss Piggy!

And lastly, the Animal puppet by Fisher-Price! This is my absolute favourite item from my entire Muppet collection. Fisher-Price did an excellent job on this puppet. He has a very large moulded plastic mouth and his eyebrows can be made to blink by pressing down on the angled leaver inside of his head. Like the Kermit doll, Animal has Velcro on his hands and feet.

I've notice that the plastic on Animal's nose and inside the head is starting to decompose and is now slightly sticky to the touch. I was quite sad to discover this, as Animal is such an awesome toy puppet. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop plastic from decomposing, but if you put Animal in the freezer it will slow down the process. I just don't have it in me to do that to him though, so I've opted to leave my Animal puppet sitting on a shelf. Poor Animal!

According to the Muppet Central website, in 2000 a company called Igel produced an Animal puppet based on the Fisher-Price puppet using the same plastic pieces for the mouth and face. The Igel puppet has a plush doll-like body that is very different from the Fisher-Price version. My understanding is that the Igel Animal puppet is quite rare.  Due to the popularity of Animal and the Fisher-Price puppet, I suspect that the Igel puppet may have just been a prototype that was never produced. Certainly such a puppet would have been a hot seller that Igel would have been interested in producing in larger quantities. I find it odd that such a puppet would be so scarce.

Here`s another picture of Animal just for fun!

Mikey's Muppet Memories: Back in the early to mid 1980s, during the hey day of the Muppets, every summer in Ottawa a large fair called "Super Ex" used to be held at Landsdown Park. I remember that there were two coin slot games that had about 20 of the Fisher-Price Animal puppets set up in separate display case units so that his feet were attached to an automated bar. The bar moved back and forth so that it looked like Animal was pushing coins with his feet. The object of the game was to add coins, and make them land in a certain spot so that money and small toy prizes would be pushed forward and fall into the drop chute. Not a very exciting game, but I loved going to the Ex just to see if the "Animal game" was there.

I also remember that for the water gun game, two of each character from the Fisher-Price Muppet dolls and puppets series (except for Rowlf) were attached to the tracks that rose up toward the bell during the game. The backdrop was painted with illustrations of various Muppet characters including Dr. Teeth and the band. There was also one water gun game that just had ten or so of the Fisher Price Kermit dolls (one on each of the tracks), and the backdrop had an illustration of several Kermits in a lake swimming or sitting on lily pads. I wish I had taken pictures of those games! For me they were the highlight of the exhibition. 

Muppet Museum Fact: Another interesting trivia note about this Fisher-Price collection of Muppet Show dolls and puppets is that they are seen in the Blue Brothers movie from 1980. They are in the famous "driving through a mall" scene, in which the Blues Brothers smash through a mini mall with their car. When they drive through a Toys R Us, a customer is at the cash register with a Grover doll asking for a Miss Piggy. The Muppet toys are seen displayed around the cash register and in the background of this scene. At one point a Rowlf puppet is clearly seen flopping around on the hood of the car. Yes, I know way too much about these puppets! Additionally, puppeteer Frank Oz who performed Grover and Miss Piggy also makes a cameo at the beginning of the movie as the security guard.

 
Fisher-Price also produced a series of four small bean bag type dolls. Miss Piggy, Kermit, and Fozzie were available in 1978 or 1979 along with the larger series of puppets and dolls. The fourth bean bag doll, The Great Gonzo, was not added to the set until 1981 and is somewhat rare. (The Kermit and Fozzie shown here are in very poor shape. Fozzie is missing his plastic hat and his ears have been cut off.)
 
The line of Fisher-Price Muppet toys also included the first action figures of the Muppet Show characters. They were released as "The Muppet Show Players" in a boxed set with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Rowlf. These characters were also available individually on cards. Figures of Gonzo, Scooter and Animal were only available individually on cards and are less common (shown below). All seven figures came with a white plastic rod that attaches to the figure's back so that it can be used as a rod puppet. Miss Piggy is a rubber finger puppet rather than an action figure.


Shown above are the individual card packages for Miss Piggy, Kermit and Rowlf. The colour of the card matched the colour of the boxes for each character in the larger puppet/doll series. For example, Rowlf is on a yellow card, and the larger puppet was sold in a yellow box (shown earlier, above). Kermit's colour is red, Miss Piggy's is blue, Fozzie's is light blue, Animal's is purple, Scooter's is green. The only figure that the colour scheme doesn't apply to is Gonzo (on an orange card), as the character was not included in the original puppet/doll series. The Fisher-Price Great Gonzo doll would not be released until a few years later, in 1981, as part of the dress-up doll series. The box for that doll is yellow.

Here are two ceramic figures of Miss Piggy and Rowlf that are based on the Fisher-Price Muppet Show Players figures. Each one has been hand painted. The body for Rowlf has been resculpted to remove the large round joint section near the legs. The figures are not marked. I found these at a flea market in the early 1990s, so I have no other information about them. They may have been made in the 1970's or 1980's.

To my knowledge, the rights to produce puzzles and games based on The Muppet Show was given to Milton Bradley and Hallmark Cards/Springbok in North America, while the European rights went to Hope/Hestair Products. Below is a European puzzle from 1977. This image was also used for the very first Muppet Show poster that was available at the time, and which I also have in my collection. More puzzles are shown below in the 1979 section.


Here is the Parker Bros. The Muppet Show board game from 1977. This game was very popular in it's time and is quite easy to find. A second board game was made in 1979 and is shown below in that section.

Here is the game board for the 1977 game. It's interesting to see all of the different Muppet characters that were included in the audience.

Here are the game pieces for the 1977 game. I like that they used actual photos of the Muppet characters for the game pieces instead of drawings. It's especially neat that they show the front and back view of the character.

The game board for the 1977 Muppet Show game can be found with a black or green finish on the reverse side of the board. The green boards were sold with solid white bases for the game markers, while the black boards had clear bases for the game markers. I doubt either one is more valuable than the other. I just think it's fun to find product variations of toys that I collect and thought I'd share the info. Neat eh!

In 1977 the very first Muppet Show record was released and was quite popular. The cover has a very cool picture of the Muppets gathered backstage. The same picture was used on an orange plastic lunchbox (shown below). There were 19 tracks included on the album.

Side 1: The Muppet Show Theme, Mississippi Mud, Mahna Mahna, The Great Gonzo eats a rubber tire to "The Flight of the Bumble Bee", Mr. Baseman, Cottleston Pie, The Amazing Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphone play "Lady of Spain", Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Halfway Down the Stairs
Side 2: Tenderly, I'm in Love with a Big Blue Frog, Tit Willow, Veterinarian's Hospital, Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear, Trees, Sax and Violence, Bein' Green

Muppet Museum Fact: I find it interesting that the season 1 version of Fozzie, Miss Piggy and Gonzo are shown on the front cover, while the season 2 version of each is shown on the back cover. Below is a closer look at the back cover. I always thought this was a great photo of the characters. This may have been the first time Muppet fans got to see Gonzo's feet! Usually he is shown wearing shoes. Gonzo's fur is also purple here, which will later be changed to blue. On the front cover his eyelids are green instead of yellow.

Below is the second Muppet Show record that was released the following year in 1978. There are two versions of this record. One of them has a double sized album cover that opens up, while the other is a standard record cover. I have the standard version.


This is the back cover of the standard version record. Can you find the Stormtrooper? There are 25 tracks on this record. Side 1: The Muppet Show Theme, Baby Face, There's a New Sound, A Monologue (by Fozzie Bear), Cuento Le Gusta, Who, Time in a Bottle, An Editorial by Sam the Eagle, Borneo, At the Dance, Upidee, Just One Person
Side 2: Happy Feet, Pigs in Space, I'm Five, Sea Chantey, New York State of Mind, The Pig Calypso, When, A Gypsy's Violin, Wishing Song, Animal Sings Gershwin, For What it's Worth, We Got Us, Closing Theme
This record also came with a nifty record sleeve showing the cast of Muppet characters. Both sides of the sleeve are different.


In 1978 and 1979 a very popular series of Muppet Show character mugs was produced by Kiln Craft in England. I only have two from the series. The Miss Piggy mug is dated 1978 while the Scooter mug is dated 1979. I'm not certain if that explains the colouring difference or if there is a 1979 full colour Miss Piggy mug available. Characters in the series included Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf the Dog, Animal, Floyd Pepper, Sam the Eagle, Swedish Chef, and Beauregard. Statler and Waldorf were on the same mug together, with one character on each side. More images of the above two mugs are shown below.


 
This is a very popular item with Muppet fans. It is "The Muppet Show Book" published in 1978. The book recounts many of the skits that were seen on The Muppet Show during the first two or three seasons and includes guest star appearances by Vincent Price, Candice Bergen, and Rudolf Nureyev. Song lyrics are also included on various pages.
 
 
Here is "The Muppet Show Annual" hardcover book from 1978, published by Brown Watson. The book includes photos, illustrations, comics, games and activities. I think there are other Muppet Annual books published but I'm not sure how many or if one was made for each season of the show.

This is the complete series of 13 Schleigh PVC Muppet Show figures made in 1979. The set includes: (front row, left to right) Animal, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie, Rowlf, Gonzo, (back row) Sweetums, Sam the Eagle, Scooter, Swedish Chef, Zoot, Waldorf, and Statler. This would be the first time that Sam the Eagle and Sweetums were marketed as toys.

Characters from the PVC series were also sold on triangular plastic bases with various Birthday messages on the front. In the 1990s, my brother found me a unique Swedish Chef during his trip to Spain. It is shown on the far left with the yellow eyebrows and moustache instead of brown. The bow tie is also red instead of purple. I think the message is in German, but I'm not certain. It would be interesting to know what it says. Shown in the center is the common version of the Chef, and on the right is Statler.
 
UPDATE: Muppet Fan Brian Iskov kindly posted a message on this blog page offering the translation for the yellow haired Chef figure. It says "Thanks a lot for dining and drinking!" Thanks as well to you Brian!

I've also noticed a colour variation for Miss Piggy. The figure on the left used to be attached to a pink triangular base, and has detailed eyes with white and black trim and a white dot on the iris, while the second Miss Piggy (sold without the base) simply has blue eyes with a black iris.

Here are the very well made die-cast metal cars by Corgi in 1979. Four characters were included in the series, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal and Fozzie. They were packaged on yellow bubble cards. To mark the Muppet Shows 25th anniversary all four of these cars were reissued in 2001 using a different colour scheme and packaged in separate window boxes.

Here is "Take One" magazine, Vol. 7, No. 4, March 15, 1979.

In 1979 this record, John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, was released. This is one of two records that John Denver did with the Muppets (the other was based on a TV special in which John goes camping with the Muppets). Below is the back cover. The record cover also opens to show illustrations based on each song. There are 12 tracks on this record.

Side A: Twelve Days of Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Peace Carol, Christmas is Coming, A Baby Just Like You, Deck the Halls, When the River Meets the Sea
Side B: Little Saint Nick, Noel: Christmas Eve, The Christmas Wish, Medley (Alfie the Christmas Tree, Carol for a Christmas Tree, It's in Everyone of Us), Silent Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas

The Muppet Movie from 1979 is my favourite Muppets movie ever. Here is the original soundtrack for The Muppet Movie, also from 1979. Below is the back cover. The record also came with a movie poster which unfortunately I don't have. There are 11 tracks on this record.

Side 1: Rainbow Connection, Movin' Right Along, Never Before Never Again, Never Before Never Again (Instrumental), I Hope That Somethin' Better Comes Along
Side 2: Can You Picture That, I Hope That Somethin' Better Comes Along (Instrumental), I'm Going to go Back There Someday, America, Animal...Come Back Animal, Finale: The Magic Store

The record cover opens showing scenes from the movie and a list of credits.

Here is a closer view of the picture of Gonzo.
Please remember that Gonzo is a professional stunt puppet. Never try this at home!

A series of Muppet Movie puzzles were produced in 1979. This Kermit puzzle is one of my favourite items from the collection. It was made by Milton Bradley. I had a lot of fun playing with this puzzle during my childhood, as shown by the rough condition. Along with the Fisher-Price Kermit puppet, this puzzle is also responsible for my becoming a Muppet fanatic and later a puppeteer.  

UPDATE: In early Sept 2013 I noticed that this puzzle of Kermit with his banjo shows a reverse image from the one shown on the Muppet Central website. In addition, the puzzle shown below of Miss Piggy and Kermit in the boat is a 100 piece puzzle while the one on the Muppet Central site is a 250 piece puzzle. Therefore I can confirm that there are two variations of each puzzle. I'm guessing this is because my puzzles are Canadian versions while those shown on the Muppet Central site are US versions. Here is the link to the Muppet Central puzzles page: http://www.muppetcentral.com/collectibles/muppets/puzzles.shtml

This is another puzzle from the Muppet Movie series. These are puppets in a boat, think about that! It looks so simple. I'm still amazed at what the Muppet folks managed to do in that movie. There is also a puzzle of Fozzie and Kermit driving the car, from the scene in the film when they sang "Movin' Right Along". Yes, puppets driving a car! Amazing!

After the Muppet Movie puzzles proved popular, a series of puzzles was produced in 1980 based on The Muppet Show. There are ten or more puzzles in this series, though I only have these two (shown above and below). Others I've seen include a close up picture of Kermit against a red background, a close up of Miss Piggy, a close up of Fozzie Bear, Rowlf playing the piano, the Sweetish Chef, the Pigs in Space crew in front of a black "outer space" background, Fozzie with Gonzo and Scooter in front of lockers, a close up of Zoot, a scene showing the Muppet gang in the alley behind the Muppet theatre, and a closer view of Miss Piggy wearing her Viking helmet with the Muppet gang in the background

 
Hallmark also produced a variety of puzzles from 1978 to the early 1980s. These puzzles were made with smaller pieces suitable for older kids and adults, and were marketed under the Springbok label. Shown above are some "Mini Jigsaw Puzzles". There are at least ten different puzzles in this collection. The puzzle of the band is titled "Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem" and the puzzle of Statler and Waldorf is titled "A truly monstrous performance!". These two are from 1978. The puzzle of Miss Piggy on the motorcycle is from 1979 and is titled "Comin' Atcha!" The last one with Piggy and Kermit dancing is titled "Keep a song in your heart and a frog in your arms.", from 1980. 
 
Hallmark/Springbok  also made larger puzzles with 500 or 1000 pieces. Here is a larger puzzle from 1978, with over 500 pieces. It's titled "King Kong goes ape over Miss Piggy". I glued it to a wooden board when I was a kid, so the black boarder is not part of the puzzle.

This Hallmark/Springbok puzzle from 1980 features Miss Piggy and is titled "America's Heartthrob". This is a very large puzzle with 1000 pieces! The finished puzzle measures 24 X 30 inches. The puzzle pieces for her hair were especially difficult to do!

This is a 1000 piece Hallmark/Springbok puzzle from 1980 titled "A Muppet Christmas Party".

Here is The Muppet Show board game made by Parker Bros. in 1979. It was made in Canada and features illustrations of the Muppet characters instead of photos. This game is much harder to find than the earlier Parker Bros. Muppet Show game from 1977 (shown above in the 1977 section).

Here is the game board from the 1979 game. It has the same board printed on both sides, but with the text in English on one side and French on the other.

Here are the game pieces for the 1979 game which is unique as Sweetums and Sam the Eagle are featured characters.
 
The Miss Piggy Card Game, made by Milton Bradley in 1979.

Here is the Panini Sticker book with some sticker packages that were sold in 1979. The book has spaces for 256 stickers!!! 

These are the Sigma ceramic mugs made in the late 70s. There are also mugs of Fozzie Bear and Rowlf. Sigma also made a wide variety of ceramic figural containers based on Muppet Show characters. Below is the back view.


This plastic Thermos lunchbox was made in 1978. It has the same image that was used for the cover of the first Muppet Show record (shown above).

Here is a soap figure of Miss Piggy from the late 1970s or early 1980s. It was sold in a small box with illustrations of Miss Piggy on the sides. Matching Kermit and Fozzie Bear soap figures were also made. This one is a little banged up and broken in some places, but as it's made out of soap I'm just amazed that it still exists at all. I bought this one at a flea market before the internet came along. I've seen these soap figures show up on e-bay from time to time with their original boxes.
 
This Muppet Show child size apron is from 1978.

Here is a small Miss Piggy tin from 1980, from a series of similar round Muppet tins made by Hallmark.
 

In addition to the awesome series of Muppet Show puppets, plush toys, beanies, and action figures offered in 1976 and 1978, Fisher-Price also produced a series of Muppet Show Dress-up dolls. According to the Muppet Wiki website, Miss Piggy and Kermit were released in 1981 and Gonzo followed in 1982. Clearly these were introduced after the initial series of puppets and dolls as additional product due to the success of the first series of toys, and the continued popularity of the Muppet Show and the Muppet films. These dolls are slightly smaller than the previous series and have removable costumes. Additional outfits were sold separately. Kermit and Gonzo's outfits included a pirate outfit, cowboy outfit and pyjamas with a housecoat. Miss Piggy's outfits included a ballet dress, sailor outfit, garden dress with hat, and a space outfit that looked nothing like her Pigs in Space costume.

When these Dress-up dolls were released, the small bean bag Gonzo was added to the Fisher-Price series which explains why Gonzo is dressed the same way for both dolls (a picture of the Gonzo beenbag doll is seen with the others above on this page). The large Gonzo doll seen above originally had shiney silver shorts, but the silver wore off leaving the shorts white when I washed the doll in the washing machine many years ago. Both Kermit and Miss Piggy are missing their hats in the above photo.

In 1981, while the above Fisher-Price Muppet toys were still on store shelves, Dakin produced this awful version of Kermit. This doll is about the same size as the Fisher-Price Dress-Up Kermit. The lower half of Kermit`s body is bean filled, and the hands and feet are made of thin felt. Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy dolls were also made for this set and they actually look worse than this one, so the less said the better. All three of these Dakin Muppets lean toward being rare collectables (though they are not as hard to find as the Ideal Kermit or Rowlf), with Fozzie being the most difficult to find. Their rarity does not make them valuable in the least, as most Muppet collectors are not scrambling to find these. The Fozzie doll has a huge head and a tiny body. The Miss Piggy for this set used the same plastic head as the Fisher-Price Dress-Up doll (shown above). I`ve always been curious about how a toy company could use a competitor's mould to make a product. Fisher-Price collectors might be interested in the Dakin Miss Piggy for this reason.
 

Text and photos © Mike Artelle, 2013


21 comments:

  1. Hi I have got all 6 of the originals all in great shape animal is still very usable and his foam lining in his body is perfect. I also got fozzie puppet too I just need kermit. Found ur article realy comprehensive good work. I live in the uk the kermit plush is easy to get hold of but the puppet not so they all seem to be in the US wich makes it difficult for me to finnish my collection of them. Next on the list is the dress up dolls.

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  2. Hi Mr Gory
    Glad you liked my Muppet blog. I find these original Muppets are becoming more and more popular. I'd like to collect them all again in their original boxes, maybe someday. Hope you are able to find the Kermit puppet soon! Cheers
    -Mike

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  3. I have Rowlf puppet. He is somewhere in my parents attic but I know he is up there they keep everything. I now have a daughter and want to give her him. My childhood friend had Miss Piggy and Animal. I remember just living Animal and making his eyebrows move. Wish I had him now. Great post. Thank you. My father still has my 1970 metal Muppet Show lunchbox. It's used to hold his shoe polish out in the garage.

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  4. Hi choilives
    Those metal lunch boxes are awesome. I still don't have one in my collection. They can be quite pricey in good condition. I passed one up a short while back and am regretting it now. Though I do have the plastic lunch boxes for the Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock. Have fun searching for your Rowlf puppet. Hope your daughter enjoys playing with him!
    -Mike

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  5. Wow, what a collection! I used to own a rare, unauthorized Danish audio cassette with anonymous actors performing an episode of "Moppet Show" (sic), but unfortunately I lost the tape many years ago.
    By the way, the German inscription on the Swedish chef's base says "Thanks a lot for dining and drinking"!

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    1. Hi Brian
      Thanks for the translation, that's awesome! I've updated the page above with credit to you for this message, it very much appreciated. I've wondered about that for years!!!

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  6. Hi Mike, Today I bought 4 ravenhead glasses england 1979 miss piggy, fozzie, waldorf & statler, and swedish chef in packaging still, few rips in cardboard, but considering it is older than me, I guess this is rare? Where does one sell such stuff? I was considering ebaying Thanks Peter Kidd kiddyuk gmail com

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    1. Hi Peter, I had never heard of those glasses until I read your message! Awesome! There's just so much cool Muppet Stuff out there to collect!!! I suppose you could sell them where ever you can...nostalgia show, comic conventions, e-bay or other online sites. Maybe even at a Muppet convention! They still have those, don't they? In any case, nice find!

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  7. Great site only just found you. I have some muppet stickers made by a company called F.P.I ltd Leeds U.K. From late 70's-80's but I can't find any info on them anywhere. I remember buying them as a child 35+ years ago

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    1. Hi Jollies It's awesome that you held onto those stickers! I don't know about them myself but you can try the Muppet Central and Muppet Wiki websites, they might have some info. Best of luck!

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  8. I have a set of 5 China mugs by sigma including Gonzo are they worth much ? Face shapes

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    1. Hello Mrs T
      I'm not a specialist on the Sigma items, though to my knowledge, any of the Sigma Muppet items are of special interest to collectors as they were so well made. I don't know about specific prices, but I know they aren't cheap which is why I only have two of them in my collection (Kermit and Miss Piggy mugs). I believe the other characters like Gonzo and so on are harder to find, so they would be worth more than Kermit and Piggy, which are more common. If you have the original box that the Gonzo mug came in it also adds to the value. Best of luck.

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  9. I still have my Animal Puppet, worse for wear as he was my favorite thing to play with as a child, even the abuse he suffered of swinging him by his legs and letting him cannon into the sky. loved seeing it in the original condition

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    1. Hi David
      It's awesome that you still have Animal! He's my favourite too, and definitely a very cool toy! In fact, the Fisher-Price Animal puppet is one of the main reasons I started collecting Muppets! The toy went out of production before my parents were able to get one for me, so I began searching garage sales and flea markets for one. By the time I was in my mid teens I had found the entire Fisher-Price line of Muppet Show puppets and dolls before I had at last found Animal! I like hearing that you used to swing him around my his ankles! I use to do this with the Scooter doll, but would hold onto his head and swing those heavy plastic feet! It was a great way to ward off my big brother whenever we got into an argument! :) I still drool over pics of the Animal puppet in the original box on e-bay! Someday perhaps?

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  10. Great review of the Muppet toy franchise 70s and 80s. I was wondering about the packaging of the theatre boxes. I have several of the Miss Piggy that are wrapped in plastic. Were the other Kermit, Rowlf, Scooter, and Animal originally wrapped this way too?

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    1. Hi Ben
      I'm assuming by "theatre boxes" you are referring to the Fisher-Price puppet and doll line of toys which had illustrations of the Muppet theatre on the sides. The Miss Piggy puppet was a later addition to the series and was originally released in a standard open style box (shown with the Rowlf puppet above) which did not have a plastic window. However her hair would get messy and the plastic face would get dirty while sitting on store shelves (kids would play with her in the store), so Fisher-Price repackaged Miss Piggy in a window-style box to keep the toy clean. She was the only character in the series to have two different boxes. When Fisher-Price released the Kermit, Miss Piggy and Gonzo Dress Up dolls they were sold in window style boxes as well. Gosh, that was a long explanation! I hope that's what you were asking about! If not, feel free to post another message. :) Cheers!

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  11. LOVE your blog, it has helped me source LOTS of toys for my daughter (really for me). The animal puppet is one of my favorite toys EVER! I thought you might enjoy my movie with classic Fisher Price Rowlf and Animal puppets:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w_BPYoWAK4&feature=youtu.be

    Again, thanks for all of your research!!!

    Philip

    philipdamour@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Philip
      Glad you like my blog, thanks for the comments. I watched your video and enjoyed it very much. Very creative! As a puppeteer I can also appreciate all the work that went into getting the puppets to do all of that. You went all out! Very well done! Cool record player too! :)

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  12. I have a Miss Piggy birthday message figure

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    1. Hi Muppetmaster
      That's cool. I find those Muppet figures with the bases on them are quite hard to find! I'd be curious to know if yours has the solid blue eyes or if it has the black and white detail around the edge?

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  13. I have two boxes of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy doll in a very good condition.

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