Muppets Most Wanted: Ten things you never knew about the puppet gang
Published 28/03/2014 | 15:44
A talking frog, a glamorous pig and a dog named Rowlf. Bet you know exactly what we’re talking about...
This weekend marks the release of the latest Muppets flick 'Muppets Most Wanted' where the puppet gang team up with Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey for what promises to be another big screen hit.
Before you book your cinema tickets and start munching into the popcorn, become a true Muppets maniac and arm yourself with the following ten facts you never knew about the clothed crew:
1. Henson's dreams
The Muppets creator Jim Henson didn’t originally want to be a puppeteer, he wanted to work as a stage or art director. According to biographer Brian Jay Jones’ book ‘Jim Henson: The Biography’, Henson built two puppets and taught himself how to perform with them when he saw a local TV show advertise an opening for puppeteers. “I never played with puppets or had any interest in them,” Jim said later. “It was just a means to an end.”
2. Miss Peggy Lee
The famous Miss Piggy was in fact modelled on the singer Peggy Lee. The pig has been referenced as Miss Peggy Lee on ‘The Muppet Show’ TV series.
3. Muppets do Dublin
The Muppets visit the capital of our Emerald Isle in their latest flick ‘Muppets Most Wanted’. In the film, where the puppet gang become unwittingly wrapped up in a European jewel-heist, the puppet gang embark on a tour that includes Berlin, Madrid, London and Dublin. Muppets fans will see footage of the DART in south Dublin and the River Liffey in the city.
Gervais with his co-stars Miss Piggy and Kermit
4. Croonchy Stars
The Swedish Chef was a real-life celebrity chef in the eighties and had his own cereal on shop shelves called Croonchy Stars.
5. Kermit the Little
In the gang’s latest film Kermit’s nephew, Robin the Frog, makes a rare comeback.
6. Miss Piggy the bestseller
Miss Piggy is a New York Times bestseller, who knew it? The glamorous pig’s ‘Guide To Life’ was on the New York Times bestsellers list for 29 weeks straight in 1981.
7. Beatles Inspiration
Floyd Pepper’s character is a direct reference to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
8. What IS a Muppet?
Jim Henson has explained that the Muppets got their name from a combination between the words 'Marionette' and 'Puppet'.
9. One-of-a-kind Henson
Jim Henson’s life was one-of-a-kind, so he made sure his funeral was too. Henson requested a jazz band at his funeral that played ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’. Mourners were not allowed to wear black and were asked to wave coloured foam butterflies on sticks. Big Bird even came up on stage and sang ‘Bein’ Green’.
Puppeteer and creator of the Muppets Jim Henson wins a 1989 Emmy Award (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
10. Kermit the host
Finally, Kermit the Frog may seem like the natural leader of the gang now but it wasn’t always so. In the early seventies, creator Jim taped two pilots for a weekly Muppet TV series hosted by a human-type Muppet named Wally and another one called Nigel. Kermit was finally made host of the show in 1976, and rightly so.