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The Muppets are a group of sketch comedy variety puppet characters known for their absurdist, burlesque and self-referential humor. Created in 1955 by Jim Henson, they are the namesake for the Disney media franchise that encompasses films, television series, music recordings, print publications, and other media associated with The Muppet Show characters.

The Muppets were the crux of multiple television series and films including; The Muppet Show (1976-1981), The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). After Henson's death in 1990, The Muppets continued their presence in television and cinema with Muppets Tonight (1996-98), a series continuation of The Muppet Show and three films, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), Muppets From Space (1999), the former two were co-produced with Disney, who sought to acquire the characters since the late 1980s. In 2004, The Walt Disney Company purchased the rights to The Muppets, and later formed The Muppets Studio, a division created specifically for managing The Muppets franchise.

Disney underwent an extensive re-branding of the franchise beginning in 2008, in anticipation of the seventh film; The Muppets. The film, written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller and directed by James Bobin, was released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 23, 2011, and met with critical acclaim and commercial success. A semi-sequel, The Muppets...Again!, will be followed on March 21, 2014.


Cute and quirky with songs to match, Jim Henson's Muppets have been responsible for over three decades of children's entertainment that isn't just for kids. Alongside Sesame Street, which was aimed at younger children and also created many iconic kids' TV characters, the Muppets who appeared on The Muppet Show and in the Muppets' films had a more sophisticated, wittier look and sense of humor. Artist/puppeteer Henson created a rough version of the most famous Muppet, Kermit the Frog, in 1955 for Sam and Friends, a Washington, D.C.-area children's show for which he was a puppet designer; by the time The Muppet Show began in 1976, the Muppets were a full cast of characters -- including Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, and the Muppet band, Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem -- and their mix of sophisticated puppetry and music was already in place. Along with Henson, the Muppets' main original puppeteers and voices included Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, and Dave Goelz.

In 1976, the soundtrack to their 1972 version of The Frog Prince became one of the Muppets' first albums. In 1978, a Muppet Show soundtrack arrived, featuring classic Muppets songs like "Mah Nah Mah Nah," "Bein' Green," and the show's theme; 1979's The Muppet Movie, 1981's The Great Muppet Caper, and 1984's The Muppets Take Manhattan also featured songs that rivaled the quality of any "real" musicals of the time, including the wonderful "Rainbow Connection." The soundtrack to 1988's The Ghost of Haffner Hall featured the Chieftains' Paddy Moloney and was the final Muppet production before Henson's death in 1990 from pneumonia. Henson's son Brian stepped in as Kermit's voice and the Muppets franchise continued with productions like 1992's The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1995's Kermit Unpigged, 1996's Muppet Treasure Island, and 2005's The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. The Muppet Babies' animated shows and movies also had soundtracks, including Muppet Babies: Rock It to the Stars. The gang returned to the silver screen in 2011 with The Muppets, offering a soundtrack of classic Muppets songs, new tunes by the live-action stars, and contemporary covers with a Muppets twist. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi

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