In 1969, Jim Henson garnered national success and fame when his Muppets became central characters in the new children's TV show "Sesame Street". After several successful TV specials, Henson had an idea: a primetime musical and comedy variety show with celebrity guest stars that would bring the wackiness of the Muppets into the homes of American viewers. The result: The Muppet Show!
Viewers were already familiar with Kermit the Frog and Rowlf the Dog, but the Muppet Show introduced us to dozens of memorable characters that have wriggled their way into pop culture and our hearts. Soon, Miss Piggy became the biggest name in Hollywood, Fozzie Bear was cracking us up on stage, and millions of people were speaking gibberish and saying "Bork bork" as they made dinner while watching the Swedish Chef. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem put new twists on classic music, Veterenarian's Hospital had us glued to our seats, and Pigs in Space brought the Swine Trek to places that pigs have never gone before. Add to that the likes of the Great Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, Scooter, Animal, Sweetums, Robin, and the two old guys who heckled every act from their theatre box, and you have a fabulous show.
But it wasn't just the Muppets that made the show special. It wasn't just the crisp writing, the witty sketches, and the endearing performances by Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, and others that made this show what it is. It was the guest stars who came out in droves to interact with ou favourite characters that was special. Many of the day's biggest celebrities made guest appearances. I'm talking the big time here, like Academy Award winners Rita Moreno and Peter Ustinov. Platinum selling artistis like Johnny Cash and Alice Cooper. Living legends in comedy like Bob Hope and George Burns. TV icons like Candace Bergen and Milton Berle. Silver Screen heroes like Christopher Reeves and Vincent Price. Their adventures with the Muppets made teh Muppets even more real and dear. Over all, this is a show that helped define a generation, and still had the power to do more of the same.