If you’ve read or seen any biographical material about the late Jim Henson, you probably know that the original Kermit the Frog was created out of his mother’s old coat and two-halves of a ping-pong ball.
One of the first Muppets , Kermit (not yet a frog) became a regular face on Henson’s Sam and Friends, a five-minute TV show that ran twice a day on WRC-TV in Washington, DC. The series ran from May 1955 until December 1961.
Kermit has come a long way since then and looks quite a bit different today. The original Kermit puppet still exists though and has just been donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Kermit has returned to his old stomping grounds.
Jane Henson, Jim Henson’s widow and co-performer in the early days, donated the prized puppet and other vintage Muppets this week. She noted, “We would like very much to get them out while they’re still in relatively good condition… I think when you grow up in Washington, you get the feeling that everything important in the country goes to the Smithsonian.”
Smithsonian curator Dwight Blocker Bowers said, “It certainly shows the Muppets at the beginning of the career of a large family of entertainers. More than anything, I think it shows the genius of Jim Henson.”
The vintage Muppets join several more modern Henson creations that already live at the museum, like Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch and a newer Kermit.
The new additions will reportedly be put on display for the public to see in November.
Here’s a clip of vintage Kermit in action on Sam and Friends…
What do you think? Have you seen any of the Muppets at the Smithsonian? Does this addition make you want to go visit?