Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9 - Kermit the Frog

The earliest version of Kermit the Frog appeared on television for the first time on May 9, 1955, when Jim Henson’s live-action puppet show “Sam and Friends” aired on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. Henson had already made puppets for another TV station while in high school. “Sam” was a bald, human-looking puppet whose friends included a lizard-like creature named Kermit (pictured). As a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park, Henson was asked to create the five-minute show in which he made key innovations by using the frame of camera shots to focus on the puppet (not the puppeteer) and greatly enlivened his puppets by using flexible, fabric-covered foam rubber (rather than carved wood). He also used hand-held rods rather than marionette strings for greater control. He made Kermit from a coat his mother had discarded and two ping-pong ball halves for eyes. When Henson joined public TV’s “Sesame Street” in 1969, he added Kermit’s neck frill to make him more frog-like – and conceal a seam.

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