7 Little-Known Muppets
Sure, you know the Swedish Chef, Kermit, Miss Piggy and Beaker. Who doesn’t? But what about some of the more obscure Muppets? Let’s take a closer look at seven of those with a little (okay a lot of) assistance from the awesomely amazing MuppetWiki.
Catgut is the blues-singing, trumpet-playing cat from The Muppet Musicians of Bremen. Formerly owned by Caleb Siles, Catgut was thrown out for befriending the rats. After laying down in a graveyard to die in melodramatic fashion, she was found by Leroy, Rover Joe, and T.R., who asked her to join them. Catgut possesses a husky singing voice, reminiscent of Carol Channing's. She is the only one of the four-legged animals in the group to walk on her hind legs, leading the little band on her trumpet.
2. Rover Joe
Rover Joe is a hound dog who first appeared in The Muppet Musicians of Bremen. In that special, he wasMean Floyd's dog, thrown out after the superstitious farmer mistook Rover Joe for a ghost. Befriended by Leroy the Donkey, Rover Joe plays the trombone in the animal band, though he initially confuses the instrument with a hambone. Rover Joe is a tired old dog, rejuvenated by the companionship of the other animals and the hope of finding a new family.
Rover Joe later appeared in several episodes of The Muppet Show (often performed by Jim Henson) and The Muppets Take Manhattan.
3. Timmy Monster
Timmy Monster appeared on The Muppet Show, and was performed at various times by Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, and Jim Henson. Timmy is a full-bodied blue-green monster. He first appeared in the background during the opening of episode 117, and later joined Ben Vereen in the closing number, "Pure Imagination." In episode 117, certain publicity photos, and the cover ofthe first Muppet Show album, Timmy had green hands, eyes without eyelids, and what appear to be goggles or antennae over his eyes. From the second season onward, he lost his eye antennae and gained eyelids and green hair. Later in the second season, his hands were changed to match the color of his fur, he lost his hair, gained teeth and a tail, and his eyes and eyelids changed. The only time Timmy was called by name was in episode 423, in which he stretched a pair of too-small shoes for Miss Piggy. Steve Whitmire performed him in this scene.
Doglion is a full-bodied Muppet monster who was featured on The Muppet Show and more sporadically thereafter. Notable sketches include an interpretation of "Beauty and the Beast" with Lesley Ann Warren, singing with Sweetums and Cloris Leachman, and filling the role of destructive monster with Madeline Kahn. He holds the distinction of being the first Muppet to ever grace the silver screen as evidenced in the opening shot of The Muppet Movie, walking through the backlot as the camera pans down from the World Wide Studios statue. He also appeared in the 1990 The Cosby Show episode "Cliff's Nightmare," alongside a number of other Muppets (mostly from The Jim Henson Hour). He appeared in three episodes of Muppets Tonight. The most notable was in episode 107. As the punchline to a riff on the famous Mahna Mahna sketch, with Kermit andSandra Bullock, Doglion manifests when Sandra says "Shave and a haircut" (to add "Two bits").
5. Mean Mama
Mean Mama is a voracious brown monster who debuted on the "Beast of the Week" sketch on episode 201 of The Muppet Show, where she protected her baby from Don Knotts. She is one of the few explicitly female monsters on the show and has been performed by Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, and Louise Gold.
Mean Mama has been known to fans for years as "Big Mama," the name she was called in several UK publications, including the Muppet Show Annual 1979,The Muppet Show Diary 1979, and a December 1978interview with Louise Gold in Look-in Junior TV Timesmagazine. However, her name was never used in aMuppet production, and internally, the Muppet Workshopreferred to her as "Mean Mama".
Mean Mama is unique among the monsters in that she has appeared in both full-bodied and hand-puppet versions. She first appeared as a hand-puppet, with the full-bodied version debuting in episode 217. Although Mean Mama is unquestionably female, her gender is sometimes emphasized more strongly, depending on the sketch. At times, she has been adorned with long eyelashes, a sundress, and bosoms (as in episode 318). In The Muppets Go Hollywood, she appears in the "Hooray for Hollywood" production number in a deep purple gown, with a matching bow in her hair and a feathery black fan. In other appearances, the puppet would lose all its feminine accoutrements and become more masculine in appearance and voice.
Thog is a nine and a half foot tall blue monster. His size may make him imposing, but he has a sweet and gentle disposition. He first appeared as a monster in the 1970 Christmasspecial The Great Santa Claus Switch, partnered with a green monster named Thig.
In 1973, Thog was featured prominently in a dance number, "Oh Babe What Would You Say," with Julie Andrews in The Julie Andrews Hour. He also had a featured number in the 1974 pilot The Muppets Valentine Show, singing and dancing with "Real Live Girl" Mia Farrow.
On The Muppet Show, he could be seen in the opening theme from season two on, and appeared in a number of segments including: as a "dangerous" animal in episode 110; reprising "Oh Babe What Would You Say," this time with Kaye Ballard, in episode 123; detonating a blast for "School's Out" in episode 307; and demolishing a desert research facility in Loretta Swit's number, "I Feel the Earth Move," in episode 502.
7. Shakey Sanchez
Shakey Sanchez is a small pink creature who can be seen in several episodes of The Muppet Show. He debuted in episode 116, scatting along with guest star Avery Schreiber and a host of other creatures in the closing number. The puppet was later recycled in Mopatop's Shop as Princess Lulabelle, a princess looking for a frog to kiss.