K is for Kermit the Frog

The great thing about Kermit is his every-man (every-amphibian?) quality.

Kermit_the_FrogI have been a big fan of the Muppet known as Kermit the Frog, at least since his first appearances on Sesame Street in 1969. But the character has a much longer history.

The earliest iteration of Kermit was on local television in the Washington, DC area, on WRC-TV’s Sam and Friends beginning in 1955. Here’s Kermit with Harry the Hipster from 1959, e.g. SamuraiFrog has clips of many appearances of Kermit, and the other Muppets in his blog Electronic Cerebrectomy, many of them quite early in the frog’s career, such as this video from 1966.

The Muppets Character Encyclopedia – yes, I own the book- establishes that Kermit was born in Leland, Mississippi alongside approximately 2,353 siblings.

The great thing about Kermit is his every-man (every-amphibian?) quality, where he fit in quite well in Sesame Street, which I watched, even though I was in high school and then college at the time.

But he also fit well on The Muppet Show, which aired 120 episodes between 1976 and 1981. From the Wikia: “Kermit the Frog and the Muppets put on a weekly musical/comedy revue at the Muppet Theater. Unfortunately for them, things never quite go according to plan, for the Muppets or their weekly guest stars.”

Kermit has appeared in a number of Muppets movies over the years, a few of which I have seen. He’s also been a guest or guest host on a number of talk shows over the years.

As of September 2015, there’s a new Muppets TV show, done in a “mockumentary-style series that follows their personal and professional lives,” including the romantic breakup, after a number of years together, of Kermit and the porcine diva Miss Piggy.

Kermit was voiced by Muppets creator Jim Henson, from the beginning of the frog’s career until Henson’s untimely death in 1990. Since then, Steve Whitmire has done the job.

Kermit is particularly known for two songs. Bein’ Green, a/k/a It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green, a/k/a my theme song, was written by Joe Raposo, was originally performed on Sesame Street and subsequently on The Muppet Show. It was later covered by Frank Sinatra, Van Morrison, Tony Bennett and many other performers.

I so relate:

Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold-
or something much more colorful like that.

It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water-
or stars in the sky.

Listen

The Rainbow Connection was written for the 1979 Muppet movie The Muppet Movie. Music and lyrics were written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher. The song reached #25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, with the song remaining in the Top 40 for seven weeks total. Williams and Ascher received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song at the 52nd Academy Awards.

Listen

abc18
ABC Wednesday – Round 18

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

20 thoughts on “K is for Kermit the Frog”

  1. I remember hearing the American Top 40 episode (Sirius XM plays old AT40 episodes on their “70’s on 7” channel) that had Casey Kasem introducing Kermit’s “The Rainbow Connection.” It’s funny, Casey never mentioned in the episode that Kermit was an inanimate object, he just said that it’s a new song by Kermit the Frog. Technically, this is actually the second top 40 hit for Henson; he also voiced Ernie when “Rubber Duckie” hit the Top 40 in the early 70’s.

  2. Interesting! I’ve never seen the Muppets, because my parents had not TV in my childhood and today I haven’t… and in the formerly GDR we had not these shows.
    But, of course, I know him by sight and I have a small book “One frog can make a difference” by Robert P. Riger and Tom Payne. Lovely book and I like frogs –
    Happy Easter time

  3. The Muppets were very popular in my country too. My husband was a great fan.My children were looking for a Scandinavian cook when we were camping in Denmark.They amused themselves sitting in the camping kitchen and listening to the Danish cooks. Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are related languages.
    Thanks Roger!
    Wil, ABCW Team

  4. I love Kermit and everything about him… i liked him singing ‘Half way Up the Stairs. In fact I just love all the Muppets we’ve had the new show on UK TV it’s really good.

    Di,
    ABCW team.

  5. OMG! I watched Sesame Street with my girls when they were small and then we moved on to The Muppets! Great memories and I still love Kermit and his (ex) girlfriend Miss Piggy. “MOI???” was a common answer in the old days to the question, “Did you do this?”

    Leslie
    abcw team

  6. Kermit and Ernie were both voiced by Jim Henson, so he had two hit records. I love that little factoid, plus the fact that the records were “sung” by the characters and not by Henson on the albums. Henson was a marvel. He touched my heart at a time when, at 13, I really needed some innocence in my life. I should add that we used to sing “Uncle Chuckie” to the “Rubber Ducky” tune for my friend Chuck Francour in L.A. The part that goes, “When I squeeze you, you make noise” really got him laughing. Thanks for a nice memory, Roger. Amy

  7. I love Kermit and his philosophy. It may not be easy being Green but he has done a mighty fine job over the years, I am sure you have as well.

  8. I’ve always loved Kermit. I also loved Jim Henson – such an untimely death. Great choice for K – complete with fun links.

  9. Born in Mississippi! I’d never thought about where Kermit (or the other Muppets) were born, but if I did, I would’ve gone for Minnesota, Colorado, or one of the New England states. I wonder if Kermit still can speak in a Mississippi accent.

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