|Kermit in the early years on Sam and Friends.|
Fifty-six years ago today Kermit the Frog made his first appearance on a local Washington, D.C. puppet show Sam and Friends. He began as a lizard-like character who would often nibble on something appearing to be a worm that would actually be the tongue of a monster or something that would end up eating him. That apparently went for kids programming back in those days. That seemingly unspectacular beginning turned into the Muppet Movie, the Muppet Babies cartoon show, "Rainbow Connection", Sesame Street, and even an appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Oh, and he is easily the best Bob Cratchit that I can remember.
So it is a wonderful day to sort of think about, that all those years ago Jim Henson put his hand up into the Muppet and started something big. Something seriously big. A big production show in Manhattan. The long-running love affair with Miss Piggy. Being grand marshal of the Michigan State University homecoming parage in 2006. Getting the Kermit, Texas water tower painted in your likeness. Even a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But beyond that, show me a child that grew up since the 70s who doesn't know who Kermit the Frog is. He is an unbelieveably well-known and well-loved icon. I don't know anyone who doesn't dig Kermit the Frog, with the possible exception of Doc Hopper, although admittedly I don't know Doc Hopper all that well.
At the beginning of The Muppet Movie, before he begins being chased by Doc Hopper, Kermit is lured out of the Florida swamp and towards Hollywood by the idea of "making millions of people happy." I think that he has met that goal spectacularly. From his humble beginnings on black and white TV in our nation's capital to super-ultra-mega stardom, he has been making millions happy since 1955. So I guess it's happy birthday to you Kermit the Frog. Keep singing and keep smiling.