We’re down to exactly 2 weeks before The Muppets hits theatres and there are still a lot of kooky characters to go through.
Today I want to focus, not on the individual, but species of Muppet. They are the creatures, aliens and weirdos that help make up the Muppet family.
This group of monsters first appeared in 1970 during the TV special The Great Santa Claus Switch, but eventually this hodgepodge of monsters found their way to the Muppet theatre. They were usually used during the darker sketches, but like most monsters on the show, they can also be found singing happy tunes with the guest stars, like the clip above.
There have been many types of Frackles, the most common being the blue and green type, but there has also been purple, fuzzy, snake and bird types as well. During the Muppet Show the Frackles remained generic, it was only during Great Santa Claus Switch that any of them were given names.
Random fact: Gonzo originally started as a Cigar Box Frackle named Snarl in the Great Santa Claus Switch, but was redeveloped to be the Muppet we know him as today.
Random fact the second: Jerry Juhl, the head writer of the Muppet Show, enjoyed the Frackles so much that it was softened down to become the Fraggles.
The planet of Koozebane was used a lot during the Muppet Show with Kermit often visiting as a new reporter to let us know more about the inhabitants.
In the video above we see the main Koozebanian species, both male and female. These two have appeared together, but the male Koozebanian has also appeared solo, and was even featured in the show’s opening theme starting in season 3.
The Phoob is another Koozebanian species, but has only been featured once on Koozebane, and is more often seen in the Muppet theatre audience or in the At the Dance sketches.
In epsode 5 of the second season Kermit interviews the Phoob (this is the only appearance it makes on the planet) and we find out that to survive, the creature has an inate ability to evolve into anything nearby. In fact, the Phoob evolves into a Kermit clone during the interview!
Only appearing in two episodes, both in the second season, this Koozebanian species was the only one never to be reported on by Kermit. Instead, it’s Dom Deluise that discovers these underground dwelling creatures.
Mahna Mahna & The Snowths
I’m certain everyone knows the Mahna Mahna song, just as I’m certain it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day (you’re welcome). However, very few know not only is the songed named Mahna Mahna, but so it the dude singing it. Also, those awesome background singing monster-things, those are Snowths.
This group are usually found singing their one-hit-wonder, but they can also be found hanging out in the background of other sketches, or in the audience at the theatre.
Sadly, however, the Snowths most recent appearance was with Miley Cyrus during Studio DC: Almost Live where they provided back-up during one of her songs. Hopefully their cameo in The Muppets will make up for it though.
The Muppaphone is a musical instrument made up of tiny tribble-like creatures of unknown origin and is played by Marvin Suggs who hits the poor fuzzy creatures with a mallet in order to make them “sing”.
The Muppaphone has been the topic of animal cruelty on The Muppet Show with Kermit interviewing the creatures about their life as an instrument, finding out that Marvin replaces the creatures after they’ve gone flat (as in 2 dimensional). Also during in the third season guest star Lesley Ann Warren freaks out when she realized the Muppaphone would be her accompaniment, claiming it’s cruel to hit live animals.
Beyond the Muppet Show the creatures of the Muppaphone have made less painful appearances in the UK television show Mopatop’s Shop and were given names based on the sounds they made.
The first of these fuzzy fellows originated in at 1966 commercial for Ideal Toys to advertise the toy puppet versions of Kermit and Rowlf the Dog. After this the Snerfs multiplied and were featured on Sesame Street in the late 60s, The Great Santa Claus Switch in 1970 and the TV special Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass in 74.
On the Muppet Show the Snerfs only performed three times, once each in seasons one, two and four, then disappeared until 2000 for an episode of MuppetToons (3D animated shorts for the short-lived site muppetworlds.com).