1 The Muppet Mindset: Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Sweetums

Jun 2, 2010

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Sweetums

Written by Ryan Dosier.

SWEETUMS

Performed by...
Richard Hunt (1976-1991)
Matt Vogel (2009-present)
John Henson (1996-2005)

First appearance...
The Frog Prince (1971)

Most recent appearance...

Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Best known role...
Big fella with a big heart. Also worked as car-jack ("Jack not name, jack job!").

Famous quote...
"I just knew I'd catch up with you guys!"

Best friend...
Robin the Frog

WHO IS SWEETUMS?
Sweetums is the somewhat-gentle giant of the Muppets. He is a large, hairy beast who seems to have a bigger heart than his outward appearance would let on. He has proven on more than one occasion that he is more of a friend to the Muppets than a figure to fear. A perfect example of this is his friendship with Robin the Frog. The two are often seen as a duo (since their performance of "Two Lost Souls" on The Muppet Show) even though they are incredibly different.

Sweetums isn't without his rough streak, however. He was involved in many sketches on The Muppet Show where he played the angry monster with guest stars such as Ruth Buzzi and Teresa Brewer. More often than not, however, Sweetums is helpful and rather kind, not angry and frightening.

The hulking monster has appeared in each of the Muppet movies except The Muppets Take Manhattan and The Muppet Christmas Carol. His most famous role in a feature film is probably in The Muppet Movie where he chases Kermit and the gang after they neglect to take him with them to Hollywood. The lucky monster gets to have a run-in with scantily clad beauty pageant girls, however, so it wasn't a total loss.

In Muppet Treasure Island, Sweetums was a pirate on the side of Long John Silver, until he later reformed his ways and turned over to the good side of Kermit/Captain Smollet saying, "Are you kiddin'? I love you guys!"

Another of Sweetums' more famous appearances comes in Muppet*Vision 3D at the Disney Parks. In the 3D show, Sweetums appears both on and off-screen, employing the use of a paddleball for a "cheap 3D trick" and appearing live searching for Bean Bunny and dousing the penguin orchestra with a bucket of water.

Sweetums continues to be a fan-favorite character and has consistently appeared in most of the major new Muppet productions such as A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa and the Give a Day. Get a Disney Day. promotions.

SWEETUMS AND RICHARD HUNT
Sweetums was one of the only full-body Muppet characters performed by Richard Hunt, and undoubtedly one of Richard's more popular characters. One of the most iconic photos of Richard is of him reading a newspaper while wearing the legs of Sweetums backstage on the set of The Muppet Show.

NOTABLE SWEETUMS APPEARANCES
  • The Frog Prince (1975)
  • Performing "They Can't Take That Away From Me" with Nancy Walker on The Muppet Show (Episode 206)
  • Performing "Two Lost Souls" with Robin the Frog on The Muppet Show (Episode 223)
  • With Milton Berle in The Muppet Movie
  • Popping out of a manhole in The Great Muppet Caper
  • In Muppet*Vision 3D
  • As a pirate in Muppet Treasure Island
  • As a Flying Monkey in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED SWEETUMS?
Sweetums is a core part of the Muppet cast because he towers over them so much. He is truly a giant in the group and he adds to the fun of the character variation. Sweetums is also one of the few Muppet Monsters remaining in Muppet projects and those are key to any Muppet production.

Sweetums deserves the fame and fan-favorite status he has received because he is such a fun character. He looks scary on the outside but is really a kind monster. The Muppets need Sweetums because he can do heavy lifting, a tap number, and chase a car, but at the end of the day he'll always be loyal and friendly.






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

4 comments:

  1. What I admire about your Weekly Muppet Blogs is how lovingly you present each character - from the minuscule to the major - stating their high points and key qualities that make each of them a valued member of the Muppet Show crew. A lot of shows today with their own vast casts could do well to learn from posts like this :)

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  2. Thank you very much, Chris! Your feedback is appreciated greatly and I'm so thrilled that you like the Weekly Muppet profiles.

    ~ Ryan

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  3. Actually, The Frog Prince is from 1971, not 1975. And other performers who performed Sweetums includes:
    Jerry Nelson ("The Frog Prince" - puppeteer only)
    Carl Banas ("The Frog Prince" - voice only)
    Rob Mills ("The Jim Henson Hour" Episode 7: Health and Fitness)
    Victor Yerrid ("Family Feud", Barnes and Noble promotion and "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" Episode 13)
    Ed Christie (filling in for John Henson on a few occasions)

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  4. I wish I was one of those girls hugging Sweatums...

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