1 The Muppet Mindset: July 2011

Jul 31, 2011

(Kind of) Weekly Muppet Quotes Spotlight - Gonzo and Rizzo

Casey Daron - Hello, and welcome again to (Kind of) Weekly Muppet Quotes! This week's bunch of quotes will be spotlighting both Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo the Great. These two are best pals, and are always making any Muppet movie funny. What would the Muppets be without Gonzo and Rizzo?

"He died?! And this is supposed to be a kids movie!"
~ Rizzo the Rat, Muppet Treasure Island

"Gonzo, I sold my collection of rare cheese to buy you this crystal petri-dish for your mold collection."
"Oh, gee, Rizzo. I sold my mold collection to buy you this diamond-tipped cheese slicer."
"Did you save the receipt?"
~ Rizzo and Gonzo, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

"Hey Rizzo, come here! I think my Captain Alphabet is sending me a message!"
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I had some guacamole last night, and it’s still talking to me."
~ Gonzo and Rizzo, Muppets From Space

"What’s wrong?"
"It just feels so weird."
"That Mr. Arrow’s dead"
"Yeah, that... and my pants are filled with starfish."
"You and your hobbies!"
~ Gonzo and Rizzo, Muppet Treasure Island

"Hello, welcome to the Muppet Christmas Carol! I am here to tell the story."
"And I am here for the food!"
~ Gonzo and Rizzo, The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Jul 29, 2011

Andrew Bird is Feeling a Little Green

With the way that Walt Disney Records is releasing first-listens to songs from the upcoming The Muppets: The Green Album, we'll have heard the entire CD before its August 23rd release date. We've heard "The Muppet Show Theme" by OK Go (which was quickly removed from the internet), Amy Lee's "Halfway Down the Stairs" (ditto), "Our World" from Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas by My Morning Jacket (which is still around), and now, thanks to NPR.org, we can hear Andrew Bird's cover of "Bein' Green."

Be sure to click the link below and give a listen to Bird's fantastic cover of the Kermit classic:

Andrew Bird's "Bein' Green"

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Jul 28, 2011

Interview with Muppeteer Michael Earl

Interview with Michael Earl
Conducted by Ryan Dosier

RYAN:   Welcome to The Muppet Mindset, Michael. Thanks a bunch for sitting down to talk with us.

MICHAEL:   It’s my pleasure.

RYAN:   We can read all about your entrance into the world of Muppeteering on Muppet Wiki or your interview on ToughPigs, but I’d like to know how it feels to be a part of such big parts of Muppet history with your roles in The Muppet Movie and the golden age of Sesame Street.

MICHAEL:   It feels humbling.  I was very fortunate to have had such an amazing opportunity, and at such an early age (19).  Who knew that as I watched Sesame Street at age 10 that I’d be on it in nine short years.  Yeah, it was pretty exciting!

RYAN:   You originated the Sesame Street character of Forgetful Jones. What do you think was the most important aspect of that character?

MICHAEL:   He was forgetful and kids forget things.  That’s why he was created. 

RYAN:   You also took over the role of Mr. Snuffleupagus from Jerry Nelson in the late 70’s. What was it like to have to make the character your own after Jerry’s characterization? Did you work more on imitating Jerry’s portrayal or making Snuffy yours?

MICHAEL:   It was intimidating.  I worked very hard on keeping the character like Jerry’s.  I felt it important that there was a consistency to the character...especially for the kids watching.  After awhile, I felt very comfortable in the character and added my own touches.

RYAN:   How was it to play off of Caroll Spinney’s Big Bird while within the enormous Snuffleupagus puppet?

MICHAEL:   Caroll is a very giving performer…and person.  He had been Big Bird for so long that it came naturally to him.  I had to work a little harder.  At that point, Jim Henson’s puppets wee still evolving and were not as refined as they are today. The inside of the Snuffy was a little uncomfortable at the time.  But we had lots of fun acting out the scenes.

RYAN:   Who were some of your favorite fellow Muppeteers to play off of when you worked on Sesame Street?

MICHAEL:   Brian Muehl and I were a good team.  We did a lot of work together. In fact, Jim put us in a room with a camera and monitor the summer we were to start working on Sesame Street.  We were to practice and get better since we both were new.  I taught Brian what I knew about puppetry, and he taught me about acting.  We got some old Bob and Ray scripts from the New York Library and adapted them for Muppets.  We taped them and Jim took the tape home to show to his family.  Years later on the set of Dinosaurs, I asked Brian Henson if he remembered watching that tape as a teen.  He said he did.  I also enjoyed working with Jim, Frank, Jerry, Caroll and Richard, each one was very helpful to me.

RYAN:   At one point you took over Slimey the Worm from Jerry Nelson as well, meaning you performed Snuffy, the largest character on the Street, and Slimey, the smallest. Was this a difficult thing to do or did you appreciate the challenge?

MICHAEL:   No it wasn’t difficult.  Being a puppeteer is basically acting.  You’re just doing it through your hands, or in the case of Snuffy, through your whole body.  I got another chance to perform a body puppet for DreamWorks when I was cast as a motion-capture Shrek for a test film for the movie.  My Snuffy experience paid off.

RYAN:   Eventually you made your exit from Sesame Street as a featured performer. Did this come about from the return of performers from London after The Muppet Show ended? Or was there more to it than that?

MICHAEL:   Yes, they were returning, but there’s more to it than that which I talked about in my ToughPigs interview.  It was time to move on.  I had other goals at that time and my leaving after three seasons was for the best.

RYAN:   Was it, or is it still, difficult to see characters you performed such as Snuffy, Forgetful Jones, and others be performed by other Muppeteers such as Martin Robinson and Richard Hunt?

MICHAEL:   When you put so much of yourself into a character, it becomes hard to see them taking a different direction.   But I understand that each puppeteer has their own way of doing things.

RYAN:   Did you or do you have a personal relationship with either Robinson or Hunt?

MICHAEL:   I didn’t meet Marty till we both were hired onto The Muppets Take Manhattan.  A few years later we both booked an M&M commercial (voice-over) and had a blast working together on that.  He also invited me to the Sesame Street set one day after we worked on the Wildlife PSA’s.  And Richard and I had a nice friendship over the years.  He was the Muppeteer who came to Sesame Street most often, so I have many fond memories of Richard.  We met on the set of The Muppet Movie.  He was older and always wore nice sports shirts.  Because of him, I began wearing sports shirts with jeans. 

RYAN:   After Sesame Street did you still do some freelancing work for the Muppets?

MICHAEL:   Yes, I did Little Muppet Monsters, some wildlife PSA’s, a Target commercial and Dinosaurs.

RYAN:   What was your main career focus after Sesame Street?

MICHAEL:   My main focus right after Sesame Street was acting.  The year after leaving Sesame Street I was a principal in 4 national commercials.  Then I moved to LA and began giving concerts for families, traveling around the country.  It was sort of like Barry Manilow meets Shari Lewis, my concert act, which combined original songs, singing, storytelling and puppetry.  Later I worked for Bob Baker Marionettes and worked on filling out my puppetry resume, working for Sid and Marty Krofft, and on Team America: World Police.  Along the way I was also a puppetry consultant for Universal and Disney.

RYAN:   And now you have an exciting new project involving puppetry in New York and Los Angeles. Can you tell us about this?

MICHAEL:   It’s called Puppet School – Where imagination and creativity meet!  It’s a fun place that I started with my friend and business partner, Roberto Ferreira, one year ago.  We began by renting a casting studio for me to teach in.  Then we moved to our own space across the street in Sherman Oaks, CA, and expended our offices 4 months ago.  We added two more teachers: Christian Anderson who was on Broadway and on tour for four years with Avenue Q; and Derek Lux, who teaches a Professional Puppet Making class at Puppet School.  And we are training our first teacher in New York, Scott Biski.

RYAN:   What are your main goals with Puppet School? Do you see it expanding across the country?

MICHAEL:   Every day after class, the students go home with a big smile.  That’s my goal.  And of course to perpetuate the spread of puppetry.  We have so far taught classes in New York City, Seattle and LA.  And yes, we see it expanding to other cities across the US as the word gets out.

RYAN:   How can those of us interested get involved with Puppet School?

MICHAEL:   As it happens, we have new classes starting in New York August 13th and 14th.  So if you’re on the east coast, come join us!  Also we have Seattle classes happening on September 10th and 11th.  And if you want to join our mailing list to keep informed on classes and events, go to www.puppetschool.com and fill in the form. 

RYAN:   Are you still a Muppet fan? Excited for The Muppets movie this fall?

MICHAEL:   Oh, yes, still a Muppet fan.  I will see everything they produce.  Puppet School is planning on taking a NY and LA field trip to the new Muppet Movie in November, where students and friends can come to the movie with puppets!

RYAN:   Michael, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any final words or thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

MICHAEL:   Jim Henson used to say: “My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.”  And that’s what Puppet School is doing; spreading the love of puppetry!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Jul 27, 2011

NEW Poster for "The Muppets" and Theater Standee Revealed!

So... just as I was sitting down to force myself to write today's Weekly Muppet Wednesday post, the Muppet powers that be took it upon themselves to reveal yet another theatrical poster for The Muppets thanks to Collider.com and Fandango.com. This one appears to be the official, finalized film poster complete with credits at the bottom and Jason Segel, Amy Adams, and Chris Cooper all listed at the top. What are you listening to me for? LOOK! (Click on it to view in hi-resolution.)

Look at all those Muppets! It's time for everyone's favorite game--Spot the Muppets! Starting from the top and going left to right... Green Frackle, Zoot, Sweetums, Swedish Chef, Rowlf, Cactus, Chicken 1, Thog, Crazy Harry, Dr. Teeth, Statler, Waldorf, Chicken 2, Chicken 3, Gonzo, 80's Robot, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Animal, Fozzie Bear, Pepe the King Prawn, Behemoth, Rat 1, Janice, Scooter, Miss Poogy, Bunny, Penguin 1, Beaker, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Snowth 1, Snowth 2, Rizzo the Rat, Sam Eagle, Walter, Penguin 2 and Lew Zealand! Holy... Moly.

As if that weren't enough, we also get a hi-resolution look at the theater standee for The Muppets. Ever since the movie was announced, I've been waiting to see what the huge, Disney-rific theater standee would look like on display in local theaters, proudly showing off Kermit and Piggy and Fozzie and 80's Robot just like you surely see theaters proudly displaying Harry Potter and the Green Lantern now. Well... here it is in all its awesome glory! (Click to see it in hi-resolution.)

Spot the Muppets? Sure, why not. From left to right... Kermit Moopet, Rat 1, Rat 2, Sweetums, Link Hogthrob, Blue Frog, Green Frackle, Lew Zealand, Whatnot 1, Camilla the Chicken, Gonzo the Great, Statler, Waldorf, Whatnot 2, Whatnot 3, Scooter, Animal, Swedish Chef, Rizzo the Rat, Sam Eagle, Gorilla 1, Gorilla 2, Penguin 1, Penguin 2, Beaker, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Thog, Snowth 1, Fozzie Bear, Snowth 2, Miss Poogy, Floyd Pepper, Crazy Harry, Dr. Teeth, Janice, Miss Piggy, Pepe the King Prawn, Chicken, Walter, Kermit the Frog, 80's Robot, Rowlf the Dog, Zoot. WOW.

Both of these have more Muppets than I even expected to see in the movie (before the trailers started coming out, that is). It's so interesting to note the prominence of Pepe and Rizzo in both the poster and the standee when they just barely appeared in one trailer. That's very exciting and hints that their roles in the film might be larger than we think. I really don't know what to say about these... other than that I love them. Both of them. So much. I must own. I don't care that there's no room for a standee of that size... I need it.

We've also heard rumors that a new theatrical trailer for the film is currently in movie theaters waiting to debut. My guess is that it will drop with The Smurfs on Friday... but only time will tell.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

Jul 26, 2011

More Pictures from The Muppets on Hollywood Boulevard

Yesterday we reported on The Muppets filming some reshoots for the movie on Hollywood Boulevard at the El Capitan Theater once again. Well, an actual Muppet fan was on-set to see the filming go down and he snagged some pretty amazing pictures where we can see even more Muppets (Sam Eagle, Dr. Teeth, Janice), more Muppeteers (Matt Vogel, Dave Goelz, Peter Linz), and more more, including a good look at "The Muppet Telethon" poster used at the shoot, seen at left. Below are some of the most awesome pictures, but be sure to follow the link to the photo album and see all the greatness for yourself!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Jul 25, 2011

The Muppets Shut Down Hollywood Boulevard... Again!

According to HollywoodPatch.com and various other websites, Hollywood Boulevard was closed down last night and part of Saturday for some pick-up filming for The Muppets. It's unclear what exactly there were filming, but the El Capitan Theater marquee had been re-decorated with the signage for "The Muppet Telethon" and in the pictures we can clearly see Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Rowlf the Dog, Scooter, Sweetums, and Walter; along with clear shots of Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Bill Barretta, and David Rudman. Check out some of the great pictures from the shooting below and to mindlessly wonder how this will all fit in to The Muppets when we finally get to see it on November 23rd.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Jul 24, 2011

(Kind of) Weekly Muppet Quotes, Spotlight: Pepe the King Prawn

Casey Daron -
Hola, Casey Daron here! This week’s spotlight is on Pepe the King Prawn, okay. Pepe is one of my favorite Muppet characters. He is so funny, and always has a great comeback. He has the best personality, and I think anyone would want to be friends with him. So don’t just stand there, okay! Start reading the quotes!

"You tell him, and I will smack you. I will smack you like a bad, bad donkey, okay!"
~ Pepe the King Prawn, Muppets From Space

"I like my womens like I like my coffee; a latte!"
~ Pepe the King Prawn, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

"If you build it, we will come... Build a Jacuzzi, and we will come, okay."
~ Pepe the King Prawn, Muppets From Space

"Do I like playing with bears?! What does this mean, okay?"
~ Pepe the King Prawn, Muppets.com

"If you believe in yourself, others will believe in you. And if they fall for that, you can sell them anything."
~ Pepe the King Prawn, It’s Hard Out Here For A Shrimp

"But more importantly... I'm naked, okay!"
~ Pepe the King Prawn, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Jul 23, 2011

Sam the Captain American Eagle

Yesterday marked the release of Marvel Studios' latest film epic, Captain America: The First Avenger. And, considering the fact that Disney now owns Marvel Comics and its parade of super-characters, it seems only obvious that Disney would begin to combine their own original beloved characters with the beloved characters from the Marvel universe. So... which Disney character would we be seeing don the iconic Captain America garb and holding that shield? Mickey Mouse? Stitch? Woody? Nope. None of the above. But see below...

Yup. That is Sam the Eagle dressed as Captain America. It's awesome. It's random... but it's awesome. Who would have expected Disney to make an official poster like this? Also... note the wonderful mash-up of the Marvel logo with the new Muppets "M." I think this is one of the only times that I've actually liked that M. Kudos to the Disney marketing team on this randomly awesome poster!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Jul 22, 2011

An Evening with Steve Whitmire and Kermit the Frog

An Evening with Steve and Kermit

Andy Clinton - Last Friday, my wife and I had a rare opportunity to see one of our oldest friends in the flesh. Or, in this case, in the felt.  Kermit the Frog and his good friend Steve Whitmire were the special guest performers at the 2011 National Puppetry Festival at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. We’d met Steve before at an event he did at the Center for Puppetry Arts, also in Atlanta. He’d given a series of talks and puppetry workshops, which were thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. But this time, Kermit was coming with him; we leaped at the chance to be there.

Steve and Kermit were the second of two scheduled main-stage performances for Friday night. The first was a short adaptation of a classic story: Goldilocks and the Three Sharks, performed as an underwater mermaid black-light puppet extravaganza. A clever show, very entertaining, performed by the talented Puppet Art Theater Company. As much as we all enjoyed it, though, everyone knew that Kermit was the main event. Even the Papa Shark acknowledged it, saying, "I wanna see Kermit!"

Finally, after a short intermission following the first performance, the lights went down, and it was time to get things started.

Steve came out by himself, to great applause, and took a seat on a chair in the middle of the stage. I couldn’t help noticing the black bag under his seat. We all knew what was in the bag, but I did my best to refrain from using my x-ray vision and ruining the "surprise." 

From the start of his talk, Steve came across as humble, gracious, and charming. He started talking about his work with the Muppets, acknowledging that if not for the Muppets, he might still be giving a speech in public today, but it would be more like "Welcome to Walmart," or "Did you just want the burger, or did you want the meal?" 

Steve noted that this year would mark Jim Henson’s 75th birthday, and that on the same day, Steve himself would turn 54, the age that Jim was when he passed away.  He then began to talk about Kermit, and how his job since Jim died has been "to extensively analyze this one part of Jim," which he referred to as "the best part of Jim, rather than an alter ego."

Kermit, Steve said, has always evolved since his earliest performances.  And so he has continued to under Steve’s care, with Steve basing his performances on everything that Jim brought to the character, while still inhabiting Kermit and finding new aspects that he brings out in Kermit himself. Really, Steve said, he sees the puppeteer’s job not simply as giving movement to a character, but as giving that character a sense of consciousness. He felt as if that were at the heart of everything that the Muppets do—that illusion of a sentient, thinking, feeling consciousness inside of these tools being manipulated by the puppeteers.

He went on to show a fascinating montage of Kermit clips, which he narrated over, to demonstrate how Kermit has changed both in design and performance over the years. This included clips from Sam and Friends, Sesame Street, The Frog Prince, The Muppet Show, The Muppet Movie, and Muppet Treasure Island.  As the clips went on, Steve noted how the puppetry has gone from being very broad and over-the-top to being very subtle, realistic, and human. This is something that Jim worked toward, and something that Steve has continued. In fact, Steve said, Jim often didn’t like to look back at older material or show it to people, because he was always looking ahead toward how he could do things better in the future. The video montage ended with a side-by-side comparison of Kermit in the 2009 "I Believe" music video with Tiffany Thornton and the early Sam and Friends clips that started the montage. The difference in Kermit’s subtlety and nuance was startling!

Steve then showed one more clip—the recent appearance of Kermit on the "black carpet" of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, interviewing celebrities. Quietly, while the audience was watching the piratey goodness above, Steve turned his back to the crowd, leaned down in the dark, and reached for the black bag under his chair. And then, when the lights came back up, magic happened.

Steve turned back around in his chair.  Only it wasn’t just Steve. Perched next to Steve on the arm of the chair was the one, the only, Kermit the Frog. The crowd went wild! I’ve heard many times that when people see Muppets being performed in person, they completely disregard the fact that the puppeteer is sitting right there performing, because the presence of the character is so complete. Even though I’d heard that, I don’t think I was really prepared for it. Yes, Steve was sitting there speaking Kermit’s lines with him and holding him up, but that barely registered in my mind. Kermit the Frog was onstage saying hi and waving to us all, and that’s as real as it gets!

From the moment Kermit came out, there were really two people onstage. Steve played around with this a bit. Since he was speaking before an audience of mostly puppeteers, Steve started off by saying that he wasn’t going to split himself and pretend that Kermit was actually here. Kermit lowered his head in sadness at this news, which got a big laugh. Steve then referred to Kermit as being a puppet rather than an actual person; Kermit just stared at Steve with that irritated "squishy face" look that gets me every time. Kermit also introduced Steve as his puppet, which drew a big laugh from the audience. So, despite a common understanding of the art and skill of puppetry, Kermit was a real live person for everyone in the room, which is a tremendous testament to the "consciousness" of the character that Steve spoke about earlier.

Kermit spent a little time apologizing for looking so weird, as though he’d just come out of a bag, and then made an offhand remark about being without Miss Piggy for the weekend and how nice it was to be a "frog about town." Then he and Steve settled in for a lengthy Q&A that took up the remainder of the evening.  Among the highlights of the discussion:
  • Kermit was asked to reflect on what it has been like to evolve. He did so. Silently. Then he questioned the questioner: "You want me to comment, or just reflect?"
  • Kermit was asked about his relationship with Disney: "I am a wholly owned subsidiary, and I am proud of it."
  • Kermit was asked about why people talk to the puppet instead of the puppeteer: "I’m much more interesting. That’s why the puppet is up here (gestures high) and the puppeteer is down there (gestures to Steve). But, you can’t live without ’em."
  • When asked about his relationship with the audience, Steve said that most of the work he does is on camera and not with a live audience. His biggest chance to engage with an audience and find out what they like is by reading Muppet fan sites.
  • Steve talked about the Muppets, and Kermit in particular, as a lineage. He spoke of Kermit not just as a character he performs, but as something that he inherited from Jim. When asked what he thinks about any future incarnation of the character, he said that he hopes that Kermit could be passed on in a similar way, through a sense of inheritance and linear tradition.
  • Steve mentioned channeling a bit of Patrick Stewart from Star Trek: The Next Generation for Kermit’s performance as Captain Smollett in Muppet Treasure Island.
  • Kermit and Steve were asked about their fondest memories. Kermit talked about his home life, back in the swamp, as the oldest of four or five thousand siblings. When the questioner turned the question over to Steve, Kermit said "Sure, just cut me off, right in the middle of reminiscing. I’m just a frog..."  This drew enormous sympathy "awws" from the audience.
  • Steve answered the "fondest memory" question by recounting his first phone conversation with Jim Henson, after having met Caroll Spinney at a puppetry festival. Caroll had told Steve to audition for the Muppets, and he had submitted some recorded performances. Jim called him to offer him "some kind of job" with the Muppets, though he wasn’t sure if he would offer him a job performing or building puppets. Steve then shared with us that he was going through old possessions at his parents’ house recently, and he discovered a cassette tape where his father had actually recorded that first phone conversation with Jim!
  • When asked what he thinks of the new Muppet movie, Steve said that he hasn’t seen it all put together yet, so he doesn’t know what he thinks, but he hopes it’s very good!
To much audience approval, Steve voiced his support for a new Muppet series on television—a revival of The Muppet Show, set in the theater. He loves the idea of getting to play around and develop new characters through a format like this. He singled out improvisation and play as the best kind of Muppet performance, pointing to an appearance on Extreme Makeover Home Edition where Kermit ended up having to emcee most of the show on very short notice. Steve said he loves appearances like that, because there was so much improv and play, which is really where he feels that Kermit grows as a character.

All in all, the question and answer session with Steve and Kermit was entertaining, enlightening, and just delightful. It was amazing to be a fly-on-the-wall for a conversation with Kermit the Frog without getting eaten. But the highlight for us really came at the very end of the night. The last question of the evening came from a woman who—bless her—just asked Kermit if we could all sing along with him for a moment. He very kindly obliged. And so a whole auditorium full of (mostly) adults got a chance to get a little misty-eyed singing “The Rainbow Connection” with Kermit the Frog. That’s the kind of thing that leaves a permanent smile on your soul.

And after that, there really was nothing more to say. A quick bow for Kermit and Steve, a big standing ovation from the audience, and it was done. I would have loved to meet Kermit backstage, as would all of us, surely, but it was not to be. I did get a chance to send a little present back with one of the organizers of the event, a little poem that I wrote for Kermit earlier that day, which you can read here: http://andyspoemplanet.blogspot.com/2011/07/poem-for-kermit.html I hope that Kermit read it, and I hope he liked it. As for me, the chance to spend an evening with two such classy guys as Steve Whitmire and Kermit the Frog was a lifelong dream come true, and something I will never forget. Thanks for hopping by, and I hope I haven’t made any of you too green with envy.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

Jul 21, 2011

Your Most Prized Muppet Possession Responses

A few weeks ago we here at The Muppet Mindset asked the hard-hitting question... What is your Most Prized Muppet Possession? Well, you Muppet fans answered and now, below we have all of the answers that we received via email and comments on the blog. Remember, if you'd still like to submit your response, just comment on this post or send an email to Ryan Dosier at ryguy102390@gmail.com.

And now let's get things started...

These glasses are original--not bought off eBay--and I can remember getting them as a kid--as well as the McDonald's Christmas Muppet Babies stuffed Kermit, Piggy, and Fozzie Bear--and the kids toys with Gonzo on the skateboard and Fozzie on the horse and Piggy in the pink car, etc. All are special to me, but I have very vivid memories of these glasses.
~ Derek Russell, host of Geek Out Loud and Starkville's House of El

When I was a kid, my dad was my hero for a lot of reasons, but not the least of which was because he did a KILLER Grover impression. He used to play with my sister and me for as long as his voice held out, reciting There’s a Monster at the End of this Book or just helping us learn our ABC’s. I don’t know where he got it – it had been around since before I was born – but the Fischer Price Grover puppet he used to channel his inner-loveable, fuzzy, blue friend is still the most important collectible I own, not just in my Muppet collection, but out of all my possessions. Since my father passed away, the puppet’s remained silent, but just looking at him brings back a flood of memories I wouldn’t trade for the world.
~ ToughPigs.com's own Matt Wilkie

I have an original art piece from The Kermitage Collection.  My Mom found it for around $60 in a antique store and bought it not knowing what it was worth.  It is one of a kind and I would not sell it for the world!
~ Jonathan Lewis

My most prized Muppet Possession is my 1 of 1 Muppet Picture drawn by Paul Madden and signed by Jim Henson. Paul is a family friend and for last Christmas my dad surprised me with this picture he had made for me. The story was that Paul had made a similar picture to this one for some sort of Muppet convention and it was ready to be signed off by Jim Henson but he ended up passing away before it was okayed. So the picture just sat on Jim's desk, and was never printed into a poster for the event. He redid the picture and had it displayed at the D23 Expo and that's where I first saw it, and then a year and half later I received the third revision which had more color, more Muppets and Jim Henson's Signature. It's my most prized Muppet Possession because it's truly one of a kind, and it encompasses the entire Muppet World.
~ Timm Griffith

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of interning at a production company called Digital Kitchen. As an intern, one of the things I had to do was help clean-up and get rid of the contents in their storage area. They had a lot of cool stuff, but the one thing that caught my eye was a large plaster chocolate chip cookie. I did a little research, and to my disbelief, I found out that it was a left-over prop from a PBS commercial they did involving Cookie Monster! Just barely trying to contain my excitement, I asked if I could have it and the folks there were more than happy to give it away. I was ecstatic! Not only at the thought of owning an actual Muppet prop, but because I realized there weren't too many prop cookies in existence that Cookie Monster hadn't demolished. Whenever I see my cookie I remember the time I spent working with some really talented people. I also humorously tell myself that the Cookie Monster saved a cookie for me.
~ Ivan Guerrero 

I have a connection with Rowlf the Dog.  I’m not sure how or why or when it started, but I think because he is so musical and music is a big part of my life, that somehow I just am drawn to Rowlf. And as time went by and my love for Rowlf grew, I realized I really wanted some sort of stuffed toy of Rowlf or a figurine or something. I needed Rowlf in my house, in my daily life. This wasn’t easy to achieve though, as most Rowlf stuffed toys or puppets on Ebay were kind of expensive. I lamented about this to my husband, poor guy who puts up with my craziness on a daily basis, and happened to be talking about it around Christmastime.

To my shock and excitement on Christmas morning, I opened first a small box from him that contained a small toy piano. I looked at him with a puzzled look and he smiled and directed me to a slightly larger box. It contained one of the stuffed Rowlf dolls that I had been drooling over on Ebay. The toy piano was an added bonus that he had found – but Rowlf looks perfect sitting next to it. I have him proudly on display in the middle of my living room and he is without a doubt the best gift I have ever received because it just so awesome that my husband sought this out on his own and that he knew how much it would mean to me. My collection is complete.  I will never, ever let go of my Rowlf.
~ Beth Kondrick

I have an original release, full size Kermit puppet and Animal puppet I bought after the launch of the very first Muppet Movie. I was 11. My favorite element was Animal's moveable eyebrows (loved how you could change his mood with the flick of a finger). My sis had a Miss Piggy from the same release, but we lost it over the years. These two are tucked away in a chest in my closet, but I think I'll have to pull them out to share again with my kiddos tonight.
~ Blair Keely

My Kermit stuffed doll I had since I was a muppet baby. He was given to me when I was about 1 year old. I believe the tag says 1976 or 77 (when I was born). He has velcro on his palms and I remember grabbing his hands and swinging him in circles to mimic him swinging on the fan in the bar scene of the muppet movie.
~ Joe Vollman  

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com
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