Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A New Take on an Old Favorite

Remember the old days of buying Palisades Muppet figures, when you could count on (quite often as a matter of fact) a toy review website to feature one or more of the figures? Those were great times, and one of the toy websites that often featured some detailed write-ups was OAFE.

OAFE, which actually stands for Online Action Figure Entertainment, and one of their contributors, who goes by the moniker yo go re (and no, I do not know what that means though I am guessing something Japanesey) contacted me recently regarding this guy from the Muppets action figure line, the Jim Henson as Muppet figure.

Specifically he asked me about the proposed 'sock puppet' version of Kermit the Frog that was originally planned for release with the figure. It was sort of our own homage to Jim's creation of Kermit the Frog, but in the end the concept was rejected by The Jim Henson Company, the licensor. I was disappointed, but I understood the ultimate reason why...it was kind of weird for a Muppet to work a puppet, since the whole universe is based on the fact that Muppets are real, and not actually puppets, or something like that. In the end, we didn’t make the accessory and just added in some more stuff we already had tooled.

The image below is the full size concept drawing, penciled and colored by yours truly, and submitted to the Henson folks in order to get go-ahead to make the figure.

So what's that got to do with yo go re contacting me about the puppet accessory? Because he was doing a 'Retro Review' at OAFE, and wanted to talk about it in his write-up. You can check out this nifty new review of an old favorite by clicking the link!


  1. I think the Kermit accessory would have been brilliant. Not strange at all for a muppet to hold a puppet, especially if the puppet was a low-tech version of Kermie. Yo Go Re was correct, your muppet line was a true labor of love and something you guys should always be proud of. Did I tell you I met one of your Palisades friends at a convention in Orlando back when you guys had your Muppets booth? I asked about you, I think he said you had a prior commitment or something (but then he made the drinky drinky motion with his thumb and pinky).

  2. That's funny. I went to Mega Con once, and only because I lived in Savannah so it wasn't a long haul. But I never made it down there with Palisades.

    And thanks...I am pretty proud of the Muppets line overall, it was a pretty cool achievement.

  3. "...and the magazine is now the June 1977 Muppet Monthly (issue #131) with cover stories about Jim and the rest of the Country Trio, plus "What's with the Penguins?" and a candid talk with Crazy Harry. Very cute...."

    I forgot all about this magazine until now. That was a fun project. Any reason why I chose #131? Did you choose it? That number has no significance what-so-ever to me.

  4. I have no idea. I know that I did not choose it, so I just figured you had some reason.

    You know, you did so many of these projects that I sometimes forget which ones you did as well. Wacky.

  5. The first sentence of their review sums up what pulled me in so strongly.

    "the first truly great toyline of the 21st century, with an impressive selection of characters both familiar and obscure, plus giant playsets and the best assortment of exclusives ever designed."

    Abso-freakin-lutely true. Could not have said it better myself. Still one of the best toy lines I've ever seen.

  6. OK, gotta admit that is super cool... :)

  7. It's a shame they felt that way as the license holders, as the Muppet Show had broken the fourth wall with puppet references on various occasions, especially when the guest was a puppeteer or such, not to mention there was an international puppet festival event that I recall was "hosted" on TV by the Muppets.

    I'd bet Jim would have liked it.

  8. I like the way you put that. In the end it was not a battle worth fighting.

    You know, this is a super pretentious thing to think but I gotta be honest I have thought it. I have often thought that Jim Henson would have been delighted by the work we did on the line, and this figure and some others in particular.

    I mean, the truth is he could have thought I was a jackass, but I always felt that he would have been tickled. One of my proudest moments was having a smoke outside of the statue dedication at the University of Maryland with Brian Henson and he said he thought his Dad would have liked us (the Palisades team that was there) and he said he would have liked the stuff.

    I told him about the Sal Manilla and he was floored. I wish we'd gotten it out.

  9. Puppets holding puppets is a classic Muppet gag. Sometimes the people at Henson amaze me with their perspective on history. Maybe they were just too close to things to see clearly. In the end it didn't hurt sales of the figure. Still, it was a lame decision on their part. Kind of like the inconsistent decision on whether or not Suggs should have bellbottoms and platforms. I really would have liked to see a variant where he had goldfish in his platform shoes.


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