Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Mystery of the Rare 1970's Muppet Show Toy Puppets!

As Muppet collectors we love to talk about the rare Canadian Count toy puppet with the sculpted rubber head, or the rare Herry Monster toy puppet, and the Vicma or Harbert Sesame Street toy puppets. These are all very cool and exciting Muppet collectables to search for, or to display proudly in ones Muppet collection. However they are not the only rare toy Muppet puppets from the 1970's! There are some that, believe it or not, are even more hard to find!

I'm talking of course about those odd hand-made looking Muppet Show toy puppets that are infamous among Muppet collectors... the so called "Mexican Muppet Show puppets". These puppets are such a mystery nobody knows for sure who made them or if they're even really from Mexico! Shown above is Kermit, Gonzo, two versions of Floyd, Dr. Teeth, and Fozzie Bear. Puppets of Animal and Miss Piggy from this line are shown below on this page. I haven't seen any other characters for this set (such as Scooter or Rowlf). Any of these puppets are quite rare to find.

The above collage shows one version of the Dr. Teeth puppet (which I will call Dr. Teeth #1), shown in the first photos of it to appear online. These images have been floating about the internet circa the mid 2000's, and are responsible for starting the buzz about this odd series of Muppet toys. Many thought this Dr. Teeth puppet was just a one off hand-made item, but it does appear to have been manufactured, at least in limited quantity. Dr. Teeth #1 has blue eyelids and a yellowish-tan coloured hat, thin black stripes on his red shirt, light blue pants and yellow sandals. The fur hair is bright orange.

Back view of Dr. Teeth

What is even more bizarre about these puppets is that the bodies are similar in design to the Fisher-Price Animal puppet, but the hands are similar to the Fisher-Price Kermit puppet. It's very likely that this entire line of toys are bootleg products rather than officially licensed items, as the quality of these puppets is lacking. Yet, they are quite awesome none the less! It's a shame Fisher-Price didn't make these as part of their Muppet Show toy line! Who wouldn't want a Fisher-Price style puppet of Dr. Teeth or Floyd Pepper!!!


A second version of the Dr. Teeth puppet (Dr. Teeth #2), shown on the left, and a third version (Dr. Teeth #3) shown in the middle and on the right. There seems to have been many production variations for this puppet. The same is the case for the Floyd puppet, shown below.

Dr. Teeth #2 has pink eyelids (instead of blue) and a plastic looking round nose (could this possibly be a repair job by a previous owner?), what looks to be the same green body and shirt as the first puppet but with darker blue pants (instead of light blue), and an orange hat (instead of yellow/tan). The orange fur hair seems to be darker as well. Puppet #2 seems to be a hybrid between puppet #1 and #3, with similarities to both puppets. The green body and red shirt are similar to puppet #1, but the pink eyelids and orange hat are similar to puppet#3, only the peak of the hat isn't folded. I don't have a picture of the feet for puppet #2 so we don't know what they look like.

Dr. Teeth #3 is quite different, with pink eyelids (same as puppet #2), an orange hat (also like #2) but the green body seems to be lighter in colour, and the shirt is made of different fabric with wide light and dark orange stripes. The light blue pants appear to have a denim look, and the sandals are red instead of yellow. The fur hair is even darker orange than puppet #2.

I always thought it was strange that Floyd Pepper wasn't marketed more often. He is certainly one of the coolest Muppets who would have made for some equally cool toys, as demonstrated by this bootleg puppet. Floyd puppet #1 on the left, with grey hair, is also shown on the left of the blurry image. On the right is Floyd puppet #2 that has the correct orange hair. Floyd #2 also has light blue pants instead of the denim pattern seen in Puppet #1, along with darker coloured eyes and hat. Even the red shirt seems to be darker in colour than puppet #1. Floyd himself is supposed to be purple, but these two puppets were made with different colours. Puppet #1 is Kermit green, while puppet #2 seems to have been made with the lighter green that Dr. Teeth #3 was made with, shown below.

Floyd puppet #2, Dr. Teeth puppet #3, and the only puppet of Fozzie Bear from this series that I'm aware of (aka. Fozzie #1). More images of Fozzie are shown below.

Many collectors say that these puppets are from Mexico and made by Exin. This Muppet Wiki page is about the Dr. Teeth #1 puppet shown above, and provides a link to an English translation of the Spanish Wikipedia page about the Exin toy company. That page states that Exin was a Spanish toy company founded in 1951, with it's main factory in Barcelona, Spain. It closed in 1993. I don't know enough about Exin to know if they had production facilities in both Spain and Mexico, however based on the Spanish Wikipedia it seems more likely to me that these puppets would be from Spain... if they were in fact made by Exin at all!

This Mego discussion board provides a wealth of information about these bizarre Muppet toys. The discussion seems to be from 2008 -2010. One collector "rche" posted images of the Dr. Teeth #1 puppet in 2009, and stated that it was purchased "from a fellow in Belgium" who "claims it is from the Exin toy company in Mexico". That the toy came from Belgium, which is in Western Europe, would support the notion that the toy was made in Spain, however as the seller told the buyer that the puppet was from Mexico it does confuse the situation. The same collector, "rche" also posted the same photos and info on the Muppet Central Discussion board in 2009.

Here is a very nice look at the Fozzie bear puppet. This is a second copy, not the same one as shown above in the blurry image, therefore this puppet is Fozzie #2. As you can see he has clay pads on his hands and feet. His eyes, nose and hat are also clay, and there is a clay shape to form his head which the fur has been placed over top of. This is a very cool full-bodied puppet of Fozzie!

A closer look at Fozzie's face. Unfortunately, one of the black felt irises has fallen off.

Here is a look at Fozzie's back. The puppet opening is the same horizontal style as the others.
The owner of this puppet said that there is a zipper around the puppet hole.

Here are the Kermit and Gonzo puppets. This is the only photo of the Kermit puppet from this series that I've seen. Both photos of the Gonzo puppet appear to be the same copy of the puppet. Some of these images are found on Muppet Wiki on this page, here.

Miss Piggy is by far the ugliest puppet in this series, and was appropriately featured on the Tough Pigs website in an "Ugly Muppet Toy" pageant. This information and photo was brought to my attention by a post left below from "The Crumpit Puppet Troupe". Thank you for this awesome info!

It's funny to see an orange skinned Miss Piggy, and with black hair no less. The fuchsia pink outfit doesn't help much either, but I love those sculpted shoes!

I've saved the best for last..... ANIMAL!!!!!

Here is the very bizarre Animal puppet from this series. I really like that this puppet has red fur for the face as I find it suits Animal better than the typical pink hair that so many toy companies use when making Animal plush toys.

The Dr. Teeth, Floyd and Animal puppets were all made with the same type of body, only Animal's was made with cream coloured fabric rather than green. They all have the Kermit style hands and very odd sculpted feet which seem to be made of a fragile clay, or possibly liquid latex. The eyes and noses of the puppets also seem to be made of the same clay-like material.

A nice closer look at Animals eyes with glued on felt irises.

The owner of this specific Animal puppet, who kindly submitted these photos, said that the mouth no longer opens as the clay has dried out. There are white painted clay teeth inside the mouth but these are the only ones that are visible.

Here is another variation of animal, aka Animal #2, which has a different shirt
and lighter blue denim pants.
 
Conclusion
The mystery remains... were they made by Exin? Are they from Mexico or Spain? Are they home made or produced in a factory? Alas, we may never know!!!!! But one thing we do know is that Muppet collectors love these bizarre puppets!

If you have any further information about these puppets, or want to share images of copies that you own, please do contact me. You can post a message below or e-mail me at info@artellepuppets.ca

Happy collecting!

-Mikey :)

Photo credit: Many thanks to the Muppet fan who sent me many of the images shown above on this page, including those of Animal and Fozzie Bear. The die-hard Muppet fan in question wished to remain anonymous, but wanted to share these photos from his/her collection with other Muppet fans. Frankly, this blog page wouldn't exist without their enthusiastic input! Thank you so much!!! :)

4 comments:

  1. most of those puppets are pretty cool (despite being unlicensed) but the Animal and Gonzo puppets look kind of weird and creepy

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    1. Hello Crumpit Puppet Troupe!
      Yes I agree, Animal and Gonzo look quite odd. Gonzo's nose/beak is kind of squished and Animal looks rather well played with. Gonzo's legs are also a tad too long, though I suspect that he wouldn't mind being called "weird". :) It would be interesting to see the inside of Animal's mouth, I wonder how they made his teeth? Speaking of making puppets, I took a look at your Google page. You're very talented, keep up the awesome work!

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    2. Thanks Mike!
      by the way, there was a Miss Piggy puppet in this line. It was in the ugly toys pageant on toughpigs.

      http://www.toughpigs.com/images/ugly3r.jpg

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    3. Thanks for this awesome info! I've finally updated the page to include the photo. What an ugly Miss Piggy indeed!!! LOL! :) If you stumble across any more info, please do let me know, I'm always glad to hear about these weird Muppet puppets! Thanks again!

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