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Muppet memorabilia was in no short supply during the 1980s. Following the cancellation of The Muppet Show in March 1981, the Muppets next appeared on the big screen in The Great Muppet Caper in June 1981, followed by The Muppets Take Manhattan in July 1984. They also appeared in several TV specials and in advertising while reruns of The Muppet Show continued to be broadcast. The Muppet were still "hot" and very popular in 1981 when the show was cancelled, but as the story goes, Jim Henson wanted to end the series while the Muppets were still in demand and this momentum shows in the products and movies that were made.
This Life Magazine cover from August 1980 says it all!!!
Here is the Hallmark/Springbok Christmas puzzle from 1981 titled "Merry Mistletoe Time". It has over 500 pieces and measures 20 1/4 X 20 1/4 inches.
Miss Piggy Card Game made by Milton Bradley in 1980
Here is a hardcover book "Miss Piggy's Guide to Life" from 1981, published by Muppet Press/Alfred A. Knopf.
For many Muppet fans (like me!) this book is the Bible of Muppet awesomeness! It was published in 1981, and is written by Christopher Finch, who would later write the companion book "Jim Henson the Works" in 1993 (shown on the Muppets 1990-1999 page of this blog). Finch also wrote "The Making of the Dark Crystal" in 1983 which I don't have in my collection but can be seen on the Muppet Central website at this link: http://www.muppetcentral.com/collectibles/fantasyworlds/books.shtml"Of Muppets and Men" is a behind the scenes look at the creation of the Muppet Show and Sesame Street, and is a nesting ground for the "Muppet bug" which has bitten many young fans and turned them into puppeteers. Use caution if you open this book!
Here is a softcover children's book "Muppets Go Camping from 1981. There were several other books in this series published in 1981 through to 1983. (Three other books are shown further below)
Side 2: The First Time It Happens, Couldn't We Ride, Piggy's Fantasy, The Great Muppet Caper (The Heist, The Muppet Fight Song, Muppets to the Rescue), Homeward Bound, Finale: Hey A Movie!, Reprise: The First Time It Happens
Here is The Great Muppet Caper Video Disc from 1981. Below is the back view.
Above are the front and back views of The Great Muppet Caper glasses from McDonalds in 1981.
Here is the hard cover and soft cover version of The Great Muppet Caper storybook by Muppet Press/Random House, published in 1981.
Also published in 1981, this hardcover "Kermit and Cleopigtra" storybook by Muppet Press/Random House. This book is based on The Muppet Show and has several illustrations showing the characters backstage as seen on the program. The book is the same size and width as The Great Muppet Caper hardcover book shown above.
Side 2: La Vie Aerobique, Sit Down, Breath Easy, A Little Chin Music, Hairobiques Made Simple, Au Revoir
On the left is a softcover children's book "Two For the Show" published by Random House in 1982. Shown on the right is the republished version by Golden Books/Western Publishing in 1986 with the orange boarder on the cover. Below are two more books from the same series, "Gonzo and the Giant Chicken" published in 1982, and "Pigs in Space" published in 1983. These followed the 1981 book "The Muppets Go Camping" shown earlier above with other stuff from 1981.
Side 2: Dog Walk, Memory Lane, There's a New Sound, Who, Sea Chantey, Borneo, Closing Theme
Here is a hardcover "The Muppets Take Manhattan" storybook by Muppet Press/Random House, published in 1984.
Issue No. 2 with the Muppet Babies
In 1984 Post cereal offered a series of small Muppet posters as prizes inside the cereal box. This was a promotion for the third Muppet film The Muppets Take Manhattan. In addition to the posters, Post held a contest in which kids collected game pieces that came with the posters. The game board was on the back of the cereal boxes (Alpha-Bits, Pebbles, Sugar-Crisp, and Honeycomb). If a certain combination of Muppet game pieces was filled out you would win a prize which included a BMX Bike, a Muppets View Master, a Timex Muppet watch, and a Crayola Muppets Clay Time Kit. Below is a closer look at the Gonzo game piece. All of the other posters I have, shown below, were trimmed to remove the side panel with the contest instructions, so this is the only game piece I have.
Muppet Wiki website, prototypes of Sam the Eagle and Nigel (the band leader) were created but never produced.
This small Animal pin is dated 1985. I bought it in Toronto at the Muppet Stuff store in 1988. A white T-shirt with this same graphic of Animal was also available at the time.
Here is the cover of Muppet Magazine for the Summer 1985 issue.
Side 2: Muppet Babies Theme, Dream For Your Inspiration, When the River Meets the Sea, Bein' Green, Tit Willow, Coconut, Java, The First Time it happens
Side 3: Rubber Duckie, Workin', Happiness Hotel, Good things Happen in the Dark, Catch the Tail by the Tiger, Grandma's Feather Bed, My Way
Side 4: Halfway down the Stairs, AB-C-DEF-GHI, C Is For Cookie, Cottleston Pie, It's Up to You, Saying Goodbye
This smaller sized soft cover children's book was published by Scholastic in April 1987.
Alderbrook also did a series of similar flocked Sesame Street decorations:
In spite of the poorly designed Dakin dolls from 1981 (Kermit is shown on The Muppet Show page), Dakin - along with Applause - became a main supplier of Muppet memorabilia for the growing chain of Muppet Stuff stores. This Gonzo puppet was made in 1988 as part of the Jim Henson Presents series and was sold exclusively at Muppet Stuff stores. Unless you have very tiny child sized hands, and perhaps even then, this Gonzo puppet's mouth is unfortunately too small to use as a puppet. Puppets of Kermit and Miss Piggy were also made as part of this set, as well as a Santa Kermit puppet. I'm not aware of any others based on Muppet Show characters. As part of the Jim Henson Presents series Dakin also made three Fraggle Rock puppets (the Doozer puppet is shown on the 1980's Fraggle page of this blog), and several Muppet Babies puppets (shown on the Muppet Babies page).
Here is a Kermit plush doll wearing a baseball outfit, made by Dakin in 1988. This was sold exclusively at Muppet Stuff stores. The baseball glove is soft plastic and the hat is a hollow plastic shape covered with fabric. It's debatable as to weather or not this is supposed to be a Baby Kermit or a regular/adult Kermit, however Dakin also produced a Baby Kermit doll at the same time that has a much larger head than this doll. The irises on the Baby Kermit doll are larger with shorter lines at the side, which is the correct iris style for Baby Kermit. Therefore it seems that this baseball Kermit is meant to be the regular/adult Kermit. Dakin also made a version of this baseball Kermit doll (same size body, head and eyes) without any clothes. That version of the doll has the pointed collar rather than the rounded one that Baby Kermit has, which seems to confirm that this baseball Kermit is not a Baby Kermit. In my experience the 1988 "no clothes" Kermit Dakin doll is much less common than this baseball one, but don't confuse it with the 1981 Dakin Kermit (shown on The Muppet Show page) which also isn't wearing any clothes!
A regular/adult Miss Piggy doll was also made by Dakin in 1988 wearing a purple outfit. It has a full head of hair as compared with the Baby Piggy doll which is wearing a hood. Dakin's regular/adult Miss Piggy doll and hand puppet both use the same face as the Baby Miss Piggy puppet and doll, the only different is that the regular/adult Miss Piggy doll eyes have smaller irises and there is a black line around the outer edge of the eye. The 1981 Dakin Miss Piggy by comparison is quite different, as it has the same plastic head that was used for the Fisher-Price dress up Miss Piggy doll. Different views of the baseball Kermit are shown below.
Here are two of the six Movie Minis die-cast figures that were produced in 1988 by Imaginations. The other characters in the collection include Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Animal. These figures were sold individually on bubble cards and as a complete boxed set of six figures.
This Fozzie Bear doll doesn`t have a tag so I`m not certain what company made it or when. I`m assuming that because it`s not very common, and because of the poor quality, that it is from this second wave of Dakin Muppet plush toys. If so, it would have been made in the late 1980s. However, it may also have been made in the 1990s by a different company.
Here is an embroidered patch that I bought at the Muppet Stuff store in Toronto, in 1988. It's 3.5 inches high by 4 inches wide.
In 1988 Sealtest produced several dairy products featuring Muppet characters. Among the items they introduced was a yogourt-like milk beverage called Muppets Blend. It was sold in a carton in two different flavours but it did not last very long in stores. Above is a shopping cart ad for Muppets Blend from 1988. I used to work at a grocery store, so I saved this one after the product was discontinued. I recall buying a carton of Muppets Blend to try it, but didn't like it. Unfortunately I forgot to save the carton.
These stickers were given out in the grocery store at a sample table for Sealtest Muppets Blend. Each sheet has two stickers with an image of one character in different poses. It's interesting that there is a Rowlf sticker as he wasn't featured on any of the Sealtest products. I'm assuming there are Kermit and Miss Piggy stickers to go with this set, but I'm missing those. In 1989 Sealtest also did a promotion in which a Kermit or Miss Piggy plush doll could be ordered through the mail. These are the same plush dolls that were made as part of the Grand Toys/Direct Connect series shown below in the white boxes. Sealtest also did a TV commercial for Muppets Blend that was based on the Muppet Show opening theme song and showed a scene that was similar to the one with the Muppet characters in the arches. Instead of singing "This is what we call the Muppet Show" the words were changed to "This is what we call fruit Muppets Blend".
Early on the yogourt containers were changed. Below is an original container on the left with the wide white space at the top, next to the revised container which removed the white space. I'm missing the Kermit container for the revised set, but have the other four. The Animal raspberry yogourt was the only flavour that I liked, and I recall eating it almost every day until Sealtest stopped making it.
These bendy figures were made by Grand Toys/Direct Connect in 1989. I believe they were sold exclusively at Toys R Us. I have them all except for Fozzie shown below on the back of the card.
I've seen several sets of these bendy figures in different outfits, though there is so much Muppet Stuff out there I haven't been able to keep track of these very well. I think there are at least two other bendy sets in addition to this one, possibly made by other companies. This specific set was released in conjunction with the series of plush toys, shown below.
Grand Toys/Direct Connect offered this series of six plush Muppet characters in 1989 through Toys R Us stores. The dolls were also sold without the boxes at Muppet Stuff stores. With the exception of Kermit, all of the characters in this series have a moulded, hard plastic head. Fozzie Bear's hat is also plastic. This is the first time I've ever seen a Kermit doll made with fabric eyes instead of plastic eyes. He is wearing a jogging suit that says Muppet University with large letters "MU". When I bought this set in 1990 here in Ottawa, each doll was priced at $9.99 each. I've also seen images online that showed $12.99 price tags on the boxes.
The character's names on each box are stickers. Aside from that the boxes are identical for each doll. Originally, this series was sold in larger boxes, as shown with the Animal doll below. Later the boxes were reduced in size, as seen with Rowlf (below) and the three above. At this point, the dolls themselves were modified slightly, with the irises being painted bigger on some characters. I've seen this done for Fozzie, and Animal, and it was likely done for Rowlf and Gonzo as well making for two versions of each. Kermit's shirt also has two variations, one with a red "MU" (shown here), and one with a green "MU". I haven't notice any variation for the Miss Piggy doll.
To my knowledge this was the first major series of plush toys and figures to be based on the Muppets since the Fisher-Price series had gone out of production in the early 1980s. In addition to being sold in stores with their own boxes, the Miss Piggy and Kermit dolls from this series were sold through a promotion by Sealtest which had a line of Muppets dairy products in the late 80s (shown above). This was how I acquired the Miss Piggy doll, which arrived in the mail in a solid black plastic baggie without a box. In 1990, when these dolls were still in stores, a PVC figure of Miss Piggy was made with a poodle dress similar to what this doll is wearing, though I think it may have been made by a different company.
In addition to the large plush toys and bendy figures, Grand Toys/Direct Connect produced this smaller sized collection of plush toys. Unfortunately, as with the bendy figures, Rowlf wasn't included in this set. Aside from Kermit, I bought all of these smaller plush Muppets at the Muppet Vision 3D gift shop in Disney MGM Studios theme park during the early 1990s. I`ve included them here as they were likely made in the late 1980s. The Muppet Vision 3D gift shop was sold out of Kermit, but I bought the rest of the figures anyway. A few years later I found the Kermit at a discount store here in Ottawa called Bi-Way, which has since closed. I was glad to complete this collection, but also disappointed that my Muppet Vision 3D souvenirs were not exclusive to the theme park. Fortunately I also bought a large plush doll of Animal that was exclusive to the theme park. It's shown on the next page of this blog. The box for the discount store Kermit has a Grand Toys logo printed on the front, bottom left corner, while the theme park boxes do not have any distributor logo.
A box of Muppets bandages from 1988.
Here's a Miss Piggy PVC figure nail brush from 1988. This nail brush and the above box of bandages were distributed by DuCair Bioessence Inc.
A Miss Piggy comb made by Mattel in 1989. This one is still in the original wrapper. There's a pink string on the back of the comb, presumably so that it can be worn like a necklace.
Muppets "Funforms" from 1989 made by Lee Publications. This is a set of 8 pictures that you make using numbered stickers as the puzzle pieces. Muppet Babies Funforms were also available at the same time as these.
Here are Muppets Lace Faces by Brookside from 1989. These were sculpted plastic beads in the shape of Kermit and Miss Piggy. Each bead had two holes through the centre from top to bottom. The idea was that you could put a shoe lace or a hoodie lace into one hole and then the tip of the lace went in the other hole. When you pull the slack of the lace tight it "locks" the bead in place at the end of your lace. Each package came with two sets of beads, Kermit and Miss Piggy. During my late teens and early 20's I used to wear the Kermit beads on my hoodie! :) Below is the back of the bubble card. I purchased these at Toys R Us. I recall the same company also made Muppets Bow Biters, which were Muppet character heads (Kermit, Fozzie, Rowlf, etc) that attached to your shoelaces through the character's mouth to make it look like the character was biking your lace.