Raising the curtains and lighting the lights for the first time, Jim Henson’s beloved creations kicked off five seasons of sketch comedy, madcap musical numbers, and chaotic chicken-wrangling. The Muppets had gained popularity on Sesame Street since 1969, but The Muppet Show was Henson’s way of broadening their demographic appeal. Operating in the less-than-palatial Muppet Theater, Kermit & Co.—including a celebrity guest host each week—blended one part Vaudevillian showmanship with two parts gleeful zaniness.
The Muppet Show boosted the popularity of Henson’s characters tremendously, eventually leading to nine feature films, TV spin-offs like Muppet Babies, and 14 multi-platinum albums for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Kristian Alfonso, Days of our Lives stalwart (49); William Devane, Knots lander (75); Katerina Graham, witchy woman,2010s Division (23); Carol Lawrence, five-decade guest star (78); Rose McGowan, witchy woman, 1990s Division (39); Bob Newhart, elaborately dreaming shrink (83); Loudon Wainwright III, embarrassing dad (66); Raquel Welch, bombshell (72); Dweezil Zappa, duck-son (43).