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Monday, May 09, 2005

Happy Birthday, Kermit!

Kermit the Frog has reached middle age. Amazing. Easy if you're green.

Fifty years ago I was eight. Maybe I would have watched Sesame Street at that advanced age, but I didn't. Besides, he wasn't on Sesame Street or The Muppet Show or anything you would remember--probably. He was on a show called Sam and Friends, but we didn't even have a television set at our house back then. Research indicates he was green even then, but not yet a frog. Instead, he was more like a lizard. And I thought frogs began as tadpoles, not lizards. Sigh. They keep amending history.

Anyway, I didn't actually become fascinated by Kermit until about the summer of 1971. The Puppeteers of America had a convention at Scarritt College where I was a student, and I took some of their classes for college credit. That began my puppet phase, which lasted until about 1974 when I got married. I made puppets, performed, and had a group of kids who started with me when they were fifth graders. It's a favorite period of my life, and I've still got some of the puppets I made then.

I would tell you Kermit was my favorite puppet of all time--other than some I made and have a fierce attachment to--but it would be a lie. My favorite was one who performed at that Puppeteers of America event. His name was Gustaf. The puppeteer was Albrecht Roser I named one of my puppets Gustaf the Lesser. Somebody criticized me for selling him short, but I said it wasn't a put-down to be less than the best in the world.

Still, Kermit's a neat puppet, and he deserves recognition on his 50th birthday. Happy Birthday, Kermit! May you have many more.

PS: Click on the graphic.

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