Jim Henson began working with puppets as a college student, creating the show Sam and Friends in 1955 for a local Washington, D.C. television station. The energetic Muppets soon became a popular fixture, and led to appearances on national variety shows. Henson's commercials for a local coffee company, Wilkins Coffee, were so popular that he was hired to create similar commercials around the country. In the early 1960s, Henson moved to New York City to work on a variety of projects, including a regular guest spot on The Jimmy Dean Show for the first Muppet star, Rowlf the Dog. In 1969, Henson was invited to participate in a ground-breaking educational show for television, Sesame Street. Initially, the Muppets were meant to be just one element among many on the show -- but the popularity of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Grover, Ernie and Bert soon made the Muppets the core of the show.
I, like a lot of you, grew up on Sesame Street and the Muppets. But do you ever stop to wonder where they came from? Some of the characters we know and love today were recycled from other T.V. shows and commercials Jim Henson worked on and others were invented by using whatever materials were around. Be prepared for a little nostalgia for today's Q10. And don't be offended if I left out some of your favorites (I know, Big Bird?!) "“ not all of the characters have interesting background stories. mental_floss Blog » The Quick 10: The Origins of 10 of Your Favorite Muppets