When I read that Sesame Street celebrated its 50th anniversary this fall, it gave me an idea for an ElvisBlog post. I remembered seeing some of their Muppet characters dressed as Elvis on the internet. But when I started researching it, I found that with two exceptions, it was mostly characters from The Muppet Show. There is a difference.
The little guys in front of Big Bird above include Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Glover, and Oscar the grouch. Jim Henson was already a successful puppeteer when he created them for Sesame Street in 1969.
Based on the popularity of his characters on Sesame Street, Henson introduced a whole new group for his The Muppet Show that debuted in 1976. In addition to Kermit and Miss Piggy, there was also Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, Scooter, and Rizzo the Rat.
While Jim Henson had been pleased with the success of Sesame Street, that show had branded the Muppets as a kids’ act. Henson wanted to create a show that would be entertaining across all age groups. The Muppet Show had a zanier tone to their skits and some of their occasional characters were pretty strange – like Dr. Tooth and The Electric Mayhem band.
So, before we take a look at Elvis and the Muppets, let’s mention the two Sesame Street characters that did do an Elvis impersonation.
This is Elmo from a “Singing” episode on Elmo’s World where he sang “Blue Suede Shoes”. To my eyes, his shoes look black.
This was corrected in 2000 when Fisher-Price released Elmo – The Legend plush doll. He is dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit and sings some of his songs including, “Blue Suede Shoes”, and “All Shook Up”.
And this is Elmo dressed as a young Elvis singing “Viva Las Vegas” at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show. Believe it or not, this was for a discussion session on the effectiveness of children’s educational electronics.
This is The Count, a Dracula-like character that showed up occasionally on Sesame Street. Here he is dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit and singing a parody of “Blue Suede Shoes.” It was an original song with different music and lyrics that mention the shoes.
So, now let’s look at The Muppets and Elvis.
This is a drawing of Gonzo obviously doing an Elvis impersonation, but I can’t find a picture or clip of him doing it on the show.
This is Fozzie at the Graceland gates. I couldn’t find if this was part of a skit on the show or was created for some other purpose.
This is Blogg, a minor character, wearing an Elvis jumpsuit. I couldn’t find out if he sang a song on the show. I did find that on one episode he formed an Elvis head out of his earwax. Man, did I ever waste a lot of time looking for a picture of that.
I think this is Gene the Genie. I found that he did an Elvis impression when he mentioned spending a vacation in Las Vegas. I don’t think he sang.
Next week we will take a look at the biggest Elvis presence with the Muppets – a wonderful creation called The Elvises.
You are going to love these guys.
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