“Hi ho, Kermit the Frog here.” These words often let audiences know that their favorite amphibious Muppet was here and that good times would follow. With over sixty years in the public eye, Kermit the Frog is by far one of the most famous celebrities in the world, especially if we’re talking celebrity puppets. After spending so much time in the public eye, however, it may surprise you to learn that there are a lot of nuggets of information about Kermit that people have already forgotten or simply don’t know.
One thing’s for sure, this tiny little green frog sure has accomplished a lot in his career – considering he is actually just a puppet, in case you forgot. But that is truly the magic that Kermit possesses. People often lose themselves within their own suspension of disbelief and cease to remember that Kermit and the rest of his Muppet pals are actually just felt.
But now let’s get things started, it’s time for all you lovers and dreamers to check out 15 Things You Never Knew About Kermit The Frog.
15. Kermit is a Decorated Author
Kermit may be small, green, and you know, a Muppet, but that’s never held him back from accomplishing some truly phenomenal accolades during his illustrious career. One of the frog’s lesser known works are his literary accomplishments, specifically the four books to his name. That’s right, Kermit the Frog has written four books during his long career, one of which is a 224 page autobiography from his birth in the swamps to bona fide movie star.
Okay, so Kermit might have had a little bit of help when it came down to the actual writing part, but all of these books are credited to Kermit himself and written from his perspective. As if a quartet of books wasn’t impressive enough, the books span across a few different literary genres. His autobiography, “Before You Leap: A Frog’s-Eye View of Life’s Greatest Lessons” was published back in 2006 and is the author’s most recent release.
“Kermit’s Garden of Verses” is a collection of poems about Kermit’s Muppet pals written from his own point of view. His second book, “For Every Child, A Better World” was published with help from the United Nations to bring attention to the needs of children throughout the world. This talented frog even wrote a self-help book, albeit a humorous one back in 1993 called, “One Frog Can Make a Difference: Kermit’s Guide to Life in the ‘90s.” Not sure about the rest of you, but a book to help navigate life’s perils written from Kermit the Frog’s perspective would be a life-saver in 2017.
14. We Still Don’t Know Where His Name Came From
While many people may only associate the name “Kermit” with this particular amphibious Muppet, this wasn’t always the case. It was actually a fairly common name at one point and coincidentally, Jim Henson came across quite a few people named Kermit before finally deciding that would be the name of his most famous creation.
Henson himself admits that although he did have a childhood acquaintance named Kermit Scott, he was not whom the frog was named after. Another common belief is that Kermit the Frog was named after famed puppet creator, Kermit Love. While it’s true that Kermit Love does maintain strong association with the Muppets, his working relationship with Henson wasn’t until after Kermit’s creation. Combine that with the fact that he consistently denied any association to the character’s naming and you have a pretty strong case against Love.
That leaves Kermit Cohen as the most likely candidate for Kermit the Frog’s naming. According to Joy DiMenna, Cohen’s lone daughter, Jim Henson named the frog after her father when he was hosting the “Sam and Friends” show in Washington. He met with the members of the sound and camera crew and loved the name, Kermit when he met with Joy’s father.
We may never truly get down to the bottom of Kermit’s naming mystery, but the fact that Henson came across so many notable people named Kermit in his life remains an interesting footnote in the character’s history.
13. Kermit Has a Few Different Names Internationally
Sticking with the topic of Kermit’s name, you may be surprised to learn that “Kermit” isn’t the famous Muppet’s only name. As it turns out, international localizations featuring the green frog often resulted in the changing of Kermit’s name.
When translated for Portuguese speaking countries, Kermit was referred to as “Cocas, o Sapo,” with “sapo” translating into “toad.” In many parts of Hispanic America, Kermit the Frog became, “la rana René” which can be translated into “René the Frog.”
Spain translated his name into Gustavo, Hungary into Breki, and for Arabic speaking countries Kermit became Kamel, which means “perfect.” Turkey’s localization for Kermit is perhaps most interesting as he retained the name, “Kermit” for his appearances on The Muppet Show but was called Kurbağacik, which translates into “little frog,” when on Sesame Street.
Since, 2011’s release of The Muppets, however, Kermit has been known by the name most English-speaking countries are familiar with around the world, with the majority of these countries now simply referring to him as “Kermit” as well.
12. Kermit’s Collegiate Achievements
Not only is Kermit a bona fide Hollywood icon, but he’s also quite the decorated scholar as well. In fact, the more appropriate way to address him would probably be Dr. Kermit the Frog. That’s right, back in 1996, Kermit was awarded his very own doctorate degree from Southampton College.
Obviously it was an honorary doctorate, but still, an honorary doctorate degree in Amphibious Letters is more than a lot of people have. As if being awarded an honorary doctorate wasn’t enough, Kermit himself even delivered the commencement address at that year’s ceremony.
Surprisingly, a doctorate in Amphibious Letters isn’t the only collegiate honor bestowed upon Kermit. If you were to take a trip down to the University of Maryland, College Park you would find a statue of Kermit and Jim Henson. Erected, in 2003 the statue celebrates the work of the famed Muppet creator and his most famous character. Henson graduated from UMCP in 1960 with a BS in home economics and credits his time at the university for inspiring his work with puppets and of course, Kermit the Frog.
11. Kermit’s Special Hands
When watching Kermit on the big or small screen, you may not be too focused on his hands specifically, but there’s actually a few interesting things going on there that you’re missing out on.
A quick look at Kermit’s hands and you’ll notice something pretty special in the world of Muppets, five fingers. Most of Kermit’s Muppet pals sport the ever-fashionable four-fingered look, but Kermit rocks the classic five. A five fingered look puts Kermit in rarified air in Jim Henson’s wacky world, but that’s hardly the only thing that sets Kermit apart. Kermit the Frog is also part of the roughly ten percent of the world’s population that is left handed.
Okay, so we aren’t certain if Muppets are taken into account in those kinds of statistics and Kermit’s left-handedness isn’t something that actually makes him that unique in the world of Muppets, but the reasoning is actually quite fascinating. The fact of the matter is, Kermit, like most Muppets are left handed because they are operated by a right-handed puppeteer. As most people are right-handed, it is far easier to operate the puppet’s left hand than it is to operate their right.
10. Kermit’s Puppeteers Share a Birthday
Most fans know that Kermit’s original puppeteer was none other than Jim Henson himself. Born on September 24, 1936, Henson would continue to work as the hand behind Kermit the Frog from his first appearance in 1955 until the beloved Muppets creator’s untimely death in May of 1990.
Steve Whitmire, a veteran Muppets performer was asked by Jim Henson’s own son, Brian to take over as Kermit’s main performer after the death of his father. Brian sent a Kermit puppet to Whitmire’s home, but Whitmire was initially hesitant to take over. He hid the puppet away for a few weeks before finally accepting and has been Kermit’s main performer to this day.
In a truly strange coincidence, Whitmire was born on the same day as Jim Henson, just twenty three years later, September 24, 1959. It’s a sheer coincidence, but it served as a nice connection between the two people responsible with bringing Kermit to life over the past sixty years.
9. Kermit the Wilkins Coffee Spokespuppet
Between the years of 1957 and 1961, Jim Henson worked with Wilkins Coffee to create a series of unique television commercials. The commercials were notable for their surprisingly violent nature and starred a pair of puppets named Wilkins and Wontkins.
The general idea behind the commercials was that Wilkins enjoyed the coffee and Wontkins didn’t, but what was truly shocking was what Wilkins would do to Wontkins at the end of the commercials and the odd resemblance he bears to a certain Muppet amphibian.
It’s true that Kermit himself is not officially a part of the Wilkins Coffee commercials, but there’s also no denying the resemblance he shares with Wilkins the puppet. This is made even more shocking when a puppet resembling Kermit and operated by Jim Henson himself smashes another puppet with a club and even stabs him with a knife.
With such a dark and violent history, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the minds behind the Muppet brand have made it a point to keep Kermit’s smiling face away from these coffee commercials of yesteryear.
8. Kermit’s Crude Origins
While Kermit stands today as one of the most beloved and famous celebrities around, his origins aren’t nearly as refined. In the beginning, Henson created his Muppets with whatever materials happened to be lying around. For Kermit in particular, this meant an old green coat that once belonged to his mother and a pair of ping pong balls for his trademark eyes.
Not only was Kermit originally made out of extremely crude materials, but he wasn’t even a frog at the start of it all. In his debut on the “Sam and Friends” TV show that aired from 1955 to 1961, Kermit appeared as nothing more than a reptilian-like creature of an unspecified species. Perhaps even more surprisingly, it took nearly a decade before Kermit was identified as being a frog. It would be none other than legendary host of “The Tonight Show” Johnny Carson that would become one of the first people to ever refer to Kermit as being a frog on national television.
7. Kermit Has A Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
With as many accomplishments as Kermit has had during his illustrious career, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that he has been officially recognized by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Kermit’s ceremony occurred on November 12 of 2002 and was hosted by Johnny Grant, the most recent honorary mayor of Hollywood. Kermit was joined at the event by members of Jim Henson’s family including his wife and children. As if that wasn’t enough, Kermit’s towering Muppet co-star Sweetums also made an appearance at the ceremony.
Kermit the Frog became the eighth fictional character to be honored with their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, joining the likes of Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Big Bird. Kermit also became a two-time inductee when The Muppets were also awarded a star as a group on March 20 of 2012.
6. Hyalinobatrachium dianae AKA “The Kermit Frog”
Back in 2015, a newly-discovered species of frog became an internet viral sensation when people saw how closely the little amphibian resembled Kermit himself. The Hyalinobatrachium dianae, also known as Diane’s bare-hearted glass frog or the Kermit Frog attracted a ton of social media attention when the story broke in 2015.
Just a couple of centimeters in length, this tiny frog was discovered in the dense Talamanca Mountains of Costa Rica and was the first new glass frog discovered since 1973. While the researches claim they didn’t notice the resemblance to Kermit at the time of the discovery, they were quite pleased when it led to more widespread awareness for their discovery and the conservation of the Costa Rican rain forests as a whole.
With the vast information superhighway that is the internet at our fingertips, it can quickly feel like we know everything there is to learn about our world. This level of arrogance couldn’t be further from the truth, however and new species, like this odd-looking translucent frog are discovered all the time.
5. He’s A True Television Star
Being a high-profile celebrity like Kermit means that this frog has made numerous appearances on television shows outside of official Muppet programing. From his countless appearances on talk shows, to game shows, and even home improvement programs, Kermit has done it all.
Kermit has appeared The Today Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and many times on The Tonight Show, just to name a few. He’s also appeared on various award shows such as the Emmy and Academy Awards and even on the popular home improvement reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. A few of his most notable guest appearances throughout the years were when he hosted Larry King Live as an April Fool’s Day joke and his semi-regular appearances on Hollywood Squares.
Listing all of Kermit’s guest appearances would be nigh impossible, but the fact of the matter is that this little frog has cemented his place in television history. What’s most amazing of all is the way Kermit manages to come off as a genuine, three dimensional character even when out of his normal element as part of the Muppets.
4. Kermit’s Political Career
There’s no arguing that Kermit is best known for his work in entertainment, but that hasn’t stopped this frog from tackling the big issues from time to time. On more than a few occasions, Kermit has taken the time out of his busy schedule to address political issues and speak out in support of protecting the environment
Focusing his attention primarily on “green” issues, Kermit officially claims to belong to the Amphibitarian political party. The exact number of members belonging to this political party are currently unclear, but their concern for protecting wetlands and raising awareness on the importance of protecting wildlife are clear.
To show his support for his beliefs, Kermit has made guest appearances on political television programs such as “Hannity & Colmes” as well as “The Colbert Report” and was even present during Bill Clinton’s first Presidential Inauguration festivities. While he has often played a political figure on the big and small screens, don’t get your hopes up too highly as Kermit has also stated on numerous occasions that he has no interest in running for public office.
3. Kermit Comes From A Big Family
As is true with most other frogs, Kermit comes from a significantly large family with several thousand brothers and sisters. The exact number is hard to pin down, with Kermit’s own number fluctuating over the course of several years ranging from 2,353 in his official autobiography to as high as 4,000 during a 1994 interview with Larry King.
In his defense, Kermit has always stated these as being nothing more than approximations as his family is always growing and he himself has lost count on numerous occasions. One bit of information that has remained consistent over the years is Kermit’s claim that their family gatherings for Christmas can take many weeks and months just waiting for everyone to hang their coats up.
While the majority of Kermit’s family remain unnamed, his nephew Robin the Frog has made consistent appearances with Kermit over the years, most recently in the fourteenth episode of The Muppets television show. Only time will tell if we ever get to see more from Kermit’s clan, but if they’re half as entertaining as he is, we’re sure audiences would love to meet them.
2. Kermit Took Part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
When the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge hit the internet in 2014, it quickly became one of the most popular trends around. What started as a small internet challenge grew to attract attention from the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Kermit the Frog himself. As was the tradition with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Kermit was challenged by someone else, and it was none other than the chairman of the WWE, Vince McMahon.
Kermit and his fellow Muppets had appeared on the WWE’s flagship program, Monday Night Raw a few times over the course of the previous few years and they always seemed to bring their trademark antics with them. In Mr. McMahon’s video, before he dumped the bucket of ice on himself, he made his official challenge to Donald Trump, Maria Menounos, and in his words, “That pesky little amphibian, Kermit the Frog.”
Kermit accepted the chairman’s challenge and his ensuing video had all the hallmarks of a great Kermit skit that fans have always loved. He was witty, funny, and educational all at the same time. He fired back at Mr. McMahon, discussed the dangers of drenching amphibians in freezing cold water, and remained entertaining the entire way through, a true professional indeed.
1. The “Evil Kermit” Meme Isn’t Exactly What It Seems
Even with all of his accomplishments and accolades, nothing has helped thrust Kermit into today’s popular culture like the viral internet meme sensation, “Evil Kermit.”
While the meme gained notoriety as “Evil Kermit” the image was actually a screen capture of Kermit speaking with his villainous doppelganger, Constantine from the film, Muppets Most Wanted. The meme made waves online and it quickly grew in popularity as a way of representing one’s own sinister thoughts.
The meme’s firsts appearance can be traced back to Twitter user @aaannnnyyyyaaaa who tweeted the screenshot along with the caption, “me: sees a fluffy dog / me to me: steal him.” Within just a few days, the tweet was retweeted over 22,000 times and many more variations on the meme would soon follow.
The “Evil Kermit” meme continues in popularity today and is at the very least, a great example of Kermit’s ability to adapt and change with the times.