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Deena and Pearl with their performers, Karen Prell and Brian Muehl.


Muehl clowns around with Jim Henson, rehearsing "The Honker-Duckie-Dinger Jamboree."

Brian Muehl (pronounced "meal"; also credited as Brian Meehl and Brian Wolfe[1]) is a puppeteer and writer who began his Muppet career on Sesame Street.

Trained as a mime, Muehl had been a member of Mummenschanz as an interpreter for Andres Bossard.[2] From there, he was cast as Barkley the Dog (taking over from Toby Towson), and he joined the Henson Company exclusively as a body puppeteer at first. He soon transitioned to performing more Muppet characters on Sesame Street, including Telly Monster, Grundgetta, Dr. Nobel Price, and was the first performer for Elmo, handling the character during his first four years.

Muehl also performed in several episodes during the last season of The Muppet Show, assisting the principal puppeteers and playing small roles. Muehl also performed multiple characters on The Dark Crystal (and along with Steve Whitmire, was one of only two puppeteers to both perform and voice a character).

In 1984, Muehl left the Muppets for reasons he later articulated in a Random House bio:

โ€œThe downside of long hours in film and TV studios is all the downtime. Besides growing restless, I had a wife and two young daughters I was seeing too little of. So I traded life in front of the camera for life behind it. I became a childrenโ€™s television writer.โ€

Muehl also experienced burnout from the constant and unyielding schedule of performing with the company, noticing its toll on the core Muppet performers, and opted to leave shortly after being asked to audition for Fraggle Rock.[3]

Changing his name to Meehl, to reflect the pronunciation, the puppeteer began churning out scripts for Eureeka's Castle (where he also played Bogge and Mr. Knack), PBS series Eyewitness, The Magic School Bus, Between the Lions, Cyberchase, and Codename: Kids Next Door. He also made sporadic returns to Muppet performing; notably reprising Barkley in the TV special Big Bird in Japan and serving as a regular performer on Dog City. In the mid-1990s, he returned to Sesame Street as an occasional puppeteer and made on-screen cameos as "Ramp Guy" in Episode 3319 and as a balloon salesman in Episode 3634. He also wrote a pair of episodes for Sesame English, "A Zoo for Jenny" and "Tingo Hears a Noise."

In 2006, he published his first young adult novel, Out of Patience, which examines such issues as baseball and toilets in small-town Kansas. In 2008, he published his second, Suck It Up, a vampire comedy which contains a brief mention of his former character Elmo.

Muppet/Creature Shop credits[]

for a complete character gallery, see Brian Muehl characters

See also[]


External links[]