122 java
PERFORMER Frank Oz small Java
  Jim Henson big Java
DEBUT 1965
DESIGN Frank Oz designer
  Don Sahlin builder

Palisades figures


A Java creature in Muppet Moments


"Java" was a composition written and recorded in 1957 by Allan Toussaint (under the slightly-simplified stage name Al Tousan) as an instrumental for piano and orchestra, and released on his LP "The Wild Sound of New Orleans". In 1963, New Orleans trumpet virtuoso Al Hirt transcribed the piano part for trumpet, and recorded the song (with otherwise-unchanged arrangements) on his album "Honey In The Horn". He had a major pop instrumental hit (#4 on the Billboard pop chart) with the song the following year, selling over a million copies of the single and winning a Grammy for Best Instrumental.

The Muppets have featured the song a number of times over the years, most notably including on Fanfare (July 1965), The Ed Sullivan Show (November 27, 1966), The Today Show (January 12, 1977), episode 122 of The Muppet Show and when they hosted The Tonight Show in 1979. An image of the "Java" act appears on a monitor in Inner Tube. Edited clips of the segment appeared in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years and The Muppet Show Live. In the Tonight Show appearance, the routine is touted as a "good luck charm" for the Muppets when doing variety show appearances.

For an Ed Sullivan Show performance, Jim Henson and Frank Oz performed the two puppets, and the explosion that provides the punchline was achieved by Jerry Juhl shooting off a fire extinguisher. As the three of them prepared to go onstage that night, right before Ed Sullivan introduced them, Jerry Juhl suddenly realized that he left the fire extinguisher in their dressing room, which was up on the second floor. Juhl raced to the elevator, hearing the “Java” music through the speakers in the elevator, so he knew exactly how much time he had left until it was too late. Jerry Juhl managed to grab the fire extinguisher, run back to the elevator, and make the trip back down to the stage just in time for the climax.[1]

The tube-like characters who perform the number have become known as "Javas," appearing as such in touring exhibits.

Fan popularity gave rise to their action figure incarnations having been packaged with the Lips Action Figure by Palisades Toys.

A Java creature made a brief appearance in Muppet Moments, before the "Java" number was shown. They also appear in the background of The Muppet Show Comic Book: Pigs in Space.

The famous sketch has been re-enacted on the Henson Alternative stage show Stuffed and Unstrung, along with several different classic Henson skits.

Since 2015, a Java puppet is on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts as part of their permanent Worlds of Puppetry exhibit.





  1. "A Conversation with Frank Oz" at the Museum of Moving Images, recounted at ToughPigs.com

External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.