The quartet of trash Muppets in the special.

Keep US Beautiful storyboards

Design sketches for the garbage characters

Keep U. S. Beautiful was a comedy-variety special with an anti-pollution/litter theme, which debuted over NBC on March 27, 1973. Hosted by Raymond Burr, the special was divided into a series of sketches, with celebrity performers.

Kermit the Frog appeared during the opening segment as the representative of "The Muppets." As the celebrities (Burr, Ruth Buzzi, Tim Conway, Sandy Duncan, Lena Horne, and Don Knotts) sing short parodies of famous songs, Kermit gets solos, including spins on "The Music Goes Round and Round," "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" and "Paddlin' Madelin' Home."

The Muppets' musical number, a parody of the song "Hey, Look Me Over," featured garbage-based creatures singing about how litter will one day bury the earth. A quartet of three-foot tall beings, each with its own signature sound effect, the group consisted of Shoe (trombone), Can (cymbal), Bottle (drum), and Pot (whistle). Apart from their primary features, the characters were further adorned with rags, sponges, fur, and even a stale bagel. Performers for the skit were Jim Henson (Shoe), Frank Oz (Can), Jerry Nelson (Pot), and John Lovelady (Bottle). When asked if the characters would be used again, Henson said, "We'll recycle them."[1] His team filmed the piece on January 26, 1973.[2]

Other performers included Flip Wilson and Carol Burnett.



  1. "Song, Comedy Highlights Keep U.S. Beautiful." Florence Morning News. March 24, 1973
  2. Jim Henson's Red Book: 1/26/11 entry

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