Jim Henson's Muppets made 25 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Twenty of those appearances were included on a DVD titled Muppets Magic from the Ed Sullivan Show in 2003. In addition to this, both Christmas sketches were included in A Classic Christmas from The Ed Sullivan Show, and one of the sketches not included in Muppets Magic from the Ed Sullivan Show, "Music Hath Charms," was released on the video The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show Vol. 2.
The Ed Sullivan Show was especially known for airing breakthrough performances by popular musicians such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, and Itzhak Perlman. The show was housed in the 13-story Ed Sullivan Theater, which was once named Hammerstein's Theatre after Oscar Hammerstein II's father. The theater later became home to the Late Show with David Letterman (1993-2015) and Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS.
Based on the response to the Muppets' recurring appearances on the show, Sullivan agreed to produce and narrate Henson's 1970 television special The Great Santa Claus Switch and aired it in the show's regular Sunday evening time slot. The Muppets later appeared in the 1992 retrospective special Holiday Greetings from the Ed Sullivan Show performing "It Feels Like Christmas" from their then-new movie The Muppet Christmas Carol.
|Picture||Title / Date||Description|
|Rock 'n' Roll Monster
September 18, 1966
|Ed Sullivan introduces "Jim... uh, Newsom's Puppets." (This line was dubbed on the Muppets Magic DVD to "Jim... uh, Henson's Muppets.") This act features a monster with three heads and six arms lip-syncing to "Rock It to Me."
|The Art of Visual Thinking
October 2, 1966
|Based on a segment from Sam and Friends. Grump studies the art of visual thinking while a hip and trendy Kermit the Frog teaches him.|
Performers: Jim Henson (Kermit), Jerry Juhl (Grump, voice) and Frank Oz (Grump, puppetry).
October 23, 1966
|A father monster talks to his son about being a monster. Splurge appears as their mother.|
Performers: Jim Henson (father), Jerry Juhl (son), and Frank Oz (Splurge).
November 27, 1966
|Two tube-like muppets, designed by Frank Oz, dance on-stage to Al Hirt's Java.
November 27, 1966
|Kermit sits on a wall and hums "The Glow-Worm." A worm appears and interrupts his song, so he eats it. This happens a few times until he grabs (with his mouth) a worm that keeps getting longer and longer, until it's revealed to be a very long nose, belonging to a monster named Big V.
|"Music Hath Charms"
January 15, 1967
|Kermit plays the piano while a couple of Muppet Monsters dance to it. At the end, the piano comes to life and eats Kermit.
|"I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face"
February 5, 1967
|Kermit, in drag, lip-synchs to the Rosemary Clooney cover while Yorick hides underneath a handkerchief, slowly eats his way out, and then attempts to eat Kermit.
|"I Feel Pretty"
April 30, 1967
|The story of an ugly girl named Amanda, who tries to become beautiful.|
Performers: Jim Henson (Amanda, Conrad Love, and one of Amanda's friends), Jerry Juhl (Narrator and one of Amanda's friends), and Frank Oz (puppeteering only).
Note: Amanda's friends are Mert and Fred. The original script featured Scoop and Skip instead.
|The Art of Visual Thinking
June 4, 1967
|Second performance of sketch.|
|Monster Eats Machine
October 8, 1967
|An early version of Cookie Monster finds a talking machine that explains its various working parts while being eaten. After the whole thing is eaten, the machine's voice (inside the monster) says that nothing can stop it from performing its primary function -- the most powerful exploding device known to man.
|Rowlf and Jimmy Dean
October 8, 1967
|Jimmy Dean and Rowlf appear together for the last time. They sing "Friendship" and do the "herd of cows" gag (the earliest known instance of the Muppets performing this gag).
|Santa Claus Routine with Arthur Godfrey
December 24, 1967
|Arthur Godfrey plays Santa Claus, who gets a visit from a group of monsters that includes Thudge, Gleep (the original Grover puppet), Scudge, Snerk, and Snork. They attempt to rob the toys until they learn that Santa is giving them the toys. They sing "It's Christmas Tomorrow."|
Performers: Jim Henson (Thudge), Jerry Juhl (Scudge), and Frank Oz (Gleep).
February 18, 1968
|Two mean-looking creatures with tube necks scat about business while two friendlier creatures scat about values.|
Performers: Jim Henson (Blue Monster and Orange Creature) and Jerry Juhl (Green Monster and Purple Creature).
|"I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face"
April 21, 1968
|Second performance of sketch.
May 26, 1968
|Second performance of the sketch; recorded on May 20. An excerpt of this was shown on The World of Jim Henson.
|The Monster Trash Can Dance
October 13, 1968
|Parts of a monster hide in trash cans in an alleyway, as an increasingly suspicious Little Girl Sue wanders by.
November 24, 1968
|A weird-looking creature who is only seen from the neck up randomly blurts out "Sclrap Flyapp" and uses its nose to blast those who don't say Sclrap Flyapp. This sketch was later reworked into Hugga Wugga on The Muppet Show.
December 22, 1968
|The reindeer need it to snow by Christmas Eve.
|A Change of Face
March 30, 1969
|Rex Robbins changes the face and personalities of the Southern Colonel.
|Happy Girl Meets a Monster
May 11, 1969
|Beautiful Day Monster does all he can to ruin a beautiful day for Little Girl Sue. Jim Henson performed the voices for both characters.|
Performers: Jim Henson as Beautiful Day Monster and Little Girl Sue
|"Mah Na Mah Na"
November 30, 1969
|Mahna Mahna sings this classic nonsense song and is backed by the two Snowths. This classic song was later the opening number for The Muppet Show episode 101
|Big Bird's Dance
December 14, 1969
|In a sketch orchestrated by "The Minuet of the Robots" by Jean-Jacques Perrey, Big Bird dances while being watched by human birdwatchers. He never spoke here, even when Ed Sullivan talks to him. In this performance, Big Bird was performed by Daniel Seagren, instead of Caroll Spinney. The bit was choreographed by Peter Gennaro.
March 1, 1970
|An octopus constantly interrupts the singing of Ringo Starr's "Octopus' Garden."|
Performers: Jim Henson (Diver), Frank Oz (Octopus, Giant Clam), and Jerry Nelson (clam).
April 12, 1970
|A bizarre Muppet band sing the classic Beatles song.|
|"What Kind of Fool Am I?"
May 31, 1970
|Kermit tries to sing and play this song on piano while Grover continues to interrupt him. Several older Muppet monsters (including the original Grover puppet) make cameo appearances in the finale. (see transcript)|
This appearance was recorded on May 4, 1970.
|The Wild String Quartet
January 17, 1971
|Mahna Mahna fills in for a violinist named Beagleman, though Mahna Mahna plays drums, not violin.|
Performers: Jim Henson (Mahna Mahna), Jerry Nelson (Twill), Frank Oz (Grump), and Richard Hunt (Harrison).
February 21, 1971
|An incredibly fat man called The Glutton keeps eating things. After the sketch is over, he attempts to eat Ed Sullivan.|
Performers: Jim Henson (The Glutton), Frank Oz (assisting in performing The Glutton), Richard Hunt (assisting)
Joe Raposo wrote the music used in this piece.
- When Gary Cahuenga is let out of the trunk in his introductory episode of Muppets Tonight, Gary thinks he and his partner Chick are about to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show.
- Finch, Christopher Jim Henson: The Works
- Jim's Red Book - 3/26/1967 - Sullivan - (Easter) - Amanda?
- "Jim Henson's Red Book," 6/4/1967 – Sullivan "Visual Thinking"
- Originally scheduled for December 21, 1967. Nancy Spraker, "The Whimsical World of Muppets," Woman's Day, December 1969 issue.
- "Jim Henson's Red Book," 5/20/1968 – VTR Sullivan Show – "Java"
- The Jim Henson Company Archives, personal correspondence found here
- Jim Henson's Red Book
- Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal, page 73
- Script for the sketch
- Jim Henson's Red Book - 2/21/1971 'Ed Sullivan Show "The Glutton"?'