Jim Henson's Muppets were animated for the first time in this highly creative, action-packed show. Kermit and friends were now babies, growing up together in a nursery under the watchful, yet kindly eye of Nanny. True to a child's perspective, only Nanny's pink hemline and green-and-white striped socks were ever shown on the screen.
When Nanny shut the nursery doors behind her, the miniature Muppets' imaginations would soar. Clothes hampers became caves, chairs would be spaceships and the babies became heroes of their very own detailed fantasies. Though they technically never left the nursery, the show was anything but claustrophobic.
These stories frequently mimicked fairy tales or movies, often using real film footage with the Muppet characters superimposed. Particularly famous examples include Indiana Kermit running away from the giant boulder of Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Kermit Skywalker and Princess Piggy fighting the evil Animal Vader.
The only new addition to the original cast was Skeeter, Scooter's spunky sister, who gave the show another female character. Later in the series, baby Statler and Waldorf, Janice, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Muppet Band all joined the show.
Though Jim Henson oversaw the production, neither he nor Frank Oz provided the voices. Instead, cartoon legend Frank Welker, Howie Mandel (Bobby's World) and Dave Coulier (of Full House) did the vocal honors. Barbara Billingsly, known to television audiences as June Cleaver on the 1950's classic Leave It To Beaver, provided the soothing voice of Nanny.
The Muppet Babies went through several title and length changes during its eight-year run. Originally a half-hour, the show changed to an hour as Jim Henson's Muppets, Babies and Monsters in 1985, adding live-action segments with Henson's Muppet monsters. The monsters were soon dropped, and the following year the show kept its new length but returned to its original title. In 1987, the show expanded yet another half-hour to fill the gap left by the Garbage Pail Kids, a cartoon that never made it to the air.
A hit with kids and parents alike, the show won consecutive Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program from 1984-1988. As dominant as the show was on awards night, it was just as potent in the ratings, proving that quality and popularity indeed can coexist.
Song: TV Maniacs.
I Want My Muppet TV! Production Information
Traditional, Hand-drawn Animation.
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