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Anything Muppets

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Caroll-anythings

Illustration by Caroll Spinney.

Ams

Four examples of Anything Muppet characters from the song, "Family."

Anythingmuppet3

Semi-blank versions of Green, Fat Blue and Lavender, from the song "Fat Cat".

Anything Muppets (or "AMs", as they're referred to in the studio) are "empty" Muppet heads. Facial features, bodies and clothes can be added to make any kind of character. A similar group of puppets known as Whatnots appeared on The Muppet Show. Some Anything Muppets also appeared in Muppet movies and specials.

The Anything Muppets were introduced in the first episode of Sesame Street in a sketch involving Gordon. An Anything Muppet appeared without any facial features, and Gordon introduced her as an Anything Person and proceeded to give her and four other Anything Muppets who appeared in sequence eyes, noses, and hair to form a family.

During the first seasons of Sesame Street, they were known as "The Anything People" who could be anything they wanted. Usually the live actors, like Bob, would turn them into different characters. This concept was abandoned after a few seasons, although every once in a while an Anything Muppet character would take off his nose or lose his mustache.

Although these puppets were usually used to create human characters, animals were also sometimes concocted from Anything Muppets, until the late 1980s, including the Tortoise and the Hare, the Three Little Pigs and Captain Vegetable. This practice could be seen in The Miss Muffet Play. Aliens, such as The Gonk and The Geefle, and monsters such as Bennett Snerf, Arlene Frantic, Fenwick, Rosemary and Pamela could also be made from Anything Muppets.

Main Sesame Street characters that are made from Anything Muppets include Count von Count, Prairie Dawn, Mr. Johnson, Roosevelt Franklin, Guy Smiley, Lefty the Salesman, the Twiddlebugs, and Sherlock Hemlock.

Our general philosophy on "Sesame" is that we've always dealt with not being specific to races. That is why Jim Henson developed artificial colors or strange colors for all the humanoids.
-Ed Christie describing Anything Muppets to the crew of Sisimpur[1]

Types

AMFamily4

A large family of Anything Muppets.

The following types of Anything Muppets appear on Sesame Street; terms for these are derived from CTW style guides and other sources:

In addition, a few other types have been used less frequently; official titles are currently unknown.

  • Large orange live hand
Laundromat Manager, King Fred, Murray the Mediocre, Sir John Feelgood, Mo, The Grand Royal Square Lover, Geppetto, Diva D'Abruzzo, Super Nanny, Hansel, Noel Cowherd, "The Most Important Meal of the Day" chef, "Once is Not Enough" father, the dentist from "Dentist of Seville", Dr. Edwynn, Guntag Gelman-Jones, Charmin', Suspension Act Magician, one of the backup singers from the remake of "The Sneeze Song", Long Jane Silver, Dani, Emagene, I.C. DeForrest, King Oliver, Dr. Ruster
  • Large lavender hand rod
The Count (in The First Day of School), Rusty, Mr. Essex, Sonny Friendly (originally, 1986-1993), Frankie, The Grand High Triangle Lover (originally), The Princess and the C, Donald Trump Muppet, Ambulance Driver
  • Magenta
Flo, Smelly, Breakfast Club Singer, Dinner Theatre cousin, Tyrone, Prince, Groucho Marx Muppet, Tony
  • Large green live hand
Super K Cereal boy, Ice cream vendor, "Me Gotta Be Me" piano player, Heaviest Catch crew member
  • Large pink live hand
Prairie Dawn's Mom, Virginia Virginia, Gretel, The Closer
  • Large light pink live hand
Sadie Schwartzbaum, Salesperson
  • Brown
Kingston Livingston III, Sergeant Gabriel

Notes

  • The term "AM" is also used to refer to various background characters, such as monsters, animals, Honkers, Dingers, and other creatures. In these cases, scripts call AMs "animated Muppets".

Sources

  1. The World According to Sesame Street

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