Bean Bunny first appeared in 1986 as the star of the TV special The Tale of the Bunny Picnic. The cute bunny was part of a family headed by Father Bunny and Mother Bunny and helped make peace with the farmer's dog.
In 1989, Bean joined the cast of The Jim Henson Hour, appearing in both the control room and "televised" portions of the MuppeTelevision segments. Although his fellow Muppets often found him to be insufferably cute, the MuppeTelevision ratings were never higher than when the station featured sex, violence and/or Bean Bunny. Whenever Bean was yelled at, particularly by Kermit, he became very scared and whimpered, mostly due to his youth and his sensitivity to noise, a common trait he shares with real bunny rabbits.
Bean Bunny was further integrated into the Muppet family in 1990, playing major roles in The Muppets at Walt Disney World and Muppet*Vision 3D. In the former, he responds to Scooter's jibe that "cute" is his middle name by stating it's actually Norman. A walk-around version of Bean was also featured in both Muppet stage shows at the Disney-MGM Studios in Walt Disney World: Here Come the Muppets and Muppets on Location: Days of Swine and Roses. It is indicative of the push to make Bean Bunny a major player in the Muppet family that walk-around versions of more popular characters such as Scooter and Rowlf were not featured in these stage shows.
Bean was active as a major character only until Steve Whitmire took over performing Kermit the Frog (following the death of Jim Henson) while Whitmire's other character Rizzo the Rat gained higher prominence in the next Muppet production The Muppet Christmas Carol. The film was Bean's only significant role in a Muppet movie, appearing in several scenes as a hapless urchin, who on Christmas morning fetches a goose twice his size for Scrooge.
In subsequent appearances on Muppets Tonight, Muppets from Space, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Bean was relegated to the background and became a routine target of Muppet violence, a fact that Brian Henson noted in the Muppet Christmas Carol DVD commentary: "Inside the Muppet Company, we love to hate Bean Bunny."
Frank Oz once said of the character, "Jim built a character named Bean Bunny, so people could think he’s cute, and take the onus off of the others[.] But, it didn’t work — they still thought the others were cute."
- The Tale of the Bunny Picnic
- The Jim Henson Hour
- The Muppets at Walt Disney World
- The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
- Muppet Treasure Island
- Muppets Tonight
- Muppets from Space
- Muppet RaceMania
- MuppetFest panels
- The Muppet Show Live
- It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
- Muppets Party Cruise
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz