The quartet of trash Muppets in the special.

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.

The Muppets were featured in a musical number, a parody of the song "Hey, Look Me Over," in which garbage-based creatures sing 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 and skits included Lena Horne (singing "Smoggy Weather"), Ruth Buzzi (as a secretary in a noise pollution sketch), Don Knotts (as a nervous lecturer), Tim Conway (as an endangered eagle), Flip Wilson, Sandy Duncan, 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