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Mahna Mahna (character)

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Performer:
Character.mahna
Design Team:
Jim Henson • (designer)
Don Sahlin • (builder)
SketchMahnaMahna

Mahna Mahna sketch, from late 1960s.

Mahnamahna
Mahnamahna-live

Mahna Mahna drives through Hollywood in a video insert for The Muppet Show Live.

Mansow

Promotional photo for the Jim Henson's Fantastic World touring exhibit.

Mahnamuppetbr

Mahna Mahna in 2009

Mahna Mahna is a purple Muppet with wild, orange hair and a furry, green tunic who is most famous for performing the nonsense song "Mahna Mahna" with the Snowths. His vocabulary is essentially limited to saying his own name and scatting.

Mahna Mahna made his debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969, where he sang "Mahna Mahna" for the first time. In a later appearance on the variety show, he played a drummer filling in for a violinist in a string quartet performing Beethoven's "Minuet in G Major." The scripts for that appearance refer to him as "Harry".[1]

After reprising "Mahna Mahna" on several other variety shows, Mahna Mahna was featured in the very first episode of The Muppet Show, performing his signature song as opening number, dancing with Wanda in At the Dance, and popping up between Statler and Waldorf in their box. Also, in the pilot version of the episode, he made an additional appearance, surprising guest star Juliet Prowse after her conversation with Kermit backstage. Although he was also featured prominently in episode 102, appearing again in At the Dance and "Sax and Violence", most of Mahna Mahna's future appearances on the show would be in the background or in the audience of the Muppet Theater.

After a long absence, Mahna Mahna appeared at The Muppet Show Live at MuppetFest. Here, he was puppeteered by Bill Barretta lip-syncing to Jim Henson's vocals; at one point, the character left the theater to go to a fast food restaurant. Barretta assumed the role, providing both puppetry and voice for Mahna Mahna in his first original speaking role since Henson's death, in the 2005 "Bandanana" commercial for the Australian charity CanTeen. In this appearance, the puppet had brighter colors and softer features than previous incarnations. Mahna Mahna, alongside the Snowths, made cameos in the Muppet viral video for "Bohemian Rhapsody," and have reprised "Mahna Mahna" in their appearances on Good Morning America, The Muppets, and the concert Jim Henson's Musical World.

Palisades Toys released a mini figure of Mahna Mahna, and also had plans for an action figure. In 2012, Funko released a vinyl figure of Mahna Mahna.

Bip Bippadotta

"Mahna Mahna" was also performed on the first season of Sesame Street by an Anything Muppet, originally identified on albums as "Mahna-Mahna." He would later come to be called Bip Bippadotta. Although the character would evolve to look more like Mahna Mahna over the years, the characters have generally been considered completely separate entities.

Casting history

Filmography

Book appearances

See also

Sources

  1. Script for the segment found at Jim Henson's Red Book

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