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Sal Minella

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Performer:
SalMinella
Design Team:
Jane Gootnick • (designer & builder)
SalMonkey
Sal-brickhouse

Sal strikes a pose in Muppets from Space.

Minella

Sal tries his hand at osteopathy in Muppets Tonight episode 201.

Sal Minella is the primate flunky, bodyguard, and all-purpose sidekick to Johnny Fiama.

The puppet used for Sal originated as a generic, unclothed monkey, performing a solo line in the opening song from Muppet Treasure Island. He was performed in this instance by Jerry Nelson.

The monkey was subsequently refitted with a vest and tie, and made his debut as Sal Minella in Muppets Tonight. Sal, who has since been performed by Brian Henson, is devoted to Johnny, though some of his ideas to promote Johnny's career are a bit harebrained.

At MuppetFest, Brian Henson explained that the performers got together with a bunch of random puppets to start working out characters for Muppets Tonight. Bill picked up a puppet and started singing, as Johnny Fiama, but everybody else was fooling around with their own puppets and not paying attention. So Brian picked up a monkey and shouted, "Would you all quiet down and listen to Johnny Fiama!" and Sal was born.

Sal subsequently appeared alongside Johnny, in Muppets from Space, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. In the latter, Sal, even more oppressed than usual, is the only real monkey in the Wicked Witch of the West's Flying Monkeys biker gang. At the end of the television movie, he was rewarded by Dorothy with the Wicked Witch's magic biker cap.

Sal's most recent appearances were on The Jerry Lewis Muscular Distrophy Telethon in September 2005 and the Virmup video for Bohemian Rhapsody in November 2009. According to the Muppet Mindset interview with Bill Barretta, Henson did not return to perform Sal in the video.[1]

Very little Sal Minella merchandise has been made. The only released merchandise is a French ceramic figurine produced in France, as part of a series of Muppet fèves. Additionally, Palisades Toys sculpted a Sal prototype which never got released.

Name

Sal's full name, Sal Minella, is a homophonic play on the word "salmonella," a food-borne bacteria.

Sal's full name is seen on screen in Muppets Tonight episode 201, on the sign identifying him as an osteopath. It's also spelled this way in the Muppets From Space credits, and the instruction booklet for the 2003 video game Muppet Party Cruise.

His name is misspelled as "Sal Monella" in the 2014 book The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.

Filmography

Book appearances

See also

Sources

  1. Interview with Muppeteer Bill Barretta by Ryan Dosier, Jan 31, 2010

Start a Discussion Discussions about Sal Minella

  • Sal Monella?

    6 messages
    • Ha, very well. I'd forgotten about the Muppets From Space credits, that's extra verification. If we're listing Encyclopedia nitpicks, then ...
    • Okay, I've started a section here.

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