Show and Tell > McDonalds Muppet Babies

After seeing The Muppets earlier this week, it got me thinking of my personal favorite incarnation of the franchise, Muppet Babies. As I mentioned in my article last week, to me, Muppet Babies was Saturday morning. The show was well-written with lots of heart and good lessons for kids, but made it more palatable than a lot of kids’ programming with a healthy dose of pop culture references (who can forget the Star Wars episode?). Most importantly, the show didn’t just encourage kids to use their imagination, it practically exalted it as a concept.

It’s perhaps a testament to the producers of Muppet Babies that the show was never heavily merchandised. There were some plush toys of course, but nothing resembling the sort of toys an eight-year-old boy might want to play with…with one exception: the McDonald’s Happy Meal figures.

 

The toys were released in 1987. There were four in the set: Miss Piggy in a Power Wheels-style car, Fozzie on a rocking horse, Kermit on a skateboard and Gonzo on a tricycle. You can learn more than you might ever have wanted to know about them here.

I had Fozzie and Kermit, while my sister had Miss Piggy. Years later (long after I’d lost them), I went back and got them all on eBay. There’s not a lot to them–they’re just PVC figures with little vehicles. Fozzie and Kermit are arguably the best since they can also be stood on their own (though Fozzie looks a bit bow-legged), while Gonzo and Miss Piggy are frozen in seated positions.

I keep hoping there will be a wave of Muppet Babies nostalgia and a new line of merchandise, but it seems that untangling the copyright issues that would be necessary to get the show released on home video (a prerequisite for a new round of merchandising) is unlikely in the near future–or at least until all the major media conglomerates merge into one super-company. Until that day, the show will remain a fondly-remembered blip on the Muppets timeline.

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10 Comments

  1. This was a GREAT Show & Tell! I love seeing old McHappy Meal toys. Heck, I still have most of 'em. I know for a fact I had Kermie, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo. I'm starting to wonder if I had Fozzie though. I know I wanted him at least.

    Darn you Poe, now I'm going to have to go dig these out! =)

  2. clark

    I loved the Muppet Babies. Between my brother, sister and me; we had all four. Gonzo was definitely my favorite because not only are big wheels really awesome, but he wouldn't fall off his ride when you rolled it around. We also have some Christmas themed Muppet Babies plush animals that came from McDonalds in a bin somewhere.

  3. Thrawn

    I remember these!! Awesome trip down memory lane Poe. I remember wanting Gonzo really bad. I believe I had Miss Piggy.

    *Sigh*. I love the Muppet Babies. Still one of my all time favorite cartoons to this day.

  4. Tribsaint

    I remember this set very well Kermit was (in my school) the most sought after because we all had skate boards and were big Tony Hawk fans (people don’t realize how long that guy’s been around). Happy meals were such a huge part of my childhood, anyone remember when the boxes were different cars or boats and such? F’n Catalina wine mixer

  5. Braystreet

    I've always had a tremendous love for The Muppet Babies and shows of it's ilk, the following the relationships between central characters as youths has always seemed like something that could do really well in a dramatic setting if handled appropriately. You have the main story that focuses on the plot and the action, and then the interludes with the youth-versions to establish why everyone feels quite so strongly about each other.

    I think that's part of why I've got such a strong love for U.S.A Network's comedic hour longs. Ever since Monk, they've had a tradition of showing a historical interaction between one or more characters that influences the current day plot in a way.

  6. Sweet! I had Kermit.

  7. I have NEVER seen that Baby Animal before, and like Poe, I've sought this set a couple times in my life, so I have to assume it was indeed a Canadian exclusive.

    I wish Palisades had produced a few Babies in their Muppet line.

  8. ze0ro

    There was also a baby Animal in a wagon. Or was that just in Canada?
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/McDonalds-1986-Muppets-Set

  9. Zach S.

    One of my favorite shows of my youth…I miss it. And up until you mentioned the potential copyright issues in your last article, I never realized that you couldn't find the show on TV. It's a shame we might never get it on DVD.

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