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Danny Goodwin

Jim Henson Muppets Google Doodle Lets You Become the Puppeteer

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Google and The Jim Henson Company have collaborated to honor the 75th birthday of the late Jim Henson. An interactive Google Doodle on Google’s home page today features six original characters that you can control with your mouse and keyboard.

Digital Puppetry

The character colors and shapes all correspond to where Google’s colored letters usually appear. The first blue Muppet appears in place of the blue “G”, the second character appears where the red “o” would appear, and so on.

Clicking on the hand icon beneath the Muppet gives you control of that Muppet's mouth, though it won’t make any sound because, well, you are the digital puppeteer, so you provide the dialogue. Move the mouse and you’ll notice the Muppets eyes and heads follow your movements.

Google Muppets Doodle Easter Eggs

The YouTube video above explains how the special Google Doodle came to life, and also makes note that there are some “hidden animations” that you can trigger as you play with the Doodle. I’ve only found two so far:

  • If you hold select the green “l” character and have him stare down at the red “e” character on the right, eventually the red character will eat the green character.
  • Also, if you press and hold the first “o” character (or repeatedly click and mouse up), his glasses will flip in the air before landing back on his face.

Have you found any more Easter Eggs?

Happy Birthday, Jim Henson!

Henson, in addition to being a puppeteer, director, and producer, is best known for creating Muppets, a lovable cast of characters that featured “The Muppet Show” favorites Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and Fozzie Bear (all of which also appeared in numerous movies), “Sesame Street” characters such as Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Elmo, and the cast of “Fraggle Rock.” The name Muppets are said to come from Henson combining the words “marionette” and “puppet,” because they were part hand puppet, part stick puppet.

Generally, Google Doodles appear on the site for 24 hours, but this logo appeared a bit early starting yesterday and will stay up for a total of 36 hours on Google’s home page.

“He loved gadgets and technology,” wrote his son, Brian Henson, chairman of The Jim Henson Company, in a blog post on the Official Google Blog. “Following his lead, The Jim Henson Company continues to develop cutting-edge technology for animatronics and digital animation, like this cool Google doodle celebrating Jim’s 75th birthday. But I think even he would have found it hilarious the way today some people feel that when they’ve got their smartphone, they no longer need their brain.”

My favorite characters from “The Muppet Show” were Statler and Waldorf, the cranky old men who heckled the Muppets from their balcony seats.

Who was your favorite Muppet?


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