The Kermit the Frog puppet was donated to the Smithsonian

Fifty-five years after debuting on a Washington television station, the original Kermit the Frog puppet was donated today to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

America’s favorite amphibian was one of 10 puppets from the 1950s show “Sam and Friends” given to the museum by the family of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

Included in the cast of characters joining Kermit at his new home are Pierre the French Rat, a voracious purple skull named Yorick, and a yellow monster called Mushmellon — possibly an early ancestor of Oscar the Grouch.

The Museum of American History also has, among other things, a 1969 version of Kermit the Frog, Howdy Doody, and Edgar Bergen’s ventriloquist dummy Charlie McCarthy.

“Sam and Friends” ran on Washington’s NBC affiliate — WRC-TV — from 1955 to 1961. While many of its characters soon faded from public memory, Kermit went on to a starring role in shows such as “Sesame Street,” launched in 1969, and “The Muppet Show,” which ran from 1976 to 1980.

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