Muppet Babies debuted in 1984

I like to take a moment to recognize noteworthy moments in ’80s pop culture history whenever possible. This month we acknowledge the 35 year anniversary of the Muppet Babies cartoon series debut on CBS Saturday morning television. Muppet BabiesThe popular series began on September 15, 1984 and went on to run for 8 seasons and 107 episodes ending in November of 1991. The show featured animated childhood versions of the main Muppets characters living together in a nursery. Those characters include Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Scooter,Fozzie Bear, Rowlf the Dog, Gonzo and Animal with other characters making guest appearances in selected episodes.

 

Muppets Take ManhattanSome are not aware that the animated series was inspired by a fantasy sequence included in The Muppets Take Manhattan, a live-action full-length film that had been released in theaters in July of 1984. In this fantasy sequence, Miss Piggy sings a song about what it would’ve been like to grow up with Kermit and included baby versions of Rowlf, Fozzie, Scooter and Gonzo as back-up singers. It is pretty cool that a series that ran for over 100 episodes started from this short scene. Here is that scene featuring the song “I’m Gonna Always Love You” from The Muppets Take Manhattan

 

Muppet Babies took these familiar characters in their adorable baby versions and gave them hyperactive imaginations and cute baby voices that were used to sing original songs. The recipe proved hugely successful with great ratings especially for a Saturday morning cartoon. Muppet Babies was not only a commercial success, but also a critical success during its time on the air winning four consecutive Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program from 1985-1988. Here is the opening theme for Muppet Babies

 

The Muppet Babies were watched over by “Nanny”, which was the only regular human character and her face was never shown. Muppet BabiesYou may have recognized Nanny’s voice which was provided by Barbara Billingsley (“June Cleaver” on Leave It to Beaver). You may also find it interesting to know that Baby Animal and his catchphrase “Go bye-bye!” was provided by Howie Mandel for the first two seasons and then by Dave Coulier (“Uncle Joey” on Full House) for the remainder of the series. Another thing you may not remember is that, in order to have another female character, Scooter was given a twin sister, Skeeter, who has never been included in any other Muppet shows or movies. Muppet Babies would start a trend of popular cartoons creating new shows with younger versions of the characters including Tiny Toon Adventures, The Flintstone Kids and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo among others.

I fondly remember watching Muppet Babies on Saturday mornings at least for a couple years. I think everybody almost universally loves the Muppets and they may have been at their peak back then. It is fun to see them make a comeback of sorts with the more recent films, but I will always remember them best from my favorite decade. And, yep, that was the ’80s.

 

About OldSchool80s 49 Articles
Old School Tim has an adoring devotion to the awesome '80s decade. He loves to relive and share that nostalgia on a regular basis. The Kickin' it Old School blog site has been retired, but you can still get daily doses of '80s goodness on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else they let him.
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