?When Palisades Toys went out of business in 2006, legions of Muppets fans wept. Well, maybe not legions — it’s not like sales of their Muppet action figures were through the roof — but the die-hard fans of their products were certainly disappointed, because Palisades left a slew of toys and playsets from Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight on the drawing table, some even in prototype form. Since then, some of the Jim Henson Company’s cinematic contributions have made it to toy form, but there are still some gaping character holes, not to mention entire TV shows that still have zero action figures, and their absence is felt! (Felt pun intended.) With a new movie headed to theaters, we thought this would be the time to put out a call for toys based on some movie and TV Muppets that we’re still dying to add to our collections.
11) Cookie Monster, Sesame Street
Ernie and Oscar the Grouch were both slated for Series 1 of the never-made Sesame Street line, but the rest of the wave was taken up by more minor residents of the neighborhood. Perhaps if the assortment had included the Street’s highly popular baked-goods addict, it might have gotten the green light, because who doesn’t love Cookie Monster? Seriously, drug dependency jokes aside, Cookie Monster was practically the show’s mascot for a while there, and we can only imagine how the awesome sculpt (completed for an unproduced later wave) might have looked with googly eyes and spring-loaded cookie-devouring action.
10) Sir Didymus, Labyrinth
NECA made a Hoggle to go with their Jareth figure, but the rest of the Muppets in Labyrinth remain toyless. And while the lumbering monster Ludo would certainly be impressive, I have to give the edge to Sir Didymus. This chivalrous fox terrier wears an eyepatch, carries a sword and rides on the back of a sheepdog named Ambrosius. There is nothing about him that is not awesome. While we may be asking a lot to get him and his faithful steed, maybe they can throw in that cute, Cockney worm for funsies?
9) Digit, The Jim Henson Hour
For a minute, I thought I’d totally made up this quirky robot Muppet, who had wires for hair and acted like a spacey, glitchy hybrid of Jim Ignatowski, David Byrne and Mork from Ork. But it turns out he was Kermit’s technical genius on The Jim Henson Hour, and not Muppets Tonight like I thought. Mystery solved! He was also a keyboard player in the house band and wore really big blazers. …Did we mention he was a robot? How in the hell did this guy not get an action figure? Presumably, Palisades also thought they were making him up. Or, more likely, The Jim Henson Hour was not part of their license. Because, besides Digit, what else are you gonna make from that show? Dog City toys?
8) Wonder Pig, The Muppet Show
She probably would have been a lawsuit waiting to happen, but Miss Piggy as Wonder Pig was slated to be an exclusive in Series 12, joining Super Scooter, Super Beaker and more in the Muppet line’s caped subdivision. While the character first appeared in the Lynda Carter episode, her costume actually was quite different from Wonder Woman’s, with her trademark purple gloves and — oh, yeah, a giant “woman” symbol on her chest. Someone tell NBC that a Wonder Pig TV show would automatically be nine times better than any Wonder Woman TV show David E. Kelley could produce.
7) Marjory the Trash Heap, Fraggle Rock
I would want to see an action figure of this Fraggle Rock character just to see how they would package it. Would she be a playset? Would she transform between ordinary garbage pile and all-knowing librarian mode? Would she come with her condescending hype team, Philo and gunge? Would Philo and Gunge shatter into a million pieces if I smashed them with a ball-peen hammer? So many questions!
6) Jacob and Robert Marley, A Muppet Christmas Carol
Statler and Waldorf may be two of the greatest Muppets ever created. Their snarky commentary on the Muppet Show’s endless parade of disastrous performances was always hysterical, so it was a real treat when they turned up as the first ghosts in A Muppet Christmas Carol, rattling their chains and tormenting Michael Caine as Scrooge’s old business partners. And while Statler and Waldorf had a couple of action figures each, and the Marleys even got mini-figures in the Mini Muppets line, they never got the full-figured treatment. And while I have nothing to back it up, I like to think that they named Jacob Marley’s new brother Robert as a tribute to reggae singer Bob Marley. One love!
5) Bobo the Bear, Muppets Tonight
The Security Guard on Muppets Tonight, Bobo quickly became a fan favorite, likely due to his gruff line readings, burly physique and adorably close-together eyes. He went on to play Rentro in Muppets from Space, and now does videos on healthy living, which may be more about how hysterical it is when you dress a bear up in a suit or a jogging outfit. Fun fact: Bobo first appeared as a hibernating bear in Muppets Take Manhattan, making him officially old school. I think that justifies the production of suited up, casual and totally naked variant figures, to be packaged with a variety of hats.
4) Count Von Count, Sesame Street
Anyone ever sit back and think about the fact that one of the most popular children’s shows of all time was all about monsters and vampires? The Count loved bats, had fangs, lived in a castle, and, in keeping with some ancient beliefs about vampires, suffered from arithmomania. And yet he was utterly and completely nonthreatening, perhaps due to his love of singing songs about numbers. If the proposed figure had come to pass in Palisades’ Sesame Street line, and had come with his trademark backwards laugh, I would have bought it in a heartbeat, or however long a heartbeat is to an undead aristocrat whose heart stopped countless centuries ago. One! One guaranteed sale! Ah, ah, ah!
3) Garthim, The Dark Crystal
It’s actually kind of freaky that so many Dark Crystal figures have been made. NECA made a Skeksis, MindStyle made a Mystic and a Land Strider, and Sideshow made the Gelflings. Plan B made a bust of the Garthim, but we want that bad-boy standing on his own pointy claws. Granted, we can;t imagine the massive crab-beetle-thing would be in scale to any of the existing figures, but we’ll happily have it menace whatever size-appropriate action figures we have lying around, and bundle them off to have their essences drained.
2) Ubergonzo, Muppets From Space
How do you improve on Gonzo? Three words: big gold turban. At the end of Muppets From Space (spoiler: Gonzo is from space), the leader of Gonzo’s people came all the way to Earth, and when he got there, he had his space ship’s house band throw a kickin’ party. Imagine Gonzo, but slightly world-weary from bearing the heavy responsibility of constantly rocking out across six solar systems, not to mention wearing a solid gold hat — if that’s not Nietzsche’s vision of the ideal Gonzo, I don’t know what is. In fact, not only do I want that Ubergonzo, I want all of his undergonzos, as well. Especially the ones wearing wraparound sunglasses.
1) Riverbottom Nightmare Band, Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas
A stoat on keyboards. A weasel on guitar. A lizard on drums. And a snake on bass. Also, a catfish in a tank. Not only are they the best band ever, they’d be the best action figure box set ever. The stage playset with them in their glam-rock outfits would be a guaranteed sell-out every year around Christmas, and that’s not even counting the jet-skis-around-the-tree train set. Let’s make this happen. Don’t we have enough Charlie Brown and Rudolph toys at this point?