Friday, May 23, 2008

Rowlf

Rowlf the dog was the first Muppet "Star". He was designed in 1962 by Jim Henson and built by Don Shilon for a "Purina Dog Chow" commercial. From 1963 to 1966 he made weekly appearances on "The Jimmy Dean Show" and received as many as 2,000 fan letters a week! He and Kermit The Frog made a promo pitch for Sesame Street in 1968, but it was Kermit, not Rowlf who went on to Sesame Street fame.




Rowlf joined the cast of "The Muppet Show" in 1976 as a recurring character and resident pianist. He also played the wisecracking Dr. Bob, "the quack who had gone to the dogs" in the medical drama parody skits called "Veterinarians' Hospital". Rowlf also played "Sherlock Holmes" and the western bar piano player. He appeared in 89/120 Muppet Show episodes. He also played numerous small parts in many of the Muppet Movies.

The last public performance that Jim Henson gave with Rowlf was in 1990 on The Arsenio Hall Show. After Jim's death (May 16, 1990), Rowlf was retired for several years out of respect for Mr. Henson's genius. He was slowly brought out of retirement starting in 1996 and has since been performed by puppeteer, Bill Baretta. There is a really good Rowlf bio with additional links at; http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Rowlf_the_Dog

In 1993 BMG released a CD called "Ol' Brown Ears Is Back". The various cuts had been recorded by Jim Henson back in 1984. The recording has long since been out of print but is considered a collector's item.






As the first nationally famous Muppet character, Rowlf was one of the earliest characters to be immortalized as a hand puppet by "The Ideal Toy Company" in 1966. Now a coveted collector's item, the puppet had a felt tongue, tail and a hole in his back for performing.

So why am I writing about Rowlf you may ask? Well the truth is, that I have been in love with this brown eyed, brown haired, floppy eared, musical mutt for as long as I can remember. What can I say! There is just "something" about this pouch that just makes my heart go a flutter. Maybe it's the ears. Maybe it's just that I have a soft spot for laid back multi talented musicians.

When I was a kid, I wanted a Rowlf puppet. I never got one. Over the years, I've looked at yard and rummage sales but never found one. I also wanted the CD but never found that either. Sigh. I had lots of "crushes" as a kid, but Rowlf is the only one that has endured. I've saved several pics of Rowlf on my computer but would still love to have a puppet or stuffed Rowlf. The kid in me would be SO happy!! The music lover in me still wants the CD too!
Well I guess for now I'll just have to wait and hope that someday I find the pouch of my dreams. But I did find this little gem that I'd like to share. It is Rowlf at the piano, performing one of his classics. Enjoy!
video

I also found an episode of Veterinarian's Hospital that has Rowlf at his punniest! (not sure what language the sub titles are!) Hope you enjoy!


video

dn

2 comments:

leelu said...

I love Rowlf, too!!!
There are a couple items on ebay...
Not the puppet right now, but you could do a search, the save the search (rowlf under toys) - they'll email you as more items appear.
Now I want one!
:)

dnsyl57 said...

We may have to fight over him, but since I'm older and single I call dibs! Paws off!! He's my pouch! LOL!

I've looked on ebay too, but not crazy about a credit card on line or ordering from someone I don't already know. I'm hoping that someone will come across one at a yard or rummage sale and it will show up on my doorstep for Christmas! See by posting this now it gives people 7 months to find me something that they know I'll love and really want. Smart huh?!