starts world tour in Kermit, Texas
of The Associated Press
October 14, 2005
the Frog began a globe-hopping tour to celebrate
his 50th showbiz birthday Friday in this small West Texas town
that shares the beloved amphibian's name.
town of about 5,700 rolled out the green carpet for the singing,
dancing Muppet and former ”Sesame Street“ star, giving
him the key to the city, dubbing him grand marshal of the homecoming
parade and crowning him honorary homecoming king.
king, Kermit the Frog, celebrates with the cheerleaders from
Kermit High School in Kermit, Texas.
town, one of two in the country named Kermit, also painted Kermit's
face on the community's large water tower. The local Dairy Queen
offered green French fries and ice cream in his honor. A park in
town also will bear his name.
haven't seen such nice faces since Ms. Piggy's last makeover,“
he said in an appearance at City Hall, which is on a street that's
been renamed Kermit the Frog Boulevard. ”It's really like
coming home again.“
50-stop tour will cross four continents and last until the end of
2006. Stops include the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the
Great Wall of China, the Johnson Space Center and a courageous appearance
at a Frog Leg Festival in Fellsmere, Fla. He's even scheduled to
run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
thought they said bullfrogs,“ Kermit said in a rare Associated
Press interview with a Muppet. ”I'm going to get the heck
out of their way.“
residents of Kermit, Texas, population 5714, painted the famous
frog on their most prominent water tower.
made his debut in a 1955 television comedy called ”Sam and
Friends,“ which aired locally in Washington, D.C., but he
looked more lizardlike then. Kermit was fashioned from an old coat
belonging to the mother of late Muppets creator Jim Henson, who
was born in Mississippi and named the frog after a childhood friend.
and his 2-foot tall puppet joined ”Sesame Street“ in
1969. ”The Muppet Show“ followed in 1976 and ended its
run in 1982.
gave Kermit a voice and a life for 35 years, until his death in
1990. Since then, Steve Whitmire, who had worked with Henson for
about 13 years, has taken over his voice and movements.
offered insight into how he stays so youthful looking.
don't think it's a secret: Stay moist,“ he said, adding that
an exercise regimen that includes yoga also helps. ”My favorite
position is the downward frog.“
park was dedicated to Kermit, the world's most beloved frog.
town of Kermit, a ranching and oil area about 375 miles west of
Dallas, was named for Kermit Roosevelt, the eldest son of President
Theodore Roosevelt. He had visited a ranch in northern Winkler County
to hunt a few months before the town was named. Kermit, which incorporated
in 1938, began as a supply center for the area's scattered ranches.
oil was discovered near Kermit. The town experienced a boom and the
population grew to more than 10,400 in the 1960s but has declined
the price of oil has surged in the past year or so, the town's economy
is steadily rebounding. But officials said Kermit's visit brought
a great shot in the arm for the community,“ Kermit school
district Superintendent Santos Lujan said. ”It's been presented
to us and it's a wonderful gift.“
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