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Country Music Hall of Fame and TV History - Rowlf and Jimmy Dean
Changing Hands, Changing Seasons
The Muppets have changed many times since the early 1960s - 1963, to be more accurate, the year Rowlf the Dog debuted on country singer Jimmy Dean's black and white television program on ABC. Rowlf resembled a thick bath towel that could sing and people liked him.
They have added increasing numbers of new characters and continued to produce hilarious movies under the management of different companies. The Muppets as a whole is part of American culture that many people around the world recognize. Since Disney now owns the characters, a double recognition value is evident, since DisneyLand is a symbol for many people that represents the United States.
Jim Henson, founder and muppeteer died of pneumonia, expressing his concern that he did not want to bother anyone during his illness. He sought little or no treatment and I remember sad feelings when I heard about this on local newscasts. As a young child, I recalled watching Rowlf on the Jimmy Dean Show and thinking that the funny dog and other characters would always be around.
Jim Henson died and the company was sold to a German outfit and much of America felt that we had lost the muppet characters. Then the family purchased the company again and continued, with Henson's son, John, participating in several ways, including operating Sweetums the huge ogre. Then Disney bought The Muppets as a whole. America is sure to keep the characters.
John Henson also died, in February 2014, of a heart attack at a young age; but, Rowlf will be around forever, now.
Golden Age of TV Entertainment
Today I remembered seeing the Muppet Rowlf play piano on the Jimmy Dean Show in the 1960s. The recall was brought about by reading the announcement of Jimmy's death at the age of 81 while he sat in front of his TV set at home on June 13, 2010. That seemed fitting.
Searching the YouTube clips of the Jimmy Dean Show , I remembered that as a young child, I thought Jimmy Dean was pretty old. Today, viewing these clips, he looks like a kid having fun with a puppet. Rowlf and he are still funny together, but unfortunately, Jim Henson is also, and much longer, deceased. Rowlf lives on in Disney® productions and it's too bad the Muppets cannot produce a Jimmy Dean Muppet.
The clip below is pretty cute, though I did not see it when first telecast. I only remember a single scene with Rowlf playing paino.
I wonder what Jimmy Dean was watching on television when he died?
Rowlf Karate Skit
Jimmy Dean Web Sites
- Dean Country
- Jimmy Dean
Country Music Hall of Fame
- The Jimmy Dean Show - Muppet Wiki
The Jimmy Dean Show was an hour-long variety show hosted by country singer Jimmy Dean which aired on ABC from September 19, 1963 until April 1, 1966. Rowlf the Dog was a regular guest on the show, billed as Jimmy's "ol' buddy." Between 7-10 minutes o
Big Bad John
Country Western Music
Jimmy Dean sang country music, which was not my favorite, his Number One Hit Single from late 1961, Big Bad John , became a novelty hit with kids for decades. Telling the story of a mysterious miner than saves men in a mining accident, it is appropriate to the 2010s and its mining, gas, and oil disasters as well. Heroes are always needed.
Big Bad John was not only a hit with kids, but is also won a Grammy for Best Country and Western Recording. From this success, Jimmy jumped to early variety-show television with The Jimmy Dean Show and appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and other TV programs and series.
By the 1970s, he had rather gone out of fad, although Rowlf continued to be visible on Sesame Street , the Muppet Show , and in films. He created Jimmy Dean sausages in 1969, operated the company successfully and sold it. Sara Lee Corporation purchased it in 1984 and he acted in their Jimmy Dean sausage commercial for twenty years, until 2004 at age 75.
Many Jimmy Dean songs are sad stories that produce sympathy in listeners. One of his first, was much like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer . In 1957 he recorded Little Sandy Sleighfoot about a Christmas elf that stood 4' tall, with 3'3" long feet. All the other elves made fun of him, but he ski with his shoes. One night the reindeer stable caught fire, but he raced down a hill to save the sleigh team and Christmas. The public generally liked his popular songs.
Another such number was Dear Ivan , spoken word number with the The Battle Hymn of the Republic in the background. The song was about an American asking a Russian to under stand their similarities and put an end to the Cold War. Quickly, he also recorded the tribute PT 109 about the period President John F. Kennedy's World War II service. He also recorded comedy and gospel numbers.
For children in his audiences, Jimmy Dean was a favorite for his novelty numbers and his antics with pal Rowlf. I'll remember this with the fact that the Jimmy Dean Show with a dog at a piano was the first time I met a Muppet, so to speak, and one that I continue to enjoy: "Hey, Jimmy!"