Sam and Friends

Sam and Friends was an early live-action/puppet television show created by puppeteer Jim Henson and his eventual wife Jane. It was taped and aired locally in Washington, D.C. on WRC-TV in black and white, and later, color on weekdays from May 9, 1955 to December 15, 1961.

Sam was a bald human-looking puppet with wide eyes, large ears, and a big nose; his friends included Yorick, Harry the Hipster, and a lizard-like creature called Kermit who later evolved into Kermit the Frog.

Early in its run, the show mostly featured the puppets lip-synching to popular songs of the day (if the song was by a female performer, the puppet would wear a wig while singing). Later, formal sketches were drawn up, many spoofing well-known television shows at the time, including Sam and Friends' lead-in show in the Washington market, The Huntley-Brinkley Report.

A popular early sketch that would be used often in subsequent Henson productions was "Inchworm", in which a character, often Kermit, would nibble on what looked like a worm, but would ultimately turn out to be the tongue or nose of the monster Big V who would devour him.

Jerry Juhl also worked on the show toward the end of its run. Also around 1959, advertisements for Esskay Meats would appear at the end of the show.

Later appearances
Sam & Friends is mentioned in chapter 2 of Kermit The Frog's book Before You Leap, under the heading of "My First Big Splash".

Sam, Harry the Hipster, and Yorick appeared in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years.

In August 2010, Jane Henson donated ten puppets from the show, including the original Kermit, to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.