The unmatched trippiness of Jim Henson's puppetry before the The Muppet Show

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It took several decades before the Muppets became the jovial mop-puppet hybrids we know and love today. Before they hung out with Alice Cooper and hosted wrestling competitions, the Muppets lived in a sometimes unsettling world full of hungry dismembered heads, Cookie Monster selling IBM computers, and Kermit extolling the virtues of pig meat.


Fortunately, thanks to the miracles of the internet (and the Henson Company YouTube channel), we can sample some of the odder early moments from the Muppets' career. Also, here's some more pre-Muppet Show moments that may pique your interest:

- The awesomely dystopian 1967 IBM film The Paperwork Explosion.
- Henson's surreal 1969 TV movie The Cube.
- His 1966 Academy Award-nominated short film Time Piece.
- The 1969 Wizard of Id TV pilot.

A magnificently strange sketch from Sam and Friends.

December 31, 1965. Kermit + drunk puppet + Woody Allen + Johnny Carson. Bizarre!

Kermit shills bacon. Does Miss Piggy know about this?

In the early 1960s, Kermit engaged in some "Visual Thinking" from Sam and Friends.

A General Mills ad, featuring a creepily verbose Cookie Monster.

Cookie Monster later appears in an IBM informational film.

More computer madness with Cookie Monster.

"Cat and Mouse," an early experimental film by the director.

A mildly terrifying ad for La Choy products.

The dangers of not dialing "1" on your telephone.

A compilation of spots for Wilkins Coffee.

The Aurora toilet paper glove, that famous lost Sesame Street character



That second one I think is grover's not so benevolent father.