The Mystery of Kermit

by Puppet Nerd

Now, we all know Kermit the Frog, right? And, not only do we know this beloved character, but the journey of Kermit becoming the star we all know and love today is well documented.

From his start on Sam and Friends, to presenting at the Academy Awards and even being a contestant on the Masked Singer. And not to mention the countless movies, TV shows and cameos.

However, there is one thing we don’t know about Kermit the Frog. and it has to do with how he was made.

We know that the eyes were ping pong balls, and many of the features were painted on. and instead of using fabric, Jim Henson used his mom’s coat that he cut into pieces to make the first Kermit puppet.

But since Kermit was first introduced, his design has evolved over the years. They added the collar, frogified the feet, and the modern Kermit is a much brighter green.

But one design choice has always been the same. And that’s…

Kermit’s Pupils!

It’s such an unusual design. The shape is literally out of this world.

Especially when compared to the rest of the Muppets from history.

Now, the Muppets have some variety when it comes to their eyes. The color, iris, mechanisms, but they are all some variation of a round pupil.

But look at the shape of Kermit’s pupils. They are so unique!

Now, you might be thinking. Wasn’t his eyes inspired by a real frog?

This was a theory that hit pop culture a few years ago through some viral blog posts. So a lot of people now think that Kermit’s design was inspired by this real frog.

But this just isn’t true.

And that’s because when Jim first made Kermit in 1955, Kermit wasn’t even a frog yet. He was an abstract character, It wasn’t until the 1960”s that Kermit was officially made into a Frog. 


There is one more crazy theory crawling around that doesn’t have a leg to stand on. That’s because people think this next theory has tires.

It is no secret that Jim Henson LOVED cards.

But some people think he loved cars so much that it was the inspiration for the shape of Kermit’s pupils.

But this is a little too far-fetched for even me.

It’s kind of impossible to see a car in this without adding a bunch of details to it.

So most people think it is a completely original shape that is only associated with Kermit.

We are all accustomed to the shape now and we can’t imagine him looking any other way.

It is one of Kermit’s identifying features that only he has. Aside from a few gags on the show. But no real characters have it. 

Why wouldn’t this technique be recycled the same as his other design aesthetics? Especially considering Kermit is one of the first characters Jim created. 

So the question is, where did this shape come from?

Well, I have a Theory.

I have to admit, the shape of Kermit’s eyes is not completely foreign to me. In fact it’s a little nostalgic. It gives me childhood vibes of walking around the toy aisle of a department store.

Some toys were on shelves and others were hanging in the aisles.

All kinds of store products are displayed like this. Not just toys, but candy, tools, and even  crafts supplies all hang off of these Peg Hooks.

Now most peg hooks are a simple rod and the package that hangs off of it from a hole punch. 

And there actually are other types of Peg Hooks for different products, and they each require a different shape of holepunch in order to hang properly. And with each style there are endless variations of scale.

They even sell little hand punches of these shapes that a lot of jewelry makers use for making their own craft show displays.


There are some peg Hooks that look like this. And this type of peg hook actually has a name. It’s called a “Butterfly Peg Hook”

And the type of hole punch a product needs so it can be displayed on it looks strangely familiar.

Just look at it, It’s too perfect! It’s the right size, it’s the right shape. And it might have come off if the very same package of the ping pong balls Jim used for the whites of Kermit’s eyes.

Now he clearly did not pluck two of those tabs off and glue them on his puppet. Like I mentioned at the beginning, we know the original pupils on Kermit were painted on. And that the actual Kermit pupils are not straight like this, they are slightly con caved. Almost as if the packaging was wrapped around the eye to mask off the sides. 

As an artist I can tell you, it’s hard to make anything perfectly symmetrical by hand. It would make perfect sense for him to trace the shape of the packaging to make sure both pupils were exactly the same before he painted them.

Perhaps he as just looking at his craft materials around him and was inspired by the unusual shape and just painted it on. 

Now, we don’t have any direct evidence that this is true. But I don’t think it is that far-fetched.

Artists get inspired by things all around them. It’s not uncommon for a shape or object to inspire an idea, a design or even a character. Creative people are resourceful like that. And Jim Henson was one of the most creative minds who ever lived.

And that’s what I call

“The Peg Hook Theory”.

I would love to hear what you think too. Do you agree with this theory? Do you have your own theory? Where else does this shape exist in the world?

I’d love to hear it. Comment below.

And if you want to hear the extended conversations with our “Muppet experts,” make sure to click the link below. They were really fun chats with more interesting points.

Check out the extended interviews with our Puppet Experts!

Host of IT’S TIME TO MEET THE MUPPETS” podcast, Fergie L. Philippe

The infamous “Disney Dan” from the Disney Dan YouTube channel.

Cameron Garrity who run the Muppet history show called “The Muppet Know”

And Lastly the Co owner and editor in chief of Tough Pigs, Joe Hennes.

Watch below!

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