Here’s what happened to Studebaker “The Muppet Movie”

The world of the Muppets is full of colorful characters and beautiful automobiles. There’s probably a vehicle that sticks in your mind from their first TV show to their most recent, and everything in between.

When The Muppets movie released in 1979, it went into a frenzy and remained the highest-grossing puppet film until the 2011 remake. It featured a star-studded ensemble, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and a classic 1951 Commander Studebaker. Many young children watched the show. The appearance of the vehicle in the show helped them recognize a Studebaker Commander in real life. The Muppets movie is essentially a road trip film made with classic cars.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the Studebaker that Fozzie Bear drove in? The Muppets movie? You know when Mad Man Mooney painted it in psychedelic colors and traded it in for a station wagon? Of course, it ended up in a museum. However, if you want to see the automobile that Fozzie and Kermit drove in The Muppets movie, go to South Bend, Indiana.

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Electric chaos

In the Rusty Juggernaut, he and Kermit the Frog set off for Hollywood. A journey that would propel him into pop culture history and Drew Struzan’s movie poster will immortalize him forever. They hid in a church to avoid the movie’s villain, Doc Hopper. They met up with the group The Electric Mayhem, who painted the car with colorful paint and sang “Can You Picture That?” Blending in with a Coke billboard, this paint job saved the bear and the frog from a near miss.

The two identical Studebaker and their origin

The 1979 film starred two identical Studebaker commanders from 1951. One was mainly used for longer shots and no longer exists. The other car, which is now in the custody of the museum, has been significantly altered to make it look like the puppets are steering it. The puppeteers crouched under the dashboard. While a small person hidden in the trunk operated the Studebaker using a television screen to observe the road.

To give the illusion of a felt frog and a fabric bear driving a car, the filmmakers inserted drive pedals into the trunk of the automobile. This allowed Jim Henson and Frank Oz to bring the animals to life in front of the audience. A small television screen helped guide the driver. It connects to a camera placed in the car’s single bullet nose. It must have been a huge undertaking! To the right?

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In 1852, the South Bend, Indiana-based company began producing horse-drawn carts. They started building their first “horse-less carriages” in 1895. And by 1920, they had stopped producing all horse-drawn vehicles while continuing to thrive even in the turbulent waters of the Great Depression, World War I, and Great Britain. the Second World War. The 1951 major was the result of their foresight in forecasting the demand for automobiles in post World War II America.

Museum hopes to restore movie car

The car can be seen in its current condition on the original Disney Plus series Prop Culture. It focuses on finding as many historical movie props as possible in Episode 8, including the Studebaker Gallery. The paint job tragically wore off and the interior parts have seen happier years, but it’s still wonderful to know that people are working so hard to preserve such cool pieces of cinematic legacy.

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The commander was sitting in a film studio after the movie. The studio donated the Commander to the Studebaker National Museum later. The automobile has lost much of its on-screen charm. The National Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana, exhibits one of two repainted Studebaker.

According to museum director Patrick Slebonick, it is not known when the car last ran. He also said the car needs a full restoration. They estimated the total cost of the rehabilitation at $ 175,000, according to Slebonick. It will take two years to complete the renovation. To help Kermit and Fozzie escape Doc Hopper, the vehicle will need to be repainted. The Electric Mayhem will apply the brilliant paint job shown in the film. The special effects of the car will remain intact during the restoration. They will pay particular attention to restoring the film’s vibrant and wild paint scheme.


After the restoration, the museum plans to show the car and possibly loan it to other museums across the country. To help with this, the Studebaker National Gallery has set up a fundraising campaign to help repair this piece of Muppet history into an exhibition worthy of its past. Check out the museum’s fundraiser on this website if you would like to donate a few dollars. According to the museum, a contribution box near the car has raised around $ 9,000 in contributions over the years. The museum still has a long way to go, especially with the GoFundMe effort.


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