The Beautiful Way Jim Henson Recorded Rainbow Connection For The Muppet Movie

Kermit the Frog singing Rainbow Connection in The Muppet Movie

This year marks the 40th-anniversary of The Muppets first big screen adventure, The Muppet Movie. Probably the single most popular part of the classic film, or possibly anything the Muppets have ever done, is its opening, when Kermit the Frog sings "Rainbow Connection" a song that would become an iconic part of Muppet history.

Seeing Kermit on that log in the swamp (with Jim Henson hiding behind it submerged in water), it was as if the little puppet was truly alive and singing for all of us. It's an absolutely magical scene. Adding to the magic, is the discovery that not only did Kermit perform the song in the movie, he also recorded the song in the studio himself...with Jim Henson's help, of course.

A new interview with Paul Williams, the writer of "Rainbow Connection." reveals that when the song was being recorded in the studio, Jim Henson started by simply performing the song himself in Kermit's voice. However, there was a feeling that something was missing. Williams tells Vanity Fair that somebody, he doesn't recall who, suggested that Kermit should give the song a try. Henson then took the Kermit the Frog puppet into the recording booth with him and performed the song with the world's most famous piece of green felt. According to Williams...

Kermit sang it brilliantly.

One can only imagine what this looked like to the people working on recording the song. Kermit the Frog himself, with Jim Henson standing behind him, really did sing "Rainbow Connection." Clearly, this was the thing that was missing. The recording would then be perfect, and would go on to inspire millions in The Muppet Movie.

The song has become a classic in its own right. The song has been covered by everybody from Willie Nelson to Sarah McLachlan to Gwen Stefani. However, there's really nothing quite like the original version.

The Muppet Movie would go on to be released in 1979, in what was the heyday of the Muppets. The Muppet Show was already a hit on television and the movie would go on to gross $65 million. Adjusted for inflation, it's still the highest grossing Muppet film ever made.

The Muppets still have a pretty solid fan base even though they've had a somewhat rough time of things lately. 2011's The Muppets was a return to form for Jim Henson's creations, but the follow up Muppets Most Wanted and The Muppets TV series failed to find an audience.

The word is that a new Muppets series is being planned for the Disney+ streaming service, though Disney, the owners of the Muppets since 2004, has yet to confirm the project.

June 22 marks the 40th-anniversary of the release of The Muppet Movie. The film will see a special theatrical re-release on July 25 and July 30 from Fathom Events.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.