A young Jim Henson working on Kermit the Frog in 1955. The original Kermit was made out of an old coat belonging to Henson's mother and ping pong balls for his eyes.
When master puppeteer Jim Henson wanted to create a new character for the Sam and Friends TV show in 1955, he made his own hand-held puppet using green fabric from a spring coat his mother planned to throw away. Henson thought it was a good reptilian color. For the eyes of his puppet, Henson cut a ping pong ball in half. Early on, it was not clear what type of animal it was supposed to be, but Henson tweaked the design to make it more frog-like. But he needed a name. After he named his character Kermit the Frog, folks began to wonder where the name came from. It turns out that Henson knew a surprisingly large number of people named Kermit, from a childhood friend to a TV station’s sound engineer to a Sesame Street designer. Henson, however, denied that any of them were the inspiration for Kermit the Frog.