The Jim Henson Company was founded all the way back in 1958 but was bought out by Disney in 2004. So merchandise that is marked Henson Associates, such as this one, is more valuable to collectors. They represent a time when things were more creative for the company, a time when the characters were being developed and grown.
Fozzie Bear was voiced by Frank Oz. Fozzie is a comedian (although that is debatable) and a bear. It’s hard to imagine just why he isn’t more successful with that combination!
This mug has a higher level of detail than mugs released later. His fur really stands out and the expression on his face is happy and inviting. His signature Porkpie Hat and polka dot bowtie are also well rendered.
I really believe that these face mugs should be for display only. If you look inside you can see all sorts of indentations and crevices that would be hard to clean. Some may use them to sip their morning coffee, but I prefer to display them on a shelf.
This mug was Made in Japan by Sigma the Tastesetter. Interesting tagline. And you can see the Henson branding clearly engraved as well. Henson Associates was the designation of the production company for Henson from 1979 to 1986. So this mug would have been released within that 7-year period.
For informational purposes, These are the other Production Company designations with their years:
Muppets Inc.: 1965-1969
Henson Associates: 1979-1986
Jim Henson Productions: 1990-1996
Jim Henson Pictures: 1997-2003
The Jim Henson Company: 2004-Present (Under Disney)
This should help you to date your Muppet collectibles in the future. It may seem obvious to simply check when the character was active, for example, Fozzie was on the Muppet show from 1977-1981, but he has starred in other vehicles and shows, so that wouldn’t be definitive. Also, merchandise is re-released and recycled long after a show is cancelled, especially if the character is well loved.
Now I would like to leave you with the most intelligent thing Fozzie Bear has ever uttered. It has inspired millions and I hope it inspires you as well. Ready?
FUN FACTS: Did you know that Fozzie Bear only said ‘Wocka Wocka’ once on the original Muppet Show, but it became his signature catchphrase only after the first Muppet Movie? Other famous Muppet catchphrases are Kermit’s ‘Hi-Ho!’ and Miss Piggy’s ‘Kissy Kissy’.