Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What's a Muppet Whatnot?

A Couple of Whatnots
Created on the FAO Schwarz Web Site

Are you a fan of the Muppets? With the advent of the Muppet Whatnot Workshop and kits, you can design and own your very own Muppet puppet!

What would the infamous Harry Met Sally scene in the restaurant be without the surprised on-looking patrons? How lonely and large Hogwart’s Great Hall would look if it were only the lead actors sitting to eat their feasts. Wouldn’t Dorothy, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow have been disappointed if there were no citizens of Emerald City to greet them when they finally arrived?

Luckily, Sally has her audience, Harry has his peers, and Dorothy and her friends are greeted warmly and exuberantly by the entire population of Emerald City. That is the magic of extras, actors hired to fill in the world created by filmmakers.

Identifying a Muppet Whatnot

In a Muppet production, the extras work under a different name. These “zany-looking” creatures are known as Whatnots. The lexical definition of “whatnot,” as defined by the Colllins English Dictionary, is “informal unspecified assorted material,” and that’s how you know when you’re looking at one: They’re a bit “unspecified.”

If you’ve ever seen a Muppet production, like The Muppet Movie, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock or the most recent The Muppets, you’ve seen hundreds of these colorful and fuzzy actors. They add color and texture to every scene in which they appear. They sing, they dance, they cause a little trouble. However, according to Kermit the Frog, as quoted on the FAO Schwartz Web site, something a Whatnot should never do is “get between Miss Piggy and the camera.”

Where to Find A Muppet Whatnot

FAO Schwartz, the famous toy store located in lower Manhattan, features a Muppet Whatnot Workshop. Although the exciting benefit of creating one of these puppets in store is that it’s a hands-on experience in one of the greatest and most well-known toy stores in the world, fans of Muppets can also design their own creations at the FAO Schwartz online Muppet Whatnot Workshop, or they can even purchase Muppet Whatnot Kits, which contain a selection of interchangeable body parts.

When creating a Muppet Whatnot in the online workshop, a creator has three body shape options, thirteen eye options, thirteen noses to choose from, twenty-three options for hair, and a variety of costumes and outfits. Online design options appear, and online shoppers can customize their Whatnots and see a final price before the final project is placed in the shopping bag. A different option is purchasing a Muppet Whatnot Kit, which comes with a variety of parts. The least expensive option is the Whatnot Vinyl Cling Kit.

Showing Off an Original Creation

For even more involvement, fans of Muppet Whatnots, or makers of original designs, can find more Whatnot fun at the Facebook fan page, WHATNOT NATION, dedicated to the puppet creations. Group members can upload photos, share stories and ideas, and share their love of Muppets.

No matter a shopper’s location or budget, there are many options for designing, purchasing, and sharing his or her own “zany-looking” movie extra. More importantly, as an original creation, the shopper is sure to be pleased with the results.


  • FAO Schwartz (n.d.). The Muppet Whatnot Workshop. Retrieved from
  • whatnot. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved January 12, 2012, from website:

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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