The Christmas Toy
1998 VHS cover to the special
Also known asThe Muppets Christmas Toy
Based onKermit the Frog
by Jim Henson
Written byLaura Phillips
Directed byEric Till
StarringDave Goelz
Steve Whitmire
Kathryn Mullen
Jerry Nelson
Richard Hunt
Camille Bonora
Jack Riley
Jim Henson
Music byJeff Moss
Dick Lieb
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerDiana Birkenfield
ProducersJim Henson
Martin G. Baker
Production locationToronto
EditorGeoff Craigen
Running time50 minutes
Production companyHenson Associates
Original release
ReleaseDecember 6, 1986 (1986-12-06)

The Christmas Toy is a 1986 television film directed by Eric Till and produced by The Jim Henson Company, featuring Jim Henson's Muppets, including Rugby the Tiger who remembers how he was the Christmas Toy last year, and thinks he is going to be unwrapped again this year. The film, which originally aired on December 6, 1986, on ABC, was sponsored by Kraft Foods.[1]

Originally introduced by Kermit the Frog, it was released on VHS format in 1993. In 2008, HIT Entertainment (distributed by Lionsgate) released the special on DVD but edited out Kermit's opening introduction due to legal issues with The Walt Disney Company, the owner of Kermit the Frog since 2004. When it was released on Amazon Prime, Kermit's scenes were reinstated. Many have noted the similarities between this film and Toy Story, which released in 1995.

The film later inspired a spin-off television series titled Secret Life of Toys (1994).[2]


When people are not around, the toys still play in the playroom. But since a toy will be frozen forever if a person catches it out of position, they have to be very careful. It is Christmas Eve, and Rugby the Tiger remembers how he was the favorite Christmas toy last year and wants to be the favorite again this year, not be replaced by another toy. However, he does not realize that if Jamie unwrapped him again this year, she would see him out of his normal place that she usually puts him, and he would be frozen forever. Mew, the cat's toy mouse, follows him out of the playroom to help him after informing the other toys that Rugby left.

Meanwhile, Apple the Doll, whom Rugby supplanted as favorite toy, leads a group of toys out of the playroom to rescue Rugby. Once they meet up with him in the living room, Apple tries to tell him what Christmas is really about. But Rugby refuses to believe her and tries to get into the Christmas package and lets loose Meteora, Queen of the Asteroids, who does not know she is a toy, and thinks she has landed among aliens. The other toys must get Rugby out of the box and Meteora back in it before they are found and frozen forever.

But Mew is caught, and frozen. Only then does Rugby realize what a good friend Mew has been to him, and how selfishly he has been acting. Rugby sings, telling Mew how much he cares for him. This brings Mew back to life, and then the other toys also know how to revive their other frozen friends.[3]

On the morning of Christmas Day, Jamie and Jesse enjoy their new toys alongside their current toys. While the kids are away, the toys sing "Together at Christmas". Kermit joins in at the end of the special.

Featured cast

Actor Role
Marsha Moreau Jamie Jones
Zachary Bennett Jesse Jones
Diana Birkenfield Mrs. Jones
Jack Riley Mr. Jones

Muppet performers

Actor Role
Dave Goelz Rugby Tiger, Ditz
Steve Whitmire Mew, Dauntless Dragon
Kathryn Mullen Apple
Jerry Nelson Balthazar
Richard Hunt Belmont
Camille Bonora Meteora, Molly Jones (voice)
Brian Henson Cruiser
Rob Mills Bleep
Nikki Tilroe Ding-a-ling
Jim Henson Jack-in-the-Box, Kermit the Frog (uncredited)

See also


  1. ^ "A Sleighful Of Christmas Specials". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  2. ^ "TV REVIEWS: Muppets Come to Life in 'Toys'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  3. ^ The Christmas Toy presents the darkest holiday of Jim Henson's career The AV Club retrieved November 15, 2014

The Christmas Toy on Muppet Wiki