The Muppets, branded as Disney's The Muppets since 2004, are a group of sketch comedy variety puppet characters known for their absurdist, burlesque and self-referential humor. Created in 1955 by Jim Henson, they are the namesake for the Disney media franchise that encompasses films, television series, music recordings, print publications, and other media associated with The Muppet Show characters.
The Muppets were the crux of multiple television series and films including; The Muppet Show (1976-1981), The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). After Henson's death in 1990, The Muppets continued their presence in television and cinema with Muppets Tonight (1996-98), a series continuation of The Muppet Show and three films, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), Muppets From Space (1999), the former two were co-produced with Disney, who sought to acquire the characters since the late 1980s. In 2004, The Walt Disney Company purchased the rights to The Muppets, and later formed The Muppets Studio, a division created specifically for managing The Muppets franchise.