The Muppets are puppet characters created by Jim Henson. The characters include Kermit the Frog and the cast of Sesame Street. Jim Henson started work with the Muppets in the 1950's and continued until his death in 1990. The Muppets are currently owned by The Walt Disney Company. The term "muppet" is trademarked and owned by The Walt Disney Company. Puppets used in Sesame Street are still called muppets at times, and have special permission to use that name from The Walt Disney Company.
Jim Henson said the name "muppet" came from combining the words "puppet" and "marionette," but he also said that he just liked the way the word sounded. There is no defined difference between a muppet and a puppet other than the link to Jim Henson. Many of Jim Henson's muppets have large eyes, round noses, and large mouths that go from one end of the face to the other (almost ear to ear). Muppets are often made out of foam with felt on top. Puppeteers usually control the muppet with one hand in the head and the other hand controls the muppets arms. Sometimes the arms have a stick that is used to move the hand and arm - this is called the "arm rod." Puppeteers hold the arm rod at one end and the other end touches the muppet hand. Some muppets have hands that are gloves. Puppeteers put their hands in the gloves of these muppets so the muppet can move its fingers. For this reason, most muppets appear to favor their left hands.
In 1957, Disney met Muppets creator Jim Henson, and they started out by creating the early Muppet characters with many similarities to Walt's Mickey Mouse, notably Kermit the Frog. They appeared in Muppet Magic on The Ed Sullivan Show between 1958 and 1962.