Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Dr. Julius Strangepork

WMW Strangepork

Today’s post was written by Maxwell Jessop. If you would like to submit a Weekly Muppet Wednesdays post, contact Ryan Dosier at muppetmindset@gmail.com!


Performed by…Strangepork
Jerry Nelson (1977-1997)
Matt Vogel (2009-present)

First appearance…
The Muppet Show Episode 203: Milton Berle (1977)

Most recent appearance…
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Best known role…
Resident scientist and inventor on the S.S. Swinetrek

Dr. Julius Strangepork is the elderly pig scientist aboard the S.S. Swinetrek in the popular recurring sketch “Pigs in Space” on The Muppet Show. His jobs on the ship range from routine repair work to offering diagnostics on planets. Strangepork also made several odd inventions that, unintentionally, backfire on the crew.

The German-accented swine, while mostly appearing in “Pigs in Space” sketches, appeared in other places as well. He appeared as a rural-accented smoker in the chorus of “Cigarettes and Whiskey” with Peter Sellers, as Fritz, a murdered director in the murder mystery plot in the Liza Minnelli episode, and frequently appeared onstage as a pig chorus member.

Aside from his roles on The Muppet Show, Strangepork made non-speaking cameos in many of the Muppet movies. In The Muppet Christmas Carol, he did have a speaking role, as one of Nephew Fred’s party guests. He was also seen in animated form on the short-lived Little Muppet Monsters series during the Pigs in Space segments.

On Muppets Tonight, Strangepork made an appearance in another pig-themed sketch, “Bay of Pigswatch,” as a beach commissioner. He was credited in this sketch as a “special guest.” Following this, Strangepork faded to obscurity, much like Link Hogthrob. Though, in 2009, he made a silent comeback in the viral YouTube video, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This marked his first appearance in over a decade. In addition to the video, Strangepork was featured in every issue of The Muppet Show Comic Book and also was seen in The Muppets.

In 2003, Palisades Toys released an action figure of Dr. Strangepork in Series 4 of their Muppets action figure line. Much later, in 2011, Disney Parks released a Vinylmation figure of Dr. Strangepork in their Muppets Series 2 line of collectible Vinyl figures. A no longer used puppet of Strangepork currently resides at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, alongside Link Hogthrob.

Here is a list of Strangepork’s starring or standout roles in “Pigs in Space.”

  • Strangepork activates the Electric Toaster (Episode 303: Roy Clark)
  • Strangepork invents the Disolvatron (Episode 307: Alice Cooper)
  • Strangepork switches bodies with Janice (Episode 314: Harry Belafonte)
  • Strangepork makes an invisible pill (Episode 324: Cheryl Ladd)

Why do the Muppets need Dr. Strangepork? Well, for starters, Pigs in Space is probably the most memorable sketch from The Muppet Show. So what is Pigs in Space without their scientist? He provides wacky inventions, helps when Link is too dumb (which is almost always), and makes the Swinetrek just the slightest bit more civilized. So, long paragraph short, the Muppets need Strangepork to help out at the Swinetrek.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

One thought on “Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Dr. Julius Strangepork

  1. Muppets are distinguished from ventriloquist “dummies”/”puppets”, which are typically animated only in the head and face, in that their arms or other features are also mobile and expressive. Muppets are typically made of softer materials. They are also presented as being independent of the puppeteer, who is usually not visible—hidden behind a set or outside of the camera frame. Using the camera frame as the “stage” was an innovation of the Muppets. Previously on television, there would typically be a stage hiding the performers, as if in a live presentation. Sometimes they are seen full-bodied. This is done by using invisible strings to move the characters' bodies and mouths, and then adding the voices later.

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