I’ve been thinking about Doglion. You know Doglion, right? He’s this monster:
He was seen on The Muppet Show several times, often alongside other full-body monsters like Sweetums. Actually, here’s a funny story: When I was a little kid, I had this book called Muppet Madness, which included a comic strip called “Kemirella” with Kermit as Cinderella. Kermirella’s wicked stepbrothers are played by Sweetums and Doglion, so for a long time I assumed that Sweetums and Doglion were officially brothers!
HA! Isn’t that funny?
Okay, you’re right. It’s not funny.
Anyway, the name “Doglion” is interesting, isn’t it? It conjures up images of a creature that’s half dog, half lion. A king of the jungle that fetches your slippers, perhaps.
But here’s a question I shout out at the top of my lungs every time I see Doglion: “Does he really look like a dog and/or a lion?”
Muppet Wiki’s page for Doglion includes a photo of an early concept sketch, with an approximation of Doglion and handwritten notes that say “Jim wants you to make a doggish thing.” I’m not actually sure where this sketch is today. It’s probably in a museum. Or in a private collection. Or maybe on somebody’s refrigerator. I wish it were on my refrigerator, but all I have on my refrigerator is expired coupons for Carl’s Jr.
Okay, so the instructions say “a doggish thing” but not “a lionish thing,” which indicates that the original idea was that this monster would be primarily doglike. In this concept sketch, he has a face that somewhat resembles that of a pug. And so does the finished puppet, but the puppet also has a big nose, which makes him look less like a pug, unless that pug was a circus clown.
So where’s the lion in Doglion? Well, if we return to the puppet as we know and love him, he has a shaggy mane around his face, which is certainly lionish. Oh, wait! There’s a word for something that’s reminiscent of a lion: LEONINE! Doglion has a LEONINE mane! Yeah!
But that’s really his only leonine quality. Except maybe… his teeth? Do lions have long teeth like that?
Yikes, yes they do! Although Doglion’s are pretty thick. Those protruding teeth make him look more like a walrus than a dog or a lion. Hey, what if they had named him Dogwalrus? Or Walruslion? Wow, that would change everything!
Okay, so he has some things in common with dogs and lions. But you know what else he has? Horns! The guy has two curvy horns growing out of his head! I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but neither dogs nor lions have horns.
What kind of animal has horns like that? Goats, I guess. So maybe they should have called him Goatdoglion. Heh.
Sometimes those horns make it look like he’s wearing a Viking helmet. Don’t they? Or is that just me?
It’s always a good time when Doglion shows up in a Muppet thing. Remember when he did a ballet with Lesley Ann Warren? Or when he did the “Beautiful Day” sketch with Madeline Kahn? Or when he danced with Paula Abdul on Muppets Tonight? I remember!
But that’s not all! He’s also the FIRST Muppet to appear onscreen in the FIRST-ever Muppet movie, thanks to his presence in the FIRST shot of The Muppet Movie! He’s a movie star! (I’m also a big fan of the joke in the screening room a few minutes later when he asks “Is this seat taken?” and then physically takes a seat away.)
And he once got his own toy! Palisades Toys made a little Doglion as part of their Mini Muppets line, and he’s nifty! Here’s my Doglion hanging out with my Dexter Jettster from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
And an ostrich. There’s also an ostrich in the picture.
Isn’t that cool? Doglion was such a special Muppet that they made a toy of him! And sure, Palisades made toys of a lot of Muppets, but they didn’t make toys of ALL the Muppet monsters! They never made the Mutations, or Timmy Monster, or Mean Mama, or Behemoth! But Doglion was important enough that he made the cut.
But despite all his many achievements, Doglion has never been a favorite amongst the general public. He’s decidedly not as famous as his
brother friend Sweetums. This is almost certainly because he’s never had a consistent performer, or even a clearly defined personality. He’s just one of the monsters. He’s large, shaggy, sometimes destructive… and that’s about it.
And that’s okay. He’s a good monster. When the Muppets need him, he shows up and gets the job done. He’s a reliable part of the ensemble.
But I bet he gets tired of people asking him, “Hey, are you from Where the Wild Things Are?”
Thanks as always to Muppet Wiki for images! Click here to praise Doglion on the Tough Pigs forum!
by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com