Created by Jim Henson in 1955, the Muppets originated in the short-form television series Sam and Friends, which aired from 1955 to 1961. Following appearances on late night talk shows and in advertising during the 1960s, the Muppets began appearing on Sesame Street and attained celebrity status and international recognition through The Muppet Show (1976–1981), which received four Primetime Emmy Awards and twenty-one nominations during its five-year run.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the Muppets diversified into theatrical films. Disney began involvement with them in the late 1980s, during which Henson entered negotiations to sell The Jim Henson Company. The Muppets continued their media presence on television and three films.
Disney acquired the Muppets in February 2004, allowing the characters to gain broader public exposure than in previous years. In their six-decade career, the Muppets have been regarded as a staple of the entertainment industry and popular culture in the United States and English-speaking area generally, being recognized by various cultural institutions and organizations.