In 1963 things were really beginning to take off for Rowlf.
After a false start recording several commercials for Purina Dog Food, he was put in the cupboard and almost forgotten.
But when his owner was invited to do a skit on The Jimmy Dean Show, Rowlf was brought back in for a second shot at stardom.
On that first show, Rowlf performed ‘Moon River’.
It went well. A solid performance.
But when it came to interacting with the host, Jimmy Dean, Rowlf really found his flow.
He was a natural and set the cameras alight.
His owner was pleased.
He imagined Rowlf would become a great star.
At this point, Rowlf had little idea that a relatively abstract green sock would soon eclipse him.
Don’t be precious with your ideas
I didn’t say:
Rowlf is a piano playing dog. He can sing too.
Oh, and he’s a puppet.
Rowlf’s owner/creator was a guy called Jim Henson.
You know Jim Henson.
Even if you don’t think you do – you do.
He’s the mastermind behind The Muppets. He’s the creator of iconic characters such as Miss Piggy, the Cookie Monster and the maniac entertainer, Gonzo.
He also created Kermit the Frog.
Today, most of us know Rowlf…
We ALL know Kermit.
But interestingly, when Henson first created The Muppets, he imagined it would be Rowlf who would become the front man.
Rowlf’s appearances on The Jimmy Dean Show were a hit. Together with his puppet-genius sidekick, Frank Oz, Jim ran with the character for many seasons. And he got paid handsomely in the process.
However, as the Muppets evolved, Rowlf would take more of a supporting role.
The history of the Muppets – and all of Jim’s creations – is fascinating and if you’re interested, you should most definitely read Brian Jay Jones’ biography of Henson.
As you know, eventually, it was Kermit who came to take top billing.
Despite Rowlf connecting well with audiences…
Kermit connected better.
Henson loved Rowlf. But at the same time, Henson was an astute businessman. He understood you shouldn’t be too precious with your ideas.
Sometimes your favourite idea isn’t the one your audience likes best.
When you test ideas and pitch them to people, it’s important to listen to the feedback and watch for reactions.
If the audience like the same idea you like, great.
But if they prefer another of your ideas, perhaps one you weren’t sure about when you wrote it down, that’s fine.
Run with the one they like.
It reminds me of something the successful financial publisher, Addison Wiggin, often says:
“Let your winners run.”
It’s simple advice. But effective.
It doesn’t mean your favourite idea is dead: Rowlf is still a popular Muppet.
It’s just that Kermit attracts a bigger audience.
So, you could say: let your Kermits run.
Do so and you’ll not only be more successful, your Kermits will give you the freedom to create and test more Rowlfs.
P.S. The mad as a fish Amazon algorithm now has my book at just 957 pence. It’s a bargain. So, if you’ve not picked up a copy yet – now is a great time to do so.
The lovely feedback keeps coming in and I’m so grateful to every reader of these emails who has taken the time to review it positively on Amazon.