Google Doodle Celebrates Jim Henson’s 75th Birthday

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Courtesy Google

The puppetmaster passed away in 1990, but his iconic puppets will live on forever. And now they’re immortalized in Google’s Doodle.

The puppets Jim Henson dreamt up are truly timeless. Countless children have grown up with his cute puppet creations on Sesame Street and The Muppets. From the adorable Kermit the Frog and Rowlf the Dog, to the more gruff (but still equally loveable) ones like Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster, Henson had his hand in – and some quite literally, as a puppetmaster – creating years of entertaining and educational television for kids.

September 24th marks the date Jim Henson would have turned 75 years young. And his furry friends are prominently displayed on Google’s homepage to help commemorate his legacy.

(PHOTOS: A Decade of Google Doodles)

Saturday’s Doodle features six adorable Muppet-like monsters that take the form – and colors – of the Google logo. Click on them, or simply move your mouse near, and they’ll respond as if you were the actual puppeteer. Keep clicking to see their different expressions – and here’s a hint: try to get the far-right Muppet to chow down on his long-necked friend next-door. Fair warning: it’s an addictive Doodle. Some fans have even created a sort of puppet karaoke.

And Saturday’s Doodle is a major upgrade to Google’s arsenal. The search engine is lauded for its innovative Doodles marking anniversaries and birthdays throughout history. It’s an endeavor that kicked off in 1999 with Google’s founders tweaking their logo in celebration. What was once just a photo overlay has turned into quite a production, featuring in recent months a playable guitar for Les Paul’s birthday and a snazzy video tribute to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. But today’s, which uses emerging web technology HTML5 to control the puppets, is one of the most advanced to date.

But rest assured a computer mouse will never replace the actual hand of a puppetmaster. Thanks for the lovable legacy, Mr. Henson.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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