Original Appearances: Purina Dog Chow commercials in 1962.
Other Appearances: The Jimmy Dean Show, The Muppet Show, all the Muppet Movies, Muppets Tonight.
Biography: In 1962, Jim Henson designed and Don Sahlin built Rowlf for Purina Dog Chow commercials, which he co-starred opposite Baskerville the Hound. From 1963 to 1966, Rowlf was the sidekick to Jimmy Dean on the singer's self-titled show. Dean has said that Rowlf received two thousand fan letters a week! In 1968, Rowlf and Kermit the Frog were in the pitch reel for Sesame Street, but only appeared in one filmed segment of the final series. In 1976, Rowlf became part of the cast of The Muppet Show as the band's pianist, as well as portraying Dr. Bob on “Veterinarians' Hospital” (the continuing stooooooory about a quack that's gone to the dogs). Rowlf's character biography was provided in The Muppet Movie, where Kermit discovered Rowlf playing piano at a bar, after which he joined the frog on his trek to Hollywood. 1984's The Muppets Take Manhattan featured a Baby Rowlf during a musical number, one of the many Muppets portrayed as babies – this led to the Muppet Babies cartoon spinoff. Since then, Rowlf has appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1990 (the last time Henson would perform Rowlf), and was then retired for several years until 1996, when Bill Barretta took over performing Rowlf with the second episode of Muppets Tonight. He's continued to appear infrequently in other Muppet projects until the 2011's The Muppets, when he resumed his former larger role in Muppet doings. One of the Rowlf's, possibly the original one, is on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.
Powers: None, unless you consider a dog playing piano, talking, singing and dancing a power!
Group Affiliation: The Muppets
Miscellaneous: Rowlf actually has his own CD, Ol' Brown Ears is Back, recorded by Jim Henson in 1984 but not released until 1993. Rowlf was always one of my favorite of the Muppets.