WASHINGTON – The original Kermit the Frog, his body created with an old dull-green coat and his eyes made of Ping-Pong balls, has returned home to the nation’s capital, where the puppet got his start.

The first Kermit creation from Jim Henson’s Muppet’s collection appeared in 1955 on the early TV show “Sam and Friends,” produced at Washington’s WRC-TV. Henson’s widow Jane Henson on Wednesday donated 10 characters from the show to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

She said the original characters provided five minutes of fun each night after the local news.

“I think people realized that if you put Kermit’s face up there, it was just as powerful,” Jane Henson, 76, said. “We were mostly just doing it to entertain ourselves.”

The Hensons attended the University of Maryland and got into the TV business with Willard Scott and other pioneers while in college.

The Smithsonian already has a familiar Kermit the Frog puppet made famous on “Sesame Street” and “The Muppet Show.” But the original Kermit was more lizard-like, and a duller green. Some of the other early Muppets donated to the museum include the puppets that inspired Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch, as well as Sam from “Sam and Friends.”

British crooner will sing for pope Sept. 16

LONDON – British singing sensation Susan Boyle said Wednesday she feels humbled and honored by the opportunity to sing for Pope Benedict XVI during his tour of Britain.

The unlikely pop star who shot to global fame after she sang on the TV show “Britain’s Got Talent” will perform hymns and sing with an 800-strong choir at an open-air papal Mass in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park on Sept. 16, the Roman Catholic Church said.

Boyle, 49, will also sing “I Dreamed A Dream” from “Les Miserables.” Her rendition of the song on the talent show has been viewed millions of times on the Internet.

Judge orders Lohan to outpatient rehab


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – A judge on Wednesday ordered Lindsay Lohan to undergo a rigorous outpatient rehab program that will require frequent counseling but will permit the actress to continue working.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox ordered the “Mean Girls” star to undergo psychotherapy and addiction counseling sessions several times a week until November. He also ordered the 24-year-old to submit to random drug and alcohol testing. He said Lohan could be sent back to jail if she doesn’t comply. Fox laid out the terms of the actress’ early release from an inpatient rehab center during a 10-minute hearing, which Lohan did not attend.

Another judge had ordered Lohan to spend 90 days in rehab after a 14-day jail stay for violating probation in a 2007 drug and drunken driving case. Fox took over the case after another judge, Marsha Revel, recused herself.

No-show Ne-Yo must pay


BALTIMORE – A Maryland judge has ordered R&B singer Ne-Yo and his booking agent to pay more than $156,000 in damages because the performer failed to appear at a 2008 New Year’s Eve concert in Washington state.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Philip Caroom ordered the payment Tuesday after a four-day trial in late July and early August.

Promoter Kenyohn Clark sued Ne-Yo, whose real name is Shaffer Smith, and promoter Mike Esterman, who is based in Maryland.


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