''Sam and Friends'' was the first television show to feature Franchise/TheMuppets. It ran from May 9, 1955, to December 15, 1961 on WRC, NBC's owned-and-operated station in Washington, D.C. This was where Creator/JimHenson invented the idea of using the camera's viewpoint to make a television show with puppets more than just a filmed puppet show: there was no need to hide the performers as long as they were out of camera range, enabling the puppets to be filmed just like live actors.

Sam's friends included Yorick, Harry the Hipster, and a character named Kermit who would go on to bigger things.
!!This show provides examples of:

* BigEater: Yorick will eat almost anything, including his co-stars.
* BreakoutCharacter: Kermit eventually became the face of the franchise.
* CastOfSnowflakes: It even includes a mannequin as the title character, [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness unusually for the Muppets]].
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** This was the first appearance of Kermit the ... nondescript lizard thing. He didn't become a frog until some years after this show ended.
** Jim Henson wasn't comfortable voicing puppets yet, so the early run of the show was segments synced to novelty records.
%%* EnforcedPlug: Esskay Meats.
* ParodyAssistance: When Creator/StanFreberg saw how Henson was having puppets lip-sync to his records on ''Sam and Friends'', he not only gave full approval, he also cameoed in one episode to complain about them using his records (only for Kermit to whack him with a baseball bat).
* ParodyEpisode:
** "Powder-Burn" is a parody of ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}''.
** "Poison to Poison" is a parody of the TalkShow ''Person to Person''.
* ProtagonistAndFriends
* RepeatAfterMe: One of the surviving episodes has a group of the Muppets acting out a Creator/StanFreberg sketch in which a choir director (played by Kermit) is prompting the choir with the words for "I've Got You Under My Skin", and they follow along faithfully when he starts forgetting the words himself.
-->'''Kermit:''' "I said to myself, this affair..."\\
'''Choir:''' ''I said to myself this affair''\\
'''Kermit:''' Oh darn it, what are those words?\\
'''Choir:''' ''Oh darn it what are those words''
* ShoutOut: Yorick of the skull-like head is named after the PosthumousCharacter in ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' whose skull Hamlet monologues to.
* TrashTheSet: In the final episode, Kermit and Harry blow up all the scenery and equipment since they won't need it anymore.