Barrio Sésamo is the Spanish Sesame Street co-production (literally Sesame Neighborhood). There have been three different versions of the show, beginning in the late 70s and running on and off through 2000.
First run: Late 70s
The show originally aired in Spain in the late 70s, as a dubbed version of the American Sesame Street. In 1979, they created their own characters -- Caponata, an orange, purple and yellow bird with curly pink hair (a full-body Muppet and counterpart to Big Bird), and Perezgil, a green snail with glasses (this character is permanently set on a wall) -- while retaining the American characters (Ernie and Bert, Kermit and Grover, etc.) for inserts.
American Muppets were renamed so that Spanish-speaking child audiences would not get confused with English writing norms. A list of Spanish names is provided below.
The original show wasn't successful, and it was cancelled in 1980.
Second run: 1983 - 1987
From 1981 to 1983, a different children's program on Spanish television, La Cometa Blanca, included some sketches from Sesame Street. This program, was directed by Muppet fan Lolo Rico. It also featured some actors which would later appear in Barrio Sésamo, mainly Mari Luz Olier, Alfonso Vallejo and the child-actress Ruth Gabriel (then known as Ruth Abellán).
The Sesame Street sketches were successful with their young audience, so Sesame Street was given another chance in 1983 with Espinete (a hedgehog) and Don Pimpón (a friendly monster). Both characters were full-body Muppets. A Human character who gained notoriety within this version was Chema, an adult baker. Also Ana (a young student), Julían (a kiosk selsman), two children (Roberto and Ruth, with their parents Matilde and Antonio. Again, it retained American Muppet inserts. The show only aired until 1987, although it's still famous and loved by the generation that watched it.
It was replaced by a similar series, Los mundos de Yupi (Yupi's Worlds), which featured Spanish puppets. Actor Alfonso Vallejo, who performed Don Pimpón on Barrio Sésamo, was cast as Astrako -- a non-puppet character in a Buzz Lightyear-like spacesuit with a personality that was much like Don Pimpón. Yupi was a Muppet-like alien, and two Ernie and Bert-style astronauts were also featured. Los Mundos de Yupi lasted from 1988 to 1990.
The series was cancelled after its third season, but was not replaced with Barrio Sésamo. The third run of Barrio Sésamo on Spanish TV would not take place until 1996.
Third run: 1996 - 2000
In 1996, the show returned with more new characters: Bluki (a blue full-body catlike Muppet), Vera (a yellow monster), Bubo (an owl) and Gaspar (a human Muppet). Additional characters that made occasional appearances included a wild monster with red fur and a healthy appetite - portraying a role similar to Cookie Monster's - and a tan Anything Muppet that could be turned into various different characters (such as a baby, a girl friend of Vera's, a clumsy man with a moustache, or a pig).
Spanish names for American Muppets
American muppets were renamed for Spanish scenes, being their names in Spanish (including notes in parenthesis if needed):
- Kermit: La Rana Gustavo ("Gustaf the Frog")
- Ernie: Epi
- Bert: Blas
- Grover: Coco (Later, slang for "brain")
- Cookie Monster: Triqui, el monstruo de las galletas ("Treekee, the Cookiee Monster")
- Count von Count: El Conde Draco ("Count Draco", because of phonetic similitude with "Dracoo-la")
- Oscar the Grouch: Óscar el Gruñón ("Oscar the Grumpy")
- Big Bird: Paco Pico ("Fred Beak"), although Big Bird only appeared in dubbed versions of video releases
- Guy Smiley: Pepe Sonrisas ("Joe Smiles")
- Twiddlebugs: Los Nabucodonosorcitos ("The Little Nabucodonosor's", for king Nebuchadrezzar II the Great of Babylon, called Nabucodonosor in Spanish)
Original Cast (1979-1980)
Second Series Cast (1983-1987)
- José E. Camacho as Antonio
- Isabel Castro as Ana
- Cristina Higueras as Cristina
- Mari Luz Olier as Matilde
- José Riesgo as Julián
- Jesús Ruyman as Jesús
- Juan Ramón Sánchez as Chema the baker
- Toni Sevilla as Desi
- Carmelo Espinosa as various persons
- Iñaki Echevarría as various persons
- Antonio Alfonso
- Maria Luisa Bernal
- Elvira Menéndez
- Alfonso Castizo
- Encarna Abad
- Susana Osuna as Susana
- Francisco Javier as Frank
- Ruth Abellán as Ruth
- Roberto Mayor as Roberto
- Monica Diaz as Monica
- Francisco Sánchez as blond little boy
Third Series Cast (1996-2000)
- Miquel Àngel Ripeu as Sulimán the vegetable salesman
- Imma Colomer as Emma
- Sergi Calleja as Basilio
- Rubén Ametllé as Ramón
- ? as Eduardo the carpenter
- Toni Sevilla as Dasi who works with her spouse in a hotel
- ? as Amanda who works with her husband in a hotel
- ? as Bastian the cookery salesman