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The Countess


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Countess von Backwards
Countess von Backwards
DEBUT 1977
PATTERN Large Lavender Live Hand

The Countess is the title held by Count von Count's lady friend on Sesame Street. In keeping with his numbers obsession, however, and as one of the only Sesame Street Muppets with an active love life, the Count has been involved with multiple countesses. The fact that each Countess uses the same pattern and resembles a feminized Count, and is generally listed as simply "The Countess" on albums, has generated confusion. However, at least three of them can be individualized -- "the Countess", Countess Dahling von Dahling and Countess von Backwards.

"The Countess"

The earliest known appearance of a Countess was in a 1977 episode. The Count is noted as having fallen in love with a "Countess" who loves to count. She reappears in another 1977 episode as the Count's fiancee, and the couple count the number of times he's asked her to marry him.[1] Here the Count addresses her as Natasha.

An unnamed Countess also appears in the song "Transylvania Love Call." Recorded in 1979, the album Love cites her name simply as "The Countess." Performed by Richard Hunt, she has been designated in subsequent albums as "A Great and Good Friend," suggestive of both their romantic relationship but perhaps also the Count's desire to keep her identity a secret, to avoid arousing jealousy from whichever Countess happens to be the current incumbent.

A Countess appeared in the song "Don't Take Your Ones to Town," lip-synching to Johnny Cash's narration (only speaking briefly in her own voice at the end). She has the lighter hair of Countess von Backwards, but the style of Countess Dahling von Dahling. A Countess, performed by Camille Bonora, appeared with The Count in Rock & Roll. Her hair was in the style of Countes Dahling von Dahling, but this one shared more similarities with Countess von Backwards, including lighter blonde hair, blue clothes, and her laughter being accompanied by a wolf howl.

Countess Dahling von Dahling

Countess Dahling von Dahling with Masha.

Countess Dahling von Dahling

Countess Dahling von Dahling debuted in Season 12,[2], specifically Episode 1447, and was performed by Brian Muehl. According to Sesame Street Unpaved, Fran Brill "plays her" and is quoted describing the character's personality, but with no explicit dates or performance details.[3] This Countess had a pet dog named Masha, who often helps her remember certain numbers, and sported a Marlene Dietrich-esque accent and allure. She is said to be the Count's 5th cousin and shares his counting affinity. However, when she finishes counting, it begins to rain. Counting backwards makes it stop.

One of her appearances was a musical insert set in a cabaret, where she demonstrated to the customers her ability to count forwards and backwards.

Countess von Backwards


The Count with Countess von Backwards and her mother.

The blonde Countess von Backwards first appeared on Sesame Street in the early 1990s performed by Fran Brill, and later by Camille Bonora in Season 28. As indicated by her name, her own obsession lies in counting backwards. When she's finished counting, the howl of a wolf can be heard, in contrast to the Count's thunder and lightning.

She started appearing regularly in "The Number of the Day" sketches with the Count beginning in Season 36.[4]

Her mother appeared on the show, and the two performed "I Could Have Counted All Night" with the Count. When the song was included on The Count's Countdown CD, she was identified simply as "The Countess."

Illustrated Countess


The Count and Countess count snowflakes in Friendly, Frosty Monsters.

A pink-haired Countess appeared in the 2007 book Friendly, Frosty Monsters, counting snowflakes with the Count.

Book appearances


  1. Children's Television Workshop Script Highlights. CTW archives, Box 52.
  2. Season 12 Press Kit, CTW Archives
  3. Borgenicht, David. Sesame Street Unpaved. p. 131
  4.'s character page

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