The Federal Republic of Germany, or the Bundesrepublik Deutschland in German, is a country in central Europe. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Within its borders are a portion of the Alps mountains, the famous Rhine river, and the Black Forest.
Germany is a democratic parliamentary federal republic, made up of 16 states, which in certain spheres act independently of the federation. Historically consisting of several sovereign nations with their own history, language (distinct dialects), culture and religion, Germany was unified as a nation state during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870/1871.
Germany is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, the G8 and the G4 nations, and is a founding member of the European Union. It is the European Union's most populous and most economically powerful member state. Germany's current leader and also its first woman to become chancellor (the head of government) is Angela Merkel, who was elected in 2005.
The German language is one of the world's major languages. It is spoken by more than 120 million people in 38 countries of the world. It is — like English, Spanish and French — a pluricentric language with Germany, Austria and Switzerland as the three main centers of usage. Therefore, the following Muppet co-productions aired in all three countries:
- Sesamstrasse is the German-language, and first international co-production of Sesame Street. It began to air as a dubbed version in 1973, and received its first German set and puppets in 1977. The show is being produced in Hamburg.
- Die Muppet Show is the German-language co-production of The Muppet Show, which featured one German guest star for English speaking audiences, Elke Sommer, and a second one for German audiences: Mary Roos, who appeared in a locally altered version of episode 121 in 1977.
- Die Fraggles is the German-language co-production of Fraggle Rock, featuring its own Doc, debuting in 1983. The German segments were produced near Munich.
- In 1994 The Secret Life of Toys was shot in Monheim, Germany, as a co-production between Jim Henson Productions, BBC, WDR (West German Broadcast), and Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen (the North Rhine Westfalia Film Foundation). It aired in Germany as Die Spielzeugbande ("The Toy Gang") in 1997.
- For Sesamstrasse's 30th anniversary special in 2003, Ernie and Bert were shipped to Germany to make special appearances not only on the special, but every now and then throughout the coming seasons. The Elmo puppet was used on promotional photos, but not during the actual show. Kevin Clash brought the puppet along, while overseeing the training of Ernie and Bert's German Muppeteers. A Little Bird, and other Sesame Street puppets have also made sporadic appearances from Sesamstrasse's 30th season onward.
- Eine Möhre für Zwei, the first German Sesame spin-off show, was produced in Hamburg in 2010. A second season followed in 2011, and a third season is about to begin production in early 2012.
German language dubs
- Most theatrical Muppet movies, a number of Television specials and a few direct-to-video productions were released or aired dubbed in Germany.
- The German dub of Muppet Babies debuted in 1987.
- Die Dinos, the German dub of Dinosaurs debuted in 1993.
- The animated Fraggle Rock spin-off also aired as simply Die Fraggles in Germany.
- The German dub of Dog City debuted in 1995.
- Jim Hensons Animal Show mit Stinky und Jake, the German dub of The Animal Show debuted in 1995.
- Der Bär im grossen blauen Haus, the German dub of Bear in the Big Blue House debuted in 2000.
- Farscape - Verschollen im All (Farscape - Lost in Space), the German dub of Farscape debuted in 2000.
- In 1961, Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl were invited to perform at the US Agriculture's Food Fair in Hamburg, Germany.
- The variety show Peter Alexander präsentiert Spezialitäten aired two specials taped on the original sets of Sesame Street (1975) and The Muppet Show (1977) to promote the German dubs of each show.
- In 1984, Uncle Traveling Matt; still stunned from his visit to the city of Hamburg's red-light district St. Pauli - Reeperbahn; appeared on the children's show Große Show für kleine Leute on ZDF to promote the theatrical release of Die Muppets erobern Manhattan, presenting a clip from the movie as well ("I'm Gonna Always Love You").
- In May of 2005, Kermit the Frog appeared in a BMW commercial, exclusively shot in South Africa for the German market. The commercial was later dubbed for other European markets.
- In early 2006, Kermit the Frog appeared in an ad for Adidas to promote their Adicolor line, shot in winterly Berlin. For the 4:30 min promo he visited the Brandenburg Gate, adored the Berlin Wall, took a test run at the Olympic Stadium, mused about the arts at the Adicolor Studios, and attended Berlin Fashion Week on January 29, 2006.
- Ernie appeared on nachtmagazin to comment on Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary, as reports from the Sesame Street Day event were shown.
- Sesamstrasse characters Samson, Rumpel and Finchen have made multiple appearances both on German TV and in front of live audiences over the decades. Along with Ernie and Bert, Samson regularly appears at the KI.KA Sommer Tour.
- In October 2010, Elmo and Rosita attended the "USO - Elmo & Rosita Education Tour - Germany 2010" as part of the USO Experience for Military Families, appearing at multiple events on US American military bases in Germany.
- On January 18, 2012, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and James Bobin traveled to Berlin to promote Die Muppets, which premiered the following day. At the press conference, Miss Piggy announced that she would appear at a photo op for Berlin Fashion Week, where she would dress in a robe exclusively designed and tailored for her by German designer Michael Michalsky. Several more stops for the duo were the morning show SAT.1 Frühstücksfernsehen and the radio.
- Miss Piggy made several more trips to the country while promoting the film throughout Europe, most notably to appear on neoParadise on January 26, and on the film and television awards show Verleihung der Goldenen Kamera on February 4 (with Kermit to appear beside her on-screen, initially), where she performed the duet "Somethin' Stupid" on stage with host, comedian and award-winner Hape Kerkeling.
Appearances On US-productions
- Uncle Traveling Matt visited Germany's popular tourist attraction Neuschwanstein Castle for the episode "The Great Radish Caper".
- Baby Gonzo was seen at the Berlin Wall in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, which aired as Comic-Stars gegen Drogen (Comic-Stars Against Drugs) in 1990.
- Sesamstrasse characters Tiffy, Samson and Finchen appeared on the 1993 special Sesame Street Stays Up Late!, which like most Sesame Street specials was also dubbed for the German language market.
- In a Global Grover segment from 2006, Grover has just returned from Germany and shows a clip about his German friend Paul, whose father is a roofer making traditional thatched roofs.
- In a PBS interstitial, Big Bird and a little girl venture all over the world (and even the moon) and are seen (digitally) inserted into footage of the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
- Both Muppets, Monster & Magie and The Vision of Jim Henson were Muppet exhibitions that toured Germany, the former being accompanied by a companion book, the latter showcasing Sesamstrasse characters among the regular Muppets on display.
- German media company EM.TV purchased the Jim Henson Company in 2000, and sold it back to the Henson family in 2003. During EM.TV's tenure, they sold the rights to the Sesame characters to Sesame Workshop.
- The Muppets and John Denver actually sing the first verse of "Silent Night" in German on both the TV special John Denver & the Muppets: A Christmas Together and the album A Christmas Together.
- Hamburg, and its Muppet connections
- Jim's Red Book entry for October 15, 1983 - Germany – PR Fraggle International