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Plaza Sésamo

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PSLogo2008
The current title card.
First aired 1972
Last aired
Network Various
Seasons 13
No. of episodes 1,055
PlazaSesamoSesameStreet
Abelardo, Lola, and Pancho Contreras with their American friends from Sesame Street

Plaza Sésamo is the Latin American co-production of Sesame Street. Premiering in November 1972 and co-produced with Televisa, the series initially featured a mixed cast of Panamanian, Argentinian, and mostly Mexican performers, featured "neutral Spanish", and was meant for kids up to 8 years old. It aired at 2:30 pm on Canal 2. As the years progressed, the series more explicitly reflected Mexico, where the show is shot; in addition to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico, the series debuted on PBS on April 3, 1995, broadcast primarily in Southwest markets on weekends. The program is also seen on Telefutura. It is the only Sesame Street co-production that can be widely seen in the United States.

Abelardo once visited his cousin Big Bird on Sesame Street in the USA in episode that aired on Cinco de Mayo.

The series was a regional semi-finalist for the 2006 International Emmy Awards, up against 5, Rue Sésame, another co-production of Sesame Street.

Several episodes from 2004 to 2006 can be viewed on PBS Kids Sprout's on-demand service and episodes from Season 9 are in iTunes. Originally, PBS Kids Sprout used to air episodes from 1997 to 2000.

Sesame Workshop description

Plaza Sésamo premiered in Mexico and Latin America in 1972. The acclaimed Spanish-language television series for preschool children depicts a colorful neighborhood, the Plaza, which is home to a mix of families, children, and Muppets. Like its counterpart, Sesame Street, the show intertwines animation, live action films, studio segments and original music videos that teach basic literacy and numeracy and help children gain a better understanding of the world around them. In 2003, Plaza Sésamo celebrated its 30th anniversary. Three decades after launching in Mexico and Latin America the series continues to educate and delight children through its television broadcast and in other media, including; books, videos, toys, and a Plaza Sésamo theme park in Monterrey, Mexico. In 2006, the first of three exciting new seasons of Plaza Sésamo will air on Televisa, Discovery Kids Latin America, Univision Puerto Rico, and TeleFutura. Additionally, Sesame Workshop will distribute the show throughout the Latin American marketplace and the US Hispanic marketplace. The new episodes of Plaza Sésamo will see the return of Abelardo, Lola, and Pancho, as well as favorites Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert, and Ernie. Regional live action films, produced by local producers from throughout Latin America, will highlight the rich cultural diversity of the region. In addition, ten new 60-minute Plaza Sésamo home video titles, including a holiday special, will be produced along with seasons 9, 10 and 11.

History

For a list of episodes see Plaza Sesamo Episodes.

Debut Era: 1972-1973

PlazaSesamo70sTitleLogo
Title card from the 70s
1972
Plaza Sésamo in the early years.
PlazaSesamo1979Sketch
A 1979 of the original Plaza Sesamo' cast
MEXICO TV GUIDE 1974 PLAZA SESAMO COVER
TV Guide cover from 1974.

The series debuted in November of 1972. The cast consisted of Panamanian, Argentinian, and mostly Mexican performers and featured "neutral Spanish." The original series also featured two Muppet characters, Abelardo and a small grouchy green parrot called Paco. The set of the street was turn into a plaza that would be a typical city block in Central or South America with a center fountain, benches, vacant lot with playground equipment, houses, a combination grocery store-cafe, and mechanic's repair shop.[1] The curriculum for this season was to teach whole "slight words" that children can learn through repetition and memorization. The show also taught children about hygiene and the importance of cleanliness.[2]

First revamping: 1981

Plazasesamo logo
Title card from the 80's
PlazaSesamo1980sCast
The Plaza Sésamo cast in the 1980s
MEXICO TV GUIDE 1984 PLAZA SESAMO AD
TV Guide ad from 1984.

The series was re-vamped in the early 80's. The improved series got rid of the early resident Muppet and replaced them with Montoya (Parrot) and a brown grouch named Bodoque. While the first era lasted for two seasons, this era only lasted for only one season. In 1993, the first series of Plaza Sésamo videos were released, featruing new stories with Montoya and Bodoque.

Second Revamping: 1995-2001

Plazasesamo
Cast from Plaza Sésamo and Sesame Street
PlazaSesamo1995Bus
PlazaSesamo1995
PlazaSesamo19981999TitleCard
Plaza Sesamo title card from 1998 to 1999.
Plazasesamotitlecard
Plaza Sésamo title card from 2000.

During this time, Bodoque was taken out of the show and in his place were two new characters, Lola, an energetic female monster who (like Elmo) speaks in the third person, and Pancho Contreras, a grouchy monster who's always busy. Montoya was also renamed Abelardo (But, he kept the name Montoya for his last name) and his dopey personality became more playful and childlike.

New cast members were also added, some of which continue to appear to this day, including Don Boni and La Abuela. It was also during this period that the new Anything Muppet-type characters, the Multimuppet and Multimonstruo were added, allowing many new recurring characters.

"Mercado" Era: 2005-present

PlazaSesamo13 1
The Cast of Plaza Sésamo's 13th Season
{C}
PlazaSesamo2011Elmo&Group
Elmo on Plaza Sésamo's 14th Season
{C}
PlazaSésamo2011Cast
Plaza Sésamo Show Open(01:01)
The show's opening since 2005.

During the planning for new episodes of the show in 2003, the researchers of Latin America felt the set could use a re-vamping. They felt the set should be something all kids in Latin America could relate to.[3]So, the set designers created a set based on a mercado, small marketplaces that are plentiful in Latin America. The new set also used bright vivid colors like typical mercados and bright lights to reflect the bright, Mexican sun. The set debuted in season 9 in 2005.

Season 9 also brought new recurring segments used at the program's start or end. "Lola Aventuras" was introduced as a way to encourage girls to be active and productive (as well as attracting a male audience also). Other sketches include "Hazlo Tu Mismo" and "Los Monstruos También Lloran, which spoofs Telenovas with celebrity guests. As well, a new opening theme was produced, featuring the main Muppet charcaters (as well as Elmo and Grover) in an animated environment, discovering the letters that spell "Plaza Sesamo".

In 2006, season 10 of the show debuted. The season focused on healthy habits, featuring various plots about food and exercise. Many episodes also ended with a special message from a celebrity and one of the Muppet characters about exercise, eating healthy and other health-related tips. Introduced this season was a family from Argentina that moved to the plaza. However, they debuted late in the season and did not appear after the season.

In 2008, the series celebrated its 35th anniversary. Season 11 debuted that year in March. During this season, several changes were made, including new actors to play La Abuela and Daniela. As well, a new Lavender Multimuppet as added to the cast. Abby Cadabby also was added to the show, appearing at the start of some episodes in three-part sketches where she performs a magic trick with an ordinary object. Two new recurring segments debuted also: A brief segment that is shown shortly after the first scene where one of the main Muppet characters introduces the letter of the day, and "Pancho Visión", a daily segment in which Pancho Contreas presents a film about his friends all over the world.

Season 12 of the show debuted in October 2009 with the main curriculum of ecology.[4]. A new actor for Manuel appears.

The mercado was again revamped in season 13 (which debuted in late September 2010), and new Muppet character Gaby was added. In 2011, the show introduced a new, 14th season. The new season features Elmo as a new character on the plaza and a new muppet character, Connor, who is in a wheelchair. Javier Williams, producer of the broadcast, says about the new muppet character, "We made it important that working with this Telethon, from the ages of 3 or 4 years will leave a small message that no matter where a child is in a wheelchair, is still like any other." The curriculum will focus on diversity of places, customs, and conditions. Guest Stars include Juanes, who will appeared in a "Word of the Day" segment.[5]

Cast

Muppet Cast in the 70s:

Abelardo (first Abelardo): Justo Martinez
Paco: Justo Martinez

Muppet Cast in the 80s:

Montoya (early Abelardo): Alberto Estrella
Bodoque: Jaime Vega

Muppet Cast 2005:

Abelardo: Eugenio Bartilotti, Hector Loeza
Lola: Rocío Lara
Pancho: Odín Dupeyrón, Marypaz García (assist)
Elefancio: Itzel Tapia, Marcia Coutiño (2005)
Other Muppets and Monsters ("Multimuppet y Multimonstruo"): Alejandro Abaroa, Santiago Alonso, Alejandro Benítez, Raul Buendia, Igor Cruz, Eduardo De Juabelz, Flavio Ruiz, Carlos Martello

Muppet Cast 2009:

Other Muppets and Monsters ("Multimuppet y Multimonstruo"): Liz Serrano, Enrique Madrid, Alicia Paola Sanchez, Leticia Amezcua, Gerardo Zardain

Muppet Cast 2010:

Pancho: Alfonso Soto, Marypaz García (assist)
Gaby: Berenice Callejo
Other Muppets and Monsters ("Multimuppet y Multimonstruo"): Jose Luis Arevalo, Carlos Marttelo, Eduardo de Juanbelz

Human Cast in the 70s:[6]

Tono: Maurico Herrera - Mechanic
Alicia: Irene de Bari - Public health nurse, wife of Tono
Carlos
José - The Storekeeper
Mercedes: Xochiti Vigil - Young student and shopkeeper assistant
Fernando: Fernando Balzaretti - Airline pilot
Tony Diaz - Truck driver

Human Cast in the 80s:

Teresa: Romelia Aguero
Sandra: Ana Silvia Garza
Sebastian: Jaime Garza
Miguel: Alejandro Ibarra
Fernando: Justo Martinez
Ana: Rocio Ortiz
Goyo: Raoul Rossi
Pepe: Salvador Sanchez
Paula: Rosalia Valdez

Human Cast now:

La Abuela: Evita Muñoz, Beatriz Aguirre
Don Boni: Edgar Vivar, Sergio Corona
Carmen: María Del Sol
Gertrudis: Socorro Bonilla, Leonorilda Ochoa
Pablo: Ariel López Padilla, Benjamin Rivero
Maria: Paty Díaz, M'Balia Marichal Ibar
Susana: Liza Echeverria, Mariana Garza
Juan: Alberto Mayagoitia, Raúl Magaña
Neftalí: Héctor Hernández, Pedro Romo
Daniela: Maria Fernanda Urdapilleta, Mariana Botas, Paula Gutiérrez
Manuel: Manuel Bermudez, Charlie Santana, Alan Sanchez, Santiago Hernández
ToNo: Isaac Castro
Romina: Anahí Sánchez

Spanish Voices

Bert (Beto): Jorge Arvizu (original), José Antonio Macías (current)
Ernie (Enrique): Jaime Vega (80s), Rene Garcia (current)
Cookie Monster (Lucas): Jorge Arvizu (original), Rene Garcia (current)
Elmo: Eduardo Garza (original), Igor Cruz (current)
Big Bird: Eduardo Garza
Zoe: Pilar Escandon
Oscar: Alejandro Mayen (original), Ricardo Mendoza
Rosita: Laura Torres
Grover (Archibaldo): Alejandro Mayen
Snuffy: Eduardo Borja
The Count (Conde Contar): Martin Soto (original), Carlos Torres (current)
Kermit the Frog (La Rana Rene): Jose María Iglesias
Baby Bear (Bebe Oso): Ricardo Mendoza
Roxie Marie: Marina Huerta
Abby Cadabby: Liliana Barba
Telly: José Antonio Macías

Credits

Senior Producer: Ginger Brown
Line Producer: Salvador Perez
Associate Producer: Magaly Villacorta Faria
Executive Producer: Rosy Ocampo
Associate Producers: Eduardo Meza, Alfredo Gonzáles, Fernández
Music Coordinator: Alejandro Abaroa
Theme song ("Entrada a Plaza Sésamo") by Walterio Pesqueira

Animation Credits

Animation Director: Oscar González Loyo (1996-2000)
Art Director: Oscar González Guerrero (1996-2000)
Head Writer: Susana Romero (1996-2000)

References

  1. The Telegraph: "In Review: "Sesame South of the Border"
  2. The Palm Beach Post: "Around the World, Kids Love Sesame Street"
  3. Sesame Workshop
  4. [1]
  5. [2]
  6. The Telegraph: "In Review: "Sesame South of the Border"

See also

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