Rechov Sumsum (רחוב סומסום) was the first Israeli co-production of Sesame Street. The brainchild of Dr. Lewis Bernstein, who initially pitched the idea in 1979, the first episodes debuted over ETV in June 1982, with the full season beginning in September 1983. 195 episodes were produced through 1986, and remained popular in re-runs even having the show's Muppet characters appearing on other Israeli television productions frequently for years after the show's run.
The opening theme song of the original series was written by Ali Mohar and composed by Yoni Rechter which also performed it together with Gidi Gov, Mazi Cohen, Dafna Armoni and a group of children from the Tzadikov choir.
The series was broadcast repeatedly many times until 1996. Then, these broadcasts were suspended due to expiry of the co-production agreement between the Israeli Educational Television and the CTW – the rights owner of the original American Sesame Street. The right to show the Hebrew-dubbed segments of the original American show produced by the CTW were transferred to the private cable channel "HOP! Channel".
In the 1990s, an attempt at a Palestinian co-production was launched, Rechov Sumsum — Shara'a Simsim, but this was subsequently abandoned. Sippuray Sumsum, or Sesame Stories, replaced it, as the Israeli part of three separate programs serving the Middle East.
The new season of Rechov Sumsum premiered on HOP! Channel on December 15, 2006, and consists of forty episodes. The season resembles the early version from the 1980s and feature a re-built model of the original set. The new cast includes an Arab-Israeli Muppet character, Mahboub (introduced on Sippuray Sumsum and played by Yousef Sweid), Abigail "an inquisitive and spontaneous three-year-old girl," and new human characters, such as Tzachi (a native Jewish Israeli), Ibtisam (an Arab Israeli), and Irina (a Russian Jew and owner of the Magic Trick Shop, played by Eugenia Dodina). Celebrity guests on the new series include Arkadi Dunchin, a Russian-Jew singer and chef, and Rim Musa, a 16-year old Arab-Israeli soccer player.
The series is produced by Gold Zebra Communications.
Hebrew names for Sesame Street characters
- Ernie: Arik
- Bert: Bentz (common nickname for "Ben-Tzion")
- Cookie Monster: Oogi, Oogi ha-Mifletzet or Oogifletzet
- Grover: Kruvi (most likely "small cabbage", although possibly "little angel", "cherub")
- Super Grover: Kruvi Ahuvi ("ahuvi" literally meaning "beloved")
- Oscar the Grouch: Mar Ashpach ("Mr. Trashcan")
- Count von Count: Mar S'for
- Herry Monster: Shraga
- Beautiful Day Monster: Ezra
- Prairie Dawn: Miri
- The Amazing Mumford: Malkush ha-Kosem ha-Gadol ("Malkush the Great Wizard")
- Betty Lou: Chaftzi-Bah ("my delight is in her")
- Don Music: Gali Musikali
- Lefty: Mar Karkumi
- Farley: Pupik ("belly button")
- Mr. Hooper: Mar Kuper
- Roosevelt Franklin: Binyamin Ze'ev Weitzman
- Guy Smiley: Mumu Talpaz (a play on the name of Israeli talk show host Dudu Topaz)
- Biff: Beni
- Sully: Sami
- Yona Atari as Grandma Yona
- Nathan Dattner as Nathan
- Miki Kam as Miki
- Gabi Amrani as Gabi
- Hana Rot as Hana
- Shmuel Shiloh as Shmuel
- Albert Iluz as Albert
- Avner Katz as Avner
- Eli Gorenstein as Eli
- Makram Khuri as Makram
- Chaim Jeraffi as Chaim
- Dror Keren as Tzachi
- Hinad Iyub as Ibtisam
- Israel Poliakov as Gershon
- Eugenia Dodina as Irina
- Shai Fredo as Malkamo
- Neta Shlomi as Gili
- Main cast:
- Yosef Shiloah as Ernie
- Shlomo Baraba as Bert
- Israel Gurion as Grover
- Dov Reiser as Cookie Monster
- Eyal Bartonov as Kermit
- Gidi Gov as Herry Monster
- Albert Cohen as Count von Count, The Amazing Mumford, Simon Soundman, others
- Additional Voices ("Guest Muppets")
- Nissim Zohar, Ruti Holtzman (as Cyrus the Magpie), Eli Gorenstein, Dvora Dotan, Pini Koren, Miki Kam, Shosh Martziano
- ↑ Open Sesame!- The Jewish Week.
- ↑ Israel21c.org. December 7, 2003.
- ↑ Hebrew names taken from Muppet Central Forum post