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Count von Count

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Performer:
Jerry Nelson • (1972 - 2012)
Matt Vogel • (2013 - present)
Count Kneeling
Anything Muppet:
CountThunder
The Count laughing with his personal thundercloud.
Count
Count von Count counts the snowflakes.
Countanimated
The Count's animated alter ego in The Street We Live On.
Youngcount
The Count in his youth, as seen in the song "The First Day of School."
Countblocks3
The Count's debut from the Season 4 premiere (Episode 406).
Countelevator
Count operates an elevator for Kermit.
Susan-Sarandon-and-The-Count
Susan Sarandon and the Count.
KeithHernandezandMookieWilson
New York Mets Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez.
Count-picnic
The Count picnics near his castle.
CT-p0001-ST
Jerry Count full
Jerry Nelson performing the Count.

Count von Count is a mysterious but friendly vampire-like Muppet on Sesame Street who is meant to parody Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Count Dracula. He first appeared on the show in the Season 4 premiere in 1972, counting blocks in a sketch with Bert and Ernie.

The Count has a compulsive love of counting (arithmomania); he will count anything and everything, regardless of size, amount, or how much annoyance he causes others around him. In one song he stated that he sometimes even counts himself. When he finishes counting, The Count laughs and announces his total (which sometimes appears on screen). This finale is usually accompanied by a crash of thunder and a flash of lightning. (According to The Sesame Street Bedtime Storybook, the Count has a personal cloud that hovers over his head and provides the thunder and lightning.)[1]

When the Count sings, the music that accompanies him resembles Roma music, no matter what the song.

The Count lives in an old, cobweb-infested castle that he shares with many bats. Sometimes he counts them. Some of the pet bats are named, including Grisha, Misha, Sasha, and Tattiana. He also has a cat, Fatatita, and an octopus named Octavia. He also plays a large pipe organ, and in some illustrations he is seen playing the violin. In recent years, the Count has appeared on each episode to announce the Number of the Day, playing notes on his organ to count up to the featured number.

The Count's most recent girlfriend, Countess von Backwards, is known for counting backwards. He had previously been linked to Countess Dahling von Dahling and shared a brief romantic tryst with Lady Two. His brother and mother have made appearances on the show, and he also has an Uncle Uno.

The Count's profile on Sesame Workshop's website does not use the word vampire but does suggest that he may be a distant relative of Count Dracula. [2] However, the book Sesame Street Unpaved describes the Count as a "Numerical Vampire." [3] In contrast, the 2001 Sesame Street Muppets Drawing Guide insists "The Count is not a vampire."[4]

Nevertheless, the Count resembles Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Dracula in voice (speaking in an Eastern European accent and pronouncing his Vs as Ws), appearance, and sometimes mannerisms. For example, in early sketches, the Count waves his hands to exercise hypnotic power over other Muppets and holds his cape over the lower part of his face while moving.[5] In addition, an early skit revealed that the Count shows no reflection in a mirror. Unlike vampires as traditionally depicted in legend and motion pictures, however, the Count often relaxes in the sunlight (as seen in "Counting Vacation" and "Coconut Counting Man," among others).

Early days

The character was created by Sesame Street writer Norman Stiles. Performer Jerry Nelson recalled his immediate enthusiasm for the character in a 1999 interview:

Norman told me he was writing this piece with this new character who's called the Count... He's a vampire, but not a real vampire... He just has a jones for numbers. He's obsessed with counting things. So I went, "Oh, cool," and I went to Jim [Henson] and said, "You know, Norman's writing this new character called the Count." Jim said, "Let me hear it." So I went (in my Count voice), "Yes, I vould love to do it!" and Jim said, "Yes, you can do it." [6]

The Count is now a friendly, non-threatening figure on the Street, but his early appearances in 1972 had a more sinister edge. He had hypnotic powers, and was able to stun other Muppets by waving his hands.[5] After counting, he uttered a villainous laugh as lightning flashed in moody colors. He was often accompanied by creepy organ music. As the character matured, the sinister aspect of his personality was toned down, and his laugh became a throaty, Lugosi-style chuckle.

Appearances

He made cameo appearances in The Muppet Movie (in the finale) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (in the wedding), and has also been featured in the Sesame Street movies Follow That Bird and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. He also appeared in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years and A Muppet Family Christmas.

The Count made a special appearance on episode 518 of The Muppet Show, emerging with his Sesame co-stars from the Three Bears' cave when Ali Baba shouts, "Open Sesame!"

On November 14, 1988, Count co-hosted The Today Show with Meryl Sheep.

On December 11, 2008, the Count was interviewed on More or Less, a BBC radio show about numbers.

Notes

  • The Count's New York license plate number is "12345678910" in the movie Follow That Bird. However, in Count All the Way to Sesame Street, a book based on Follow that Bird, the Count's license plate number is simply "123."
  • In a Number of the Day segment for 0, The Count stated: "Oh hello, it is I, The Count. I'm called the Count because I love to count. Err, that, and I inherited my father's royal title." Despite this claim, the title of Count is one of nobility rather than royalty. (SSvideo) Thus, The Count's claim to royalty might rest on his having inherited a lesser title of a royal ancestor.
  • According to the book Sesame Street Unpaved, after Jon Stone read the first script of a Count skit, he sent it back to the writer, Norman Stiles, with a note scribbled atop: "Good character, bad bit". That skit was never produced.[3]
  • In Count it Higher: Great Music Videos from Sesame Street, The Count says that his favorite song is "Count it Higher". However, the book Sesame Street Unpaved states that his favorite songs are "Born to Add" and "Count on Me."[3] Sesame Workshop's "Muppetbook" page also includes the song "99 Red Balloons."
  • The Muppetbook page also states the Count's favorite TV shows are 24 and 60 Minutes.
  • According to the 1998 book Sesame Street Unpaved, the Count is "written to represent an adult with the psychological age of someone who is 1,832,652 years old -- and still counting".[3]
  • When the Count laughs, lightning flashes in the background, sometimes even when it's entirely sunny outside.
  • In a few appearances (including The Street We Live On, episode 4109 and "Five By"), the Count sports a purple cape instead of his usual green one.
  • In Jerry Nelson's later years, Matt Vogel took over the puppetry of the Count while Nelson continued to provide the voice.[7] This lasted until Nelson's death in 2012; Vogel debuted with his first vocal performance of the character in the 2013 video "Counting the "You"s in YouTube."

Filmography

See Count von Count Filmography

Video game appearances

Book appearances

Sources

  1. Geiss, Tony "Who Stole the Count's Thunder?"
  2. Sesame Workshop profile. Accessed November 19, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Borgenicht, David Sesame Street Unpaved; New York, NY: Hyperion, 1998, pp. 56–58.
  4. Stevenson, Nancy W. (illustrator) Sesame Street Muppets Drawing Guide; Sesame Workshop: New York, NY, 2001, p. 9.
  5. 5.0 5.1 See, for example, Sesame Street Episode 0406.
  6. "Still Counting: An Interview with Muppeteer Jerry Nelson" by Kenneth Plume, Muppet Central. March 1, 1999. Accessed November 19, 2009.
  7. ToughPigs: A Chat with Jerry Nelson, part 1

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Count von Count

  • Count von Count - Performer box update

    7 messages
    • Four yays are good enough for me ;) I'll go ahead and add. The Casting History probably isn't needed now anyway. The performer note can be mo...
    • Yeah, I think it's important to keep the info about when the changeover happened.

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