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Performer:
Jerry Nelson • (1972 - 2012)
Matt Vogel • (2013 - present)
Count von Count
Count von Count (animated)

The Count's animated alter ego in The Street We Live On.

Young Count

The Count in his youth.

Susan Sarandon and the Count

Susan Sarandon and the Count.

Count von Count on his Muppet Page
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 the Season 4 premiere in 1972, counting blocks in a sketch with Bert and Ernie. He is obsessed with counting. He counts anything from rings on the telephone to floors on the elevator.

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.

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." [2]"

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.[3] 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

Casting history

Main Performers

Notes: In Jerry Nelson's later years, Matt Vogel took over the puppetry of the Count while Nelson continued to provide the voice.[4] 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."

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."
  • The Count was a DJ for his own radio station on the album The Count's Countdown, and hosted a music video show in Count It Higher: Great Music Videos from Sesame Street.
  • 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. 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.[5]
  • 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".[5] 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.
  • The Count's car is the Countmobile.
  • 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".[5]
  • When the Count laughs, lightning flashes in the background, sometimes even when it's entirely sunny outside.
  • According to Sesame Street Stays Up Late!, the Count knows the exact time, and therefore knows when the new year arrives.
  • According to Episode 4109, the Count hails from Moldavia.

Filmography

Book appearances

Sources

  1. Geiss, Tony "Who Stole the Count's Thunder?"
  2. "Still Counting: An Interview with Muppeteer Jerry Nelson" by Kenneth Plume, Muppet Central. March 1, 1999. Accessed November 19, 2009.
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hypnotic
  4. ToughPigs: A Chat with Jerry Nelson, part 1
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named unpaved
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