Plaza Sésamo

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Plaza Sésamo
Plazasesamologo.svg
Genre Children's Television Series
Created by Based on Sesame Street, created by Joan Ganz Cooney
Starring (see article)
Country of origin United States
Mexico
No. of episodes 1105 (65 episodes per season)
Production
Running time 22 minutes (without ads)
30 minutes (with ads)
(actual length may vary in the US)
Production company(s) USA: Sesame Workshop (previously Children's Television Workshop)
Mexico: Televisa
USA: Discovery Kids
USA: PBS (previously NET)
Broadcast
Original channel Canal de las Estrellas (1972–1973, 1983–1985)
Canal 5 (1995–present)
Univision (1995–2001)
TeleFutura (2006–2009)
Original run November 1972 – present

Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street in the American version) is an educational children's television series for preschoolers, which is the Spanish-language adaptation for Latin America of Sesame Street. Both programs are pioneers of the contemporary educational television standard, combining both education and entertainment. It is also dubbed in Nahuatl for areas in Mesoamerica that use this language.

The program was first broadcast in 1972. Originally co-produced by the Children´s Television Workshop (CTW), Xerox and Televicentro (later Televisa). Manolo Barbachano then with Televisión Independiente de México (TIM) brought the idea of making a Spanish speaking version to John Page who became the Executive Producer and produced the series from the Taller de Televisión Infantil in Mexico City. It was written by Juan Manuel Torres, Ana María Palos, Gerardo de la Torre and Grillo MacGregor. Studio producer was Fernando Morett and documentaries were done by Roberto Lomelí. The editor was Gabriel Carbajal and Content Supervision was the responsibility of Zita Chao and later on by Patricia Arriaga Jordán. The second season was produced by Children's Television Workshop (CTW) and Televicentro (later Televisa). Later it was produced mainly in Mexico by CTW and Mexican television network Televisa. it aired in America of the United States

Currently it is jointly produced by Sesame Workshop and Televisa. Hip TV Inc., a division of Los Angeles-based Hip Entertainment Group, were production supervisors for seasons 9, 10, and 11.

Plaza Sésamo can be seen in Mexico on Televisa's Canal 5 network. In Latin America on the satellite/cable channel Discovery Kids. In the United States, it can be seen on V-me and TeleFutura (and had previously aired on TeleFutura's parent network Univision), as well as selected PBS stations. Plaza Sésamo is also available On Demand on PBS Kids Sprout's on-demand channel.

Season 9 launched 2005, and seasons 10 and 11 debuted in 2006 and 2008. New seasons of the show are produced intermittently.

The show shares a lot of sketch footage with Sesame Street, dubbed in Spanish, but there is also a great deal of unique footage in the show, especially sketches featuring the live actors.

It is estimated that Plaza Sesamo reaches 84 percent of Spanish-speaking households in the United States. Within Mexico, 72% of mothers watched the series as a child, and 98% of them want to expose their children to the series.[1]

It is one of the longest running children's series in Mexico, although its broadcasting has not been continuous. Note that there is also another Spanish-language version of this series known as Barrio Sésamo in Spain that went on the air on three disjointed runs in 1979–1980, 1983–1987, and 1996–2000.

History and characters[edit]

Plaza Sésamo has a cast of human and muppet characters. The human cast changes continuously from season to season. Muppet characters unique to Plaza Sésamo include:

Debut era: 1972–1980 (two seasons with ongoing reruns)[edit]

The series first season debuted in November 1972. The cast consisted of Mexican actors such as Dunia Zaldívar, Carlos Ancira, Juan Manuel Martínez, Luisa Huertas and Justo Martínez. For the second season in 1975 the cast had a Panamanian and Argentinian, and mostly Mexican performers and featured neutral Spanish with Central-Mexican accent. The curriculum for this season was the same as that of Sesame Street: to teach whole "sight words" that children can learn through repetition and memorization, letters of the alphabet, counting 1-20, among others

Characters included:

  • Abelardo - An 8-foot, 2-inch an orange and yellow crocodile with a characteristic slow voice that performed functions equivalent to Big Bird from Sesame Street. Played by two different actors during his life, one of them Justo Martinez.
  • Paco - A grumpy bird who normally was seen from his apartment window and who shared many characteristics with Sesame street's Oscar, including his tastes of food. It was frequently performed by the same actor that played Abelardo.

Abelardo and Paco were redesigned during the interlude from season 1 to season 2.

First revamping: 1983–1984[edit]

The series was re-vamped in the early 80's. The new series got rid of the early Muppets and replaced them with new characters like:

  • Serapio Montoya - He was mostly referred to in the program simply as Montoya. Serapio was the equivalent to Big Bird, with green, red, and pink feathers and a short, yellow beak shaped like that of a parrot. Played by Alberto Estrella (1981–1992) and Héctor Márquez (1992–1995). In 1995 this character's name was changed to Abelardo Montoya- immortalizing the original dragon puppet that had inexplicably been replaced after the first season.

Second revamping: 1995–2001, 2004–2006, 2008 – current[edit]

  • Abelardo Montoya - An 8-foot, 2-inch parrot with green, red, and pink feathers and a short, yellow beak shaped like that of a parrot. He is the cousin of Big Bird from Sesame Street. Played by Eugenio Bartilotti (1995–2004) and Héctor Loeza (2004-today). Abelardo's original name was Serapio Montoya, but it was later changed to Abelardo Montoya in honor of his orange dragon equivalent of early seasons. This Abelardo guest starred on the American Sesame Street on May 5, 1997 during Cinco de Mayo.

The Bodoque character was substituted by Lola and Pancho:

  • Lola - A joyful young Muppet who loves to play the harmonica, and make silly sounds with her voice. Lola, like Elmo, often refers to herself in third-person. She is related to Pancho, and is Abelardo's best friend. Played by Rocío Lara.
  • Pancho - Pancho Contreras is blue-colored monster with a gruff voice. Played by Odín Dupeyrón.

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.

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. 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 children to be active and productive. Other sketches include "Hazlo Tu Mismo" and "Los Monstruos También Lloran", which spoofs soap operas with celebrity guests. As well, a new opening theme was produced, featuring the main Muppet characters (as well as Elmo and Grover) in an animated environment, discovering the letters that spell "Plaza Sesamo", produced by ToTuMa-Studios in Argentina.

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. 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. On December, they appeared on Season 15.

Additionally, characters from the English-language Sesame Street are featured in dubbed segments:

Featured adults[edit]

Notable guest stars[edit]

Seasons[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
1 130 1972-1973
2 145 1973-1974
3 130 1983-1984
4 130 1995-1996
5 65 1998
6 65 1999
7 65 2000
8 65 2001
9 65 20042005
10 65 20052006
11 65 2008
12 65 2009
13 65 2010
14 63 2011
15 52 20122013

Theme park[edit]

A theme park named Parque Plaza Sésamo, based on the television series, opened in Monterrey.[2] The park is open year round and offers summer educational camps for children ages 5 to 15. Park venues can be rented for special events.

Other media and merchandise[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

DVD name Year
Contar! 2008
Lola Aventuras 2007
Vamos a comer 2007
Bienvenida la Primavera 2007
Copa Sésamo 2006
Vamos a Cantar 2005
Me gusta ser Yo 2005
El Alfabeto de Lola 2005
A dormir 1999
Suma y Resta con Montoya 1993
Plaza Sesamo Canta 1993
El Alfabeto de Montoya 1993
Vamos an Imaginar 1993
Cuenta Con Nosotros 1993
De Campamento Con Montoya 1993
Viaja Con Nosotros 1993
Mírame 1993

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sesame Workshop: Children's TV series Plaza Sésamo heads back in studio for a milestone new season focused on health; fact sourced to Gemark Research, "Plaza Sesamo Market Research Study", September 2005.
  2. ^ Parque Plaza Sésamo: Main Web Site.

External links[edit]