Count von Count

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Count von Count
Sesame Street character
Count von Count kneeling.png
First appearance November 27, 1972
Portrayed by Jerry Nelson (1972–2012)
Matt Vogel (2013–present)
Voiced by Jerry Nelson
Aliases The Count
Species Muppet vampire
Gender Male

Count von Count, often known simply as "the Count" or "Count Count", is one of the Muppet characters on Sesame Street. The Count is a vampire modeled after Bela Lugosi's interpretation of Count Dracula.


The Count's main purpose is to educate children about simple mathematical concepts, most notably counting. The Count loves counting; he will count anything and everything, regardless of size, amount, or how much annoyance he is causing the other characters. For instance, he once prevented Ernie from answering a telephone because he wanted to continue counting the number of rings in Season 6. Another time, while serving as an elevator operator, he refused to let Kermit the Frog get out at his selected floor so he could count on every floor in the building. The Count is typically portrayed as friendly and cheerful, but he can lose his temper when someone interrupts his counting, or get sad when he has nothing around him to count.

The Count lives in an old, cobweb-infested castle which he shares with many bats and a cat named Fatatita. He spent his childhood in the Carpathian Mountains.[1] His pet bats tend to have Slavic names, such as Grisha, Misha, Sasha, and Tatiana. He views the bats as his "children" and sometimes counts them. As a running gag, his castle has a squeaky door, which visitors always point out, only for the Count to instantly change the subject to his counting addiction. The Count drives a special car, the Countmobile, designed to look like a bat.

The Count has been shown with a number of girlfriends, who tend to be vampire Countesses. These include Countess von Backwards (debuting in Sesame Street's 28th season) who counts backwards; Countess Dahling von Dahling (debuted in the 12th season); and one simply named "The Countess" (first appearing in season 8). The von Count family includes an unnamed brother and mother as well as an Uncle Uno and grandparents.

According to BBC News, during an interview with the More or Less team's Tim Harford, the Count said his favorite number is 34,969. The Count was quoted as saying, "It's a square-root thing.": 34,969 is a perfect square, being 1872.[2]

The Count mentions 2:30 at any chance he can get and often makes jokes about it. This number may represent an inside joke ("Tooth Hurty"). During the afternoon, his segments of the show always come on at exactly 2:30 p.m. or during the "fashionably late" segment, which airs at 2:31.

The Count's signature song is "Eight is Great" ("You can hold it this way, you can hold it that way, it is still 8").

History and evolution of the character on Sesame Street[edit]

The Count debuted on Sesame Street in Season 4 (1972–73), and was conceived by Norman Stiles, who wrote the first script. The Count was performed by Jerry Nelson, who brought the character to life. He was originally made out of the Large Lavender Live Hand Anything Muppet pattern. Nelson voiced the Count until his death on August 23, 2012. At that time, Matt Vogel had taken over performing the puppetry of the Count. Upon Nelson's death, Vogel started performing both the Count's voice and puppetry. His first performance of the Count was in a YouTube video called "Counting the Yous in YouTube", a song about the celebration of Sesame Street's YouTube channel reaching 1 billion views.

In the early 1970s, following a counting session, the Count would laugh maniacally, "AH AH AH AH AH!", accompanied by thunder and lightning flashes. He wouldn't let anything interrupt his counting, and used hypnotic powers to temporarily stun people with a wave of his hands.[citation needed] This practice, however, was discontinued in the mid-1970s because of concern that young viewers would become frightened. In the mid-1970s, the Count became friendlier, did not have hypnotic powers, and interacted more with the characters (both live actors and Muppets). His laugh also changed from maniacal laughter to a more triumphant, stereotypical Dracula-style laugh.

Belvedere Castle, in New York's Central Park, was used for exterior establishing shots of the Count's castle on the show.

The Count made an appearance in the film The Muppets Take Manhattan at Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy's wedding, then in the Sesame Street movies Follow That Bird and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Notably, the Count appeared on-screen during the closing credits of Follow That Bird where he proceeded to read and count the credits. He also says "Hi, Mom" when a credit appears for Joan Ganz Cooney, creator of Sesame Street.[3]

In Season 33, the Count got a daily segment on Sesame Street, simply called The Number of the Day.


  • In the Dutch version of the series, Sesamstraat, the Count's name is Graaf Tel (literally, "Count (nobleman) Count (process of counting)").
  • In the French series 1, Rue Sésame, his name is Comte von Compte.
  • In the German series Sesamstraße, his name is Graf Zahl (literally, "Count Number").
  • In the Hebrew series Rechov Sumsum, his name is 'מר סופר', phonetically pronounced 'Mar Sofer', which literally means "Mr. Counter".
  • In the Mexican series Plaza Sésamo, his name is Conde Contar (literally, "Count of Counting").
  • In the Polish series Ulica Sezamkowa, his name is Liczyhrabia (literally, "Countcount").
  • In the Portuguese series Rua Sésamo, his name is Conde de Contar (translated as "Count of Counting").
  • In the Russian series Улица Сезам, his name is Graf Znak (Граф Знак) (translated as "symbol" or "sign" as the mathematical categories).
  • In the Spanish series, Barrio Sésamo, his name is Conde Draco.
  • In the Turkish series Susam Sokağı, his name is Sayıların Kontu (literally, "The Count of Numbers")

Appearances outside of Sesame Street[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The St. Paul Saints, an independent minor-league baseball team in St. Paul, Minnesota known for unique and sometimes over-the-top promotions, announced that it would give away 2,500 bobblehead dolls dressed as the Count at its May 23, 2009 game. However, instead of the Count's regular head, this doll's head featured Al Franken on one side and Norm Coleman on the other, and was called "Count von Re-Count"—referring to the extraordinarily prolonged recount and legal battle surrounding the 2008 U.S. Senate election between the two men. The team made further jabs at the election during the game.[4]

Australian rugby league football international Anthony Minichiello has been nicknamed 'The Count' due to his striking resemblance to the character.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Lyrics of "The Batty Bat," first performed in Episode 2096.
  2. ^ "Why was 34,969 Count von Count's magic number?". BBC America Online. August 30, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Associated Press (2009-05-23). "Saints' gimmick jabs at Senate race". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  5. ^ Movie star Muppets at

External links[edit]