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Muppet Wiki
Muppet Wiki
PERFORMER Jerry Nelson 1972-2012
  Matt Vogel 2013-present
DEBUT 1972
PATTERN Large Lavender Live Hand
DESIGN Jim Henson and Caroly Wilcox designer
  Caroly Wilcox builder

The Count laughing with his personal thundercloud.


Count von Count counts the snowflakes.


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


The Count in his youth, as seen in the song "The First Day of School."


The Count's debut from the Season 4 premiere (Episode 406).


Count operates an elevator for Kermit the Frog.


Susan Sarandon and the Count.


New York Mets Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez.


The Count picnics near his castle.

Jerry Count full

Jerry Nelson performing the Count.


Matt Vogel performing the Count.

SSmagOct83 Cagle Count birthday

The Count celebrates his birthday in a Daryl Cagle illustration from the October 1983 issue of Sesame Street Magazine with Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Betty Lou, Mona Monster, Little Bird, Big Bird, Grover, and Prairie Dawn.


Detail on the Count's face as he appeared during his first year on Sesame Street.


The Count with two Honkers, for the cover of the home video Learning About Numbers.


The Count's brief appearance in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.

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, an affliction of legendary vampires); 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, even on sunny days. (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]

Many of the Count's songs, including "Counting Is Wonderful" and "The Batty Bat," are in the style of Roma music.

The Count lives in an old, cobweb-infested castle that he shares with many bats who he sometimes counts. He also has a cat, Fatatita, a wolf named Yuba, and an octopus named Octavia. He also plays a large pipe organ, and in some illustrations he is seen playing the violin. From seasons 33 through 37, the Count appeared regularly to announce the Number of the Day, often playing notes on his organ to count up to the featured number.

The Count has occasionally been seen in the romantic company of the Countess, while also wooing such women as Lady Two and Susan Sarandon. He has a fifth cousin named Countess Dahling von Dahling who can make it rain when she counts. His grandparents have appeared on the show, as have his brother and mother in non-speaking bits. 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:

β€œNorman 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.


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.


  • The Count's car is the Countmobile. His 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. 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".[3] In a 2014 interview with the Archive of American Television, Norman Stiles mentioned he couldn't remember what the skit was about, other than it involved hot dogs.[7] A Waiter Grover skit has the Count ordering hot dogs, but it is unknown if this was the sketch Stiles was referring to.
  • 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] Although, in a 2017 video for Wired, the Count says he's six-million-five-hundred-twenty-three-thousand-seven-hundred-twenty-eight years old, next October. On the show, the Count has acknowledged being alive for at least 217 years (claiming in Episode 3308 to have counted nights and days for 79,421 days straight).
  • In Episode 4109, the Count states that he used to be a professor of counting from one to ten at the Institute of Technology at Moldavia.
  • For scenes involving Chroma key (such as "Adventure"), the Count often sports a purple cape instead of his usual green one. He has been seen wearing it on the normal studio set on other occasions, including Episode 4109 and "Five By."
  • In Jerry Nelson's later years, Matt Vogel took over the puppetry of the Count while Nelson continued to provide the voice.[8] 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."
  • On more than one occasion, including Episode 0715 and 4835, the Count has temporarily given up counting due to a personal conflict.


See Count von Count filmography

Video game appearances[]

Book appearances[]

See also[]


  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. ↑ Norman Stiles interview, video interview for the Archive of American Television, conducted on December 12, 2014.
  8. ↑ ToughPigs: A Chat with Jerry Nelson, part 1