Muppet Wiki

Kermiteye Welcome to Muppet Wiki!

Logging in offers an uninterrupted reading experience, even if you don't intend to edit pages.

Interested in helping out? Please visit Special:Community to learn how you can collaborate with the editing community.


Muppet Wiki
Muppet Wiki
Sesamstraße - logo (German, alternate)
Premiere January 8, 1973
Network ARD, NDR
Seasons 40+
Episodes 2,931
1 sesamstrasse 2000

Samson (bear), Tiffy (pink bird), Finchen (snail), Buh (owl), Feli Filu (blue monster), and Rumpel the Grouch with Gustav (caterpillar).

Sesamstrasse ("Sesamstraße" in German) is the international version of Sesame Street in Germany. Sesamstrasse was the third co-production of Sesame Street outside the United States.

Sesamstrasse has been primarily running on Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) since January 8, 1973; it is currently in its 42nd season. Sesamstrasse's 30-minute episodes can also be seen on ARD's children programming affiliate KI.KA. In January 2012, Sesamstrasse stopped airing on ARD, but the show continues to be broadcast on KI.KA.


For a list of episodes, see Sesamstrasse Episodes.

The Dubbed Era: 1973-1977[]


Dubbed street scene with Ernie and Bert.

SW 1175 03j

Peter Alexander präsentiert Spezialitäten (1975).

After a short test run of a few original, undubbed Sesame Street episodes in 1972, the German version of the show premiered on January 8, 1973.

The first three seasons, or 250 episodes of Sesamstrasse consisted of the original American episodes dubbed to German in Hamburg. Merely the opening and closing songs and sequences were changed, featuring new lyrics written by Volker Ludwig and tunes by Ingfried Hoffmann. The title of the German theme song is Der, die, das (wer, wie, was – wieso, weshalb, warum – wer nicht fragt, bleibt dumm!), literally translating to This, this and that (who, how, what - why, why and why - those who don't ask stay dumb!).

The exception to air the program was Germany's most southern state of Bavaria, where the local TV station felt that the Sesame Street set was too gritty to suit German children, and consequently had to develop its own children's programming called Das feuerrote Spielmobil (The fire-red Play-mobile).

Variety shows like Peter Alexander präsentiert Spezialitäten in 1975 promoted the show by stopping by the original US set, and taping special footage.

Yet from 1976 through 1977 the street scenes were dropped, due in part to a consistent onslaught of protesting parents that were unhappy with the "controversial" character of Oscar the Grouch. Instead, various longer-length live-action inserts were used, particularly the series following child Bumfidel.

The most controversial moment of this early period was a film showing the unconcealed birth of a human baby.

Nearly a decade later, beginning in 1984, a number of the dubbed episodes were reaired under the title, "Ein Wiedersehen mit Bibo und Oskar" (A reunion with Big Bird and Oscar.)[1] Each episode was repackaged to begin with an animated intro of the aforementioned characters with their episode number, which did not match the original episode numbers as they were presented out of order.

The Studio Era: 1978-1988[]


Title card during the '80s.


Uwe and Lilo with Samson, Uli von Bödefeld, and Tiffy (ca. 1979).


Samson in his hammock with Bibo, as well as...


...Bibo with Tiffy on episode 750 (1980).

In 1977, a German set was built at Studio Hamburg for German framing stories. Samson the bear (1978-2012) and Tiffy the bird (1978-2005) replaced Big Bird (Bibo) and Oscar the Grouch (Oskar der Griesgram) as main characters, and the new version debuted on January 2, 1978.

The early puppets were built by Kermit Love; nowadays Jim Henson's New York Workshop builds the puppets for Sesamstrasse (under appointment of Sesame Workshop).

Each episode featured the new puppets interacting with a pair of human characters; consistently one male, one female. The individual sketches of the original Sesame Street American inhabitants remained the dubbed main part of the show, but some were edited due to intros that exhibited English words (such as The Adventures of Super Grover, or the Sesame Street News Flash skits).

In the following years more characters were added to the German street scenes, such as the German-built, androgynous Uli von Bödefeld (Uli is short for Ulrich), also called Herr von Bödefeld (1978-1988), and Finchen the Snail (1979-1983, 1989-present).

Just as in its American counterpart, the German characters have been remodeled over the decades. Most obvious were changes in the first main characters Samson and Tiffy (as can be seen here for Samson 1978-2000 and Tiffy Through the Years). Finchen has also had his fair share of fabric surgery.

From 1978 to 1988, the fact that the street stories took place in a studio was never kept a secret. Some parts of the street were simply 'matted in' during an episode, or the characters would ask for help from the studio crew. (One episode about Samson trying to scratch an annoying flea ends with the entire studio crew itching.) The matting also allowed the characters to show up in different locations, like a beach, a small deserted island that would be surrounded by an entire ocean through the snap of one's fingers, a nearby train station, or the roof of the studio.

While Big Bird ("Bibo," locally) and Oscar the Grouch, both performed in German by Caroll Spinney, had visited Sesamstrasse for the special episode 750 before, another highlight of this era was the celebration of Sesamstrasse's 1000th episode; the "Sesamelly Zirkusshow," a circus gala performance taped at "Zirkus Althoff" in which Big Bird appeared alongside the German characters one more time. Remarkable is that Caroll Spinney did not just perform the character to be dubbed later, but also provided his voice in German, resulting in Bibo having a noticeable American accent. The opening for this episode, that aired on January 26, 1985, can be seen here; special guest host Big Bird does not appear in it.

In the years 1984 and 1985 no new episodes were taped; instead a wild mix of repeats was shown on TV. From 1986 onward new episodes with two new human actors were produced, and while the studio set remained largely the same, a bicycle shop was added, run by the new residents. Tiffy and Samson were slightly remodeled for the first time for these episodes.

In 1988, a fire destroyed some of the costumes, props, and studio set.[2]

The Bicycle Shop Era: 1989-1999[]


Bettina (#2) and Schorsch with Samson, Rumpel, and Tiffy.


Schorsch with new cast members in 1989.


Sesamstrasse cast of 1995.

The puppets were rebuilt in 1989 with significant changes. The new set was centered around the new bicycle shop that was introduced in 1986, but the street stories no longer took place in a studio set.

Instead a courtyard was added, and new characters were introduced: Rumpel the Grouch (1989-2008), living inside a water barrel, and Buh the owl (1989-2000), housed inside a hollow tree. While the set offered Tiffy a new apartment-like living room in the coming years, it still featured Samson's cave in which he had lived in prior to the set change.

Sesamstrasse fans divide the series between the Studio Episodes and the Bicycle Shop Episodes in the same way that American fans talk about the pre-Elmo days. In recent years the courtyard slowly transitioned into an entire marketplace, a common social center for German towns and even city districts.

Leonie Löwenzahn, a female lion (1986, 1990), was featured for a very short time before and after the set and puppets were destroyed in the fire. Just like Uli von Bödefeld, she was built by German puppet makers and not the Muppet Workshop.

During the early years of this era, older puppets were re-used for new characters such as Simson (on and off in 1986-1998), Samson's cousin; with slight changes being made to his appearance (equipped with a hat, a tie, etc.). For the first few episodes that his name was mentioned, Simson was only imagined by Samson and other characters doubted his existence, similarly to as it happened with Snuffy on Sesame Street when he was only being seen by Big Bird.

The Marketplace Era: 2000-2012[]


Title card during the 2000s.

In 2000, the cast expanded anew. The additions to the puppet cast were Feli Filu (2000-2007) the Monster reporter, the comic duo Pferd the horse (2002-present) and Wolle the sheep (2002-present), as well as a few recurring grouches, and some Anything Muppets.

In 2003 the German co-production's 30th anniversary was celebrated with a press conference and boxer Axel Schulz, Ernie, Bert and Elmo (performed by Kevin Clash) in attendance, as the show gave a donation of € 12,271.00 to UNICEF. Ernie and Bert appeared on a regular episode that year, as well as on the show's 30th anniversary TV-special.


Sesamstrasse Show Open

The show's opening from the Marketplace era.


Sesamstrasse Intro

The show's intro and end credits from 2006.


Sesamstrasse intro and outro - 2008 to 2012

The show's intro and end credits from 2010 to 2012.

2 Sesamstrasse 30 Jahre

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the show in 2003.

In 2005, after a 27-year presence on the show, Tiffy was replaced with single mom Moni (2005-2007) and her pink and furry daughter Lena (2005-2009).

Since then, Sesamstrasse has been visited by the most diverse cast of supporting Muppets than any other international version. One-shot characters include for example Super Franky, Grouchella, Knut Köffelström, Turbo Theo, Sinan, as well as a whole slew of wolves, chickens and other creatures.

In 2006, German audience's long-time favorites Ernie and Bert began appearing regularly in newly produced German segments. For the 36th season, the two moved into their own apartment on Sesamstrasse, above new human character Frau Kowalski, commenting on the street events from their balcony. As more and more previously used Muppets were borrowed from Sesame Workshop, more secondary characters evolved in their own sketches, such as the green Wolf vom Wörtersee in 2007.

For decades the show used to consist of around 50 percent of American material, like most international co-productions of Sesame Street. But from 2007 onwards, the American material has been used less and less, so that by today an average Sesamstrasse episode only contains two or three American produced sketches. Also, just as it has become common practice on Sesame Street since 2002 to drop the framing story format, Sesamstrasse's street scenes began airing as a whole at the beginning of each episode. Beginning in 2008, the show was shot in high definition.

On December 24, 2008, a German-produced, 45-minute Christmas special called Weihnachten mit Ernie und Bert aired, featuring Ernie, Bert, and an Anything Muppet Santa Claus. In 2011, more segments were produced to air both as standalone segments outside the show, and within: Ernie & Bert Songs and Ernie & Bert Märchensongs.

The Elmo Era: 2012-present[]


Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the show in 2012.

For the show's 40th anniversary, Elmo was introduced as a resident on the street, appearing in a tree house setting as the new host of the show.

New characters include a female friend to Elmo, played by Julia Stinshoff, and Susi Schraube, an inventive girl who appears in a series of new stop-motion segments. Established characters such as Rumpel and Samson were retired (although Samson has made special appearances on the show since 2013), while Pferd, Wolle and Finchen remain part of the cast. Established characters such as Cookie Monster and Grover make new appearances. Material featuring other characters from Sesame Street are used with much less frequency. Super Grover 2.0 was also added to the show beginning in 2013.

The new season debuted on October 1, 2012, with the special birthday themed episode airing on the anniversary date of January 8, 2013. Other anniversary events include:


Melvin Ming with Lutz Marmor and Bert, Cookie Monster and Ernie at Sesamstrasse's 40th birthday party on January 7th, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany.

  • NDR Radiophilharmonie mit Ernie, Bert und Samson aired January 1, 2013 as a 30-minute special New Year's concert on ARD.
  • DAS! aired brief live guest appearances by members of the current cast of Sesamstrasse characters from January 2 to 6, 2013. NDR Info radio aired a 54-minute panel discussion with producers and puppeteers, as well as Ernie and Bert, on January 6, 2013.[3] Following the official birthday party, Ernie and Bert appeared on N-JOY radio on January 8, 2013.[4]
  • Official Birthday Party in Hamburg, Germany on January 7, 2013: Sesame Workshop President H. Melvin Ming, NDR chairman Lutz Marmor, Cookie Monster (performed by David Rudman), Pferd, Wolle, Finchen, Elmo, Ernie & Bert at Sesamstrasse's 40th anniversary press conference birthday party[5] Samson, Ernie & Bert at the 40th anniversary live concert (a variation of NDR Radiophilharmonie mit Ernie, Bert und Samson). Live reports on Hamburg Journal accompanied the festivities, including interviews with Ernie, Bert and Elmo.
  • The special 40th Anniversary Episode aired on January 8, 2013, the premiere date of the first episode and features a birthday celebration for the show. A special music video for the anniversary was created, revisiting "Mah Na Mah Na," starring Sesame Muppets and local celebrities.
  • Die lange Sesamstraßen-Nacht ("The Long Sesame Street Night") aired on January 12, 2013, re-airing vintage episodes and rare documentaries in a four-hour special programming block from 5:40 PM (EST) to 2:40 PM (PST).
  • On January 31, 2013, Ernie and Bert paid a visit to TV Total, and sang a couple of Sesamstrasse songs with host Stefan Raab. On April 12, in a prerecorded appearance, the duo co-hosted SWR3 latenight.
  • On October 12, 2013, Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Wolf and Preston Rabbit also appeared live on Das Herbstfest der Träume, a 180-minute prime-time music variety TV show that aired on ARD and was hosted by Florian Silbereisen. The surprise appearance was set up to coax singer Helene Fischer into visiting "the street" in order to produce a special installment of Ernie & Bert Songs with them. The quintet joined her on her song "Mit keinem Andern," and also sang along with guest star of the evening, Mireille Mathieu, on her song "Wenn mein Lied deine Seele küsst," on her medley of songs and for the show's finale. Das Magazin zum Herbstfest, a backstage report on the appearance, was produced the same night and aired on October 18, 2013 on MDR.
  • Both Berlin and Hamburg receive anniversary exhibitions with Muppets on display, as well as special birthday events taking place throughout the year.
    • The Berlin-based exhibition 40 Jahre Sesamstrasse opened on December 12, 2012 with a live appearance by Samson, Ernie, Bert and Horst Janson, and was on display until April 7 May 5, 2013 (extended). The Muppets on display were Samson, Tiffy, Rumpel, Feli Filu, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert and a purple Anything Muppet boy.
    • The Hamburg-based exhibition opened with a live appearance by Ernie on May 14, 2013 and ran through March 16, 2014. The slightly altered exhibition ran under the title Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 40.! Ein Ausflug in die Welt der Sesamstraße ("Congratulations on your 40th! A trip into the world of Sesame Street"). The Muppets on display were Samson, Tiffy, Rumpel, Feli Filu, Pferd and Wolle.[6]
  • The live-show 40 Jahre Sesamstrasse - Die Geburtstags-Show was touring the country (as well as making a stop in Luxembourg) throughout 2013.

Starting December 25, 2013 (Christmas Day), KIKA aired Elmo - das Musical as its own individual short form series. Around the same time, newly produced Wort des Tages (Word of the Day) segments with German celebrities began airing on Sesamstrasse.


Elmo's "Nachbarschaftssong."

Beginning with the new opening sequence and launch of its cartoon website in 2013, the show has produced more and more segments utilizing green screen, such as Elmo's "Nachbarschaftssong." In the years since, more of the original segments for the show have taken place away from Elmo's treehouse, returning now to a street area. In 2017, Abby Cadabby makes her first appearance on the show and rose to be a more prominent character over the years since.


In November 2017, another spin-off premiered its three pilot episodes on KIKA following the first spin-off show Eine Möhre für Zwei: Sesamstrasse präsentiert: Pizza mit Biss. The show follows the antics of Pferd, Wolle, Grover and Cookie Monster running a restaurant. Mr. Johnson frequently appears as the ever-so-unlucky guest, with chickens, penguins, Anything Muppets and humans alike visiting the establishment, and Pferd and Wolle delivering their pizza all around town, such as to Elmo's neighborhood hair salon.

In January 2023, the show celebrates its 50th anniversary with special appearances, a five-part retrospective series, museum exhibitions, and a special episode of the show commemorating its birthday.[7][8]



Lilo, Uwe, Horst and Ute with Finchen, Uli von Bödefeld, Samson and Tiffy (1983).


Samson, Tiffy, and Finchen in Sesame Street Stays Up Late


Bettina #2, Opa Brass, Schorsch, Helmi, Jivana, and Mucke with Rumpel, Samson, Buh, Tiffy, and Finchen.

See Sesamstrasse Characters, Sesamstrasse Performers, and Sesamstrasse Actors.


(years are production dates)

Human Cast[]

Street residents (years are production dates)

Sketch actors

Character Translations and Voices[]

Sesamstrasse information muppets 2


English Name German Name German Voice Actor
Ernie Ernie see preceding link for full list
Bert Bert
Cookie Monster Krümelmonster
Grover Grobi Karl-Ulrich Meves (1973-1997)
Robert Missler (1997-2017)
Martin Reinl (2017-present)
Elmo Elma (female) Sabine Falkenberg (2000-2012)
Elmo (male) Martin Reinl (2012-present)
Big Bird Bibo Wolfgang Draeger
Kermit the Frog Kermit der Frosch Andreas von der Meden
Count von Count Graf Zahl Alf Marholm (1973-late 2000s)
Harald Halgardt (2000s-2010s)
Peter Kirchberger (2010s-present)
Oscar the Grouch Oskar der Griesgram Gottfried Kramer (1973-1994)
Michael Lott (ca. 1994-)
Prairie Dawn Mariechen Renate Pichler (1973-2000s)
Herry Monster Grosses Monster
Jochen Sehrndt
Zoe Sina Tanja Dohse
Don Music Don Schnulze Peter Kirchberger
Little Bird Klein Bibo Inken Sommer
Professor Hastings Professor Hastig Günther Jerschke
Lefty the Salesman Schlemihl Reiner Brönneke (early 1973)
Horst Stark (late 1973 onward)
Mr. Snuffleupagus Schnuffi Peter Kirchberger
Baby Bear Baby Bär Till Demtrøder
Sherlock Hemlock Sherlock Humbug Horst Stark
Guy Smiley Robert;
named after quizmaster Robert Lembke
Rolf Mamero
Forgetful Jones Denkedran Jost Wolfgang Völz
The Amazing Mumford Der große Mumpitz Helmo Kindermann
Thomas Twiddlebug Papa Krabbelkäfer Wolfgang Völz
Two-Headed Monster Zweikopfmonster Wolfgang Draeger (left head)
Wolf Rahtjen & Günter Lüdke (right head)
Dr. Nobel Price Dr. Nobel Preis Wolf Rahtjen
Hoots the Owl Huh Frank Zander
Telly Monster Telly Monster Franz-Josef Steffens (-ca. 2004)
Tetje Mierendorf (later)
Rosita Angela Quast
Herbert Birdsfoot Herbert Leichtfuß Karl-Ulrich Meves
Mr. Johnson Der Gast Lothar Grützner
Slimey Schleimi der Regenwurm No Dialogue
Roosevelt Franklin Eberhard Freitag Unknown
Granny Fanny Nesselrode Amalie Seidenstrumpf, die Briefkasten-Oma
(literally "The Mailbox Grandma")
Harvey Kneeslapper Hänschen Kiechererbse
Placido Flamingo Blaffido Flamingo
Grundgetta Grieshilde
Meryl Sheep Mary Schief
Dr. Ruster Dr. Gockel
Various monsters
(early seasons)
Otto Kuhlmann
Werner Schumacher (including Lulatsch)
Charlie Karlchen / Charlie No Dialogue

Humans and Cartoon Characters

Bob   Lutz Mackensy
Susan Susanne Christa Berndl
Gordon   Volker Lechtenbrink
Mr. Hooper Herr Huber Manfred Steffen
Tom   Andreas von der Meden
Alice Braithwaite Goodyshoes Susanne Klickerklacker Gisela Trowe

See also[]


External links[]


  1. Sesamstrasse Wikipedia page
  2. Hamburger Morgenpost "Help! The Sesamstraße is burning. Fire in NDR warehouse: Valuable stocks destroyed" September 8, 1988, p 38
  3. NDR Info - Sesamstrasse panel discussion photo gallery (2013-01-06)
  4. N-JOY XTRA - Ernie und Bert bei N-JOY (2013-01-08)
  5. Sesame Workshop Blog - Sesamstrasse Celebrates 40th Anniversary (2013-01-09)
  6. [ Altonaer Museum: Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 40.! Ein Ausflug in die Welt der Sesamstraße]
  7. [1]
  8. [2]