Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Top 13 Sesame Street Scares (#5)

Muppet Wiki

#5: Count Von Count

No specific skit. Just the Muppet character as a whole.

I mean, who at the Children’s Television Workshop thought it was a good idea to create a children’s puppet character out of a re-animated corpse that feasts on the blood of the living?

Even Family Guy pointed out the absurdity of this:
Peter: Hey, is the Count a Vampire?

Brian: What's that?

Peter: Well he's got these big fangs. Have they ever shown him doin' somebody in and then feedin' on em?

Brian: You're, you're asking me if they've ever done a Sesame Street in which the Count kills somebody and then sucks their blood for sustenance.

Peter: Yeah.

Brian: No, they've never done that.
Now whether or not The Count is an actual vampire has remained the subject of debate among fans. (Of course, if Edward Cullen can count as a vampire, then pretty much anything can count as a vampire. Even a ham sandwich!)

On the one hand, the Count has never been shown to feast on blood—of course, that’s probably because of the standards and practices on PBS. Celestia knows what Jim would have allowed the Count to get away with if Sesame Street aired on any other channel. After all, this is the man who said that it wasn’t healthy for children NOT to be afraid.

The Count also has no problem being out in the sunlight—otherwise, he’d be a pile of smoldering ashes by now. This is why he can chillax with Harry Bellafonte out on the beach.

Other than those two exceptions, the Count is a vampire in every other way. He dresses like a vampire. He talks like a vampire. He has fangs like a vampire. He lives in a big spooky castle. He hangs out with bats. Even his counting obsession is attributed to his vampire nature.

Yes, true facts: in early vampire lore, vampires had serious OCD with counting. In fact, one way you could distract a vampire was to dump a pile of seed or rice. This would force him to count every single grain. Every. Single. One!

So, yes, the Count’s counting obsession is more than just a play on his name.

As to his scare factor, while he may not be scary to kids today, when he was first introduce on the show, he was one scary son of a bitch.

I mean, this was one of his earliest sketches:

A dark, dingy manor with bats flying, thunder crashing, and the Count menacingly making his way down the stairs? Oh yes, this isn’t going to bother children one bit.

In his early appearances, Count’s character was very much like a monster movie vampire. He was cold, menacing, and in some instances, downright cruel. Nothing and no one would dare get in the way of his counting, and if they did, he would hypnotize them into submission.

This is how he dealt with Bert and Ernie:

And then there was his trademark counting. As shown here, every time he finished counting, he would laugh manically and summon thunder and lightning. Because that’s the one sound that children love most: thunder and lightning.

Speaking of sound, most of his songs were downright creepy. Being a vampire, most of his songs delved into the macabre. Like this song, for instance:

Yes, you’re watching that correctly: the Count is using a real human skeleton to count with—and that skeleton is laughing.

Kids in the 1970s must have needed a lot of therapy!

Since his first appearance, the Count has become much more jolly and friendly, unlike his more mean-spirited self, and nowadays, he could hardly scare a newborn baby. But there was a time when the Count was truly scary as a vampire.

And I mean real vampires, not the Twilight vampires. I don’t know what the freak those things are. They’re not vampires. Vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight.

The Count: he may not be a real vampire, but he’s more a vampire than Edward Cullen!