Vintage Sesame Street Count Puppet from Canada

AnimalAttack

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Hello,

I'm looking for information regarding the vintage Sesame Street Count hand puppet with the rubber head. I bought one of these guys from ebay a few years back, and interested in learning more. Here are my questions:

1) Does anyone know if this puppet originally sold loose or in a package of some type? If packaged, does anyone know of a picture that exists?
2) Did the puppet come with any accessories besides the cape and possibley a hand wand? I've noticed a small dimple on the nose and wandered if a monocle may exist.
3) Was the puppet exclusive to Canada or is that only a rumor?
4) Are there any variations to this guy? Many I've seen have a tongue that appears to deteriorate over time. The one I have does not have a tongue, however, the inside of the mouth is clean and doesn't show evidence that a tongue was ever present.

1, 2, 3, 4 questions... AH AH AH AH :batty:

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks.
 

FUZZYRED

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Hi! I collect old sesame street puppets as well and I heard about this for few years. To answer your qusetons (2,3 and 4). This puppet did come with the cape but, it broken very easily and not sure come with hand wand plus monocle. I think it only exclusive to Canada and make this puppet very rarely for collection. Finaly, if you go this page:

http://mikeysmuppetmemorabiliamuseum.blogspot.com/p/sesame-street-1969-1979.html

Go down after pics of different bert hands version, you will find a pic of count and information as welland did have a tongue as well! I think I've cover all your questions expect for number 1 for unknow but it would interesing and surprise!
 

AnimalAttack

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Thanks for the response. I'm familar with Mikey's site - very cool. Although his Count has a tongue, I've seen others that do not, and in the cases I've seen, the surface of the inside lower mouth is very clean. So, that made me wonder if there's a variation with some Counts having a tongue and others not.

I pinged Phillip (one of the admins here at muppet central) about all this. I'm hoping he may be able to chime in and provide more info. I read some older posts from him on this subject, and he may be another resident expert.

Thanks again!
 

Mikey's Muppet

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Hello Animal Attack. This is Mike from the Mikey's Muppet Memorabilia Museum blog noted above. I just came across this forum and your questions. It's been over a year since you posted, but in case you ever check back, here's what I know about the Count puppet:
1) I've never seen a box, or photo of a box, for this puppet but suspect it would have been sold in an Educational Toys box. My rambling explanation as to why I think this can be read here on my blog: http://mikeysmuppetmemorabiliamuseum.blogspot.ca/p/sesame-street-toy-puppets-1971-1984.html
2) I've wondered about the monocle too, but I doubt it came with an arm rod as those were only sold with the Child Guidance produced puppets. I'm a bit doubtfull about the monocle though as it would have been a small piece which wouldn't be a good idea for a kids toy. (What we need is a Vicma's Sherlock Hemlock puppet to help solve this mystery!)
3) I've never seen any actual evidence to prove as fact that the plastic head Count puppets were made in Canada. I live in Ottawa, Ontario, and found my plastic head Count in the mid 1990s at a thrift store. When I showed the Count to a High School friend he told me he once had one as a kid (and played with it in the bathtub!). As the puppet is so rare and I had no problem locating two of them by chance, I find this lends credit to the idea that they were sold in Canada. Unfortunately mine doesn't have a tag saying where it was made, but the Educational Toys puppets that were sold in Canada were also made in Canada (at least this is the case for Cookie Monster and Oscar). Their US counterparts were made in Jamaica. So for these reasons I think it's safe to say it's a Canadian made item sold only in Canada. It would be nice to find the proof though, such as an Irwin Toys catalogue with a Count photo, rather than just speculating!
4) My Count has a tongue. Its a felt piece that was glued into the mouth. Felt, of course, is not very durable and so it wears out easily. In addition the glue wasn't the best and eventually dries out allowing the tongue to fall off, as mine did. Regardless, young kids who were lucky enough to get a Count brand new also likely couldn't resist peeling the tongue off. At least that's how I treated my toys at that age. When you remove the tongue there is no residue from the glue, so you wouldn't know it was ever there. Just like magic! Too bad there isn't a Mumford puppet!
 

Jelopi

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The Canadian count was made in 1974 by Irwin Toy Limited (Child Guidance/Questor). He came in the white and green box and included a cape, a wand and instruction pamphlet. No monocle. Hope this helps :batty:
 

GroverBoy

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Hi - I'm new to the forum. I recently upgraded my rubber-headed Canadian Count puppet. The one I've had is a bit worn out, he has no tongue or cape, he has holes in his shirt, and his ribbon-sash is loose. My newly acquired Count is in really superb condition and he has both tongue, and a complete cape (though it has a couple small rips in it.)

What is most curious is that his clothing seems to be made of different fabrics than my first Count puppet. The "white" section is a ribbed fabric, and the "black fabric" is a thicker polyester blend. My first Count has fabrics more approximating t-shirt material. Also the shirt on the new Count I have is built a bit differently - he has cuffs on his shirt. The new Count puppet also has a different (and better) paint job on his head. His eyebrows are full painted (not just the top surface. And he has "eyeliner" a black line where his lower eyelashes would be.

So my big question ... Is this Count possibly a prototype or trade-show sample? He seems a bit better made and much better painted than most other Counts I've seen photos of. And I have never seen a Count with this ribbed white fabric in the upper shirt. The ribbed fabric fits the neck much better and keep the shirt on properly, too.

I briefly considered the possibility that someone made a new shirt for him but the condition of the head and the fact that he has his tongue and an intact cape make him seem practically new - so why would anyone need/want to make a new shirt for a Count who still has his original cape? And the shirt seems very well made and designed. The inner edges have been "surged" i.e. a "factory edge" on inner seams, and the "cuffs" are virtually identical to the Topper / Educational Toys-style shirt cuffs. All other count I've seen have no cuffs at all.

My new Count puppet can be seen here:
http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/File:Topper_1972_count_puppet_1.jpg

I am starting to wonder if there are just different versions of the rubber-headed Count. Some collectors have theorized that he MAY have been developed by Educational Toys/Topper and then discontinued before he was released and they lost the licensing deal. Might this be an early Count? Another reason to assume the Count got "simplified" over time is the photo that's surfaced recently of the Child Guidance Count in his orig box.

SEE HERE:
http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140727011401/muppet/images/b/b7/IMG_1414.jpg

Notice that this Count has no tongue, yet he is seemingly a never-played-with Count in a box with his cape? That photo clearly implies that not ALL Counts had tongues.

So, I look forward to peoples thoughts and ideas.
 
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AnimalAttack

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Hi GroverBoy,

You make some very interesting observations. I had originally wondered myself whether there was a variation to the Count with some having tongues and others not. Mikey made a good case for the tongue's being removal with no residue, however, the ebay auction with the box that recently came to light clearly shows a Count with no tongue. So, I'm personally back to believing there are variations out there. If the tongue is a variation, then I think it's very possible the other differences you pointed out with your recently acquired Count could be variations as well. I'm even back to wondering if a monocle may have existed for some of these puppets based on the small pin hole in the nose. There's a Count listed on ebay right now where the seller describes his plastic head Count as missing the monocle. I may send a message and ask if he/she has specific knowledge of the monocle being included with plastic head Counts. Here is the link to the auction if anyone is interested:

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&toolid=10001&campid=5336326140&icep_item=231425387106

I'm assuming the shirt/bow tie is a custom job since it's obviously different than any other Counts I've seen (variations included).
 

GroverBoy

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Hi AnimalAttack - thanks for the reply and link to the newly listed (and quite weird) Count puppet on eBay just now. I'm amazed that it took years for me to see ANY Count puppet on eBay and this year I've seen 5 or 6!

I've done some detective work, asking questions of the seller of my "ultra-nice" Count and here's what I got back: The seller is from Ottawa, and mainly collects Muppet stuff, not Sesame. She got the Count from her sister's employer who had been keeping a number of SESAME toys in storage that had belonged to his kids. They were never much played with and have been in storage for most of the last few decades.

* * * * *

This new one you link seems very off-beat to me. The gold lame bow-tie and jewelry style sash seem very-much custom jobs - as does the black brad around his neck and the weird "dickie" shirt front.

The head looks very worn, faded, and stained, too - though the monocle hole looks "deeper" and like just maybe it had been used at one point for such a monocle. I'm positive that's what the dimple was intended for whether a monocle was ever produced or not.

Now the big oddity in this new Count - he has Roosevelt Franklin hands, Not the purple "Ernie-mold" hands! So .... either some collector found an old Count head and wanted to make a puppet, they had no purple hands so they butchered a Roosevelt Franklin puppet - or as the toy company ran out of parts they switched to Roosevelt Franklin hands after they ran out of Count hands - or some assembly worker simply grabbed the wrong purple hands at the factory?

But the thing I find most curious is that a Count with a head in such bad shape, and a Count that needed such a custom job still has a tongue and a nearly intact (if wrinkled) cape. That cape is rare - and few Counts surface with an intact cape. How did such a ratty Count manage to keep his cape for the last 40 years?

Most curious ...

PS - I love your Herry Monster box in your profile pic. Do you have aq HERRY in a box or just like the pic? I have a Herry but he's a little worn and DOES NOT have his box :smile: BTW, my name is David
 
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