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Vintage Sesame Street Count Puppet from Canada

Discussion in 'Sesame Merchandise' started by AnimalAttack, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member


    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!!

    GroverBoy likes this.

    FUZZYRED Active Member

    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:


    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!
  3. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member

    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!
  4. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member

    Bumping this thread in hopes of getting more info.

  5. Mikey's Muppet

    Mikey's Muppet New Member

    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!
    GroverBoy likes this.
  6. Jelopi

    Jelopi Active Member

    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 likes this.
  7. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member

  8. GroverBoy

    GroverBoy Member

    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:

    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.


    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.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  9. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member

    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:


    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 likes this.
  10. GroverBoy

    GroverBoy Member

    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 :) BTW, my name is David
  11. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member

    Hi David,

    I'd like to clear up one thing. In my post above I mention an ebay auction with a box and count, with the count not having a tongue. In retrospect, that's not for the ebay auction I was thinking of, so I'm not sure the origins of that photo. I suspect the box and Count combination was put together later and were not found together. The box itself appears to be the same one that came from an ebay auction I saw recently, however, I recall now that the puppet that came with the box was a cloth count, which only adds more confusion. So, in a nutshell, I don't think any conclusions can be made that some Count puppets came without a tongue. I'll defer back to Mikey's theory for now about the tongue being easily removed without a trace left behind.

    Regarding your Count, I did find at least one other photo of a count with the painted eyebrows and eye liner like yours. It was posted on a wiki a while back, but not sure if it's still there or was taken down. It's probably the nicest Count I've seen in terms of condition. Is there an easy way to post photos in this forum without having to include a url? If so, I can post the photo I'm referring to.

    To answer your other question... yes, I do have a Harry puppet new in the box. Really nice condition. I bought it on ebay a handful of years ago from someone that had it in storage and it was never played with. I think it's the only Herry box I've seen.

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  12. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member

    By the way, the seller from Canada with the current Count puppet up for auction replied to me and said he's the original owner and it came with a monocle originally. I mentioned this forum, so maybe he will join our party :batty:

    He said the monocle did not have a string attached - only a nub on the end that fit into the hole.

    He replied again and said everything is original including the bow tie and sash. He said he's the original owner and got it when he was 6 and it's been stored in his basement for 30 years. Not sure what to make of it since I've never seen a Count so different as this one.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  13. GroverBoy

    GroverBoy Member

    Interesting - if this Count is all vintage he's very odd - especially the Roosevelt Franklin hands. The cape does lend credence to his being original, but why such a totally different variant? Gold stuff, etc. I wonder if the seller would tell us what year he got it new. I'd be curious if it was 1974 when we believe the Count was released or very late - explaining maybe why his puppet has Roosevelt Franklin hands.
  14. GroverBoy

    GroverBoy Member

    There was a wrong link up above where someone posted a photo of a Canadian box with a cloth puppet. Here is the image I meant that seems to show a MIB boxed rubber Count without a tongue - which leads me to believe not all Counts have tongues. Everything about this Count looks very new and unspoiled, IMHO. (Photo courtesy of Jelopi)


    This may be the image you've seen of my Count. The original owner posted photos of him a couple times. There are other photos of my Count with a red background (from the eBay auction) But they and this one are the same puppet. If you have an image of another Count with painted eyelashes I'd love to see him. The cuff on the right side is flipped up in the photo below - but he doers have actual "cuffs" on both wrists which other counts seem not to have.

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  15. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member

    Yes, that's the picture I was referring to. So, the Count you now own and the one in the picture immediately above are one and the same. So, I think we're back to not knowing if the one you have is a one off or if there are more like it?

    The other picture you posted of the Count and the box... Look very closely at the damage to the box and compare to the ebay auction of the cloth puppet and box. I believe the boxes are the same and the owner took a picture of the box and paired it up with a Count with no tongue.
  16. GroverBoy

    GroverBoy Member

    Yes, just to be clear the puppet above is a photo of MY puppet posted a year or so ago by the seller I bought it from. She sent me the photo above after the auction ended.

    I didn't originally understand what you meant about the box sold on eBay. You're saying a box showing a rubber head count was sold with a cloth puppet? And then you think the photo above shows that same actual box with a rubber-head Count "married" to the original box, yes? Alas that eBay auction's images are gone so I can't see the box for comparison. Do you have a copy or the first photo? A collector was the source of the photo I shared above and it's her info that the box reads "Irwin Toys 1974" I'll ask her if the box is actually hers now or if she just has a copy of the image, and specifics, etc.

    But you're right, this vintage rubber-head box/fabric puppet auction included a vinyl cape and wand so you may well be right that this is a "marriage". I'd love to see the original photo with the box and cloth puppet.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  17. AnimalAttack

    AnimalAttack Active Member

    Yes, there was a box sold on ebay with a cloth puppet. The seller speculated that the company shipped some cloth puppets with boxes showing the rubber/plastic head count. I have pictures from the auction saved on my PC. Looking closely, the box appears to be the exact same one in the photo you posted next to a rubber/plastic head Count. I'm assuming someone paired the two items together after the fact and they were not originally sold together.

    I can send you pictures from the auction if you PM me your email address. I can also send you pics of my Herry.
  18. GroverBoy

    GroverBoy Member

    Animal Attack and I have been exchanging photos and, thanks to his archive of photos of various Count puppets sold over the years, we've found other examples of the rubber-head Count with the "ribbed" shirt instead of the much more common t-shirt fabric style shirt. So we now know there are indeed variants of this Count puppet! Below is a photo showing the two fabric styles:


    Animal Attack's Count has the white ribbed fabric in the upper shirt but the black t-shirt material in the main body. My Count has the white ribbed fabric and a thicker black polyester lower body with actual "cuffs" more in the style of the Topper Ernie and Bert.

    Who knew!
  19. VonCount

    VonCount Active Member

    I decided to join Muppet Central just so I could join in on this discussion! I bought a vintage count this year and it does have a ribbed shirt! In fact it may be a slight variation of the ones that GroverBoy and Animal Attack have posted. I'm sorry but for some reason I cannot seem to insert an image from flickr so here's a link to my Count Von Count puppet.


    I purchased him online from a seller in the Washington state area, after researching the puppet on Mikey's Museum of Muppet Memorabilia. In fact the puppet shown by Grover Boy may have been referenced in the comments on this page, the photo is gone but the person references the cape and how it was found in a basement and given to her to restore:

    Anyhow I've really enjoyed reading this thread, thanks for letting me share my puppet!
    GroverBoy likes this.
  20. GroverBoy

    GroverBoy Member

    Well, well ... the questions are mostly answered! VONCOUNT, I much appreciate your leading me to that "comment" on Mikey's site explaining my COUNT puppet. So here's what happened and what is going on with my COUNT's slightly different paint job:

    I bought him on eBay in December. He arrived and was is spectacular condition even having his cape still. But I noticed the face was painted a bit differently. Beautifully! But differently. After the puppet arrived I began emailing with the seller asking questions about how long she had had him, if she knew anything about where he'd come from, and if she had done any restoration work on him.

    The seller gave me a detailed history of how this and several other puppets had come out of deep storage (thru her sister's boss) and they had basically never been played with, and there was NO restoration done to them other than mending two small tears in his cape. Since he was in lovely condition I accepted all this at face value, and started asking questions about if he might have been a very early example or a prototype.

    Yesterday, new MCF member "Von Count" kindly helped solve the riddle when she forwarded me a link to a comment from a year ago on MIKEYS MUPPET MUSEUM when the same seller described getting some puppets from her sister's boss and having totally repainted the Count's face and given him a new felt tongue. Hmmmm...

    I've been emailing with the seller last night and today - and she has apologized profusely for not disclosing the restoration on eBay and not telling me the truth in our post-auction emails. I'm still glad to have such a beautiful COUNT puppet, I just wish the seller hadbeen honest about the restoration work.

    OK, all this said - we have still discovered one new thing about the rubber-head COUNT. There ARE two shirt variants: the ribbed style with the better black fabric and cuffs - and the more common t-shirt-fabric style shirt. VonCount, AnimalAttack, and I all have the earlier ribbed white fabric on our Count puppets.

    I'm glad I hadn't sold my first rubber COUNT puppet when I got the fancy 2nd one - so now I have the super nice one with a repainted face, and a beat-up one with a factory face. So I have TWO Count Puppets! One, two ... TWO! Hahhahhah
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
    VonCount likes this.

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