A Tribute to Jerry Nelson

A look back at one of the Muppet performers
September 24, 2012
Here I am again Retrodave with a tribute to Jerry Nelson. Jerry was one of Jim Henson's main performers/ puppeteers. As you may or may not had heard Jerry Nelson has passed away, August 23, 2012. He has worked with the Muppets since the 60's and "Sesame Street" since the 70's. Jerry's most recognizable character was the Count of Sesame Street.

Jerry Nelson with Count Von Count

Nelson has also worked on "The Muppet Show", "Fraggle Rock" and Muppet movies. Jerry Nelson's career began in 1965. He was supposed to replace Frank Oz when Frank was drafted. However Frank didn't pass the physical, therefore he didn't serve in the military. Since Jerry had already got the job Frank took time off anyway for awhile to let Jerry to continue to work.

In the early 70's Nelson played Thog in "The Great Santa Claus Switch." Thog is a 19 1/2 foot monster. Despite Thog's size he is sweet and gentle. "The Great Santa Claus Switch" was a television special that aired
Dec. 12, 1970 on CBS.

This looks like an interesting special, too bad there is no DVD of this

This special is narrated by Ed Sullivan. Also early on he played Emmet Otter in "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas." This special aired on HBO in 1977, then later on ABC on 1980. There are no characters in this special that are from "The Muppet Show" except for Kermit who does the narration. All the other characters were created for this special.

Starting in 1970 Jerry started on "Sesame Street" on its second season. On "Sesame Street" he performed Herry Monster, Sherlock Hemlock and others. In 1972 he created his most recognizable role of Count Von Count.

Hey everyone it's The Count
I like the Count. The Count made counting fun. Jerry was also the announcer for the Sesame Street News Flash and Super Grover openings; as well as announcers for other segments as well. I look on with fond memories of these characters Jerry had done on Sesame Street and with the know many other generations do as well. Jerry has spent over 40 years on "The Street." If he had done nothing else in his career that would be enough; however he had done other things with the Muppets as well.

"It's the Muppet Show"

Jerry was also a regular performer on "The Muppet Show." Some of his "Muppet Show" characters include Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, the Announcer, Floyd Pepper, Kermit's nephew Robin etc. These weren't the main characters, but they were still fun and lovable characters. Out of the characters listed my favorite was Floyd. Floyd is a great as the bass player in The Electric Mayhem (animal's band.) Nelson was usually paired with performer Richard Hunt. Richard performed many characters. Some of Richard's characters include Scooter, Beaker, and Janice. Together they had performed the part of the Two-Headed Monster on Sesame Street.

Try getting this song out of your head

Continuing his career in the '80s he performed Gobo Fraggle on "Fraggle Rock." It was Gobo's Uncle Matt that explored the world outside of Fraggle Rock. Nelson was also one of the few performers in the movie "The Dark Crystal." Not much else to say about his career in the '80s moving on to the '90s.

In the '90's Jerry performed The Ghost of Christmas Present in "The Muppet Christmas Carol." Jerry also performed some parts in "Muppet Treasure Island," and Ubergonzo from "Muppets from Space." There is not much else to say about the '90s.

On to 2000 and beyond; around 2001 Jerry began to give up some of his characters. However till the end he continued with the Count for old times' sake. Jerry was also the uncredited Announcer for The Muppet Telethon in the last Muppet movie, "The Muppets." Audio clips of Jerry announcing Veterinarians' Hospital, and Pigs in Space were also heard in the movie when Kermit walks into the Muppet Theater. There are some clips Jerry has filmed as the Count for the 43rd season of Sesame Street that will be shown this year. However I have no idea who will replace The Count for the time-being. It is rumored that Matt Vogel who had replaced Nelson's other roles will replace The Count. Jerry Nelson will be missed by anyone who loved The Muppets, "Sesame Street," and counting. To end this article here is a clip of the Count's first appearance on "Sesame Street."

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