November 11, 2009

My Name Is Abelardo Montoya. Big Bird Is My Cousin. Prepare To Buy.

abelardo_mexican_big_bird.jpg

Just when I thought every ()#$%ing puff- and/or contrarian think-piece about Sesame Street's 40th anniversary would leave me dumber than I was last week, I find this amazing exchange, from somewhere in The New York Times' reader Q&A with Big Bird [oy, don't even get me started]:

Dear Big Bird,
Why is the Mexican Big Bird green? Are you related to him?
--André

"Yes, Abelardo is a parrot and he is my cousin!"

Wait, Mexi-que? Quienes?

Sure enough, there he is, from Plaza Sésamo, a giant, green, hook-beaked pajaro grande. Although he apparently started out as Montoya, then became Abelardo, then Abelardo Montoya, and starting around 2000, the [Nuyorican?] Big Bird started showing up on Plaza Sesamo in dubbed US segments. Confusing? But also kind of awesome.

According to Big Bird' entry on the Muppet Wiki, at least six full-body Muppet birds on international co-productions are cousins:

garibaldo_brasil_big_bird.jpg

Garibaldo was originally blue--and favela-busted, so scrawny!--when he first appeared on Vila Sesamo in Brazil, but when the show relaunched in 2008, Sesame Workshop changed him to a yellow Big Bird clone. The original Garibaldo is now stuffed and on display in some museum

Zhima Jie's Da Niao is a direct Chinese translation of Big Bird in every way. Boring, but I'm sure it helps leverage the merchandise.

minik_kus.jpg

Minik Kuş was on Susam Sokağı, the Turkish series, which was produced from 1986 to 1991.

pino_popuas_big_birds.jpg

Pino is from Sesamstraat, the Dutch series. And Poupas, who is kind of blood orange juice-colored, was on Rua Sesamo the Portuguese series, which ran from 1989-1994.

Suddenly, the merchandising and toy possibilities of these knockoffish-looking Big Birds seem very interesting to me. Like 8-foot tall, feather-covered bottles of Mexican Coke.

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