Sesame Street in Brazil

Good Morning, Kids! So, today I learned the names of Sesame St. characters in Brazil. By name alone, I wouldn’t have a clue about who they were if a Brazilian were to have asked me about the subject. Let’s review some of the names. There’s Garibaldo (Big Bird), Gugu (Oscar the Grouch), Funga-Funga (Snuffy) and Ênio e Beto (Bert and Ernie) .

The Brazilian version, known as Vila Sésamo, has characters that look different because the Brazilian version was only based on the American version, not just a dubbed-over version. As for why it wasn’t called Rua Sésamo (a direct translation), that’s because the vila (town) carried a more friendly, familiar connotation than ‘street’ by itself. The Portuguese version, however, is called Rua Sésamo.


(a young Sonia Braga on top right)

The Brazilian Sesame Street (which was the first in the world to copy the original) went on the air with Rede Cultura in 1972, the same year that color came to Brazilian television, only the show was produced in black and white for the first two years. All the kids that watched it during those initial years wondered what colors the characters were. Big Bird, or Garibaldo, was blue because it is thought that yellow didn’t contrast well with black and white television. In 1973, the main Brazilian characters were created (Garibaldo, Gugu and Funga-Funga) when the Brazilian adaptation was completely nationalized. One year later, though, in 1974, the Globo network took over and that’s when color came to Vila Sésamo. As for Ênio e Beto, they were the only two characters that were taken straight from the original show and dubbed into Portuguese. Just a few years after Globo took over, the production costs became too big and the show was cancelled in 1977.

As of 2007, Vila Sésamo came back to the airways in Brazil. This time, with more clips from the American version and a slightly updated cast, adding Elmo, Grover and Come-Come (Cookie Monster), among others. Anyways, I’ll leave you with a link to the song that the show opened with called ‘Alegria da Vida‘ and a classic Ênio e Beto.

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