When I was a kid, I loved a puppet called Klinker who was modeled after a blond cocker spaniel. I delighted in telling stories with the help of “my little friend”. It was as fun for me as it was (apparently) for my younger brothers. So when Suzy started making Muppet-style puppets I asked her to make Count Saxula.
This is not the first saxophone welding Muppet. Some of you might remember Zoot from the first season of the Muppets. Zoot is the balding, blue-haired saxophone player for the Electric Mayhem. According to his performer and builder Dave Goelz, “Zoot is just a fifty-year-old burnt-out musician.”
Zoot first appeared with his band mates in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence before securing a regular gig on The Muppet Show, where he played both in the Muppet Orchestra and with the Mayhem. He has also appeared in every Muppet movie, the most recent being The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.
One of Zoot’s trademarks is blowing small notes of music at a time. He notably blew the final note of “The Muppet Show Theme” in the closing credits on every episode of The Muppet Show. Although most of his appearances were with the Electric Mayhem, Zoot was more prominently featured as an individual in the early episodes.
I look forward to using Count Saxula to help my grandchildren learn to count, something that I still struggle with. So he is kind of a homage to the Count von Count Muppet. The Count has a compulsive love of counting (arithmomania); he will count anything and everything, regardless of size, amount, or how much annoyance he causes others around him. In one song he stated that he sometimes even counts himself.When he finishes counting, The Count laughs and announces his total. This finale is usually accompanied by a crash of thunder and a flash of lightning. So maybe Count Saxula’s dialog could go something like, “Let’s count in 3/4 time; a vun, a two, a tree.” and then end with a honk of a sax instead of thunder. It’s a work in progress but in my practice runs I can get Suzy to laugh. :o)
Update, here is how the Count looks today after having used and refined him for six months. We’ve add the glasses and the Bon Tempi child’s saxophone that is usually on sale at eBay.