Unser Sandmännchen, Das Sandmännchen, Abendgruß, Sandmann, Sandmännchen (Little Sandman) is a German children's bedtime television programme using stop motion animation. The puppet was based on a character by Hans Christian Andersen.


Two versions of Sandmännchen were created: one in East Germany (Unser Sandmännchen), and one in West Germany (Das Sandmännchen).

The original idea came from Ilse Obrig of West Berlin TV and radio station Sender Freies Berlin (SFB), who with the help of author Johanna Schüppel, developed a working version in 1958. The Little Sandman himself first appeared on screen in West Berlin in "Sandmännchens Gruß für Kinder" (Sandmännchen's Greeting to Children) on 1 December 1958, and other episodes were soon developed.

However, on 22 November 1959 (less than three weeks after the production had started), East German television (Deutscher Fernsehfunk, DFF) began broadcasting "Unser Sandmännchen" with its own "good night, children" character, also called "Sandmännchen".

Created by the puppetmaster and director Gerhard Behrendt, the show represented everyday life, travel, and fantastic adventure, as well as a certain amount of propaganda. The title character bore a startling resemblance to the then leader of the DDR, Walter Ulbricht, and the show was often a showcase for DDR and Socialist technology and success. This is one of the reasons why he often arrived in amazing vehicles like futuristic cars and flying devices.

The production of the Western version of Sandmännchen ceased in 1991, following the unification of Germany. However, episodes from the DFF show are still run on German television today.

Theme tune

Wolfgang Richter composed the theme to the East German program in just three hours one evening. Wolfgang Krumbach wrote the text.

Opening verse (on the Sandman's arrival)::"Sandmann, lieber Sandmann, es ist noch nicht so weit! :Wir sehen erst den Abendgruß, eh' jedes Kind ins Bettchen muß, :du hast gewiß noch Zeit."

Which literally translates as:: (Sandman, dear Sandman, it's not yet time! :First we'll watch the evening's greeting before every child must go to bed. :Surely, you have time for that.)

Closing verse (when he leaves)::"Kinder, liebe Kinder, das hat mir Spaß gemacht. :Nun schnell ins Bett und schlaft recht schön. :Dann darf auch ich zur Ruhe gehn. Ich wünsch euch gute Nacht."

Again, this translates as:: (Children, dear children, that was fun. :Now, quick, to bed and sleep tight. :Then I may also go and rest. I wish you a good night.)

The score and overall design of the show was remarkably elaborate for a children's television production. The Sandman often visited other countries, and this fact was frequently emphasised by the use of traditional instrumentation and harmony added to the score.

International broadcasts

The East German show was shown in many countries, including western countries like Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway (Where he went under the name of "Jon Blund", "Nukkumatti" in Finland)

The theme song in Norway went as follows::"Hvem er denne karen med skjegg og lue på?:Han ligner litt på nissen i grunn, det er ikke ham det er Jon Blund.:Han besøker store og små."

In English this means:: (Who is this man with a beard and a hat on?: He looks a bit like santa actually, but it's not him it's Jon Blund.: He visits children young and old)

The theme song in Finland was::Nukkumatti, nukkumatti lasten, illoin kulkee heittää unihiekkaa :päivän leikit aika lopettaa on, kun TV:n iltasatu alkaa.:Satu päättyi näin ja lapset käyvät jo nukkumaan siis hyvää yötä.

Supporting characters

The Sandmännchen stories contained a number of characters who remain popular today:

*"Pittiplatsch", a little roundly kobold, "Schnatterinchen", a duck, and "Moppi", a dog
*"Herr Fuchs", a fox, and "Frau Elster", a magpie
*"Plumps", a water goblin, and "Küken", a baby chicken


*His look went through some changes since his debut until he settled down with his final appearance decades ago. His childlike face was meant to give him trust while his beard was meant to give the impression of age and wisdom of an adult.

*Unser Sandmännchen is featured in the 2002 film "Good Bye Lenin!".

*The rock band Rammstein uses the opening monologue from "das Sandmännchen" ("Nun, liebe Kinder, gebt fein Acht. Ich habe euch etwas mitgebracht") at the beginning of the song "Mein Herz brennt".

*The Norwegian 52 minute long documentary "Sandmann - Historien om en sosialistisk supermann" (Sandmann - The history of a socialistic superman) by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen from 2005 looks back on the rise and fall of East German socialism through the tales of Sandmann.

ee also

*List of animated television series

External links

* [ Official homepage] (in German)
*imdb title|id=0434733|title=Unser Sandmännchen
* [ Behrendt dies at 77 (RBB in German)]

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