Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: The Amazing Mumford

WMW Mumford

Written by Ryan Dosier.


Performed by…Mumford hat off
Jerry Nelson

First appearance…
Sesame Street Season 3 (1971)

Most recent appearance…

Sesame Street Season 36 (2005)

Best known role…

Bumbling, hapless magician whose “beautiful assistant” is usually Grover


“A la peanut butter sandwiches!”

The Amazing Mumford is one of the many Sesame Street Muppet characters designed around the lavender, live-hand Anything Muppet design (see also: Forgetful Jones, Dr. Nobel Price). Mumford was an early character developed for the show whose witty interactions with characters such as Grover and Cookie Monster, coupled with his timeless catchphrase (“A la peanut butter sandwiches!”) and his performance by Jerry Nelson made him stand out as a recurring Muppet in various sketches both in street scenes and elsewhere.

Mumford attempts to present himself as a legitimate, well-practiced magician but most of his tricks backfire or produce unwanted results. A prime example of this occurs in Sesame Street’s 25th Birthday: A Musical Celebration, where Big Bird asks Mumford to make people “La la,” but after his recitation of “A la peanut butter sandwiches!” Mumford makes the crowd of people say “Baa baa.”

The tricks of The Amazing Mumford have also caused Grover and Gladys the Cow to disappear (sort of), turned himself and Grover into rabbits (on separate occasions), made Herry Monster appear out of nowhere, made Kermit the Frog shrink, turned Baby Bear into a bowl of porridge, and famously made Big Bird little.

The Amazing Mumford was magic long before Abby Cadabby was. Mumford’s antics and magic tricks are easy fodder for teaching basic math (addition, subtraction) to kids and also for making them laugh by constantly–and accidentally–making Grover and other characters disappear. It would be a lot of fun to see The Amazing Mumford return to the Street in some fashion. Can you imagine a Harry Potter parody with Mumford as the teacher at a magic school which Abby Cadabby attends? Hilarity is sure to ensue. I’d love to see Mumford and Abby interacting on the Street, so let’s bring back the magic and humor of The Amazing Mumford!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, rmuppetmindsert@gmail.com

5 thoughts on “Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: The Amazing Mumford

  1. Mumford is one of those unsung, second string (now third string perhaps) characters I always find myself quite attached to.

    I too hope he returns as one of things I loved about him was that, though not an accomplished magician, he was still a magician. He really could do magic. He just had trouble getting it right. Mumford never gave up however and always tried again and in that there is a powerful lesson to be learned.

  2. In the same spirit as the new Muppets movie, someone should come up with a Sesame Street special or movie bringing back all the old characters: Mumford, Roosevelt Franklin, SAM, Don Music, Sherlock Hemlock, Simon the Sound Man, etc.

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