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PERFORMER Michael Earl 1980-1981
  Richard Hunt 1981-1991
DEBUT 1980
PATTERN Large Lavender Live Hand

Forgetful Jones is a cowboy, so named because he always forgets everything. He appeared regularly on Sesame Street from Season 12 through Season 22. His horse is Buster, and his longtime (and longsuffering) girlfriend is Clementine.

Forgetful's cowboy characteristics include referring to people as "pardner," singing with a guitar, and starring in Old West sketches and movie spoofs (including of High Noon and Oklahoma). However, as his name indicates, his defining trait is a severe short term memory problem, unable to remember instructions, what he was going to do, how to perform basic functions, the names of most of those he encounters, and sometimes even his own identity. In street scenes, other characters (often Maria) try to help him overcome the issue, with limited success. During the period when Big Bird's adult friends doubted the existence of Mr. Snuffleupagus, Forgetful met Snuffy more than once but, predictably, forgot who exactly it was. Despite all of this, Forgetful shows awareness of his condition and sings poignantly about how his memory issues do not impact his ability to care for others, serenading Clementine with "I'll Always Remember I Love You."

When addressing others, Forgetful's memory issues (which varied according to scene length and purpose) could range from simply trailing off before the name is supplied, using "whatshisname" or "stranger," or uttering an incorrect name seemingly at random. On occasion the wrong names were used for inside jokes or other gags beyond simple incorrectness. In Episode 2313, he gets Clementine's name wrong multiple times (to the point of calling her Ralph in a flashback), while in Episode 2618, he refers to the topographically named Prairie Dawn as "Desert."

Others in Forgetful's circle of family and friends include his other horse Whatshisname (Buster's brother), parents, a cousin, an uncle, and a great-great grandfather.

Writer Norman Stiles, who created the character, spoke at length about his function beyond the comedy, how the curriculum goal was to address cognitive function, the importance of memory, and how to remember:

β€œThere was an old cowboy movie, something like Cowboy Jones[note 1] and I put the two of them together. The idea was that he was so forgetful that you could go through the steps [of remembering] with this character β€” but the kids would be ahead of him, which was a teaching tool. If the kids are a little bit ahead, they were going to be more engaged.

Richard Hunt was great with that character. He gave it so much of the personality, the goofiness. The idea was that he wasn’t terribly upset, and nobody was upset with him. You wanted kids to understand that everybody forgets, just like everybody makes mistakes. ”
β€”emmy magazine #10 (2016).[1]

Muppet Workshop designer and builder Laurent Linn also discussed Hunt's approach to the character in the book Quilting with the Muppets: "Forgetful Jones...brought out more of the simple, sweet side of Richard, in the midst of some of his other more outrageous characters."

After the death of Richard Hunt, Forgetful Jones stopped appearing as a major character. However, he continued to make occasional non-speaking cameos. These include the finale of Elmo Saves Christmas, in a flashback sequence in Episode 4197, some Season 45 episodes, Caroll Spinney's retirement party, and in a 2018 web video "12 Days of Christmas Cookies."

The character eventually began to make speaking appearances again in Kinect Sesame Street TV, the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con (during the "Sesame Street Puppets Live!" show), and Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration; performed in these instances by Matt Vogel.[2][3] He also appears in The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo as an audience member.

According to Episode 1561, Forgetful actually lives about 40 miles away from Sesame Street.


Picture Summary / First Appearance Description
Brushing Teeth
Episode 1446
Clementine reminds Forgetful Jones to do something before going to bed, something that involves teeth. Forgetful tries to remember, and eventually figures that he has to brush Buster's teeth.
Horse Story
Episode 1465
Clementine finds Forgetful once again in a situation where he has no memory. She has him assess the clues to remember - he's sitting in a great chair for reading, has a lamp for reading and a book. Forgetful finally remembers - Buster was reading him a book.
Forgetful's Alphabet
Episode 1472
On the ranch, Forgetful is able to remember the entire alphabet. He does, however, forget one thing: that he was able to remember it.
Forgetful Jones Forgets his Horse
Episode 1481
Forgetful Jones needs something to ride around the ranch. Clementine gives him clues: It has four legs and a bushy tail, eats hay, and neighs. It's his horse Buster, who arrives with the jeep.
Forgetful Forgets His Coat
Episode 1488
It's a chilly winter day, and Forgetful is freezing. Clementine tells him it's because an important piece of clothing is missing from his attire. Once Forgetful realizes that he's missing his coat, he goes inside to get it...but forgets how to open the door, and crashes through it!
"Who Could Forget the Day That We Met"
Episode 1497
Forgetful Jones sings a song to Clementine about the first time they met, but gets all of the details wrong.
"Song of Forgetful Jones"
Episode 1510
Forgetful tries singing the song to Clementine, but needs help remembering the song's original context.
Forgetful Jones Takes a Trip
Episode 1654
Clementine and Buster get on a train, and try to tell Forgetful Jones that he's supposed to get on the train with them, but Forgetful Jones would much rather remember on his own why he's at the train station. The train leaves just as Forgetful remembers why he's there.
Forgetful Calls his Cousin
Episode 1657
Clementine reminds Forgetful Jones to call his cousin on her birthday (even though he's got a ribbon tied to his finger and to the phone). When he calls, his equally forgetful cousin doesn't remember having a cousin, and asks him to describe what he looks like.
Bath Time
Episode 1666
Clementine hears water running, which reminds Forgetful that he was about to do something. Using the clues at hand (a bar of soap, a backbrush and a towel), Forgetful remembers that it's bath time. Buster's bath time, that is...
In the Dark
Episode 1690
Forgetful Jones, Clementine and Buster are in the dark because Forgetful forgot to turn something on. It's not the water, the electric fan or the radio ... it's the light!
"What's the Name of That Song?"
Episode 1696
At the saloon, Clementine asks for Forgetful to sing a song. Buster plays "What's the Name of That Song?" on the piano, and the crowd (including a cow) sings along, but Forgetful keeps asking what the name of the song is.
This is Your Story
Episode 1700
Guy Smiley hosts "This is Your Story" and salutes Forgetful Jones, with visits from his parents, a teacher and his Uncle Ned (whom he continually guesses for every other voice). Guy gives Forgetful Jones a photo album so next time he can actually recognize his loved ones.
"I'll Always Remember I Love You"
Episode 1813
Forgetful Jones forgets to pick up Clementine, who is upset that he always forgets things. Forgetful then sings to her, letting her know that he always remembers that he loves her. After the song, Clementine comments that it's her best birthday ever, reminding Forgetful why he has a box with him.
Episode 1844
Forgetful and Clementine talk about the word "love".
Kermit's Movie
Episode 1922
Director Kermit is making a western film with Forgetful Jones as the star. Forgetful is supposed to enter through the saloon doors and shout, "Everybody freeze!" Of course, he forgets this, and instead enters under, around and over the door. He gets the line right for the first three takes, but when he finally goes through the door: "Everybody ... frolic!"
Name That Sound!: Honker
Episode 1957
Mr. Honker honks when guessing sounds in this game show, but since Guy Smiley can't understand his honks, the Honker brings the objects in. Sounds include a cow (to which he brings in Gladys the Cow), a horse (to which he brings in Buster the Horse, accompanied by Forgetful Jones, who forgets whether or not he's a horse), and a fire engine (which Mr. Honker brings, full of honkers).
"I'm a Real Cowboy"
Episode 1965
Clementine and some cowboys sing a song to Forgetful Jones to remind him of what they are, but Forgetful keeps guessing different things.
Forgetful telephone
Kermit's Telephone Demo
Episode 1977
Kermit teaches viewers how to use a telephone, with "help" from Forgetful Jones.
Forgetful and Daniella β€” NO
Episode 2031
Muppet & Kid Moments: Forgetful asks Daniela what word is written on a "No" sign, but he thinks she is refusing to tell him.
Forgetful and Daniella β€” R and P
Episode 2032
Forgetful Jones asks Daniela to help him understand the difference between a letter R and P.
Forgetful and Daniella: YES
Episode 2053
Forgetful asks a girl named Daniela if she will tell him the word on a sign, which says "Yes". But every time she tells him the word, he thinks she's saying yes to telling him the word.
Brushing Teeth (remake)
Episode 2068
A remake of an earlier sketch, but with Richard Hunt as Forgetful Jones, Kevin Clash as Clementine, and Martin P. Robinson as Buster.
Forgetful Jones Forgets his Horse (remake)
Episode 2081
A remake of an earlier sketch, but with Richard Hunt as Forgetful Jones, Kevin Clash as Clementine and Martin P. Robinson as Buster.
Forgetful's Four Friends
Episode 2165
Forgetful has gathered Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe and Keshia Knight Pulliam to help him with something, but he can't remember what it is. One by one, each kid has to leave, leaving Forgetful alone. At the last minute, Forgetful remembers what he wanted the kids to help him with: subtraction. But now he can't remember what he wanted to subtract.
Clementine's Guessing Game
Episode 2218
Clementine plays a game with the viewers to see if they can guess what Forgetful Jones is riding on.
"Write it Down"
Episode 2295
Maria, Luis and Gordon appear as vaudeville performers who, in song, suggest that Forgetful write things down in order to remember.
"Write It Down" (Rap version)
Episode 2345
Maria, Luis, David, and Forgetful Jones rap about writing things down.
Going on vacation
Episode 2470
Forgetful Jones and his grandma are trying to figure out which one of them was going on a cruise ship. Forgetful checks the suitcase and discovers that it holds his grandma's clothes, so it is she who is going on the cruise. As they get interrupted, they both forget what they were doing and end up waving to the people on the boat and wish them a happy vacation.
Episode 2544
Director Kermit is filming Oklahoma with Forgetful Jones as the star. Forgetful is supposed to enter sing "Oklahoma!" but sings "Ache-lahoma!", "Eeklahoma!" and "Ike-lahoma!" instead. When he finally gets it right, the production assistant says it's time for lunch.
Around the Rock
Episode 2586
Forgetful Jones and Clementine ride on horseback, and come across a rock. Clementine consults her book, The Cowgirl's Companion, to figure out how to handle a rock in your trail: go around it.
High 12
Episode 2614
In a parody of High Noon, Clementine doesn't want Forgetful to meet Sinister Sam, the meanest man in the west, at the train station at twelve, especially since it is their wedding day. Forgetful convinces her that "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do". When Sam shows up, he tells Forgetful, in a threatening manner, that he has something to say: That it's nice of him to remember to meet him at the train station.
Forgetful and Daniella: ME
Episode 2709
Once again, Forgetful has trouble understanding a word on a sign.
Episode 2798
Forgetful is about to eat a sandwich Clementine made for him, when he observes a cowboy who looks just like him in the mirror. He invites the other cowboy to lunch. He goes into the kitchen to tell Clementine to make another sandwich for a special cowboy. He shows her his new friend, but she explains that it's just his reflection. Disheartened, Forgetful wonders who will eat the second sandwich, and Clementine reminds him of someone within earshot. Forgetful then opens the door to let Buster eat the sandwich and asks Clementine if she'd like to join them.



Episodic appearances[]

Book appearances[]


  1. ↑ Referring to Buck Jones, star of a series of B Western movies.

See also[]