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PERFORMER Leonard Jackson 1989-1990
  David L. Smyrl 1990-1998
DEBUT 1989

Mr. David Handford owned and operated Hooper's Store on Sesame Street from 1989 to 1998. Mr. Handford was a retired firefighter, who bought the store from David in order to keep active. In his earliest appearances, he often offered fire safety messages. In Episode 2791, he reveals that he worked in a library through high school, then moved onto the fire department for twenty years until retirement, using his savings to buy the store. In Episode 3688, he also revealed was also a part of a doo-wop group called "The Handford Five" in his youth.

Mr. Handford also appeared in the specials Elmo Saves Christmas and Elmopalooza. Mr. Snuffleupagus occasionally had trouble pronouncing his name, calling him Mr. Handfoot, similar to how Big Bird often pronounced Mr. Hooper's name as Mr. Looper.

No specific explanation was given, on screen, for Mr. Handford's departure - Season 29 simply ended with him running Hooper's, and Season 30 began with Alan taking over; Sesame Workshop's official website cited that Mr. Handford had simply sold the store to Alan in 1998.[1]


  • Originally, the character's name was spelt as "Hanford" in scripts from seasons 21 and 22. By season 23, the scripts consistently use the "Handford" spelling.[2]

Book appearances


  1. ↑ character page (archive link): "Mr. Handford ran the store until he sold it to Alan in 1998."
  2. ↑ Documents provided by trusted source