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PERFORMER Jerry Nelson
DEBUT 1971
PATTERN Large Lavender Live Hand
DESIGN Jim Henson designer
  Don Sahlin builder

The Amazing Mumford is a talented magician from Sesame Street, but his magic tricks sometimes go awry. His characteristic magic words are "A la peanut butter sandwiches!" After saying this and waving his wand, there is a puff of smoke usually accompanied by either a "poof" noise or magical tinkling sounds, and then after clearing, it reveals how the trick has gone wrong. His assistants have included the over-eager Grover in several sketches, as well as a duck in a number of episodes.

Casting history[]

Following the passing of Jerry Nelson, the role of the character was inherited by John Kennedy.[1] Among his earliest performances of the character include an #ELMOtivation video, published on Sesame Street's social media in October 2018 and Caroll Spinney's retirement party the same month. His first performance as Mumford on the show was a "Cookie Monster's Foodie Truck" segment which first aired in Episode 4906. Kennedy previously performed the character on-set for A Magical Halloween Adventure, where Jerry Nelson looped his dialogue later. However, one brief bit of dialogue remains unlooped in the final product: a scene in which Mumford speaks on the phone with his friend Gilda the Great.


  • Mumford's voice is based on that of the famous comedian W. C. Fields.
  • On Sesamstrasse, the German co-production, Mumford is named "Mumpitz", which means nonsense or balderdash.
  • In Episode 3845, Mumford states his personal web address is ""


Image First Appearance Description
Episode 0280 Disappearing Pineapple Trick
The Amazing Mumford begins his magic subtraction trick with four pineapples, and makes them disappear one at a time. Then Grover makes Mumford disappear.

The story was retold in the book The Amazing Mumford and His Amazing Subtracting Trick.
Episode 0287 Disappearing Cookies
The Amazing Mumford waves his magic wand over a transparent glass cookie jar and makes the jar become full of cookies and then empty (over and over) as an anxious Cookie Monster watches.
Episode 0292 Suspension Act
Grover volunteers to assist Mumford in his suspension act. Grover will get on top of a platform, and Mumford will pull the pillar off from underneath, and the platform will not fall. The trick works, so Grover decides to try it himself, with Herry Monster as his assistant. Grover can't pull it off, and Herry falls.
Story of Quiet and Loud
Episode 0305 The Story of Quiet and Loud
Bob tells the story of a mother who had a loud child (who screamed all the time) and a quiet child (who whispered all the time). Mumford casts a spell to reverse their afflictions.
Episode 0381 Surprise
A woman (Jim Henson) volunteers to assist The Amazing Mumford in his surprise magic trick. Mumford makes her disappear – but when he tries to make her reappear, Herry Monster pops up, saying "SURPRISE!" (Note: In this trick, Mumford uses the magic words "peanut butter" by themselves, instead of his longer trademark phrase.)
Clip 4
Episode 0407 Rabbit Trick
Grover watches Mumford practice a trick, making a rabbit come out of his hat. Mumford has trouble getting a rabbit to come out of the hat; both are oblivious to the fact that Grover gradually turns into a rabbit.
Title 01 21 007 0001
Episode 0455 Rhyming Trick
Grover volunteers to assist Mumford in his rhyming magic trick, making three things come out of his hat that rhyme with "knee". Grover guesses the first one (key), but doesn't get the last two (ski and tree) right.
Episode 1075 MAGIC
The Amazing Mumford sounds out the word MAGIC, then makes himself disappear.
Episode 1210 Disappearing Carrot
Grover is about to eat his carrot when he hears Mumford approaching. Grover asks Mumford to make the carrot disappear. Mumford eating the carrot.
Episode 1447 The Leslie Mostly Show
Leslie Mostly interviews Mumford at his home. He tries to conjure up a rabbit for her, but ends up turning himself into a rabbit. When Mumford attempts to become a person again, he succeeds...and accidentally turns Leslie into a rabbit.
Episode 2579 Gladys the Cow Disappears
Gladys the Cow assists The Amazing Mumford on stage. Mumford says he will make her disappear, but his attempts fail, so he says he'll turn her into a duck instead. She runs off the stage in fright, which means his trick did work this time.
Episode 2696 Big and Small Trick
A Sesame Street News Flash, in which Kermit the Frog interviews Mumford, who is showcasing his big and little trick, where he will make Thumbelina big and The Big Bad Wolf small. He succeeds in making Thumbelina big, but makes Kermit (not the Big Bad Wolf) small.
Letter of the day c with cookie and mumford
Episode 4004 Letter of the Day: C
Cookie Monster asks The Amazing Mumford to make the cookie with the letter of the day disappear so that he can't eat it. Mumford tries and fails to make the cookie disappear, but Cookie Monster figures out a way to do it...
Episode 4906 Cookie Monster's Foodie Truck: Jelly
Cookie and Gonger receive a request from Mumford to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The sandwich gives Mumford the energy he needs to perform his magic act, though his rabbit (performed by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph) appears out of his hat and runs off with his sandwich.



Mumford turns Big Bird small in a two-part plotline in Season 36.


Mumford in Episode 4270, his last appearance as performed by Jerry Nelson.


Episodic appearances[]

Book appearances[]

Character merchandise[]


See also[]