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Learn About Puff the Magic Dragon Writer Lenny Lipton

Did you know that in addition to writing Puff the Magic DragonLenny Lipton is also an inventor, a writer, and a filmmaker? In a short video with Great Big Story, Lipton talks about writing Puff as a 19-year-old college student and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary putting it to music.

Although the creators have rejected the idea that it’s about marijuana on different occasions, instead asserting that it’s a song about growing up, Lipton says “if people want to think it’s about pot, that’s fine with me.” I’ve always been a bit Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents about the drug reference, mostly because I really liked the song growing up, and it always made me cry!

Lipton’s work in stereoscopy, and his books on filmmaking, are also something I didn’t know about prior to this video.We also learn that he invented one of the popular methods for projecting 3D movies in cinemas. We get a lot of glances at his published works, and he tells us that he has “something like 72 patents.” At one point, he casually grabs an award off his shelf and says, “this is a Lifetime achievement award,” all casual-like.

While cuddling and walking with his dog Belle (there’s also a cat that wanders around), Lipton shows the viewer around his home, which is full of Puff the Magic Dragon toys and stuffed animals, different kinds of 3D glasses, and a whole shelf of books from different imprints of Puff, history books, and books that cover photography and filmmaking. Introducing the world to Puff, Jackie Paper, and Honalee are a small fraction of his contributions, and it’s one that he accomplished at a very young age. It’s very cool to learn about how his work extends to NASA, our movie experiences, and more still today!

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