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Western Animation / Puff the Magic Dragon

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First written in 1959 by filmmaker Leonard Lipton and set to music in 1963 by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, "Puff, the Magic Dragon" tells the story of a boy who outgrows his childhood fantasies. The song also inspired a series of animated TV specials that recast the eponymous dragon, voiced by Burgess Meredith, as a sort of fantastical child psychologist coming to the aid of some deeply troubled children. The specials were:

  • Puff The Magic Dragon (1978), based on the song
  • Puff in The Land of Living Lies (1979), Puff helps a girl named Sandy, who has a habit of telling lies, by taking her to a magical world inhabited by famous fictional fibbers such as Pinocchio and Baron Munchausen.
  • Puff and the Incredible Mr. Nobody (1982), A boy named Terry gets Puff's help after his wild imagination and imaginary friend prevent him from living in reality.


The TV specials provide examples of:

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A gigantic pirate captain... before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Batman Gambit: Puff is quite the Magnificent Bastard when he needs to be, apparently allowing himself to be trapped or lose his powers so his young wards will have to discover themselves.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: The animated version of Puff tends to take children to fantasy worlds where they have to confront metaphors for their own problems.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The giant pirate does this when he becomes a chef.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: The tall, red-headed doctor and the bald, bearded doctor... who not only suffer from Genre Blindness, but are both Nay Theists.
  • See-Thru Specs: Puff's smoke rings have this effect. Looking through them allows Puff and Jackie to see that the giant pirate Very Long secretly wants to be a baker.
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  • Soup Is Medicine: Seen in the first special, when Jackie brings Very Long to Honalee to cure the Living Sneezes with chicken soup and restore Honalee to its former glory.


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