Listen to the Real Story Behind 'Puff the Magic Dragon'


A song about the adventures of a magical dragon sounds innocent enough, but like many songs written in the '60s, "Puff the Magic Dragon" is regarded by many as a metaphor for drug use. Perhaps this video from Great Big Story will finally put those rumors to bed.

According to the song's lyricist Lenny Lipton, the idea was inspired by Ogden Nash's children's poem "The Tale of Custard the Dragon." The same day he read the poem, Lipton went over to a friend's house and felt compelled to sit down in front of their typewriter and start writing. The poem he wrote would eventually be used as the lyrics for Peter, Paul and Mary's hit song.

Co-writing one of the most beloved folk songs of the '60s isn't Lipton's only claim to fame. He's also an accomplished writer, filmmaker, and inventor. He was the lead inventor of the technology used to project 3D films in theaters, and his work has also been used in the development of 3D TVs.

And for all the "Puff the Magic Dragon" fans who believe the song isn't really about a dragon, Lipton still insists otherwise. But after decades of disputing rumors, he's learned to live with the fact that this one may never die. As he says in the video above, "People want to think it's about pot, that's fine with me."

Header/banner images courtesy of Great Big Story via YouTube.