Jon Stone poses with Big Bird
Jon Stone Snuffy

Stone directing Michael Earl as Mr. Snuffleupagus.

SS bts Jim Henson

JIM HENSON & Jon Stone on set of 1 of Kermits lecture sketches.

Sesame Street Star Wars C-3PO & R2-D2

Stone directing Northern Calloway, Anthony Daniels & R2-D2 on the set of SESAME STREET.

Jon Stone (April 13, 1931 - March 30, 1997), was an Emmy-winning writer, director, & producer who was involved in the creation of SESAME STREET & continued to work on the show until shortly before his death.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Stone graduated from Williams College in 1952. He received a masters degree from the Yale University School of Drama in 1955, at which time he joined a CBS training program. Before helping to create SESAME STREET, he worked on the popular childrens television show Captain Kangaroo for CBS. He also worked on several other Muppet projects before & during his time on SESAME STREET, & was the author of several books, including the popular The Monster at the End of This Book. He was married for 9 years to actress Beverley Owen.

Stones earliest association with JIM HENSON came in 1965, working on fairy tale projects, along with writer Tom Whedon, such as a proposed Snow White series. This was turned into a Cinderella pilot, which was shot in October of that year but never aired, & eventually became Hey Cinderella!. Stone also appeared in JIM HENSONs 1967 short film Ripples, as an introspective architect.

In 1968, Stone brought HENSON & Joe Raposo to the attention of CTW president Joan Ganz Cooney when she started putting together SESAME STREET. He wrote the pilot script, & was 1 of the 3 original producers of the program; he later served as an executive producer for many years.

During a 1980 trip to SESAME STREETs German co-production Sesamstrasse, Stone appeared on the show's 750th episode, together with BIG BIRD, OSCAR THE GROUCH, Kermit Love & CAROLL SPINNEYs wife DEBI SPINNEY.

In a 1999 article, Children's Television Workshop Director of Research Edward L. Palmer recalled how Stone approached writing for SESAME STREET in the early days of the production:

1 member of the CTW staff became terribly agitated when he first saw the curriculum statement. His concern was that if this document, with all its educational jargon, set the tone for the series, SESAME STREET would be terribly dull instead of light & lively. However, head writer Jon Stone spoke for all of the key producers in his response to the concern; he said, 1st, that the curriculum document did not set the tone for the entertainment content of the program, & second, that in sitting down to write a script, he would far rather start with a curriculum goal at the top of the page than with a totally empty page. What Stone understood was that stating a curriculumgoal did not limit creativity, because there were still an infinite number of ways in which to express it on the screen.[1]

Stone was the shows principal director until 1996. Working with JIM HENSON, he helped to create many of the Muppet characters, including BIG BIRD & Cookie Monster. He was also responsible for the show's format & setting. Stone contributed occasional announcer voices (such as the soap opera promo spoof "School in the Afternoon"), & he served similar duty on 2 Muppet Meeting Films. In April 1990, Stone hosted & directed a television special titled Sing! SESAME STREET Remembers Joe Raposo & His Music. The special was created as a tribute to Joe Raposo, who passed away from lymphoma on February 5, 1989.

Jon Stone died of complications from Lou Gehrig's disease on March 30th, 1997. In his New York Times obituary, Joan Ganz Cooney describes Stone as "probably the most brilliant writer of childrens TV material in America."

"We set out to make a show that children & adults could watch together, & children could ask questions." -- Jon Stone[2]

Memorial BenchEdit

Following Stones death, a bench on the Literary Walk in Central Park was dedicated to him. The bench is directly to the right of the bench dedicated to JIM HENSON.


Jon Stone poses with Cookie Monster

Stone with Cookie Monster

Jon Stone Frank Oz & Super Grover bts

Stone with FRANK OZ & Super Grover.

Jon Stone at work





Album CreditsEdit


  1. "The Beginnings of SESAME STREET Research" Edward L. Palmer with Shalom M. Fisch, chapter 1 of G is for Growing: 30 Years of Research on Children & SESAME STREET, 2001.
  2. Jon Stone obituary by Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times, April 1, 1997.

See alsoEdit

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