A lost episode of Sesame Street deemed so scary it was swiftly axed following its premiere has found its way online, years later.
A lost episode of Sesame Street deemed so scary it was axed after its TV debut has finally resufaced online.
The legendary children’s show, which has been running since 1969, copped a barrage of hate mail from parents after the airing of a 1976 episode, with complaints that children were having nightmares and refused to ever watch Sesame Street again.
Now, thanks to YouTuber Mike Minnick, a 15-minute clip from the episode has resurfaced on the internet – and it’s pretty easy to see why it scared the socks off the little ones.
The episode in question saw US actress Margaret Hamilton guest star, reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from the classic 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.
The green-faced villain’s broom falls into the hands of David (played by Northern Calloway), whom she proceeds to terrorize in a bid to get it back.
But David refuses to return the broom until the Witch shows him some respect, only angering her further and inciting her toe-curling evil cackle.
Big Bird even gets among the action, threatening the Witch to leave his friends alone “or else.”
After magically conjuring up a rainstorm and threatening to morph Big Bird and David into inanimate objects, the Witch eventually gets her beloved broom back and flees back to Oz.
The educational goal of the episode, according to producers at the time, was to “demonstrate fear” to young viewers.
It’s safe to say they succeeded.
Following the backlash, the Children’s Television Workshop research department’s Anna Herera conducted test screenings and ultimately found “that the Margaret Hamilton show not be re-run,” so it remained largely unseen by the public for over 45 years, until it surfaced on the internet this week.