A lost episode of PBS’s Sesame Street deemed by parents to be too scary for kids has surfaced online after over 40 years.
A clear version of the lost episode of Sesame Street was first shared on Reddit in r/lostmedia by an anonymous archivist. Season 7, Episode 847 of Sesame Street aired on PBS in 1976 and saw actor Margaret Hamilton reprise her role as The Wicket Witch of the West from 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. According to AV Club, considered by parents to be “too scary” for children, the episode was never re-run or made available to view at home, but was archived and available in the Library of Congress for years. Now available to view online, that is no longer the case.
Episode 847 aired on Feb. 10, 1976, during the seventh season of Sesame Street and follows Hamilton’s Wicked Witch as she searches for her lost magic broom, which she happened to lose while flying over Sesame Street. The broom is found by David, played by Northern Calloway, and The Witch goes on to terrorize him for the majority of the episode after he refuses to return it.
The Wicked Witch doesn’t stop at David, though. In an effort to retrieve her broom, the Wicked Witch threatens not only to turn David into a basketball but to turn Big Bird into a feather duster, as well as make it rain inside of Mr. Hooper’s Store. However, towards the end, she inevitably finds her broom and flies away from Sesame Street. Both Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird grow fond of the Wicked Witch over the course of the episode and are sad to see her leave. However, she drops her broom for a second time, losing it again before the episode ends.
Supposedly, the intention of the episode was to teach children about facing their fears. Despite this, Episode 847 resulted in a flurry of letters to Sesame Workshop from parents complaining that the episode of Sesame Street was too frightening for children. The negative response from parents resulted in the episode being pulled from the rotation entirely.
Prior to its posting online, the episode was only available to view at the Library of Congress. Beyond that, clips of Episode 847 were also shown and discussed by Sesame Street writers in 2019 for “Sesame Street Lost And Found,” an event held at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City as part of the children show’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. Hamilton reprized her Wizard of Oz role for several episodes of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as well.
Source: Reddit, via AV Club