Nuggets of Wisdom

Friday, October 31, 2014

Top 13 Sesame Street Scares (#1)

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived, and on this most haunted of days. Today, on Halloween, I reveal the #1 scariest moment in Sesame Street.

But first, let’s talk about the Wizard of Oz.


On second thought, let’s not. Because, really, what is there to talk about?

Pretty much everyone and their grandparents know about the Wizard of Oz—and I do mean that literally, as most of our grandparents, and I would even daresay great-grandparents, were alive to see the movie when it first came out in theaters.

The Wizard of Oz is one of those movies that most of us are introduced to as children. So it only seemed fitting that Sesame Street, in its early days, decided to have one of the movie’s characters make a guest appearance on their show.

So which character did Sesame Street decide to invite on? Scarecrow? Tin Man? Cowardly Lion? Dorothy and Toto? (I don’t believe we're in Kansas anymore, Toto. The birds back home don’t grow to be eight feet tall!)

Or how about the Wicked Witch of the West?

OZ Wiki

Yes, if the Wizard of Oz is one of the first movies that we are shown as kids, then the Wicked Witch is one of the first villains were are exposed to as children—and depending on who you are, you either end up loving her, hating her, or running screaming out of the room whenever you see her green, warty face.

So, of course, such a “lovable” character as herself would make the most opportune guest on Sesame Street, and in 1976, Margaret Hamilton reprised her infamous role as the witch for a single episode appearance.

Muppet Wiki

#1: The Wicked Witch Visits Sesame Street (Episode 0847)

In that episode, the Wicked Witch is flying over Sesame Street when she accidently drops her broom.

Wait, what? She drops her broom? But isn’t that how she flies? Wouldn’t that be like saying that I was driving my motorcycle down the road when I accidently dropped my motorcycle.

But I digress.

Anyway, she drops her broom and it lands into—where else?—Sesame Street. There, it is picked up by the Hooper Store assistant, David, who uses it to sweep the floor. When the Wicked Witch comes by demanding her broom back, David, in his infinite wisdom, refuses. This pisses the witch off, and she casts a magic spell to make it rain inside the store. She then goes on to threaten to turn David into a basketball and Big Bird into a feather duster.

But none of that compares to the most terrifying part of the episode: Oscar crushing on the Witch!

Turns out that the Grouch is really turned on by the mean, green woman and wants a good taste of some of that green chocolate. (And I will stop there before I start making any more inappropriate vomit-inducing innuendo.)

Now, at this point, I would probably be showing you all a clip from that episode, if not only a still screenshot. Unfortunately, no video or pictures of this episode exists—and for good reason: this episode was banned from television.

You best believe that when this episode first aired, that it freaked the hello out of many little children, and their parents were less than pleased about it, so much so that they sent angry letters to the Children’s Television Workshop. Muppet Wiki has more details:
This episode prompted an unusually large amount of mail responses from parents, almost entirely negative, within a short time frame. Typical responses included parents concerned that their children were afraid and now refused to watch the show, using such phrases as "screams and tears" and "the threat of the witch's power remains in children's eyes." A somewhat atypical missive came from a self-proclaimed Wiccan, concerned with the perpetuation of a negative fairy tale stereotype and recommended a segment "portraying witches as they really are, now."
Because of this, the Children’s Television Workshop, in its better judgment, decided never to reair the episode again, and it never did. Rumor even has it that the film reel of the episode itself was destroyed so that it would never be accidently re-run. The episode probably still exists. It probably doesn’t. And for all we know, that’s what the higher-ups probably want.

So there you have it: a Sesame Street moment that scared kids so badly on the first airing that it was never shown again. With such a reaction, how could this moment not be the #1 Sesame Street Scare?