Lost ‘Sesame Street’ episode pulled for being too scary resurfaces online

Once upon a time, in the mid-1970s, “Sesame Street” traded its bright, sunny atmosphere for ominous gray skies. Most of us would probably never know this if it weren’t for the power of the internet.

An entire episode of the beloved children’s show has resurfaced online after it was initially pulled for allegedly being “too scary” for child viewers.

What could be so scary in a place where the air is so sweet, you might ask. As it turns out, even “Sesame Street” isn’t immune to a wayward witch’s broom.

The music video begins with upbeat, fast-talking David (played by Northern Calloway) exiting Hooper’s store, struggling to get through strong gusts of wind.

“Look at this! Something is falling from the sky!” he yells gesturing up as the wind whirls David kneels down and grabs a broom just in time. Suddenly the wind stops. Yay?

Unfortunately, our hero’s troubles are just beginning. Ominous music begins to play, and unbeknownst to David, it’s supposed to be lurking around the corner, but the original Wicked Witch of the West herself.

No, you are not in Dorothy’s dream. This is Margaret Hamilton reprising her role as the one and only, the Wicked Witch of the West. I think that bucket of water didn’t finish her off.

“I know I’m not in Oz anymore,” says Hamilton as he looks around, concluding that “it must be over the rainbow somewhere.” Determined to find her broom and fly away, she marches up to David, demanding he return it.

Unfazed, David doesn’t immediately return the broom, insisting she should be more careful and treat him with more respect (after all, you can’t have a Sesame Street episode without a life lesson). The lecture only further agitates the witch, but David doesn’t budge. Finally, she tries to rip the broom off, only to be electrocuted.

“Oh, I forgot!” the Wicked Witch exclaims. “I can’t even put a finger on the broom while someone is holding it!” What an oddly specific and important detail to forget. Oh right, children’s show.

The Wicked Witch disappears in the smoke, promising this isn’t the last time we’ve seen her. She goes on to terrorize poor David throughout the entire episode, including creating an internal storm and threatening to turn him into a basketball. Wild.

Finally, the Wicked Witch hatches a plan to get her broom back, transforming herself into a sweet, normal-looking older woman, a scheme so diabolical that she wins the heart of Oscar the Grouch in the process. The plan works, but the witch has yet to ask kindly. So, you know… commitment.

Although Big Bird called the ordeal “interesting and exciting”, apparently the public didn’t feel the same way. Mike Minnick, who posted the episode on YouTube, claimed that it only aired once in the mid-70s before it was “too scary for kids”. According to an article published by the AV Club, the show has been the target of a flurry of complaints from parents of frightened children.

Some reminiscent fans agreed that yes, as children, the episode was terrifying. One wrote that it “scared me beyond belief when I was 5. I would eagerly watch the beginning of each episode after seeing this one, to make sure I wasn’t the ‘witcher’ again”.

However, the main sentiment shared in the comments was gratitude that the footage was seen again.

“What a joy to see… I know she scared me when I was a kid watching The Wizard of Oz every year on television. Now it’s just nostalgic to see the original Wicked Witch,” one person wrote.

Another added: “People have no idea how big this is. Honestly, I thought I’d never see the day. One of the holy grails of lost media has been found.”

Mainly, the whole thing became a giant festival of Margaret Hamilton appreciation. Here are just a few of the heartfelt comments:

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for making this available to watch and experience! It really was a great pleasure and seeing Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch again just brought out the child in me!”

“Lmao when she turns into a cute granny and makes the evil laugh, I loved it! She is so cute, what a legend.”

“Daisy Hamilton…. I love her very much and miss her desperately. I love how 40 years later she was still able to play the wicked witch as amazing as she always was.”

You could say Hamilton was born to play a witch. During her interview with Mister Rogers – yes, Hamilton attended children’s shows in her heyday – she shared that as a little girl, she always dressed up as a witch for Halloween. So it’s no wonder that having the chance to play maybe The The most iconic witch of all time made her “very, very happy”.

Hamilton felt that his cackling, green-skinned, shoe-obsessed character wasn’t all that wicked, just misunderstood. She told Mister Rogers: “Sometimes kids think she’s a very bad witch, and I imagine she looks like that. … She is also what we call frustrated … because she never gets what she wants.”

Under that definition, there is a little bit of a witch in all of us.

This unearthed relic, traumatizing as it was, brought great joy with its epic return. Perhaps even evil witches can be a source of good.

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