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Sesame Street’s “Scary” Episode Surfaces on Social Media


For years, the classic PBS program Sesame Street maintained a frustrating gag that the wooly mammoth-like Snuffleupagus (Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus to some, Snuffy to others) could only be seen by Big Bird, and whenever our large, yellow-feathered avian friend tried to show him off to others, the slow-moving brown quadruped would disappear. Oh, how this brought many a Gen X child severe crises of anxiety! (Or maybe this was just me.)

Anyway, in 1985, after 14 years of this, Snuffy finally met the rest of Sesame Street’s residents. (The reason was not exactly playful. Producers were concerned about reports of children feeling adults would not believe them when reporting cases of abuse.) When the summit happened, Big Bird, and all of us watching at home, had a cathartic moment of “you see!!!!”

Well, thanks to the internet, another Sesame Street-related myth has proven real. As reported by USA Today, an episode of the children’s show from 1976 that aired only one time has been yoinked from the vapor of half-remembered childhood, and posted to YouTube and Reddit. In it, Margaret Hamilton reprises her role as the Wicked Witch of the West (from The Wizard of Oz) and “terrorizes” David (the adult character played by Northern Calloway) while trying to find her lost broomstick. 

The episode reportedly caused a rush of negative feedback from parents who said the episode was too scary. It never aired again.

Joyful fans on Twitter called it a “lost media holy grail” and “one of the biggest discoveries of lost media.”

The AV Club noted that at around the same time Margaret Hamilton appeared on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, on episodes devoted to helping children overcome their fears. Indeed, it appears that one of her talking points was about differentiating between real life and make-believe. Which is it, Maggie? Should kids cower during Sesame Street or feel nonchalant during Mr. Rogers?

Emails from USA Today and NBC News to uploaders of the episode have gone unanswered. So how the heck they had it is unclear. 

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