Sesame Street: Episode 847 (Lost "Wicked Witch of the West" Episode; 1976)


Sesame Street: Episode 847
Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West, alongside Oscar the Grouch in a still from the episode.
Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West, alongside Oscar the Grouch in a still from the episode.
Status Lost
Margaret, alongside Caroll Spinney in between takes.

On February 10, 1976, what is arguably Sesame Street’s most controversial episode to date aired for the first and last time. The episode (ie. Episode 847) starred Margaret Hamilton, reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.[1][2][3]

The central plot of the episode involves the witch losing her magic broom whilst flying over Sesame Street, only to have it wind up in the hands of David, who refuses to return it, sceptical towards the witch's intentions; as a result, she threatens to turn both Big Bird and David into inanimate objects (a feather duster and a basketball, respectively), also suggesting that she would make it rain inside Mr Hooper's Store if the broom was not returned. Out of all the Sesame Street residents, the only one to react favourably towards the witch is Oscar, even to the point of developing a crush on her, although Big Bird also eventually warms to the witch and is saddened when she leaves (comically dropping her broom for a second time as the episode ends).

In the days following the episode's airing, a barrage of complaints were received by the Children's Television Workshop, the majority of which were from angered parents whose children had been traumatised by Hamilton's frightening guest appearance. Due to the episode's overwhelmingly poor reception, several additional test screenings were held the following month, although the results were generally inconclusive, with a large portion of the test audience appearing fascinated by the witch, rather than scared, on account of her green face (as, during this period, most families didn't have access to a colour TV). Despite the tests' inconclusive results, the initial complaints were enough for Anna Herera (of the CTW Research Department) to declare the episode unsuitable for re-airing; it has not been aired or shown publicly in any form since.[4]

Notably, a year earlier Hamilton had made appearances on both Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (as herself) and "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special" (as the witch), dressing up in her witch costume at the end of the Mister Rogers segment, in order to reassure children that the Wicked Witch of the West didn't actually exist and was simply a character, and acting more fun-loving in the Paul Lynde special, and both were not met with any controversy and were generally well received.

References

  1. Wikipedia article on Margaret Hamilton. Last retrieved 28 Sep 2014.
  2. Muppet Wiki article on Margaret Hamilton. Last retrieved 28 Sep 2014.
  3. Scan of a newspaper article on the then-upcoming episode; 08 Feb 1976. Last retrieved 03 Oct 2014.
  4. Muppet Wiki article on Episode 847. Last retrieved 28 Sep 2014.

External links

Comments


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Anonymous user #1

6 months ago
Score 1++
Margaret Hamilton also appeared as The Witch along with Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo in Paul Lynde's Halloween Special which also aired the same year as Sesame Street EP847 and it never sparked any criticism or negative reaction. It's possibly because she was more portrayed as nicer and more fun loving.
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Gojirob

6 months ago
Score 0++
Plus, maybe, the target audience knew who she was, since maybe the little ones Sesame Street was aimed at hadn't yet seen TWOZ.
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Anonymous user #2

6 months ago
Score 0++
So nobody has the sesame st/Witch huh? Did they destroy the originals?
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Anonymous user #3

6 months ago
Score 0++

Probably not. An adult SST lost episodes collection would be ideal (this, Out to Lunch, Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce, etc.), but who knows where the demand on that stands.

There's so many things that could be included: clips of Telly Monster's original TV deranged incarnation, Richard Hunt's Elmo...

I think dycaite's copy of 'Cracks' is confirmation that they have everything pristinely stashed away in the vaults; really interested to know who dug that out for him. TheCartoonCatastrophe did a video on the matter and said they tape over everything to save money, but I have no idea where he heard that and I have to believe it's highly erroneous. CTW included some obscure clips in Kevin Clash's Elmo documentary, so I really do believe they have everything.

I wonder if they even care about this ep. anymore, or if they just forgot about it; either way, the aura is unreal. How bad could it be? On the contrary of 'Cracks', it is interesting that no one has ever come forth on seeing this before.
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Anonymous user #4

5 months ago
Score 0++
If people wanted to, they could just record it... IF IPHONES EXISTED THEN
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Sf95

5 months ago
Score 0++
I think some people had a Betamax home recording device back then although it would be awesome if someone who did have it back then recorded it and converted it and uploaded it to YouTube. The only other way of it resurfacing is if it's released on DVD
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Anonymous user #5

5 months ago
Score 0++
The episode was not destroyed it was just stored away and can not be found online
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Anonymous user #6

4 months ago
Score 0++

My family has recorded the Episode 847 many years ago . It is a VHS 11 minutes 43 seconds only. In the video she appears for 5 minute totaly I shared that video on LiveLeak.com the moderators deleted quickly . I think copyright reason..

I didn't know that video is so valuable and sought-after on the internet. Also we have a lot of UNSEEN and Banned cartoons Contact: hardwellstill@gmail.com
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Dycaite

4 months ago
Score 1++
You recorded this episode... On VHS... Even though it only aired once... Before VHS was a thing... Rightio then.
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Virtualboy

4 months ago
Score 0++

I sent my email.

If copyright is the problem, it would be nice to get this episode in email circulation.
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Reynard

4 months ago
Score 2++
Can you give us proof of what you claim?
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Sf95

4 months ago
Score 0++
Betamax was in existence in 1975. According to its Wikipedia article, "The first Betamax introduced in America was the LV-1901 console, which included a 19" color monitor, and appeared in stores in early November, 1975." so it is possible that if his claim is true it might be one of the earliest home VHS recordings ever. No idea why it would only be 11 minutes though but maybe because early tapes didn't have much room back then. I've also come across a video recording of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the same year (1976) and the person who uploaded it responded to my comment asking how it was recorded and they mentioned having a video player at school. https://www....=jG_2T_LPvgA
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Virtualboy

4 months ago
Score 0++
Just give them time to reply to the emails.
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Dycaite

4 months ago
Score 1++

I am aware of the fact that there were home video recorders available in the mid 1970s like the U-Matic, but that is not VHS (unless the user just thinks of all videocassettes as being VHS).

I don't buy it - anonymous user, 11 minute episode, deleted from Liveleak? Not to mention home video recorders back then were remarkably expensive and therefore not widely used. Would love to be proven wrong, though.
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Virtualboy

4 months ago
Score 0++

Who's to say it didn't just come from some random source? It may just be the street scenes, which 11 minutes seems plausible.

Either way, I'm staying on top of my email like flies on shit.
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Anonymous user #3

4 months ago
Score 0++
Yeah, don't message this guy... unless you want random phishing attacks... in Hebrew.
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Anonymous user #8

3 months ago
Score 0++
I actually got the guy, He said he doesn't due MP4 but rather DVD Format. He's selling copies for $25, I emailed him back to see it ships to America. I'm willing to buy it and purchase it.
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Anonymous user #8

3 months ago
Score 0++
Also it's me Luigis.
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Anonymous user #9

2 months ago
Score 0++
as they say in "The Lego Movie", "Your the most special person in the universe".
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Anonymous user #10

1 months ago
Score 0++
Can you put it on YouTube or Vimeo or something like that?
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Anonymous user #11

25 days ago
Score 0++
woah, woah, WOAH! I don't buy it. Dyacate, you were right. this guy is lying.
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Anonymous user #7

4 months ago
Score 0++
reynard this cunt is obviously lying
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CryClown

4 months ago
Score -1++
ok! OMG language! can we keep lost media wiki for everyone?
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Anonymous user #3

4 months ago
Score 1++
Dude, there is a lot worse on the LMW.
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DvLostMedia

3 months ago
Score 0++
Sent An Email.
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DvLostMedia

3 months ago
Score 0++
To Sesame Workshop.
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Anonymous user #10

1 months ago
Score 0++
Did you get a response?
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Anonymous user #10

1 months ago
Score 0++
I wish I could see this episode...
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Anonymous user #11

25 days ago
Score -1++
anonoymus user 8 for the VHS episode 847, you were right! your selling dvds of the episode?!
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Raincrafter

21 days ago
Score 2++
No, no one is selling freaking DVDs of this. God, all these "I have this!" claims are getting annoying AF for me.
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Anonymous user #12

21 days ago
Score 0++
ikr. fucking attention whores.
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Anonymous user #13

17 days ago
Score 0++
I am at the moment on the hunt for this episode. I will make sure to post a discussion video on my channel of it
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Thomasfan12341

7 days ago
Score 0++
I just got an email back from sesame workshop regarding a request for a copy for educational purpose and even signed a forum for it. They declined it in the end which means they really don't want this episode in the public which is strange when we know the results from the screening after it airing was positive compared to it's original airing. We shouldn't give up and I will get to the result podcast video soon as possible.
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JonM313

3 days ago
Score 0++
Cracks was found, but still not this.
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