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

On February 10, 1976, one of Sesame Street’s most controversial episodes to date aired for the first and last time. 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, skeptical 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.


Reception

Margaret, alongside Caroll Spinney in between takes.

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, Hamilton had made appearances a year earlier 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

10 months ago
Score 3++
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

10 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

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

9 months ago
Score 1++

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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Mariolover

29 days ago
Score 0++
The people who say the wicked witch episode was destroyed are just guessing and never even worked on Sesame Street. It's probably still sitting there safe and sound, locked up, in Sesame Workshop's archive with all the other 1,586+ episodes that haven't surfaced yet. Remember, there is still so much Sesame Street history that is still unseen and I'm sure the Sesame Workshop vault has it all backed up.
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Mariolover

29 days ago
Score 0++
Also, I'm sure Sesame Workshop knows how badly people want to see it and all the hype that's going on about the episode and they probably recieve loads of emails about it, but they just ignore it all because of the episode's negative reception when it first aired
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Anonymous user #19

29 days ago
Score 0++
Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that the episode will ever see the light of day again. Sesame Workshop has the episode under tight control and it's probably locked up in a safe in the archives that nobody knows the combination to other than the person who locked it up in there due to the episode's extremely negative reception. The only 2 ways I can possibly see the episode ever surfacing again is if somebody who works at the archives somehow breaks into the safe and sneaks it out, or if somebody recorded the episode on a Betamax way back then and kept the recording.
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Mariolover

29 days ago
Score 0++
By the way, Anonymous User #19 is me. I got logged out and didn't even realize it so my post was made under that Anonymous User. Sorry about that.
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Anonymous user #4

9 months ago
Score 1++
If people wanted to, they could just record it... IF IPHONES EXISTED THEN
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Sf95

9 months ago
Score 1++
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 #19

28 days ago
Score 0++
Or if someone who works at the vault sneaks it out. I believe that's what happened with those rare season 1 episodes that surfaced a couple years back and those season 12 and 22 episodes that surfaced a year ago.
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Anonymous user #5

9 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

8 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

8 months ago
Score 2++
You recorded this episode... On VHS... Even though it only aired once... Before VHS was a thing... Rightio then.
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Virtualboy

8 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

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

8 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

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

8 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

8 months ago
Score 1++

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

8 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

7 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

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

6 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

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

4 months 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 #15

2 months ago
Score 0++
POST IT PLEASE!!!!
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Anonymous user #7

8 months ago
Score 0++
reynard this cunt is obviously lying
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Anonymous user #16

2 months ago
Score -1++
This wiki is a community that works together for a common good, that being media this wiki is not for language like that so either apologize or leave because honestly the community could find things just as well without cottonmouths like you.
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CryClown

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

8 months ago
Score 3++
Dude, there is a lot worse on the LMW.
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Anonymous user #20

5 days ago
Score 0++
There is NSFL content on here, which is worse than NSFW.
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DvLostMedia

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

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

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

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

4 months ago
Score -2++
anonoymus user 8 for the VHS episode 847, you were right! your selling dvds of the episode?!
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Raincrafter

4 months ago
Score 3++
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

4 months ago
Score 2++
ikr. fucking attention whores.
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Anonymous user #13

4 months 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

3 months 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 months ago
Score 0++
Cracks was found, but still not this.
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Anonymous user #14

2 months ago
Score 0++
so old
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Mrkoolnerd

2 months ago
Score 0++
umatic also existed
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Piggyfan101

2 months ago
Score 0++
HOLY JEBUS CHRIS HOW MANY SESAME STREET EPISODES ARE THERE!?!
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Virtualboy

2 months ago
Score 1++

4,500.

I've never been able to get a good answer, but I'd say roughly half the show is lost.
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Piggyfan101

2 months ago
Score 0++
Oh my god. Anyways is there any lost media about looney toons because I will be interested
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TheYoshiState

2 months ago
Score 1++
This isn't the article requests page.
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Anonymous user #17

2 months ago
Score 0++
It would be cool if if someone stole it and published it online?
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Anonymous user #18

1 months ago
Score 0++
So any luck on contacting Sesame Workshop or PBS Affiliated?
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Thomasfan12341

1 months ago
Score 0++
I did get in touch with Sesame Workshop after 2 months I did my first time and this time I ended up talking to someone in the legal department about the episode. I gave him a brief telling of this episode and it's history. But I also made sure to let all our voices be heard about wanting this episode. So what happens with episodes is they can be aired a certain amount of times before expiring completely but some popular demands can bring an episode back to reair. But otherwise the best bet we will have with this episode is a media release on Dvd or digital at this point.
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