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 only 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 favorably 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 traumatized 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 color 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 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (as herself) 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. She also appeared months after her Sesame Street appearance on "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special" (as the witch), acting more fun-loving and wacky. 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

16 months ago
Score 4++
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

16 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

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

15 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

6 months 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

6 months 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 #11

6 months 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

6 months 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

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

14 months ago
Score 2++
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 #11

6 months 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

15 months ago
Score 0++
The episode was not destroyed it was just stored away and can not be found online
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DvLostMedia

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

13 months ago
Score 0++
To Sesame Workshop.
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Anonymous user #6

11 months ago
Score 0++
Did you get a response?
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Anonymous user #6

11 months ago
Score 0++
I wish I could see this episode...
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Anonymous user #7

10 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

9 months ago
Score 1++
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

9 months ago
Score 0++
Cracks was found, but still not this.
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BigRedMonster86

3 months ago
Score 0++
The other ones that turned up were "Windy" (Castilian Spanish dub), "Handful of Crumbs" (partial English) and "The Count Orders a Hot Dog."
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Anonymous user #21

14 days ago
Score 0++
Don't forget Ernie and the Pumpkin Seed Candy Salesman.
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Anonymous user #8

8 months ago
Score 0++
so old
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Mrkoolnerd

8 months ago
Score 0++
umatic also existed
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Piggyfan101

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

8 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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Guywholikesspace

4 months ago
Score -2++
more like 8,000-ish
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Piggyfan101

8 months ago
Score -3++
Oh my god. Anyways is there any lost media about looney toons because I will be interested
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TheYoshiState

8 months ago
Score 1++
This isn't the article requests page.
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KedamonoSonic

2 months ago
Score 0++
If you're looking for that kionda stuff, just search it.
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Anonymous user #9

7 months ago
Score -2++
It would be cool if if someone stole it and published it online?
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Anonymous user #17

3 months ago
Score 2++
Stealing it would probably be the stupidest thing you could do, as it would be breaking the law, would most likely result in the wikia being removed, and the video would most likely be taken down afterwards. Then again, death threats seem equally stupid, but that won't stop some people.
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Anonymous user #10

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

7 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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Anonymous user #12

5 months ago
Score 0++

Hey guys! I have a copy of this! Not.

I think if Sesame Street gets to releasing the season this episode was in on DVD they might put it in there. Unless they have already released it, then crap.
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Anonymous user #13

4 months ago
Score 0++
I had no idea this episode was lost, I had only heard that the witch had scared children.
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Anonymous user #14

4 months ago
Score -4++
OMG This whole thing is stupid sesame street should re air the episode on tv it was the 70s where people were to gay now kids see worst shit online or tv movies etc im sure if they aired it on HBO {the whole reason the sold it to hbo is due to them having problems with pbs but why not a general network like NBC Kids not a premium package channel it was probably becuase they want to trick parents into buying there service dirty motherfucking scammers} anyway back to the point is that only very few kids will be gay and complain so just do it btw i need to a advance video edit its really advance like face morphing with humans cats etc and some other advance methods i cant stay on here all fucking day
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KedamonoSonic

2 months ago
Score 1++
Do you even know what punctuation is?
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Anonymous user #15

3 months ago
Score 0++
Nobody has seen this?!
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Anonymous user #16

3 months ago
Score 0++
I thought this wasnt lost
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TeridaxXD001

3 months ago
Score 3++
What do you mean "most families didn't have access to a color TV?" Color TV was pretty commonplace in America by 1970.
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Kaden2005

2 months ago
Score 0++
Mr. Rogers is a great soul.
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Anonymous user #18

2 months ago
Score 1++
Like that other sesame street episode where kermit the frog makes fun of the cookie monster. When that episode was released on dvd, before the episode began it says "adults only". They should do that with this episode, if it still exists. Because it's rumored that the episode may have been destroyed, in case it might re-air by mistake
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CartoonNetworkYesNickJrNo

2 months ago
Score 1++
As a huge sesame street fan, it's sad to see some of the episodes lost, probably forever
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Mariolover

2 months ago
Score 1++
I highly doubt that they're really lost. They're probably just stored away in some underground storage vault and Sesame Workshop may or may not decide to make them public someday
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Anonymous user #19

2 months ago
Score 1++
I'd love to see this episode, if it wasn't completely lost.
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Ne0

1 months ago
Score 1++
I really hope this can be found
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Mariolover

1 months ago
Score 0++
Me too
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William8456

1 months ago
Score 0++
IT WILL GET FOUND I KNOW IT. Its probably gonna be the DVD releases of the episode or is it already found? I'll probably write a letter and see if they'll respond. Or just wait it out for it to be found
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Mariolover

1 months ago
Score 0++
It may never be found. We can't predict the future. Writing a letter probably won't help and they've already released episodes on DVD past this season on the Old School DVD Box Sets. So it's unlikely that it will be released on DVD.
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Anonymous user #20

1 months ago
Score 0++
I like to see this Sesame Street episode please
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Babydaisylover

26 days ago
Score 0++
I am so interested in watching this episode. Especially since it's lost.
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