Long Lost Episode of ‘Sesame Street’ Featuring The Wicked Witch Has Been Found
The episode first aired Feb. 10, 1976, and has Hamilton as the Witch wreaking "havoc on the street when she loses her flying broomstick," according to Muppet Wiki. The episode's goal was to demonstrate fear and "the value of planning by creating and implementing methods of retrieving the broom." They certainly succeeded on the first one.
The episode was met with an overwhelmingly negative response from parents, all within a short time frame. One complaint even came from a person who practices the Wiccan religion who was "concerned with the perpetuation of a negative fairy tale stereotype and recommended a segment 'portraying witches as they really are, now.'"
After the backlash, the network did test screenings for children. While they were fascinated by her green face when they watched in color, the network couldn't get a true gauge on the children's fear because they watched with their peers and adults, and not alone.
However, due to the reaction from parents, it was decided that the episode would not be re-run.
Just recently, someone with a copy of the episode uploaded to the internet via YouTube. It has been noted, in case it gets taken down that the episode is safe, with a copy being stored in the Library of Congress.
One user on Reddit, where the YouTube link was shared, told that he saw the episode when it aired on that fateful day. He started to question his memory because he could never find it again.
My god. I've been waiting 45 years to see this again. This episode is burned on my psyche. I absolutely saw this the day it aired. I was 4 and not yet in school. I remember watching this and got frightened by the witch, so ran to my mom but tried to act normal.
My parents were extremely religious and witches were definitely from Satan, so even at that age I knew if I told Mom why I was frightened I would never be allowed to watch Sesame Street again. I didn't realize the segment was so long though.
What a powerful experience to have such a vivid childhood memory validated. For decades I have had this very clear visualization of a green witch in front of Mr Hooper's shop and being frightened because of it, but always questioned the memory and asked myself, 'Why would there have been anything scary on Sesame Street?'
People also noted that Hamilton, who was a kindergarten teacher before she became an actress, was also on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. However, Rogers wouldn't allow people come on as their characters, only themselves, with the exception of Big Bird, who he allowed on in the Neighborhood of Make‐Believe.
You can probably see why there weren't as many children scared of her Mr. Rogers appearance.
Some noted that the Sesame Street episode wasn't even scary. However, others came to the children of the 70's defense in that they had more limited exposure to media than young people do now.