|Scan of a February 8, 1976 newspaper article on the then-upcoming episode/higher quality scan of the photo included therein.|
On February 10, 1976, Sesame Street Episode 847 aired, featuring Margaret Hamilton reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
The central plot involves the Witch losing her broom while flying over Sesame Street; throughout the episode, she threatens to turn Big Bird into a feather duster, David into a basketball, and electrocute Maria with her broomstick.
Oscar the Grouch is the only one who takes to her, even to the point of having a crush on her. Big Bird eventually warms to the Witch, and is saddened when she leaves (only to drop her broom again).
A large number of complaints were made regarding the episode, within a relatively short frame of time. Many parents reported that their children were screaming and crying in fear of the Witch.
Additional test screenings of the episode were made, with the reactions of the children being a lot more subdued than expected. Some who watched the episode in color weren't frightened at all, but were instead fascinated by her green face. Regardless, the Children's Television Workshop made the decision never to re-air the episode, and it never has since. Even though the episode did air, there is a very small chance the public will ever see it again, especially considering the episode may have been destroyed in fear of it somehow being re-aired by mistake.
There is an ongoing search on Muppet Central Forums. It is possible that the episode could be kept stored away in the archives but never converted to digital format along with all the other old shows. However, it is believed that this is not the only episode to not be converted to a digital format-- there could also be many other old inserts and episodes (not released anywhere online or home media) that are left raw and un-digitized in the archives.
- ↑ http://www.muppetcentral.com/forum/threads/does-anyone-remember-this-episode.11268/#post-170595
- ↑ Letter, February 10th, CTW Archives.