An episode of "Sesame Street" that is said to have been removed from syndication in the 1970s for being too frightening has been posted on social media.
The episode aired on Feb. 10, 1976, during the seventh season of "Sesame Street," but after numerous complaints from parents, never appeared on television again, according to AV Club. That has not stopped it from surfacing on sites like YouTube and Reddit.
The episode stars Margaret Hamilton in her role as Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz." She is seeking a "stolen broomstick" and terrorizes David, played by Northern Calloway, to get it back, which she does at the end of the episode. But as she flies off, the broom falls out from beneath her, and David, Big Bird, and friends catch it once again.
According to the Muppet fan archive Muppet Wiki, the episode was intended to teach children how to overcome their fears as well as "the value of planning by creating and implementing methods of retrieving the broom."
Fans commenting on YouTube recalled how scared they felt watching the episode so many decades ago.
"What a real joy to see... I know she scared the bageezus out of me when I was a little one watching The Wizard of Oz every year on television. Now, it's just plain old nostalgic to see the original Wicked Witch," one commenter replied to a clip of the episiode that was posted by YouTube subscriber Mike Minnick.
"This episode scared me beyond belief when I was 5. I would anxiously watch the start of each episode after seeing this one, to make sure it wasn't the 'witch one' again. Of course I never saw it again, and at some point convinced myself it was a nightmare," another YouTube user wrote.
"The source of my recurring childhood nightmares is now back to haunt me in my late 30s," a third wrote.
The AV Club reported that bootleg versions of the episode would occasionally be posted to social media but they would either be removed or were of extremely low quality. The outlet noted that, while the episode never aired again on television, it is preserved by the Library of Congress.
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