"I have been dreaming of [that] witch."
June 19, 2022 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Episode 0847 of Sesame Street, aired in 1976, guest-starred Margaret Hamilton reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West. After many parents complained her bits were too scary, it only aired once.

A copy was recently uploaded on YouTube, quickly discovered by Reddit's Found sub, added to the Internet Archive, and become a bit of a news story. Here's an episode edit with just the Hamilton scenes.
posted by box (32 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
That was OK, but the time she appeared on "Candle Cove" was pretty freaky.
posted by The otter lady at 1:43 PM on June 19 [14 favorites]


That poor witch!!
posted by trig at 2:00 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Further thoughts: what was the last word she said, and why did they choose the letter "I" over "O"?!
posted by trig at 2:01 PM on June 19


Further thoughts: what was the last word she said, and why did they choose the letter "I" over "O"?!

“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!”
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:22 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


As a kid who spent her entirely young childhood OBSESSED with "The Wizard of Oz," I would have loved this.

It's also a bittersweet reminder for someone who is within months of age of Judy Garland when she died how young Judy Garland was when she died.
posted by thivaia at 3:32 PM on June 19 [5 favorites]


My dad grew up in West LA and knew a lot of showbiz types, and at one point sometime in the 1960s he had some reason to go over Margaret Hamilton's house as a little boy. He said she could still do the laugh just like in the movie, and it was a stunning contrast because she was otherwise a nice old lady. Must have been so wild to just be at the wicked witch's house
posted by potrzebie at 3:48 PM on June 19 [11 favorites]


"Hamilton, a former teacher, was always game to reprise the role of the Witch on behalf of educational programming; she also appeared, around that same period, on several episodes of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood." (Yahoo News, YouTube)

At the video link, first Rogers and then Hamilton display and carry the iconic witch's hat. Hamilton, wearing street clothes and talking about acting, explains her deliberate, sympathetic take on the Wicked Witch: constantly thwarted! unhappy! She talks a bit about the making of the movie; yes, a lot of fun, but also hard work, and at lunch she was fed her meal because she couldn't risk disturbing her green hand makeup. She agrees with Rogers that boys can certainly play witches, too. Toward the end of the segment, she puts a witch costume on over her clothes (she's delighted by the pockets in the skirt), but no movie makeup, and exits the interview. It's a great, all-ages-friendly clip.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:58 PM on June 19 [46 favorites]


"Even witches need pockets." Love the practicality.
posted by datawrangler at 4:08 PM on June 19 [13 favorites]


I came here to tell a similar story to potrzebie, only it was me on the upper east side of Manhattan in the 60s. My mother just walked up and introduced herself and us kids (4 of us, I was probably around 6 years old). Hamilton was sooo sweet and friendly. They explained to us that the Wicked Witch was only acting and I remember thinking it was an absolutely amazing concept.
posted by maggiemaggie at 4:22 PM on June 19 [6 favorites]


Guys I just watched this with my three year old and he said it was too scary would you mind taking it down forever please
posted by anazgnos at 4:50 PM on June 19 [8 favorites]


Guys I just watched this with my three year old and he said it was too scary would you mind taking it down forever please

I was floored when I heard her walk-on music. I'm like "Can you maybe NOT use the Black Sabbath chords when you introduce the Wicked Witch of the West?" Seriously, did they put a devil's tritone in there? If you're an adult, you can shrug it off as a trope you've heard before, but I can see why it scared the bejeezus out of the little kiddies.
posted by jonp72 at 5:10 PM on June 19 [7 favorites]


"Even witches need pockets." Love the practicality.

Sir Pterry would be proud.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:14 PM on June 19 [17 favorites]


A friend of mine from film school made a documentary with her in the early 1980s,when she had a brief second bit of fame as Cora from the Maxwell House Coffee commercials, and he said she was a delightful person to work with.
posted by briank at 5:20 PM on June 19 [7 favorites]


I'm not scared of this at all, there's worse shit on the local news!
posted by GoblinHoney at 6:09 PM on June 19 [4 favorites]


Witches need pockets even more than the rest of us!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:07 PM on June 19 [6 favorites]


This is awesome. I absolutely love that Hamilton reprised her role is several venues even so many years later!

And don't forget - she also appeared on "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special" about a year after Sesame Street, co-starring with Witchie Poo, Florence Henderson, and more! (content warning: bad lip-syncing by KISS in IIRC their first TV appearance)
posted by davidmsc at 7:07 PM on June 19 [13 favorites]


This episode had an especially formative impact for me.
posted by runehog at 7:17 PM on June 19


Apparently Oz witches are up to date on modern sports! Basketball has apparently made it to Oz.
posted by tavella at 7:23 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Oh, they definitely know all about basketball in Oz- just ask Kyrie Irving.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:27 PM on June 19


That Paul Lynde special is absolutely horrifying, perfect for Halloween!
posted by mollweide at 7:28 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Omg this episode has the capital i song which is the saddest weirdest song only rivaled by the lower case n song the Lonely N

I haven’t watched this whole ep yet but it has so many GOAT segments
posted by capnsue at 9:58 PM on June 19 [7 favorites]


Further thoughts: what was the last word she said, and why did they choose the letter "I" over "O"?!

>“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!”


...I meant in the "just the Hamilton scenes" clip! (Earlier all I could hear was "fuck" but now, lip reading, I guess it must be "rats")

Seriously though, they were mean to the witch and stole her broom! She was having a traumatic day!
posted by trig at 10:07 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I haven’t watched this whole ep yet but it has so many GOAT segments

It also has the This is Your Life sketch with the loaf of bread which is super weird.

I definitely remember seeing this full episode somewhere before and I can't remember if it was when it was originally aired on PBS or later on a tape or cable rebroadcast or something, because it's wildly intense and even a little traumatic.

I distinctly remember the part about Big Bird walking around with a baseball bat and hockey stick and thinking "This must be serious. Big Bird has a baseball bat! WTF!" which might be one of the only times I can think of where one of the cast has something that's any kind of a weapon, at least in the "real world" segments (as in occurring in/on Sesame Street the neighborhood) that aren't sketches or cartoons.
posted by loquacious at 11:24 PM on June 19


It also has the This is Your Life sketch with the loaf of bread which is super weird.

The Best This is Your Life parody on Sesame Street was the one with Forgetful Jones.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:52 PM on June 19


When she drops the broom again at the end, she says, “oh, fudge!”
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:44 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


"The Paul Lynde Halloween Special"

Yeah, that was Peak Bruce Vilanch.
posted by mikelieman at 3:46 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


The threw in a joke where she says she doesn't drink coffee - she was in the Maxwell House coffee commercials at the time.
posted by lordrunningclam at 5:14 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


"Even witches need pockets." Love the practicality.


Of course they do! Where else do you keep your Eye of newt and Keys of House?
posted by nubs at 6:09 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Hamilton, wearing street clothes and talking about acting, explains her deliberate, sympathetic take on the Wicked Witch: constantly thwarted! unhappy! She talks a bit about the making of the movie

This is one of my favorite Mister Rogers episodes of all time, and knowing that the witch was really a nice old lady helped me enjoy The Wizard of Oz even more when I was very young. I also loved the two episodes where Rogers visited the set of the Incredible Hulk TV show, and spoke to both Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno about make-believe. The Hulk used to scare me so much, but getting to meet Ferrigno and seeing him put on/take off his makeup made a huge difference for me as a little kid.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:36 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


The scene where Dorothy is in the cyclone and she sees Miss Gulch turn into a witch scared me a lot. Even Dorothy covered her face at that moment.

Interestingly, I’ve heard that she’s actually supposed to be the Wicked Witch of the East in that scene to explain that moments later Dorothy’s house fell on her. That makes sense but I don’t know if that’s what the filmmakers intended.

Anyway it’s my favorite movie, glad that this media has been released to give people a reason to discuss it, Sesame Street and Margaret Hamilton.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:43 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Big Bird didn’t need a baseball bat—he needed a bucket of water!
posted by elphaba at 5:03 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Big Bird was delightful here. He was very brave, he stood up for his friends, and concluded that scary witches are actually kinda fun.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 8:14 PM on June 20


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