“Lost” media comes in a lot of form—from those pieces (often from the days before TV episodes, for instance, were considered as anything more than disposable garbage) that got taped over or trashed, and are now well and truly gone, to those pieces of media that are simply hard to find or get to. As far as we can tell, the “lost” Wicked Witch episode of Sesame Street from 1976, in which Wizard Of Oz star Margaret Hamilton reprised her role as The Wicked Witch Of The West, has always fallen into the latter camp: Although never re-run or made available for home viewing, the episode has reportedly been archived, safe and sound, for years in the Library Of Congress.
Still, for a long time, if you wanted to see an episode of Sesame Street so allegedly “scary” that Sesame Workshop was deluged with complaints from parents whose kids it freaked out, you were sort of out of luck; a low-quality recording of the episode popped up from time to time on YouTube, but if you really wanted to see Hamilton menace Northern Calloway’s David in all her verdant glory, you’d have to go to the Library, or wait for an event like 2019’s “Sesame Street Lost And Found,” where writers for the show showed the episode at the Museum Of The Moving Image and discussed why it was pulled from rotation.
But no longer: Some intrepid Muppet archivist has posted a much clearer version of the episode—in which The Witch continually menaces David to give her back her lost broom—online. The upload appears to have gone on Reddit first, but is already being disseminated further on the internet as a precaution against being “lost” again.
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. Watching the Sesame Street clip, it’s clear the intent of her appearance was to help teach kids about overcoming their fears; nevertheless, the show was hit with a number of complaints after it aired, and so it was eventually decided that it’d be permanently pulled from its rotation.