Along with Darth Vader, the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz is one of film’s most iconic villains. But actress Margaret Hamilton only played her once on the big screen, in the 1939 classic. But she did reprise the role on television a couple of times. One of those times was on Sesame Street, in 1976. But the episode only aired once, due to parents writing in saying the episode terrified their kids.
But thanks to YouTuber Mike Minnick (via Boing Boing), that long-lost episode has resurfaced after decades in the vault. And you can watch Margaret Hamilton threaten Big Bird, and hear her iconic witch cackle, in the video down below:
The episode aired nearly forty years after Hamilton wore the green make-up in The Wizard of Oz, but she didn’t lose a beat. It might as well have been filmed the very next day. The episode’s theme was teaching kids about fear and how to overcome it. They coupled it with a basic plot about the Wicked Witch of the West searching for her lost flying broomstick. But because of the parent’s extreme reactions to the episode, they never ran it again. The Children’s Television Workshop chose to put it in the vault.
The other time Margaret Hamilton played the Wicked Witch on TV was the very same year she appeared on Sesame Street. This was on the 1976 Paul Lynde Halloween Special, a wild ride of retro kitsch that also only aired once. For those too young to know, Lynde was a TV fixture at the time, playing campy characters on Bewitched and on shows like Hollywood Squares. For this special, Hamilton appeared on screen with Witchiepoo, another iconic witch from children’s television. Oh, and Betty White. And she got to introduce the rock band Kiss. Folks, ’70s television was wild.