Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Crack Monster!


A Sesame Street cartoon terrified me when I was small:
A girl stares around her room. "The cracks on the wall started looking like a camel..." a voiceover sings. The cracks morph into "Crack Camel." He gives her a ride. She meets Crack Monkey, Crack Chicken... ...then Crack Monster! He threatens them.
The heros fight back. He crumbles, leaving his outline and "beams of wood."
Crack Monster scared me for years. I was sure he'd appear on my bedroom wall at night. Even regular cracks made me nervous.
Recently I Googled the cartoon that had scared me so long ago. I couldn't find it. I did find others who were had been freaked out by the the cartoon when they were young.
They too, were seeking the old cartoon. Nobody's found it.
I wonder where it went. I wonder if I'll ever see it again.
Come to think of it, I wonder how the kid explained the broken plaster to her parents...


*there is a parody of sorts on You-Tube. Made me laugh.

52 comments:

stray g said...

At first glance the title made me think of the sandwich called croque-monsieur. Then I thought in today's lingo it sounded like a drug-induced vision.

Namowal said...

Heh heh,
I wouldn't mind a ham and cheese sandwich appearing on my wall once in awhile.
Maybe if I spiff up my animation skills I can do a spoof of the cartoon where the heroes are threatened by a a giant croque monsieur. He becomes their lunch.

Linda said...

Ha! The bottom image made me laugh.

Namowal said...

Thanks, Linda.
It was inspired, in part, by a reoccurring motif in the Calvin & Hobbes strip:
Calvin does something destructive to battle an imaginary foe. Then, wide eyed, he defends his actions to exasperated adults.
I found this example online.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Crack Monster (Crack Master, King of cracks, Behind the door) segment? Someone somewhere has got to have this. I think I need to see it again to have some sort of "closure". I have thought about this clip every day for the past 30 years. I know, "get a life".

I am 37. This clip would have aired between 1976-1978 and I was terrified of it and mesmerized by it all at once. I have heard urban myths surrounding this clip - it had to be removed and destroyed because it was causing mental distress, etc. I don't believe that, but I do believe there is a reason why it seems to be the one Sesame Street clip that cannot be found and why posts and links on various sites are removed once posted. Is this part of some CTW coverup?

Here is the clip: If you are 35-40 you should remember it. Although, I watched Sesame Street every day and probably only saw it 5 times, tops. It begins with a little girl with frizzy hair (I want to say she's a black girl). She is sitting on her bed in a horrible old house - the cartoon is in black and white (again, I think). As she starts to look closly at the cracks in her walls, she makes out shapes and one of these, a camel, comes to life and is very nice. She climbs aboard and this camel takes her for a ride meeting different crack animals. There is a Monkey who is very happy to see her and says "Good day, good day...I'm glad you came my way". (BTW, I personally don't remember this part, but several other people mention it, so it must be part of it). She also sees a crack-formed bird and finally the music changes as they meet the twisted figure. Some remember it calling itself "Crack Master", or "King of Cracks". I simply remember it being the Crack Monster. It yells and crumbles leaving bricks behind. Eventually the girl returns to her bed, realizing it was all just her imagination. She then sings; "Camel, thank you for the ride...I'll come and see you again sometime".

There has got to be a reason this has stuck so vividly in my brain for 30+ years. I need to see it again and get it out! I need to stop this on-line crusade and do something more important, but until someone finds it for me, the search continues. Someone please put me out of my misery! Feel free to email me directly.

-Jon

jarmond@nrgmedia.com

Namowal said...

Hi Jon,
The Crack Monster seems more elusive than Bigfoot. The only online reference I've found is comments from people like us who were freaked when we saw it as kids.No video (I'm sure you've seen the rickroll version), no screen shots, no animator/writer/studio taking credit.
This is odd, as it was a clever and memorable (if creepy) cartoon.

Where the heck is it? What studio? Was it really banned?

I even asked about it on the Snopes message board but no new info yet.

If I learn anything new, I'll post it on my blog.

Sally said...

wow, this is so interesting. I never saw that piece. CTW had an educational "bible" that was bigger than the biggest phone book ever describing what you could and couldn't do and what the educational agenda should be. I guess that slipped through the cracks in the age just before vcrs came in, but it's got to exist somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and if you go on wikipedia (the muppet version) you can get a skit-for-skit episode guide for just about every sesame street from 1969-present. The Crack Monster is nowhere to be found in any episode. The artist, or his/her kids has to have a copy somewhere. We seem to have all the other 70s clips, but not this one. Why?

Namowal said...

Sally,
I figured they'd have guidelines for animators, but a phone book sized one? That's a lot of rules.

Anon,
It's strange, isn't it? So many other 70s clips are out there. Where's Crack Monster? Maybe we should start a movement- The Crack Monster Liberation Front or something.

Anonymous said...

I am having trouble creating an account, so I will once again log on as "Anonymous" even though this is Jon again. (From the previous 2 anonymous posts)

It's funny you mention the "Crack Monster liberation front", because I have been trying to figure out a way to generate enough publicity to have this thing turn up somewhere. It's archived somewhere, but I am certain that the person(s) in charge of it have no idea that so many of us are looking for it. I have thought about on-line petitions, but who do you send it to? None of us actually know who has this thing. I also thought of filing suit against Sesame Street, CTW and Public Television for 30 years of nightmares and trauma. I won't seek any money, only a copy of the crack monster. Who's with me?

-jarmond@nrgmedia.com

Namowal said...

Hi Jon,
I'm trying to think of some stunt or gimmick here. Am considering making an animation where the crack monster complains bitterly that the other Sesame Street 'toons are on You-Tube and his film isn't there. "I've been spackeled, I tell ya!"

Anonymous said...

Good God, I have periodically searched for "crack, camel, master crack" for years and this is the first time I got anything back.

I am 34, and my memory of this sketch is really raw. I am quite certain I only saw it once. I remember a little bit, a camel, and other cute animals, then some character softly sings "late last night behind the door, I think I saw just one crack more". Of course, this is followed by master crack.

This has to exist somewhere. God, I can't imagine how normal I might have been if I hadn't been exposed to this click as a 3 year old. Is everyone sure ths was Sesame Street? I kind of thought i was electric company. Of course, I was 3. email me.

gurglegurglecrash at yahoo.com

Namowal said...

Hi Anon,
Before this post I had no idea the elusive Crack Monster (or Crack Master) affected so many people. I'd say 9 out of 10 people who remember him were spooked, yet want to see him again.
May his evil crackulosity rise again on the internet!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jon Armond here again...I've got to tell you gurglecrash, I don't personally remember the narration with the "behind the door...crack one more", but who knows? If it really was part of the clip, then you have one remarkable memory, having only seen it once when you were three!

I too went back and forth from Sesame Street to Electric Company since I did watch both in the 70s and Electric Company stuff was a little stranger even than Sesame Street, but all of the people I have seen on the web talk about it, they all reference Sesame Street.

The one thing that sticks out in my mind about this clip more than anything else is the little girl singing (at the end), "Camel, thank you for the ride..." I have sung that in my head for 30 years, but no one else ever mentions it. Could I have dreamed that part? It's what I remember most, but we've probably all added things to this clip in our heads since none of us has seen it in 30 years.

One thing is for sure, I won't rest until this thing is either confirmed as destroyed or it turns up.

Namowal said...

You said it, Jon.
Crack Monster must rise again! :)

Anonymous said...

Jon here again...I found out through much searching and a contact at the CTW Archives that the Crack Monster clip first aired on Thursday February 10th, 1977 during the first 15 minutes of Episode #979. I was unable to get the artists name, studio name or any other information. It is listed on the storyboard as "A girl lying in bed imagines she sees a crack in the wall (DIVERGENT THINKING)" (time 1:29). My contact was unable to tell me any subsequent times this clip might have aired, or when it stopped airing. But, I didn't have an episode number and first air date before, so I guess that's something. This has now officially become my life's work.

-Jon

Namowal said...

Good research, Jon,
We'll get to the bottom of this mystery. And now we know Crack Monster's birthday is Feb 10.
Wow, he's 31 years old!

orlock1979 said...

I did some research on the Muppet wiki and found out a lot of critical info about the episode the crack monster came from. It came from episode 0979, it was aired on February 10, 1977 in the 8th season (1976-1977).
I’m planning to go to the CTW Archives and try to see if they can help me their. I wonder if anybody has tried that before. While I was born in the 90’s and have never scene the skit, Their was one skit that scarred me so bad that I would never watch sesame street until I was 5 (this was when I was 3).
It was from Episode 3713 and featured a little boy who is to scared to go to bed. His toys come alive when his dads goes away. He eventually composes a symphony with the toys. I vividly remember a robot that had red glowing eyes and the jaws theme would play whenever we saw it.
Recently I found a picture from the skit and it always sends shivers up my spine.
I also found a similar skit that feature creepy vintage toys and robots working on sending a satellite into space.

I will try to find both skits in the CTW archives. Hopefully I will find them.

Namowal said...

Thanks for your research, orlock1979. Hopefully Crack Monster (Or Crack Master) will be rediscovered soon!

Christopher said...

This is so strange. I thought I was alone in how this one little cartoon freaked me out and has stayed with me ever since. I didn't even know what it was called. I do know I saw it a least twice. I remember there was music that went with it that was equally as creepy. Anyway, if anyone does find it, please please share with the rest of us so we can finally close this chapter.

Chris
CThaemert@yahoo.com

Namowal said...

Thanks for posting, Christopher.
I'm still not sure what the name of this cartoon is, or where it came from. Another reader claims to have obtained a copy (he played it on the phone for me and it's either the real thing or a well crafted mashup). I remember the cartoon enough to notice it resembles some work from the R.O. Blechman studio, but I've never been able to connect one to the other.
I wonder if I'll ever see this 'toon again or learn it's history.

Daria Erdosy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daria said...

"Good God, I have periodically searched for "crack, camel, master crack" for years and this is the first time I got anything back."

Ha! This describes me to a T. I am with you all 100% in finding this clip. Have been haunted by it for years, and aside from the internet have never met anyone who remembered it. I was beginning to think it was all a dream. Nice to know I how have an army of allies out there aiding the cause!

-Daria

Namowal said...

Thanks for swinging by, Daria.
I'm guessing you've read my other posts and know that someone else did get a copy of the clip, but isn't allowed to post it on the net (or reproduce it).
I thought he might be kidding for the longest time. Then we met and he showed it to me. He really has it.

Isabella said...

NO.WAY. as scared by it as i was, my life wont be complete till i see that clip again.

Namowal said...

Hi Isabella,
It's amazing how so many people remember this cartoon as something that freaked them. Even when I saw it as an adult (a few years ago) I thought it was a little creepy.

Corpsegoddess said...

I'm 39 years old, my brother's 37, and we both remember this. It COMPLETELY TERRIFIED us when we saw it, and every subsequent viewing. I haven't seen it in decades and it still scares the bejeezus out of us when we talk about it. I've never been able to find a clip of it anywhere, but like the poster above me said, I have to see it again, or my life will feel somehow hollow. They have to post this on the YouTube channel someday, don't they? 0.o

--Jennifer

daria said...

I actually, finally saw it :) A fellow Brooklynite had a copy and sent it to me with promises "not to share." I will respect his wishes, but I still think its bologna... and that the "banning" of this clip is simply an urban legend...

Namowal said...

Hi Corpsegoddess,
That cartoon has a true cult following! Funny how so many people have come forward with
1. I remember that cartoon and it freaked me out
2. I'd love to see it again.

Whomever owns the rights to this 'toon could probably make some dough selling it on a dvd to its loyal followers.

I don't expect it on You-Tube any time soon, but there's at least two people I've heard from who have a copy (one of which I've confirmed). The latter obtained his copy from a mysterious source who made him promise not to duplicate it or put it on the internet. The former (which I haven't verified), claims to have obtained a copy from someone who works at CTW, but chose not to put it on You-Tube when I told him about how protective the the mystery owner was.

Daria,
That's great! How did you find this friend? Was s/he one of the two people I mentioned above? If not, how did they get their copy?
p.s.
Now that you've seen it again, how did it compare with the cartoon as you remembered it?

daria said...

I met the person through the facebook page on the Crackmaster (is it your page?) and it just so happened he lived in Brooklyn, too! The clip is WAY faster/shorter than I remembered, and of course not so scary in adulthood, tho the crackmaster face itself is still a bit jarring. The narrator's voice is much more melodic and upbeat then I remember...I also remembered the line style in the animation being rougher and "scratchier" - it was a bit more simplistic than my childhood memory. Definitely a sense of "completion" seeing it, tho, as it was tormenting me for years not being able to find it! Anyone in the NYC area who would like to see is welcome to contact me for a meet up, but I can't make any copies, sadly...must keep my promise :(

Namowal said...

If it's this group, then yes, it's my group.
When I saw the 'toon again in '09 I remember thinking "Damn, Crack Master is ugly!"
How did your friend get his copy? I can't believe I've never been able to get one of my own. When I saw the clip I watched it on my laptop and I suppose I could have ripped my own copy, but I didn't want to go against the owner's wishes (or get Jon into trouble.) So, sniff no copy for me.

Anonymous said...

I saw this cartoon sketch in 1975 the image and music scared me so much I would hide my head in my mothers lap. As a 5 year old the images and the music made me so scared that I had to cut every sensory feeling out. I could not look, I could not listen to the music song. It was like it got Inside me. I have over the last 35 years thought about it and felt the feeling. Last night I was watching tv and heard some music and tnat all emcompassing sadness came over me, it was in my ears, in my body you just want to shut it out and curl up in a wrm place. Nothing like watching scary movie etc vey different. It was torture and I just want to escape. I suddenly googled it and cant believe other people had such problems with it. I do feel better for this.

Namowal said...

Anon,
It's amazing. Most people don't remember the cartoon, but most that do report that it freaked them out. I wonder why? Sure, the crack monster is scary, but there's zillions of monsters in cartoons. What exactly made this one so creepy?

daria said...

ya know, I think it might have something to do with the fact that it aired so few times. Most other 70's clips we can still find online or also got to see in syndication in the 80's...but this one was not only scarily memorable, but it vanished without a trace after a mere 24 airings. So folks of our generation in the mid/late 70's, were SO young & mushy-brained then, in retrospect we couldn't decipher if it was dream (nightmare!) or reality. Add our generations obsession with our own nostalgia and Voila! Gen X cult obsession :)

daria said...

...I bet if there were any other "scary" SS clips completely unavailable in ANY form online, they would have gathered the same mythology as the Crack Master. With other clips, we can see them again and realize they aren't as scary in adulthood. We just remember how scary it was through kid eyes! (although when my brother saw the "Daddy Dear" clip a few years back on youtube - for the first time since he was a kid - he was still pretty freaked out, at age 39!! LOL :)

Karen said...

I recall this story rather well. It was too frightening. I remember being frightened of going to sleep after seeing it. It was not something that belonged on "Sesamee Street." Now I'm not saying it should be banned, but it should have been shown on a program that wasn't geared towards such young children.

Namowal said...

Karen,
I remember being scared that the Crack Monster (or Crack Master) would show up on my wall at night when I was little.
Even when I saw it again (2009) I thought it was on the creepy side, especially when the monster's face peels apart. Holy geez with a side of peas.

Karen said...

When I was little, I too was afraid he would appear on my wall. My mother had to explain to me that it was just a show. I was SO frightened of turning the lights out.

Now that I'm obviously a little older, I think the story could have been given more redemptive value. Maybe he was just really frightened. And maybe if the animals had spoken kindly to him, he could have turned into a much kinder looking creature. (Seeing that there was no reason to be scared.)

In my opinion, the story was just too frightening for "Sesamee Street" with no real redemptive value.

In my opinion, "Sesamee Street" doesn't want to risk further association with the story. I feel for people who would like to see it again. But I also feel "Sesamee Street" would do better to avoid any further association with the story.

Anonymous said...

This must be a really old conversation, and I am sure some/ all of you must have seen or own this clip by now? I have it, and had no trouble getting it by asking around a tiny bit.

Namowal said...

Hi Anon,
I was able to see it a few years ago, but was never able to find/buy/recieve a copy of my own (or find out who made it- one person credits Cosmo Anzilotti but I've not been able to confirm). I'm not sure I even know the true name of the cartoon.
I'd love a copy of my own. Could you please put me in touch with whomever sent/sold you yours?
Thanks.

Diana P said...

I'm pretty sure this clip was 3-2-1 Contact. (no offense, I was born in 2002) Can I have a copy? Can SOMEONE please show me this cartoon?

Anonymous said...

I hear Jon Armond has the audio for this cartoon, which he shared with a few people. Jon, if you're reading this, can you send me the audio (along with your email address)? I'd love to hear it.

dycaite said...

"This must be a really old conversation, and I am sure some/ all of you must have seen or own this clip by now? I have it, and had no trouble getting it by asking around a tiny bit."

Anon, PLEASE contact me, I have been searching for this forever

-dycaite,
radical_bebop@hotmail.com

dycaite said...

"This must be a really old conversation, and I am sure some/ all of you must have seen or own this clip by now? I have it, and had no trouble getting it by asking around a tiny bit."

PLEASE contact me ASAP Anon

-dycaite
radical_bebop@hotmail.com

Vicki Fogg said...

this is crazy I to was frightened and at the same time mesmerized by this cartoon.and have been looking for it but have found nothing.nice to know I not alone on this one.the funny thing about it is that everyone calls it crack master and when I was a kid I could of sworn is it was crack bastard.

Namowal (Jennifer Bourne) said...

Vicki
It floors me how many people have contacted me with similar stories- how the Crack Master scared them silly as kids, and how they've been searching for it ever since.
One person was even considering making a documentary about the whole thing.
And the fact that the cartoon is hidden, and, even in the age of the internet, nobody seems to know who the heck created it, makes the story even more intriguing.
p.s. "Crack Bastard" is a better name for him. Between scaring us when we were little and "hiding" from us now that we're adults, he has a lot of explaining to do...

Anonymous said...

"Anyone in the NYC area who would like to see is welcome to contact me for a meet up, but I can't make any copies, sadly...must keep my promise :("

Daria,

Are you still in NYC? I am and I would love to see this clip again.

Please contact me if you can:

brettvyon@aol.com

Jcon said...

I don't know if you knew about this yet, but today the crack master clip has been found! its on the front page of the lost media wiki.
http://lostmedia.wikia.com/wiki/Lost_Media_Wiki

Namowal (Jennifer Bourne) said...

Yes, Jcon, I learned about it this morning. I couldn't believe it! :)

Anonymous said...

Here's the video!!! It's not scary at all :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y0ffj__R4g

-ilovehorseyrides

Mary Pesik said...

Hey Namo, what was the parody on You-Tube?

Danielle Pluzsik said...

I love the narrator's voice. Especially when she sings "And this is all of you?"