Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crack Master (Crack Monster) is Alive! Alive!


When I was a little (1970s) a Sesame Street cartoon frightened, yet fascinated me.
A young girl who imagines cracks on her bedroom wall turning into animals. They befriend her. A scary crack appears. He calls himself "Crack Master*." He acts tough but falls apart.
I liked the idea of cracks coming to life, but the Crack Master freaked me. What if he showed up on my wall one night?
Flash Forward 35 years. Old Sesame Street clips appear on You-Tube. The Alligator King. The Typewriter Guy, That's About the Size, Lower Case N on the hill, etc...
But where are the Cracks?**
I try to find the cartoon but no leads. I grow more curious. What artist/studio was behind it? What became of them? Where'd they get the idea? And where is this cartoon? Does it even exist anymore?
I blog about it. I ask around. Almost everyone hasn't seen it or heard of it.
It drives me crazy.

I post a blog about my search. A few others write that they too have been looking for the clip, and finding nothing.
This includes Jon.
Like me, it freaked him as a kid but now he'd dying to see it again. Except he can't find it, nobody seems to remember it, there's little info on the internet and it's driving him nuts.
Then a miracle happens. The party who owns the rights to the cartoon contacts him. They're very private. Jon gets a copy of the clip on condition that he wasn't to copy or publish any of it. Anywhere. No exceptions.
He shared his story with me , he told me, because I seemed to be as obsessed with the cartoon as he was.
It was good news and bad news. The cartoon was still in existence! It wasn't lost in a landfill!
The bad news is that I'll probably never see it. Jon lives far away. Even if he lived next door he might not be legally allowed to show it to others.
Thus my only chance is that the cartoon's legal owner see this and are kind enough to send (or sell) me a copy.***


If that's you, all I can say is PLEASE!?

I'll be forever in your debt.
I'll keep it off the internet.
No ripping, nor sharing, this I swear,
To the cartoon maker (or the heir)
I'll turn down
any bootleg version
Of the crack cartoon excursion.
And should a bootleg come about
I'll report them. Rat 'em out.
An honest clip will only do,
If you decide (and if that's you).

If that's not you, you can still help.
If you can forward this post to anyone who might know (or know someone who knows) the legitimate owner of the clip, please do. Maybe they'll find me, maybe they won't. Maybe they'll sell me a copy, maybe not. Who knows?


*I'd remembered the scary crack as "Crack Monster," but he's actually, "Crack Master," says Jon.

**I have no clue what the actual title is.

***This sounds uncomfortably like "Hi stranger! Give me something!" Ugh. I'd be happy to give them (perhaps you?) some of my artwork as an offering of thanks, but it's not worth much dough. (Neither is my poetry.)

45 comments:

Teen1 said...

Jon was kind enough to tell me about how he found the Crack Monster (Master) cartoon as well.

I'm thrilled to know that it was at least partially the way I remembered it, and so thankful that he was able to find it.

I also would love to see it, but for now I'm just so happy to know that I was (and am) not alone in my feelings about this cartoon.

Here's hoping the owner of the clip allows us to find some closure...please, please?

Namowal said...

Hi Teen1
It really does seem to have a small cult following.
While 99.9% of people I meet have never heard of it (including professional animators,) there's a handful fans around the world who remember it well and want to be reunited with it.

Teen1 said...

Hi :) Let me first say that I love your illustrations! Awesome.

It's nice to know that there are people besides me, my brother and two sisters and my husband who remember Crack Monster. For years, people looked at me strangely when I asked them about it.

Last night I was talking to my mom, and I asked her if she remembered me talking about Crack Monster when I was little. She quickly responded, "Yes, you talked about it all the time."

Somewhat surprised by this (since my mom was quite busy with me and my three siblings growing up), I asked "Did you have any idea of the effect it was having on me?"

She hesitated, then said, "No, I thought you liked it."

Can I hear a big WTF?!?!?! My mom was really paying attention to me, huh? :) Apparently, because I basically froze up whenever the clip would air, she thought I wanted to see it.

Even though I was always saying "Crack Monster is scary." :)

Tina

booda baby said...

I think it's pretty brave of you to be so eager to meet up with childhood creepiness again. I STILL kind of shudder at the Cat in the Hat.

And two: stop right now with that nonsense about what your artwork's worth. That's really all I can say without turning it into a five paragraph comment. :)

Linda said...

I don't see why Jon can't fly you out to where he lives so you can see the cartoon.

I agree with Booda B about worth of your artwork and poetry!! Stop already!

Namowal said...

Thanks, Teen1
It's funny how the small percentage of people who saw/remembered this cartoon (only aired 11 times between 1975-1980 according to Jon) have similar reactions.
1. The mean crack scared them
2. Yet they remember it with a strange fondness.
3. And want to see it again- to the point of looking all over for it.

Too bad it's so elusive. Then again, we're lucky we ever saw it on Sesame Street. We have one up on the people who look at us strangely when we bring up the crack cartoon.

Hi Boodababy,
It's funny, there's still a part of my brain that's a little nervous about meeting Crack Master again. But nostalgia and curiosity overrules it.
Okay, I was being a little hard on my artwork. Since I was offering it as a trade/reward/thank-you-gift in exchange for a legitimate copy from the rightful owner(s), I don't want to sound like a complete screwball. As in, "Hey, I'll trade you a picture I drew for a copy of the televised artwork you own"

Funny, Linda!
Personally, I'm kinda fond of my artwork. I guess I wasn't saying it was bad, just that it was the best I could offer in exchange for a copy of the mysterious cartoon.
p.s.
Funny Synchronicity:
While typing this (I'm at work, lunch break) someone stopped by my candy dish (filled with mixed chocolates) and said he was going to take all the Hershey's Krackels.

Sally said...

I really liked the poetry. As a reformed collector, I'm suspicious of what Jon actually has.

Namowal said...

Hi Sally,
Can't say I know for sure what Jon has, but the following makes me think it's legit.

1. It's a copy of the clip (as opposed to production art.)

2. He didn't pay for it (nor did he try to sell me a copy or use it as a wedge to get personal information from me).

3. His description of the details corroborates with what I remember.

4. When I spoke with him on the phone I heard it playing in the background and it sounded the way I remember.

5. Whomever gave it to him made him sign paperwork saying he wouldn't copy it or put it on the internet. (Would a bootlegger care?)

6. Much of the narration is in rhyming iambic trimeter. (would a faker go through so much trouble?)

I suppose there's a chance that it's s mock up that someone threw together, but that seems to be a lot of work for something that gets no money or publicity in return.

Oh well, whatever Jon has, it's interesting.

Sally said...

wow, so hard to know. Back in my collector days, pre-internet, I ran into a friendly guy who claimed to have lost footage of Russ Columbo, an ill fated crooner of the 30's, as well as other amazing footage that no one else had ever seen. He was always about to let me see it, but it never came through, and in the end I doubted whether he really had it at all or not. This may be a whole different thing, it just rang that old bell for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sally. This is Jon. I do indeed have the clip. It's in perfect condition. I have made a 9 minute audio "documentary" if you will about the clip including a complete run through. I would be more than happy to email this to you. Teen1 has it and knows I have the clip. Nothing in my paperwork said that I couldn't show the clip to others in my own livingroom. I would be happy to do that for anyone so that they can see this clip again. I really don't have anything to gain from saying I have the clip when I don't. In fact, I put the audio documentary together to answer so many of the questions that we had about the clip. All the mystery is explained now. Come see it for yourself. Like I said, if you want to give me an email address (mine is jarmond@nrgmedia.com), I will send you a very interesting audio file. You'll know then!

-Jon

Namowal said...

Hi Sally,
Jon's clip is an interesting one. One of the weirdest animation stories I've heard...
...and I'm soooo jealous of Jon.

Hi Jon,
Did you know that Sally did Sesame Street animations? Unlike our mystery crack artist, you can see her work on YouTube. It's wonderful stuff.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! I am SO very relieved that this clip exists--I thought maybe I was an insane child that imagined it!!

Namowal said...

Hi Anon,

It's funny how so many people have a similar reaction to the cartoon

1. It scared them when they were little

2. They wonder if they imagined it (since many don't remember it at all)

3. They'd really like to see it again.

Laurie said...

I found your blog when I googled Sesame street Crack Master. I can't believe that I am not completely insane! No one remembers this cartoon, I began to think I dreamed the whole thing. That cartoon used to scare the living crap out of me- I had to leave the room when it came on.

Thanks for remembering this- I wish it could be posted to the net- that way I could prove to everyone that it exists!

Namowal said...

Hi Laurie,
Nearly everyone who remembers this cartoon (all thirty or so of us) had the same reaction- it had them running from the room, and of course, most of their peers never saw it or don't remember)

Recently I got a chance to actually see this cartoon (check under "The Crack Monster" category on this blog for how that happened.) It's still creepy. I can totally understand how it freaked me out!

Tyrannorabbit said...

Nice to get a little more information on this cartoon that traumatized me so badly, so long ago.

It's weird that there's such a staunch refusal to let it out of the bag today though.

Namowal said...

Thanks for stopping by, Tyrannorabbit.
I agree it's very strange that the cartoon is kept under wraps.
If you haven't found it already, more details can be found here.

Tyrannorabbit said...

It's funny, I have no phobias as an adult but everyone in my family will instantly come up with the same answer when asked what I was scared of as a kid: cracks. And this was, unsurprisingly, exactly why. There were a few strange kid-tv vignettes that scared me more than I was comfortable with (I have a vague memory of Ernie somehow conjuring up a bizarro clone of himself...?), but this one flat-out scared the living shit out of me.

I am envious of your experience with being able to revisit this long-lost treasure (I searched hopefully on youtube and got Rickrolled for my trouble); and I hope one day it can be shared with the world again. I'm not sure I'd want to show it to my nephews, but...well...maybe...

Namowal said...

Hi agianTyrannorabbit,
It's amazing consistent the reaction to that cartoon is!
Even as an adult I can understand it's creepiness. Crack Monster (or "Crack Master" as he calls himself) looks like a malignant root vegetable- and that's beforehe "tries to make himself very big and mean" at which point his face starts peeling off like something out of poltergeist!
Jon told me he gets a binary reaction when showing it to relatives. People our age (who remember the clip) think it's scary. His kids were less impressed. "Why did that scare you Dad?" one said. "It's dumb."

Anonymous said...

Hi guys. The Crack Master is turning out to attract a kind of cult following! ... In the classical sense of the word, of course, cult being short for "culture." Personally, I have also stumbled into this small collection of "survivors," being one myself. Recently, the damned thing popped back into my memory as if it were a buried trauma (which it may have been!) and began the search for a clip. Obviously, like you, I haven't found it, and Tail o' the Rat has been the closest I have come to it.

Rikki

Namowal said...

Hi Anon,
Every day my stat counter for this blog shows people looking for "Sesame Street" and "Crack Monster" (or "Crack Master").
He has quite the following!
When I wrote this post I wasn't 100% sure that Jon REALLY had a copy of the cartoon. Since then, I've met him (briefly) and he showed me it on his portable dvd player.
You can read about it here.

Anonymous said...

Just stopping to add my name to the ever-growing list of the mentally scarred children of the horrible 1970s! Only aired 11 times? I must be one of the (un)fortunate ones who seem to remember seeing it more than once. The "crack master" short ranks right up there with the Mr. Yuk PSAs in regards to scariness.

On an off-topic note, I am looking for an enigmatic gem myself. A weird school film I once saw about a boy & girl who save money to buy a toy from a toy shoppe only to have it break right afterward. The toy store owner was a Willy Wonka-esque scam artist and the "toy" was a weird wind-up contraption with the memorable feature being a row of spinning doll heads. The film was trying to teach the dangers of money squandering and being ripped off. It looked like it was shot in the 60s-70s and had a really "proto-Tim Burton" feel to it.

As with the "crack monster" short, my subconscious won't rest 'til I see it again!

tigerhorse28 at rocketmail

Namowal said...

"mentally scarred children of the horrible 1970s!"
That pretty much sums it up, Anon.
Almost everyone who remembers the Cracks-on-the-Wall cartoon was freaked out by it! Even when I saw it again, several months back, I thought, Damn, the Crack Monster* is scarier than I remembered.
Still, I'm dying to know- who made it? What else did they make? What became of them? Why does the official owner want it hidden away?

*He actually calls himself "Crack Master," but the narration also refers to to him as "The Monster"

tigerhorse28 said...

Sorry to leave another post here, but I was curious as to whether you were familiar with the "Mr. Yuk" PSA that aired in the 70s-early 80s? It had the same "run-and-hide-behind-the-couch" effect on me as a young'un back then.

Both icons (Crack Master & Mr. Yuk) were equally as disturbing to me even today. The difference is, is that I was able to give myself closure with Mr. Yuk as someone uploaded the PSA on YouTube...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLsONa3gKIQ

Also, I was curious to know if you had tried looking to see if anyone had uploaded the crack cartoon on various sites in other languages. Google is everyone's friend, of course, but Mr. Google often times holds out on results if you only use English or the English Google engine. As a student of Chinese, I often find things I would not normally find otherwise on Chinese language sites by typing Chinese in the search fields. Although, no crack master... YET!

Just a thought. Not everyone is bi/multi-ligual (nor am I fluently), but maybe you have some international buddies to help aid in the quest.

tigerhorse28 at rocketmail

Namowal said...

Hi Tigerhorse,
I remember Mr. Yuk, but he didn't frighten me as much as the Crack Monster. I think I was a little older when I first saw the Mr. Yuk p.s.a.
I never thought of using different languages to expand the search. That's a good idea.

Matt said...

The crack monster cartoon freaked me out as well and to this day I get chills when I think about it too much. Whenever I saw it on Sesame Street, it would take me a few days to become comfortable sleeping in my own bedroom again because I thought the Crack Monster could be lurking behind my wallpaper. What was really disturbing was how the Crack Monster got so angry, it crumbled to pieces and you saw half of its eye still there. I vaguely recall the flute being played in the background which only added to how eerie it was. I'm a regular guest on a college radio show in Salem, MA (WMWM 91.7 FM) and I brought this video up during a Feb 16, 2010 broadcast. The DJs, who were in their early 20s, were amazed no trace of it could be found on the internet . I think for many children at the time, two of the scariest creatures on television were without a doubt the Crack Monster and the Dragon from Space 1999. I don't know whether I would want to see the video again but I'm sure its creators had the best of intentions when they made it.

viagra online said...

viagra online
generic viagra

Karen said...

Hi Matt.

I really feel this story crossed a line that should never have been on "Sesamee Street." This is probably the only story on "Sesamee Street" that made me frightened of going to sleep.

I think what made the Count so special, was that he was a little frightening, but in a funny and non threatening way.

And what I'm seeing is the story has caused even more damage in that not only did it scare people as children so many years ago, but it contiues to haunt people in that the story is banned. And maybe the few people who recall it, would feel better if they could just see it one more time.

Which apparently (seeing it again) is not so possible. Now one possibility is that some years ago, someone probably video taped it. And if they see your pleas, maybe they will post it on YOU TUBE. (The man who has the official copy can't.) But maybe someone else can.

If the story is that important to you, don't give up hope. But a bit of irony is that it may show up when you least expect it and have lost interest.

Anonymous said...

Jon, can you put your audio documentary on MediaFire and send me the link to that? I'll know then.

Anonymous said...

Can I have the audio clip, Jon? Send me a link, I don't have an e-mail address!

Namowal said...

I don't have a place to post the mp3 (at least not now), but I'll let you know if that changes.

Anonymous said...

Sign up for MediaFire and post the mp3, Namowal!

Anonymous said...

come on please namowal, post the mp3 on mediafire and send me a link!

Anonymous said...

C:\Documents and Settings\frankpluzsik\Desktop\My Pictures\the crack video.bmp

Please send me the mp3, Jon!

Anonymous said...

Jon, can I get the mp3? My e-mail (I'm 9, this is my parents')is apluzsik@msn.com.

Chad Parenteau said...

Would love to see it too. Don't know if the waitlist is closed, but I'll put myself down. chadpoetforhire@yahoo.com

Diana P said...

I want to see the audio documentary! My e-mail address is diapcack@gmail.com

John McCormick said...

I want to see it also .. Please

Johnmc963@hotmail.com

Thanks

Anonymous said...

How can I see this cartoon? I've been searching for it~

dycaite said...

Someone PLEASE contact me on this, I am desperately searching for a copy.

-dycaite
radical_bebop@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

OMG I remember seeing this as a kid and it scared the living heck out of me! I had nightmares about the Crack Master for a while afterwards.

Mary Pensik said...

I want the audio documentary. My e-mail is:

nagaesan715@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I too would like a copy of this audio documentary if possible. I am fascinated by this because I have a vague memory of seeing this cartoon in the '80s even though supposedly it never aired in the 1980s.
E-mail it to me at:
tooniverse128@gmail.com

Bansal Box said...

Bansal Box and Corrugating Industries was incorporated in the year 1967 at New Delhi, India. Now we are reckoned as one of the best manufacturer and supplier of corrugated boxes in India. All our products are widely acclaimed for their distinctive features like durability, strong built & heat resistant.
Corrugated Boxes Manufacturers,
Corrugated Rolls Suppliers,
Master Cartons Manufacturers,
Mono Cartons Suppliers,
Printed Boxes Manufacturers,
Partition Boxes Suppliers,
Heavy Duty Boxes Suppliers,
Die Cut Boxes Manufacturers.
We are a well-known organization that is engaged in Corrugated Boxes and Corrugated Rolls wholesale, manufacturers and suppliers. Our offered corrugated boxes are praised in the markets.

Danielle Pluzsik said...

I actually went on a 2 year search to find the animator of a 90s SS sketch about a beatnik bat which was supposed to demonstrate words ending in "-at". A few days ago I found out Ken Brown and Lisa Crafts animated it.