Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Crack that Roared

Most people never saw the Sesame Street cartoon where cracks on the wall come to life:

Those of us who did see it as kids had remarkably similar reactions:
  • "Crack Master," the mean crack, terrified us!
  • We've never forgot the cartoon, and now would absolutely love to see it again.
Various comments about the clip:
"...not nearly as scary as the cartoon with the talking crack in the wall. That still haunts me." -Ann Arbor, Michigan1

"... that **** cartoon with the crack in the wall that came to life (btw, i *REALLY* want to see that so if anyone has it, please let me know!)"-Illinois2

"--One I have NEVER forgotten is the 'crack' video... ...I remember both anticipating and dreading the possibility of watching it every time SS came on. if anybody [finds it], POST POST POST!!!"3

"Good God, I have periodically searched for "crack, camel, master crack" for years .... ...This has to exist somewhere. God, I can't imagine how normal I might have been if I hadn't been exposed to [it]as a 3 year old?"4

"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... ...Anyway, if anyone does find it, please please share with the rest of us so we can finally close this chapter."5

" I was Googling around and found your reference to the Sesame Street "crack" cartoon, and I was wondering if you have ever found it? I am SO very relieved to see that it either really existed, or we all have some kind of mass psychosis! Seriously, I have been looking for this clip forever, because it scared me so much as a kid and I need closure! :)"
(email to me)

"...a child looking up at the cracks in the ceiling and spotting various animals. Suddenly... a horrible face appears in the wall and says something like 'I am Crack Master!' - But just then the wall plaster crumbled to the floor... 'He'd destroyed himself, being mean.' Yeeergh, that still gives me the shivers."- United Kingdom 6

"When I was a kid, there was an animated Sesame Street vignette that absolutely scared the living crap out of me. [It featured] a big evil-looking face composed of cracks behind some door. I'd run out of the room when it came on. I was terrified of cracks until I was about twelve. I'd pay good money to see this vignette today and see what scared me so much..."7

"When I was a kid, there was an animated skit that used to have me screaming and running from the TV... ... It was about this girl sitting in her room on a rainy day. She has a whole bunch of cracks on the walls in her room (I guess she had plaster walls). As she's sitting there, her imagination starts to go wild, and she sees the cracks form into different shapes, mostly animal shapes, and they start to come to life. There's a camel, and a monkey...
...and behind it is a horrible looking splinter crack monster in the plaster with a really scary face! ...It claims that it is the crack master... ...I remember when the skit started, I was like "Oh no!" And started to scream and then when the face appeared I became hysterical! I had horrible re-occurring nightmares based on it for the entire time it was on the show. I've been trying to find it ..." -Iowa x
An impressive legacy for a cartoon that aired less than a dozen times in the late 1970s and then vanished*.

Click here to find out how I finally saw it again.

*It's not on any dvd that's for sale. I've never seen it mentioned in books or articles about animation. It's not on the internet in any form (and probably never will be.) I'd buy it in a minute if it was legitimately for sale. Production art too!


Linda said...

It can't be as good as your illustration.

stray said...

Yes, your illustration in all those colors is fab!

Namowal said...

Thanks Linda, Stray.
I'm flattered to hear the pros telling me this.
For colors I fall back on the old "don't use 100% primaries unless you really know what you're doing" (The non digital version is "Don't use pure colors out of the paint tube unless you really know what you're doing")

Sally said...

maybe that's why I don't like digital colors, I always just use the swatches! Can't believe this cartoon still isn't surfacing.

Linda said...

Sally, what do you mean when you say you only use the swatches?

The cartoon DID surface! Only the guy who has a copy refuses to fly to LA to show Namowal.

stray said...

(Is this about the 256 "web-safe" colors vs. millions and millions....?)

Namowal said...

But the guy from Iowa did fly into L.A. today and guess what he brought with him...!

Sally said...

yesh, the little boxes of colors. (with no good orange or green.)

Linda said...

Namo, are you kidding? I'm getting goosebumps. ARE YOU KIDDING!!??

stray said...

you'd better post more about this SOON!!! with lots of pictures.

Namowal said...

Hi Sally, Linda, Stray,
A new post is in the works.
I don't have actual parts of the movie but I do have a sketch of The You Know What (as he appears in the film, as opposed to the version I'm drawing.)
My concern is that he looks too much like the original and I'm afraid it'll be mistaken the actual thing and that Jon will get into trouble. So I may alter the appearance more, just to be safe...

Sally said...

yes it boggles the mind.

Linda said...

You can do better than that, Namo. We want to know where you ate lunch, etc.

Daria (Canada) said...

Oh my God! My brother and I have been trying to find a clip of the Cracks forever! I remember it as "the cracks overhead" It scared the crap out of us. I would LOVE to find it somewhere.

I love your illustations.

Namowal said...

Thanks, Daria.
The clip does begin with the lines
'While laying in her bed
The cracks overheadMore and more looked like a camel.
"I's rainy out today
I can't go out and play.
Will you take me for a ride, Camel?"
"Of course" said Camel Crack
"Hop upon my back!"
And right through the wall they did go!'

I hope you and your brother get a chance to see it again yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed to know there are so many other people that were scared by this. I thought I might be the only one. What was CTW thinking? This is one of those things that even as a 40-year old I might be a little creeped out by. Scared the crap out of me as a child.

Namowal said...

It is funny how many people remember that cartoon as "the one that scared the !!!! out of me" when they were kids.
I may have mentioned elsewhere that the adult sister of the guy who has a verified copy of the thing reportedly started crying when she saw it. She'd forgotten about it up til then. She was also convinced there might be a subliminal thing to trigger her reaction, but never found anything weird when looking at it frame by frame.
When I saw it again, a few years ago, I thought it was still kind of creepy, especially when the monster crack falls apart.
I still can't believe I've never heard from any friend or relative of the original creator. Are they offended that people remember it as something that scared them? I don't get it.

Karen said...

If my memory serves me right, your sketches are pretty accurate.

I seem to recall his eyes were white but with a huge black center.

I could be wrong, but I believe there was a red outline around his mouth. When he first appears, his mouth is shut, and we see two red lips. And when he yells, there remains a red outline around his mouth.

And I seem to recall that as he crumbled, part of his eye stayed on the wall.

Anonymous said...

what were the rest of the lyrics?