Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Go See the Cracks Again: Part Four


As I watched the cartoon over and over and sketched the characters, someone else entered the coffee shop. It was my old pal Rice*, whom I hadn't seen in years.
"Rice?" I called out. "Hey, Rice!"
The barista probably thought I was odd already, and now I was calling an Asian customer "Rice."
"This is my old friend, Rice," I told Jon. "We went to art school together. Rice, this is my pal Jon. We..."
Well this was going to be hard to explain. We both have an insane interest in an obscure cartoon? He drove out of his way between family gatherings to let me see it? I asked Rice if he'd seen "the Sesame Street cartoon where cracks came to life". He hadn't.
"I'll explain later," I told him.
Soon it was time to go. Rice had a bus to catch, and Jon and I had plans in opposite directions. If you're reading this, thanks Jon!


Some details about the cartoon:

  • It doesn't look like work from any big studio. I suspect it was either made by a small studio or an independent project, perhaps by a professional artist or cartoonist who dabbled in animation.
  • It's narrated (and partially sang) by a woman with a sweet Blossom Dearie-like voice.
  • The girl (whom I should have taken more time to sketch) is tall and pretty with a dark complexion. Her shirt (sweater?) is light pink, her pants dark green. Her feet are tiny. When she returns to her room she walks backward. Was this a whimsical touch? Or was the creator trying to save money by filming the walk cycle backwards?
  • The Camel Crack looks like a young child's drawing, with a semicircle for a body, a simple head/neck combo and long stick legs. He could easily have been Crack Turtle, Crack Horse, or Crack Brontosaurus. Crack Monkey and Crack Hen, while still line drawings, are more realistic.
  • Crack Master (the real one, not my reinterpretation) looks a lot like real cracks when he first appears. It wouldn't surprise me if he was based on actual cracks that the artist saw, who then thought Ya know, if I put eyes there and made that part his mouth...
  • Will it be seen again? Whomever gave it to Jon doesn't want it seen (we don't know why.) There's little chance he/she/they will post it themselves. Then again, my friend Sally, who's done animation for Sesame Street, says "The Street" buys the rights to show the cartoons, so they might have the final say. Maybe, just maybe, we'll see it someday in an official Sesame Street "Old School" dvd.
Just added (May 19, 2012)
A reader asked me what the other characters looked like, so I added this sketch.  They're not exact duplicates, but this is more or less what the Girl, Camel Crack, Crack Monkey and Crack Hen look like.

*That's really what he calls himself.

23 comments:

Rice said...

Everyone calls me Rice!

Namowal said...

Hi Rice (whom everyone does call Rice),
Did you check out the link to Sally's animation? I think you'll like it.

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

Hi Daria,
Studio City is about ten miles north of where we met.
I don't know if Jon's up to showing the clip to more people, but he might check this blog from time to time, so he'll know there's someone else on the lookout...!

Anonymous said...

Why not write to Sesame Street? Seems like the easiest course of action.

Namowal said...

Anon,
I've thought about this. I'm not sure specifically who to write to, however. Another issue: I hear other seekers of the cartoon have appealed to Sesame Street for info, with little success.
Still it's worth a try... :)

Anonymous said...

what color is the girl's hair

Namowal said...

The girl's hair was black (or very dark brown) , her shirt was light pink and her pants were green.
:)

Anonymous said...

did the girl have glasses and wear sneakers? i'm 9 and i want jon to show it to me. is the cartoon really scary?

Namowal said...

Hi Anon,
The girl doesn't have glasses. She has dark shoes and (I think) white socks.
From an adult perspective, the cartoon isn't that scary. The mean crack is a bit creepy, but not terrifying.
Jon told me he showed it to his kids and their reaction was "Why'd that scare you, Dad? It's dumb!" I'm guessing that today's kids grew up exposed to lots more cartoons than Jon and I did in the 1970s (thanks to internet, cable etc..) To modern kids, it probably doesn't stand out the way it did to us "old people" :)

Anonymous said...

i want to draw the skit complete with the girl, monkey, hen, camel and the crack monster. can somebody tell me how to draw them?

Anonymous said...

is the girl's hair short or long

Namowal said...

Hi Anon,
Since you asked for details, I added a sketch I made of the main characters.

Anonymous said...

can you sketch the crack monster

tearehannah said...

Can you show the video of the crack monster cartoon?

Diana P said...

I'm making a written documentary about the cartoon. I need details. So, I'm using the audio documentary (if you give it to me.) We'll all know then!

Diana P said...

Namowal, can Jon show this clip to me? Please e-mail him and let him know!

Diana P said...

Are you coming to the party next month?

Diana P said...

http://searchforcrackmaster.blogspot.com/

wile-e2005 said...

Hey, I heard a rumor Jon is planning on a documentary about the Crack Master segment, using his acquired clip. THAT would be pretty cool to see!
(If it was more accessible to the public, I would have definitely used a brief clip of it or two in a music video I made showcasing Sesame Street's freakier moments set to Michael Jackson's "Thriller!")

Another time I know CTW banned something due to it being scary was the 1976 episode where the Wicked Witch of the West (played by Margaret Hamilton reprising the original role!) She accidentally drops her broom on the street, and to get it back manages to scare everyone, even threatening to transform Big Bird into a feather duster and David into a basketball, along with other mischief. Only Oscar the Grouch likes the witch, naturally.
In fact, not much else is known about this episode. For all I know, the Crack Master cartoon could have even been a segment on it!

Mary Pensik said...

Hi, I'd want this audio documentary. My email is nagaesan@outlook.com. Mail it, Namo~

Mary Pesik said...

About the girl walking backwards - I really think it was a whimsical touch. Namo, thank you for posting this clip on your blog. Do you think the girl's name is Tara? Or is it a completely different name you want?

Mary Pesik said...

While I'm waiting for my mom to see the cartoon, I'm looking at my ceiling and there is a crack that looks like a penguin. "Crack Penguin", indeed!