On Wednesday, December 31, 1975, when Sesame Street Episode #818 aired for the first time, a 1:33 short involving a girl seeing patterns in the cracks on her walls, from a camel, a monkey, a hen, and, most significantly, the eerie Crack Master, appears. The short is narrated (and partially sung) by a woman.
It was rumoured to have been created by animator Cosmo Anzilotti, though when dycaite contacted him regarding it, he simply had no memory of ever working on the short, and suggested that it had been credited to him by mistake. The official title has never been made publicly known, though it is rumoured to be Cracks.
This short was said to be very frightening, as many people recount seeing it as children, and have posted their terrifying experiences on numerous forums. It aired a total of only 11 times over the course of 3 and a half years, with its final airing taking place on May 2, 1980 before being cut out. Some of the other episodes it appeared in have been made public knowledge, thanks to documents found at the CTW (Children's Television Workshop) Archives. Interestingly, there have been multiple claims made that it did air in the late 90s/early 00s during the Spanish adaptation of Sesame Street called Plaza Sesamo, which was broadcast in Latin America, but so far, no physical evidence of this has been put forward.
A man named Jon Armond, in late 2008, was able to acquire a copy of the short when someone assumed to be close to the creator contacted him directly, after reading of his search effort online, later providing him with said copy, (although he has been contractually forbidden from sharing it in any form, bar private screenings, of which he has held several). Several months later, in early 2009, a blogger named Namowal (who had previously seen the clip as a child) was lucky enough to receive a viewing of Jon's copy, and soon after provided recreation sketches of the characters on her Tail o' the Rat blog. For a time, it was rumored that the CTW Archives held a copy, but this is simply untrue; we contacted the CTW Archives and they store very little video footage (none of their stored footage being the scarce cartoon we sought).
While Armond cannot release the clip at this time, he claims to be in the process of making a documentary on the subject, in which the highly sought-after video will finally be shown again, more than 30 years after it was last aired in the US (however, when recently asked about the project, he stated that it was still in its infant stages). He has also created and released a short 9 minute audio-only documentary, containing his rendition of the cartoon and detailing the majority of its history.
UPDATE 24 Dec '13: WOW, just WOW. During the Christmas rush, I shamefully neglected to check my emails for a few days. So, when I happened to check them today, I was naturally shocked to find an email from December 21 simply titled "Crack Master", with a 23 MB .mov file attached, as sent through an anonymous emailing service. Immediately my heart rate shot through the roof, and I tried to calm myself down, in the event that it was a fake or a hoax. To my utter delight though, it was indeed the real deal. To the anonymous emailer who sent me the clip, if you're reading this, THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH, from the bottom of my heart; this is without a doubt the best Christmas present I have ever received, bar none!!! P.S. Our suspicions were correct, it IS called Cracks. Ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado, I present to you, Cracks:
Merry Christmas to all :D
- Rundown of episode #979 (which contained the short), compiled from materials found at the CTW archives (courtesy of muppet.wikia.com). Retrieved 13 Jan '13.
- Rundown of episode #1140 (which also contained the short), compiled from materials found at the CTW archives (courtesy of muppet.wikia.com). Retrieved 18 Aug '13
- Namowal's Tail o' the Rat blog. Retrieved 13 Jan '13.
- Armond's 9 minute audio documentary (mp3 download, courtesy of Namowal). Retrieved 22 Aug '13.