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Has "Mysterious Theater" been unofficially banned by SW?

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by Muppet dude, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Muppet dude

    Muppet dude Active Member

    I have recently noticed, with the new release of the "Sesame Street Spoofs" DVD set, that "Mysterious Theater" had been excluded. Likewise on the "40 Years of Sunny Days" DVD set (I thought they'd include one for one of the 1989-1993 seasons!)
    Additionally, only one of them is available on SesameWorkshop's official website: "The Case of the Missing Toast."
    I'm starting to have that nasty feeling that maybe SesameWorkshop might have unofficially banned the "Mysterious Theater" segments, probably for them being too scary for kids (look at the numbers of online comments saying how frightening they were!) This wouldn't be the first time either; there was episode 0847 from 1976, which was pulled shortly after its initial airing due to the street story with the Wicked Witch of the West (played none other by Margaret Hamilton herself) scaring a huge number of children. Then there was that infamous "Crack Master" animated segment, which according to THIS blog, had been banned after airing for a few years due to it being extremely frightening for younger viewers.

    A shame, really. Aside from that creepy intro (the theme music did scare me quite a bit, along with the wolf howling and thunder sound effects, but I wasn't bothered by the visuals or animation or the Vincent Twice scenes), the segments themselves were done really well. They were pretty much on par with the quality of "Monsterpiece Theater" (though not as "classy!") Suppose they continued the series past 1993? I could see them replacing Vincent Twice with a Diana Rigg-like Muppet (hmm, how about a swine version named Diana Pigg?) and maybe featuring more detectives.

    Any comments?
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I hardly think that's the case, at least for both box sets. Now, there have to have been more significant (at least in their mind) segments to use in the 40th anniversary set. With the Spoofs, it's another deal all together. There were a LOT of segments that were glaringly overlooked, and it's no surprise that they wanted the new stuff to be the star of set. If you look at the track listing, the first disk is from the first 20 years, the second disk, minus 3 segments, has all been from the past (at least) 5 seasons. Mysterious Theater would have to be on the second disk (as it's more recent), but again, they want the most recent stuff to be the focus of the second disk.

    Considering we got the banned Jon and Kate sketch, I don't think they were so much concerned with scaring kids, as they just wanted a certain number of skits and a certain run time for each disk. I mean, look at the fact they used the ONLY Spaceship Surprise: The Next Generation, vs. one of 3 of the original.

    This is why I really hope the Spoofs does well enough to make a second set. There's just so much greatness they overlooked.
  3. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Using that logic, you can just as easily say that the Leslie Mostly skits and Deena and Pearl bits were unofficially banned as well. Just because they haven't been widely released doesn't mean SW has alternate motives for keeping them under-wraps.

    And yeah, a lot of stuff was left out of the 40 Years and Spoofs DVDs. But, as Drtooth said, the main focus of the latter was the modern spoofs. And despite the stuff we wanted and didn't get, we still got plenty of good material. It's basic nature of a fan to want more.
  4. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Actually the first disc seems to be the first 24 years, and I'm sure Mysterious Theater began sometime between 1989-1992. I don't think the sets were trying to make the more recent spoofs the "star" of the set. Not counting bonus features, both discs had 19 segments each (and if you do count the bonus features, disc 1 had one more segment than disc 2). The only thing about the set that makes it look like more recent stuff is the "star of the set" is the cover, which seems to mostly feature recent clips on the cover (most of the classic clip images are on the side ends of the cover) and in the listing of segments on the bottom banner.

    As for whether it's scary, I must say that as a kid I was creeped out a bit by the opening, but otherwise wasn't scared (I was much more scared by the jester from The King of 8 and the ending of The 39 Stairs). And the 40th anniversary set seems to have a number of segments that seem "banned" (the first celebrity edit of Put Down the Duckie, Me Claudias with Alistair Cookie eating a pipe, etc.).

    And of course there is one Mysterious Theater segment at sesamestreet.org, so obviously Sesame Workshop isn't trying to keep that segment from being seen.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well, the only alternate motive for keeping them under wraps I know of is that they probably can't find them or they just don't know what we're talking about. I mean, there's got to be hundreds of skits to sift through, and if they can't find them alone on digital masters, they may just have to comb through episodes to do so.

    Mysterious Theater has the fortune to have existed when VCR's were common (or at least more common to fans that have the means to convert them). If SW doesn't release them, we at least have people posting them on Youtube. Deena and Peal and Leslie Mostly will be up to them, unless someone stumbles on them in their collection and posts them. How many of us remember Disco Toothbrush?:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fevcj7Q_tG0
    I don't see Sesame Street leaping to make that available... and frankly, I can't blame them... It's barely memorable! But they HAVE surprised us in the past, releasing footage of Aristotle.

    To me, any anniversary or best of collection will always be unfinished and have questionable segments on there. None of the other Jazz numbers were released with the Old School sets, other than 2 which was in virtually every episode. Still, I hope that they can continue with fan favorite releases in time. There's so much we would love to see... hopefully they'll at least give us some more iTunes exclusives or something at least... still don't see why they can't put key episodes on Hulu like they did with the classic Electric Company.
  6. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I wonder what resources Sesame Workshop has regarding where it's clips are. I'm sure it's not difficult for them to find the most popular segments, and I wouldn't be surprised if SW used Muppet Wiki to locate certain segments. I know that the University of Maryland's "CTW Archives" has files called "First Season Show Content", listing pretty much every insert from the first season (though I tried searching to see what kind of title would be given to that film in episode 56, in which a close-up of an orange appears to be a planet, but couldn't find that listed anywhere) and a list of first season episodes with those. Muppet Wiki has scans of all those pages, but I'd like to see those kinds of files for other seasons. And I've often wondered if there are seperate master tapes for each segment (a number of segments at sesamestreet.org start with an "action" pre-roll). I wonder if one of us should write to the Sesame Family Robinson blog and ask about that (I've tried but it wouldn't register my question for some reason).

    I think it's a great segment. I don't think I'd put it at the top of my wishlist for an anniversary set or a 1970s DVD collection, but it is one of my favorite Sesame Street disco segments (along with Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco, Disco Frog, and ABC Disco).
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'd rather see Deena and Pearl released officially by them. I've never seen a single one (maybe I was too young, I forget the exact year), but anything to see Karen Prell's non-Fraggle Rock characters.


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