Setter’s ‘Spectives: ‘Sesame Street,’ the ‘Crack Master’ and Me

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Last night, I watched something I hadn’t seen in more than 30 years.

It was an imaginative animated short that appeared on Sesame Street when I was a kid, so you know it was long ago. In it, a young woman lying on her bed imagines the crack on her wall to be various friendly animals: a camel, a hen and a monkey. She travels with them through the wall and finds what is hoped to be a new pal but turns out to be the “Crack Master,” a horrible, frowning face made of cracks. This “Crack Master” then is “destroyed” as the plaster that makes up his visage falls to the ground because he is “mean.”

Whoa, right? What a trip.

Actually, this short frightened me practically to death as a young child; I remember running out of the room when it was on so I didn’t have to see it. There was something about the face of the “Crack Master” that bothered me, as well as the idea of cracks coming to life. But in watching it last night, I did something I’ve been unable to do for decades: Conquer my fear. The scares of childhood weren’t, thankfully, there. Just the remnants of memories.

This clip has some notoriety; apparently I wasn’t the only kid to be horrified by it years ago. It remains a very creative piece: stark but well-realized, despite the eerie subject matter. You can decide for yourself whether all my fears were warranted by watching it here:

4 thoughts on “Setter’s ‘Spectives: ‘Sesame Street,’ the ‘Crack Master’ and Me

  1. This cartoon drove me batty: as a kid it frightened me, and as an adult I spent years looking for it. Five years ago I met someone who had a copy, but he got it by promising not to share it online. Then it appeared on You-Tube late last year (from a different source).
    The weird thing is, I’ve never been able to figure out who made the dang thing. Someone floated a story that animator Cosmo Anzilotti made it, but he came forward and said it wasn’t him. So the mystery remains!

    • Fascinating, Namowal! I wonder who made it, too. Watching this cartoon was one of the traumatic experiences of my childhood, and I have vivid memories of running out of the room when it was on. It’s so interesting to hear that I’m not the only one who was so affected by it. I’m glad that it’s finally available for people to see it; I think it provides a kind of closure. It’s definitely a chapter of my life that has ended.

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